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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 152

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate discusses the idea of human nature and, more obviously, the idea of blank slate, or tabula rasa (John Locke's ideology and theory that humans are born with no way to process "data"—instead, they learn how to process data through their experiences in life). The text is not fiction and therefore contains no traditional "characters." Yet, Pinker refers to numerous different philosophers, scientists, and even poets to make his point on human nature.

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Pinker refers to over 100 different theorists, writers, scientists, and philosophers in his text. Yet, there are a few which he refers to repeatedly throughout the text:

  • Charles Darwin
  • Bertrand Russell
  • Stuart Mill
  • Galileo Galilei
  • John Locke
  • John Dryden
  • Gilbert Ryle
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Thomas Hobbes
  • Rene Descartes

So while Pinker's work did not include "characters," his work does include numerous different people whose work he relies on to move his own ideologies and arguments forward.

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