Pinker, Steven
How the mind works
W. W. Norton & Co, Inc, New York, 1997.
This book explains what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and ponder the mysteries of life. It also explains the mind by "reverse-engineering"--figuring out what natural selection designed it to accomplish in the environment in which we evolved.

The author rehabilitates unfashionable ideas, such as that the mind is a computer and that human nature was shaped by natural selection.  He challenges fashionable ones, such as that passionate emotions are irrational, that parents socialize their children, that creativity springs from the unconscious, that nature is good and modern society corrupting, and that art and religion are expressions of our higher spiritual yearnings.  This book is a synthesis of explanations of our mental life proposed in cognitive science and evolutionary biology, with insights from disciplines ranging from neuroscience to economics and social psychology.


Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles