Steven Pinker 's The Better Angles Of Our Nature : Why Violence Has Declined

1834 Words Nov 24th, 2014 8 Pages
The Flaws of Empirical Evidence: A Critical Review of Steven Pinker 's The Better Angles of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined Canadian psychologist, Steven Pinker, wrote The Better Angles of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined in order to explore trends in peace and violence throughout history. Pinker’s main argument declares that violence has declined for a variety of reasons. In the fifth and sixth chapters titled “The New Peace” and “The Long Peace,” Pinker continues to argue that society has been in a largely peaceful trend and that society is currently witnessing the most peaceful era in its history. Pinker uses a wide variety of empirical evidence to convince the reader of his argument. However, his use of one-dimensional, unreliable and obscure empirical data fails to effectively prove his main assertion that violence is declining.
Pinker attempts to supply the reader with evidence to support his position, which states that violence is in a downward trend, and that overall, society is currently in one of its most peaceful periods. In the first portion of the fifth chapter, Pinker explains that the two world wars, were not as bad as conventional wisdom states and were not in fact the most destructive in history (190). Evidently, the First and Second World Wars saw an unparalleled number of violent deaths; however, upon further review, it is clear that other centuries were more proportionally destructive when the total world population is taken into account…

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