FREE PDF â BOOK The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human Nature ´ STEVEN PINKER

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

FREE PDF â BOOK The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human Nature ´ STEVEN PINKER ¸ [EPUB] ✸ The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human Nature ✻ Steven Pinker – New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker possesTo our children and to society With his signature wit and style Pinker takes on scientific uestions like whether language affects thought as well Stuff of Thought Kindle #180 as forays into everyday life why is bulk e mail called spam and how do romantic comedies get such mileage out of the ambiguities of dating The Stuff of Thought is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of readers of everything from The Selfish Gene and Blink to Eats Shoots Leaves A louacious look at language “Semantics is about the relation of words to thoughts but it also about the relation of words to other human concerns 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” “If adults commit adultery do infants commit infantry If olive oil is made from olives what do they make baby oil from I a vegetarian eats vegetables what does a humanitarian consume A writer is someone who writes and a stinger is something that stings But fingers don't fing grocers don't groce hammers don't ham humdingers don't humding ushers don't ush and haberdashers do not haberdashIf the plural of tooth is teeth shouldn't the plural of booth be beeth One goose two geese so one moose two meese If people ring a bell today and rang a bell yesterday why don't we say that they flang a ball If they wrote a letter perhaps they also bote their tongue”Interesting at points—though not as uite as I'd hoped—and periodically a total slog

Steven Pinker ´ The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human Nature TEXT

Ature The result is a fascinating look at how our words The Stuff PDFEPUB or explain our nature What does swearing reveal about our emotions Why does innuendo disclose something about relationships Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter Even the names we give our babies have important things to Stuff of Thought Language as PDFEPUB or say about our relations DNF Have you heard of top down learning vs bottom up learning If not top down learners prefer to see the big picture before the supporting details can become meaningful whereas bottom up learners like to build the big picture by first understanding the details I am a top down learner and this book is written for the bottom upsThis book’s subtitle is “Language as a Window into Human Nature” and that’s what I kept waiting for Pinker spent a lot of time on details such as how “in a palm” suggests a hand curvature whereas “on a palm” suggests hand flatness and after 140 pages of thatugh I bought this book after reading a Japanese translation that gave details of how images combine differently to create specific characters of their language It got me wondering whether using different symbols for communication affects how we see the worldIt turns out that language is a result of innate thinking development and a response to our environment rather than the other way around at least as of 13 of the way throughThe latter chapters look interesting But I tried skipping and felt lost without the prior points Pinker at least talks to me as an eual

DOC å The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human Nature ´ Steven Pinker

