It’s been 30 years since Richard Dawkins published his landmark book, The Selfish Gene. I’d highly recommend it. To mark the anniversary, publishers in England are putting out a collection of essays about the subject matter and the author early next week. Here, Steven Pinker, professor of psychology at Harvard, talks about how the book influenced his own thinking.
Even though Dawkins writes about evolution, says Pinker, his work has guided how many scholars think about intelligence. “The influence runs deeper than the fact that the mind is a product of the brain and the brain a product of evolution; such an influence could apply to someone who studies any organ of any organism. The significance of Dawkinsâ€™s ideas, for me and many others, runs to his characterisation of the very nature of life and to a theme that runs throughout his writings: the possibility of deep commonalities between life and mind.”