How the Mind Works

Steven Pinker

One of the most intriguing and seemingly incomprehensible aspects of humanity is the human mind. We use it each day, and incessantly, both consciously and subconsciously, and every one of us achieves feats of mental processing beyond even the most powerful supercomputers. It gives us our personality, our emotions, and our abilities. Our minds are who we are.

But how does the mind work?

What makes us feel the emotions that we feel? Why are we rational, and why do we so often undermine our own rationality? What makes us laugh or cry, or feel pain or sexual desire? Why do we appreciate art, or ponder the meaning of life?

In How the Mind Works, Steven Pinker explains the computational theory of mind, taking us through the evolution of the physical brain in tandem with mental states, as well as culture, ideas and emotions, bringing together explanations from the fields of cognitive science, and evolutionary biology and psychology.