1. All (0)


  1. All (463)
Home portfolios The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker

The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker


Area of Expertise:

  • Agriculture, forestry & food
  • American studies
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology and forensics
  • Architecture
  • Art and design
  • Biosciences
  • Building/planning
  • Business & Management
  • Classics
  • Computer sciences/IT
  • Criminology
  • Dentistry
  • Drama & Dance
  • Earth and marine sciences
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • English
  • Environmental studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Media/communications
  • Medicine
  • Modern languages/linguistics
  • Music
  • Nursing/paramedical studies
  • Pharmacy/pharmacology
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious studies/theology
  • Social policy/administration
  • Social work
  • Sociology
  • Sports science
  • Tourism, transport & travel
  • Veterinary science


Sample MLA paper

The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker

Describe John Locke’s theory of the black slate. Explain one positive, contemporary, moral/political value that has relies upon the doctrine of the blank slate. Show how the tenants of the blank slate support the value you have selected.

            According to black slate, which is an epistemological theory, it states that human beings are born with minds that are blank and only gain information and knowledge from interactions with the community. The theory further elaborates that human beings are born when they are little babies without any form of information in the brains. The lack of the in-built mental content is actually, what makes human beings alike in physical appearance while still young. However, the environment in which the young children develop into mature beings is what makes people into whom they are in the future.

            Most of the people will actually adapt their behaviors from the environment in which they develop. The environment in which an individual grows in is exceedingly important. The environment provides experience that assists the young people in making choices and perceptions. One of the positive values that relies upon the doctrine of the blank state theory is the fact that through acquiring diverse characterizes from the environment, human beings cannot be equal. Since humans adapt diverse perception from the environment, people cannot be same.    

Briefly describe One of the four different fields of contemporary science in terms of investigating the nature of the human mind. Make sure you include the empirical evidence of the field.

            One of the four fields of contemporary science essential in the investigating the nature of the human mind is the fear of inequality. One of the aspects that make human beings diverse from each other is the aspect of being difference. The contemporary aspect that makes human beings exceptionally different is the nature of the human mind inequality. The human minds are different in thinking and creativity. The levels of intelligent quotient of most of the people are diverse hence different levels of thinking. In most communities, people have different occupation because of the difference in the levels of the ability of thinking. For this reason, it is essential for the human beings to expose diverse behaviors.

            The concept of the human mind being different is also exposed by the fact that humans adapt their characters from the environment. Most of the human beings face indefinite experiences in life because of the environment in which they occupy. The mind frame of the human beings will obtain the characters from the surroundings hence contributing to the aspect of inequality. Empirical evidence to the field of fear of inequality of the human mind is the fact that the rich in the society will fear sharing moneymaking ideas with the poor. This is for the key reason of the fear that the poor might overpower them in future.     

What, specifically, is Pinker’s working definition of the human mind? How is Pinker’s definition of the mind, and its attendant view of human nature, different from Locke’s view of human nature?

            Pinker Steven gives a different version of the mind, which is particularly from that of Locke’s view and definition of the human mind.  According to Pinker, the human behavior, which is mostly controlled by the human body, is contributed by the fact that humans inherit certain characteristics from the parents. The argument also denotes that the actions depicted by human beings are derived from the fact that humans obtain characteristics from the evolutionary psychological adaptations. This implies that most of the human characters that are revealed in the daily actions are emitted by the fact that inherited character traits. For this reason, human beings are not responsible for the action that they perform but rather the characters are inherited. The views of Pinker are diverse from the views of the Locke in the sense that Locke explains that the character of the human beings is derived from the environment. Locke argues from the Tabula rasa theory that illustrates that human beings obtain their characters from the environment.   

Why, according to Pinker’s do we “mind-sized primates” have a mind? What is the original of that mind? Be specific.

            According to Pinker, he argues that human beings who are the “mind-sized primates” have a mind that originates from the experiences and the surrounding. According to Pinker, most of the experiences and happenings that take place is what determines the human brains. The parents however, determine the mind of the young children. The minds of the human beings are formulated by the adaptations that originate from the parents. The behavior of the parents is in some way evident from the characters of the young children. Pinker also identifies that at birth, the mind of the human beings is usually at a slate state. This signifies that the human mind is at a blank state, which does not contain any form of ideas.

            However, as the child slowly develops, the surroundings that come close to him/her is what determines what the child will become in future. The original of the human mind state is the blank slate that is empty and does not have any form of ideas. The mind gains slowly but gradually information from the environment that greatly determines the type of person that will become in the future. For this reason, Pinker explains that the difference between the good people and the evil people in the society is determined by the environment and life experiences. While still young, the good people in the society are exposed to proper environment hence adapting to appropriate human characters. However, the evil members of the society are exposed to the bad environment that makes them behave in illicit behavior.           

What is Pinker’s definition of culture? Where does culture come from? That is, how is culture created? What is the purpose of cultural of culture, according to Pinker?

            In trying to define nature, Pinker combines both nature and nurture to come up with a vivid explanation of what culture is all about. According to Pinker, culture refers to the transmittable set of behavior and beliefs that demonstrate our desires. The difference that is emitted by the cultural evidence is what is attributed by the ecological differences and geological experiences. Pinker also identifies that for the cultural values to transfer from one generation to the other, there must be a definite communication that acts as the key channel.

