My conversation with Steven Pinker about ‘Rationality’

Here’s my conversation with the psychologist Steven Pinker about his latest book ‘Rationality’ at the Night of the Freethinker (Nacht van de Vrijdenker) in Ghent. We talked about the undeserved “uncoolness” of rationality, the allure of positive illusions, the cultural wisdom of jokes, the science of cultural evolution and the concept of memes, the popularity of books portraying people as irredeemably gullible and irrational, the (in)sincerity of bizarre beliefs and conspiracy theories, the question of progress in the fight against irrationality, and the psychological obstacles that stand in the way of solving our climate crisis.

I won’t try to hide the fact that Steven Pinker is one of my intellectual heroes, but I still tried to play the devil’s advocate a number of times, as well as exploring some genuine disagreements. I found our conversation fascinating and enlightening, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too!