In Enlightenment Now, Pinker proposes that human progress is the gift of a coherent value system that many of us embrace without even knowing it. The values of the Enlightenment underlie all our modern institutions, and deserve credit for the stupendous progress we have made. The progress we have enjoyed is not, of course, an excuse for complacency- some of the challenges we face today are unprecedented in their complexity and scope.
The way to deal with these challenges, Pinker argues, is to treat them as problems to solve, as we have solved other problems in our past. Putting the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how, by using our faculties of reason and sympathy to understand the world and to enhance human flourishing, we can tackle problems that inevitably come with being products of evolution in an entropic universe.