• How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker
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  • How the Mind Works is a 1997 book by Canadian-American cognitive scientist Steven Pinker

How the Mind Works


, considered one of the fathers of the computational theory of mind, criticized the book. Fodor wrote a book called , saying "There is, in short, every reason to suppose that the Computational Theory is part of the truth about cognition. But it hadn't occurred to me that anyone could suppose that it's a very large part of the truth; still less that it's within miles of being the whole story about how the mind works". He continued, "I was, and remain, perplexed by an attitude of ebullient optimism that's particularly characteristic of Pinker's book. As just remarked, I would have thought that the last forty or fifty years have demonstrated pretty clearly that there are aspects of higher mental processes into which the current armamentarium of computational models, theories and experimental techniques offers vanishingly little insight."

Cognitive scientists, in contrast, hold that the human mind is highly complex and thoroughly admirable, that one cannot understand human behavior without knowing what goes on in it and, most important, that it can be scientifically investigated. They share a heady sense of excitement at devising new techniques for finding out how the mind works, and they are beginning to derive a series of richly explanatory theories about it.


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Steven Pinker's other masterpiece "The Blank Slate" is still my favorite non-fiction. "How the Mind Works" is a more technical and challenging read/listen, but both are highly recommended based on their wealth of researched facts and arguments.