Cancelled: Steven Pinker: The Sense of Style

A Writing Guide for the 21st Century

Please note: This page refers to an event that has already taken place.

Time: Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:30-10:00
Place: PRIO, Hausmanns gate 7, Oslo

Cancelled: Steven Pinker: The Sense of Style
​This event​ is c​​ancelled, due to the risk of a hotel strike in Oslo. We hope to be able to revisit organizing this seminar in the autumn.

​​At this PRIO seminar, Steven Pinker will talk about the topic of his upcoming book, The Sense of Style. 

Pinker introduces his seminar like this: Let’s face it: most academics are terrible communicators. Why do the world’s most cerebral people find it so hard to convey their ideas? And how can we learn to do better? 

​The classic style manuals are based on the personal intuitions of journalists and writing instructors and tend to mix some helpful hints with some harmful folklore. I suggest that the modern sciences of mind and language can provide sounder and more systematic guidance to writers today. Thoughtful writers should begin with a clear idealization of the simulated scenario in which they are communicating with their readers. They must overcome The Curse of Knowledge – the inability to imagine what it’s like not to know what they do know. They should understand how syntax works and thus how best to deploy the grammatical resources of the English language. And they should know how to think about the rules of correct usage, distinguishing the ones that enhance clarity and grace from the shibboleths and superstitions.

A light breakfast will be served from 08:00. Welcome!

There are no more places available for this event. Please send an email to if you want to be on our waiting list for seats that may become available. A video recording will be made available on our website within a few days after the event.