Book: How the Mind Works

Pinker reviews the current research and theories on the workings of the human mind. He explains current theories on the evolutionary basis of vision, hearing, emotions and common sense physics, psychology and morality. He also explores the evolutionary basis of non-adaptive behaviors including listening to music and watching movies.

His explanations are lucid and well-written and this book is a great pleasure to read. However, in the very last section, Pinker seems to completely lose his nerve and, in a short passage with no science and a small amount of shaky philosophy, Pinker announces that the hardest problems of the human mind, like sentience, are beyond the grasp of science and the human intellect. It’s a disappointing ending to an otherwise excellent book.