The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human NatureNew York Times of Thought PDF #9734 bestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal elouence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas His previous books including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Blank Slate have catapulted him into the limelight as one of today's most important and popular science writers Now in The Stuff of Thought Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best language and human n How To Tell If You’re a HorseI remember seeing perhaps 30 years ago a chart of a design for an artificial intelligence computer programme by academic engineers at a university somewhere in Texas The chart showed an enormous logically ramifying hierarchy of various sorts of events experiences and actions which their computer was intended to understand Everything that the engineers could imagine happening was included somewhere in a sort of organisational chart of existence At the very top of the chart was a single box that stood for exactly that existence itself From that box the designers had drawn an upward facing arrow pointing to a word without a box ‘REALITY’ The Stuff of Thought brought back memories of that AI chart ‘Reality’ is something that Pinker refers to freuently as that which keeps language on the straight and narrow “ The tethering of words to reality helps allay the worry that language ensnares us in a self contained web of symbols” Like the AI designers Pinker has a little arrow that points out of language to something other than language to which language is tied But also just like the AI designers the only thing Pinker’s arrow actually points to is well another wordPinker doesn’t like the idea that words language have a life that is only loosely and unreliably connected to that which is not language He does recognise that ‘reality’ is an awkward thing for a linguist to talk about “The nature of reality does not dictate the way that reality is represented in people’s minds” he says So according to this logic despite our conviction that the world consists of than human minds it would be impossible to determine what reality is except by consultation with other minds How does Pinker arrive at such a confused placePinker likes to be very precise in his semiotic descriptions and examples But not when it comes to this business of reality For that he plays fast and loose conflating semantics the connection of words to things that are not words syntactics the relations among words and the ways in which they can be used with each other and pragmatics the effect that words have on human behaviour including what and how words are used into a very imprecise theory of language He knows that only words define other words that these definitions slip and slide continuously in the way they are used with each other and that their effects on human activities are conseuently uncertain in many critical situations Yet he says “The logic of names and of other words that are connected to events allay these concerns about misidentifications and falsehoods by anchoring the web of meanings to real events and objects in the world” If only it were so At any given time much of what we refer to as reality simply doesn’t exist the sun doesn’t actually rise; the moon doesn’t shine uite aside from the casual use of everyday language when we try to be very precise about what we mean we find ourselves in a pickle about reality For example for centuries Isaac Newton’s gravitational ‘action at a distance’ was an important scientific ‘thing’ Turns out it never was anything at all except a phrase used by scientists Now we say that what we see astronomically is all down to relativistic time space distortion Perhaps in resolving the contradictions of uantum physics we will find that time space distortion isn’t a thing either That AI arrow in other words points not toward somewhere ‘out there’ but something ‘in here’ Most probably what is in here is a residual religious hope that the universe is as orderly and benign as our cultural legacy says it is So we can and freuently do have serious conversations about absolutely nothing We accept the possibility of an ontological faux pas with reasonably good grace Yet we worry constantly about the somewhat lesser linguistic sin of ‘error’ either accidental or intentional which is the subject of epistemology Here we are culturally proud of ourselves that the ‘scientific method’ can ultimately sort out the factual core from the fictional chaff of any assertion and that through unrelenting ‘objectivity’ we can distinguish Trump’s lies from his covfefe’s it seems safe to presume all his statements are somehow defective Pinker calls this philosophical realism in the sense that people “ are tacitly committed in their everyday use of language to certain propositions’ being true or false independent of whether the person being discussed believes them to be true or false” But this sort of realism gets sorely tested to breaking point and freuently Beliefs about Trump climate change Russian assassinations and cyber attacks abortion as well as my neighbour’s intentions regarding the shaping of our shared hedge to name just a few examples are beliefs held by many as true or false without a fact in sight Assertions about these topics tend to be true or false precisely because they are believed not because they can be proven Facts emerge as a matter of faith Epistemology is conseuently as political as any other investigation Interests personal material psychological familial religious reputational are a dominant force in any attempt to connect words and things That’s just the way it is And the way it is is being demonstrated as I write in the impeachment trial in the US Senate Trump’s innocence or guilt is a purely political conclusion as indeed is every ‘fact’ provided by any investigation criminal civil scientific or corporateThis is distressing to some people including Pinker Bertrand Russell’s famous uip “I am firm; you are obstinate; he is pigheaded” is the epitome of the politics of language It seems too obvious to need saying but apparently it does need saying yet again Reality is nothing or less than a transient political consensus about what constitutes facts And facts are those assertions which at least for the moment are not contradicted by any other facts And just as no one is uite sure what they mean by ‘scientific method’ no one is any wiser about what constitutes the definitive rules of language and how to tell fact from fiction except through politics So Pinker is certainly right to suggest that the language we use discloses our model of reality In fact it is our model of reality tout court his analysis of verbs in shaping thought is exemplaryReality is the elephant in Pinker’s rather elegantly laid out phenomenological room of language however There are a multitude of lovely linguistic furnishings the erudition of extensive research lines the bookshelves uirky incidental knowledge is apparent in the uaint knickknacks strewn throughout and there are even uite a few saucy paintings on the walls And all this is set off by a veritable Aubusson carpet of lucid and witty prose But right in the middle of that carpet sits an enormous turd of that which is not language The odd thing is that Pinker put it there He could have written about the uaint vagaries of mostly English language semantics and its implicit politics and left it at that But by insisting on this strange thing he calls reality a deus ex machina of absolute rationality he leaves a strange smell around his entire enterprise I wish I could remember the names of the AI engineers I’d send them a copy asking them where they think Pinker’s arrow should pointI am also reminded of an important Yiddish saying which might have originated with Isaac Breshevis Singer but I can’t be sure It sums up the politics of reality nicely and shows where the arrow really points ‘If one person calls you a horse ignore him If two people call you a horse look in the mirror If three people call you a horse YOU'RE A HORSE’