            The aspect of culture according to Pinker is assisted in the transformation by the aspect of the mind not being blank slate. This is for the key reason that a slate and blank mind cannot transfer details from one person to another since the mind would be empty. The mind of the human beings is attributed the process of organizing the available information, organizing and retaining what happens to be more appealing. However, in case there is nothing important in the information, after the processing session, the information is discarded since the mind will identify the information as invalid. The useful information in most cases is what is essential in the creation of culture and maintenance of the aspects valuable resources in the community.

Why, according to Pinker are cultural different? What accounts for the underlying similarities across cultural, according to Pinker?

            In reference to Pinker, culture is an evolutionary development that is established on the foundation of the occurrences in biology to increase the survival quality in the real world. The occurrences of nature and biology are diverse in the entire world. The character of the human beings is also contributed by the fact that people interact with the human beings in diverse environment. The environment that humans beings develop in are diverse hence changes in the occurrence of the characteristics of the people. For this reasons, the culture of the human beings is contributed by the similarity of the characteristics of the human beings that is obtained from the environment. The appropriate and favorable characteristics that are appealing to the society are accepted and after some period, the characters are agreed hence contributing to the cultural changes. 

            Since the environment that human beings interact within is diverse because of the surroundings, the human cultures are also diverse. In the entire world, there originates diverse environmental conditions that differentiate the characters of the human beings. The aspects of cultural values that are accepted in a given region are diverse from the happenings that occur in another location. For this reason, human beings will generally depict diverse human characters that will contribute to change in the cultural values. However, there are similarity that might be identified in diverse cultures because of the migration and movement of people from one place to another location.

Describe ONE social fear that arises as a response to debunking of the Blank Slate. Describe the argument that one needs the doctrine of the Blank Slate in order to avoid this social evil.

            One of the social fears that arise as a response to the debunking of the blank slate is the fear of Nihilism. The fear of nihilism is that aspect of argument that denotes that life is made up of without definite purpose and meaning value. The fear of nihilism also exposes human beings are usually born and endure life experiences just for the fan of living and maturing. For this reason, there is no specific reason that people struggle to better their lives since at the time of death all the possession of the person will definitely be lost. Since all the human beings will only adapt their characters through the response of specific characters, there will be fear of nihilism. No one will be developing with an ambition of satisfying a given aspect in life since all the human beings will be depending on the environment for specific changes. Almost all the human beings will be relying on the change in the environment to better their lives.

            Nihilism in the society is promoted by the fact that most of the people feel that the character traits are acquired directly from the environment. Continues adaptation to the environment is the key concepts that determine character traits of individuals. Human beings are devoted to making several changes, which are adapted through living in a certain environment. To avoid the fear of the nihilism using the blank slate, the aspect of the fact that humans obtain through the fact that characters are obtained through inheritance. Since the blank slate explains that human acquire characters from the parents, it implies that the social fear, nihilism can automatically be reduced since the people will acquire characters from parents and not the environment. 

Explain Pinker’s response to that social fear. That is, how does Pinker refute the idea we continue to need the theory of the Blank Slate? Make sure you answer this question in terms of the particular social evil you chose in question seven, above.

            Pinker respond to the social fear nihilism indicate that human beings the problem can only become a fear to the society is the theory of tabula rasa is applied. According to the theory of tabula rasa, human beings obtain their character traits from the environment. Adapting the behavior from the environment is one of the risky aspects that contribute to occurrence of nihilism. Most of the philosophers that argued out that human beings acquire their behavior through the interaction of the environment have many risks. This is basing on the fact that acquiring the behavior ensures that human beings continue to lack specific reason that motivates them into living.

            Most of the human beings will prefer the act of acquiring the better environment to acquire the good characters. However, other members of the society, since they lack enough resources from the environment will have no option rather than obtaining the illicit characters from the environment. Therefore, in accordance to Pinker human beings still need the theory of Blank Slate to ensure that life makes sense. For people to obtain the true meaning of life human’s beings still need to stick to the theory of blank slate.       

Explain the deterrence paradox, and explain how that paradox has, according to evolutionary psychologists and game theorists, given rise to the emotions of retribution.

            According to the deterrence paradox, human beings are capable of taking care of the actions that people commit in relation to the outcome that are to appear in the future. People are supposed to undertake actions that would be accountable in the future. This denotes that all the human beings are supposed to be aware of the wrong doings that they might commit in the future. Most people commit mistakes in the current world with the aim that they might evade a live a proper life in the future. However, this is not the case since in most situations; human beings are usually judged in accordance to the wrongs committed in the past.  The deterrence paradox has given rise to the emotions of retribution in the sense that after humans commit a given mistake in the community, justice ought to be undertaken to ensure that peace is promoted. However, in this case, peace is not promoted and most of the people rely on the retribution that does offer justice to the people.

Describe ONE of the human mind’s “primitive intuitions.” (Pinker lists 10). How, according to Pinker, is education and modern science outstripping these intuitions?

            One of the human minds “primitive intuition that is discussed by Pinker is the concept of dualism in which Pinker discusses that the human mind is capable of is capable of making choices that are far away from biology. Most of the human’s beings rely on the biological part of the human body to make specific decisions in the human life. However, according to the primitive intuition of the mind, Pinker discusses that human beings are capable of performing specific actions without the concept of the human brains. Some decisions made by the human beings are conducted willingly by the soul, which is also part of the human beings. However, education and modern science outstripped this concept since modern science depicts that there is no soul attached to the human body.