Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

This is a big book by Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker: big in terms of size and scope. It's 499 pages (although many are composed of notes) and covers two huge topics, language and human nature. Pinker scrutinizes the many different aspects of language, as he has in his other books. Here, he speculates that our languages' structures may be inherently changed by the ways we are innately designed to act. It's very deep and intricate material. It took me five days to read it, and I'm normally a pretty quick reader. Pinker writes well--I can't say he makes it easy for the layperson to understand the concepts, but it's certainly not jargon. Worth a read if you're interested in high-concept psychology and brain science.


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