Dorsett Fellowship Lecture Series

The Dorsett Fellowship was established in 2001 when the Frederick Gardner Cottrell Foundation, in conjunction with Research Corporation Technologies, made a significant donation in honor of Burt Dorsett ’53, establishing an endowed fund.

The purpose of the Dorsett fund is to honor the exemplary business career of Burt Dorsett by bringing practitioners of ethics (business leaders, physicians, engineers, etc.) and/or scholars of ethics to the Dartmouth campus. The Dorsett Fellows have provided public lectures, conducted guest lectures in college courses, participated in faculty working groups, and spent time pursuing their own research while on campus.

Steven Pinker

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

April 15, 2020 4:30

Moore Theater at the Hop

Free and open to the public (no ticket required)

STEVEN PINKER asks the big questions about human progress—and sets out, in public, to answer them. In 2018's Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that, despite the headlines, the world is getting better, not worse. (Bill Gates calls it "my new favorite book of all time.") In optimistic keynotes, full of sharp wit, common sense, and dazzling argumentation, Pinker makes the case for reason, science, and humanism. These Enlightenment ideals, in the face of tribalism, authoritarianism, and other modern dangers to democracy, are worth celebrating—and protecting.

"Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker's ever written. It's my new favorite book of all time"

— Bill Gates on Enlightenment Now

A provocative speaker, much in demand, Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist who has been named by TIME as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. His keynotes have helped millions demystify the science behind human language, thought, and action. Pinker is a Harvard professor, a TED speaker, and a bestselling author, twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Highly respected in the scientific community, his work and opinions are extensively covered in the mainstream media, and have won a wide general audience. 

In his new talks—based on Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress—Pinker argues that, despite fear-mongering and political upheaval, the world is getting better: peace, prosperity, knowledge and happiness are on the rise. "The world is getting better, even if it doesn't always feel that way," writes Bill Gates, in a review of the book. "I'm glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker's ever written. It's my new favorite book of all time." The New York Times included the book in its year-end list of 100 Notable Books, and NPR and Esquire both named it as one of the best books of 2018.

Enlightenment Now is the follow-up to The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Had Declined, which was a #1 Amazon bestseller. Keynotes based on that book inspired audiences worldwide with its core message that, if you look at the facts, we are living in the most peaceful human era ever. The talks pointed the way to a better future for humankind. 

"The Better Angels of Our Natureis a supremely important book."

— The New York Times

Pinker's other bestselling books include The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature ("Required reading." – Los Angeles Times) and How The Mind Works ("A model of scientific writing: erudite, witty, and clear." – New York Review of Books). Pinker's acclaimed "language" series includes The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates LanguageWords and RulesThe Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, as well as The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.

A native of Montreal, Steven Pinker is Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Previously, he taught at Stanford and at MIT. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has won a number of teaching prizes, and his research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has received numerous awards, including the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences.