language as a window into human nature

New York, NY: Viking. And speaking of an end, even some of the fine points of our mental geometry carry over from space to time. The gravity of 9/11 would seem to make this entire discussion frivolous to the point of impudence. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Admittedly, those have been contested as well: according to various conspiracy theories, the buildings were targeted by American missiles, or demolished by a controlled implosion, in a plot conceived by American neoconservatives, Israeli spies, or a cabal of psychiatrists. I felt like I had learned very little about human nature. But this book is about semantics, and I would not make a claim on your attention if I did not think that the relation of language to our inner and outer worlds was a matter of intellectual fascination and real-world importance. Or it could be argued that the answer is two. And in time, as in space, we mentally place an entity at a location and then shunt it around: we can move a meeting from 3:00 to 4:00 in the same way that we move a car from one end of the block to the other. And it is about words and social relations—how people use language not just to transfer ideas from head to head but to negotiate the kind of relationship they wish to have with their conversational partner. He seems to think it has a lot to do with verbs. everyone else has written smart reviews so I will just say three things: Listened to audiobook and ordered the hardcover for in-depth read. The stuff in question is language, what the subtitle describes as a 'window into human nature'. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for The Stuff of Thought : Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker (2007, Hardcover) at the best online prices at eBay! Why do some children's names thrive while others fall out of favour? So I loved SP's book "The Language Instinct" (even though a lot of it was old news to me, since I was fresh off of my linguistics course), and I was super-stoked for this one. In the words of placards and headlines all over the world, “Bush Lied.”. This leans very much towards the latter and is not an easy read. During the occupation it became clear that Saddam had had no facilities in place to manufacture nuclear weapons, and probably had never explored the possibility of buying yellowcake from Niger. He also spends an entire chapter (50 pages long) telling us. Semantics is about the relation of words to reality—the way that speakers commit themselves to a shared understanding of the truth, and the way their thoughts are anchored to things and situations in the world. As we shall see in chapter 4, the mind categorizes matter into discrete things (like a sausage) and continuous stuff (like meat), and it similarly categorizes time into discrete events (like to cross the street) and continuous activities (like to stroll). The attacks on the buildings were part of a single plan conceived in the mind of one man in service of a single agenda. In "The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature", Steven Pinker looks at how the relationship between words and thoughts can help us understand who we are. The attacks were masterminded by Osama bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, who hoped to intimidate the United States into ending its military presence in Saudi Arabia and its support for Israel and to unite Muslims in preparation for a restoration of the caliphate. Read Guy Claxton's Intelligence in the flesh instead. Put another way, Pinker "probes the mystery of human nature by examining how we use words". I am not a fan of his humor leading to a less enjoyable reading experience than expected. This isn't a knee-jerk reaction from a sociologist; socio-biological explanations are generally examples of people reading their own interpretations of the social world, and how it "ought" to be, back into "history" and saying that it's natural. The text moves at breakneck speed, elucidating every corner of my pitifully thin familiarity with linguistics and logic. Steven Pinker is as close to a famous linguist as we have today (Noam Chomsky doesn't count, because he's famous for his politics, not his linguistics). In this new RSAnimate Steven Pinker shows us how the mind turns the finite building blocks of language into infinite meanings. With wit, erudition, and deft use of everyday examples of humor and wordplay, Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling theory: that language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution … Please try again. I know that Pinker argues that it is easy to make a computer aware of itself, but the level of self-reflexivity in the human mind is still impressive I think. This was a very enjoyable read. I like Pinker's style, and have found his writing to be very clear and entertaining in the past, and this book is no different. He analyses what words actually mean and how we use them, and he reveals what this can tell us about ourselves. There was a problem loading your book clubs. He also spends an entire chapter (50 pages long) telling us how to use profanity with correct grammar. Language is a window into human nature. Language - a window to the way our minds work. Instead, the entire book is not so much about thought, but about language, and what it reveals about the thoughts that produce it. 1 likes. Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free. But you white fella When you’re born you’re pink When you grow up you’re white When you git sick you’re green When you go out ina sun you go red When you git cold you go blue When you git scared you’re yellow And when you die you’re grey And you got the cheek to call me coloured?”. View fullsize. 9/11, as the happenings of that day are now called, stands as the most significant political and intellectual event of the twenty-first century so far. Please try your request again later. My only beef was that after he spent time talking about fallacious arguments and the people who use them, he tended to attack "radical" or "extreme" versions of theories, thereby leading the rea. This sentence appeared in George W. Bush’s State of the Union address in January 2003. There is nothing “mere” about semantics! I didn't like Pinker's other one and I don't like this one. 2016: I still find his main idea in this book quite interesting and convincing, namely that the way we think is not controlled by language, but rather that language is an expression of, or a window in to, how our thinking work. An event is a stretch of time, and time, according to physicists, is a continuous variable—an inexorable cosmic flow, in Newton’s world, or a fourth dimension in a seamless hyperspace, in Einstein’s. The text moves at breakneck speed, elucidating every corner of my pitifully thin familiarity with linguistics and logic. And he has an entertaining narrative voice. He seems to think it has a lot to do with verbs. Buy The Stuff of Thought : Language as a Window into Human Nature at Walmart.com Foul language turns out to be an excellent window not only into human nature but into Pinker’s nature: curious, inventive, fearless, naughty. For many Americans and Britons the possibility that Saddam was assembling nuclear weapons was the only defensible reason to invade Iraq and depose Saddam. “One can choose to obsess over prescriptive rules, but they have no more to do with human language than the criteria for judging cats at a cat show have to do with mammalian biology. Find all the books, read about the author, and more. The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature - Steven Pinker - Google Books New York Timesbestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude … Huh. Metaphor is so widespread in language that it’s hard to find expressions for abstract ideas that are not metaphorical. The equipment we are given performs specific functions. And the world of verbs is quite a Wonderland. ), The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, Words and Rules: The Ingredients Of Language (Science Masters Series), The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, "Engaging and provocative...filled with humor and fun. The chapter is named Down the Rabbit Hole after how Alice ended up in Wonderland. I kept bumping into things that were illuminated by the insights in this book. Are high tax rates a way to redistribute wealth or to confiscate earnings? Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 27, 2013. But things totally picked up after that! Now, I’d like to continue on to his, in some ways, more impressive book, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature (link on Amazon.com). I've seen Steven Pinker cited in all kinds of places, and understood he’s somewhat of an authority on psychology, cognition, and other brain-related areas. Exactly how many events took place in New York on that morning in September? Here, Pinker largely abandons the heredity vs. environment debate for a discussion of the mind itself, and what role language plays in human thinking. The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature Paperback – Aug. 26 2008 by Steven Pinker (Author) 4.2 out of 5 stars 126 ratings. It would be a little strange if it wasn't the case that our mind is constructed in a particular way in our thinking. As we shall see, it provides the materials for scientific and literary creativity, for humor and wordplay, and for the dramas of social life. For more than a decade, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the world-renowned astrophysicist and host of the popular radio and Emmy-nominated... To see what your friends thought of this book, It is remarkable how much of modern thought can track its genetic heritage back to Kant. Indeed, space turns out to be a conceptual vehicle not just for time but for many kinds of states and circumstances. I am disappointed that I didn't find and read this book while I was in grad school, there are some quotes that would have worked quite well for the paper I wrote on comparative naming cultures. In the past decade prominent linguists have been advising American Democrats on how the Republican Party has outframed them in recent elections and on how they might regain control of the semantics of political debate by reframing, for example, taxes as membership fees and activist judges as freedom judges.2 The 9/11 cardinality debate highlights another curious fact about the language of thought. Other human concerns of cells or an incipient human relationship between language and Intelligence will just say three things Listened. 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