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Fascism and the Enlightenment with Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker, Rob Riemen and Tali Sharot discuss fascism and humanism with Andrew Marr.

Humanity is flourishing and the Enlightenment has worked, declares Steven Pinker. The Harvard psychologist has looked across health, prosperity, safety, peace and happiness, and sees signs that all are improving. He tells Andrew Marr how Enlightenment attitudes to reason and science have made this the best age in which to live. But Enlightenment values are under attack and Pinker calls for their vigorous defence.

Dutch philosopher Rob Riemen also sees humanism under threat from fascism, with its politics of resentment and hatred of the life of the mind. But can reason, beauty and justice combat this threat?

The neuroscientist Tali Sharot thinks reason and fear are not enough to make us change our minds. Only by understanding how the brain functions can we perfect the art of persuasion.

Producer: Hannah Sander.

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43 minutes

Last on

Mon 19 Feb 2018 21:30

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and an experimental psychologist.

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress is published by Viking.

Rob Riemen

Rob Rieman is a writer and philosopher and the founder of the Nexus Institute.

To Fight Against This Age: On fascism and humanism is published by W.W Norton & Company.

Tali Sharot

Tali Sharot is a neuroscientist.

The Influential Mind is published by Little, Brown.


Role Contributor
Presenter Andrew Marr
Interviewed Guest Steven Pinker
Interviewed Guest Rob Riemen
Interviewed Guest Tali Sharot
Producer Hannah Sander


  • Mon 19 Feb 2018 09:00
  • Mon 19 Feb 2018 21:30