Evolution of the Shrug: Darwin's Principle of Antithesis

Wed, 07/14/2010 - 10:51am

Complete video at: Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker relays his favorite bit of "Darwiniana": Darwin's principle of antithesis. Darwin proposed that both animals and humans alike employ a certain set of biological signals to convey one emotion (like aggression), while using the exact opposite signals to convey the exact opposite emotion (like passivity). ----- Adam Gopnik, author of Angels and Ages, A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln and Modern Life and Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate and many other works, discuss a fundamental question: How far can Darwin take us as a guide to why we are the way we are? Both outspoken appreciators of Darwin, Adam Gopnik and Steven Pinker will compare their visions -- perhaps complementary, perhaps contrasting -- of what Darwin's legacy is on the two hundredth anniversary of his birth. - New York Public Library Steven Pinker is a prominent Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist and popular science writer known for his wide-ranging advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. Pinker is also a Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT.

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