Steven Pinker – The Stuff of Thought

Please note: This video contains strong language. Pinker sits with an interviewer in a park to discuss topics from his 2007 book The Stuff of Thought. Some potentially offensive content follows.


Pinker discusses the etiology of taboo and profane words and their emotional impact despite meaning and syntax. Why do sexual terms and profanity exist in our culture? Why does profanity often lack grammatical rules and proper syntax? Under what circumstances do people use taboo words?