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

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Penguin, 2007 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 499 pages
32 Reviews
New York Timesbestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence 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 nature. The result is a fascinating look at how our words 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 say about our relations to our children and to society.

With his signature wit and style, Pinker takes on scientific questions like whether language affects thought, as well 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 Thoughtis a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of readers of everything from The Selfish Geneand Blinkto Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
  

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

User Review  - Sarah Clement - Goodreads

If I were rating this book based on the first 4 chapters, it would get two stars. The rest of the book deserves 4 stars, so I'm meeting in the middle. The first four chapters were, from my perspective ... Read full review

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

User Review  - dini - Goodreads

everyone else has written smart reviews so I will just say three things: 1) I found 8 typos and this made me more gleeful than I have any right to be 2) I enjoyed the entire book, but the chapters ... Read full review

Contents

Words and Worlds
1
Down the Rabbit Hole
25
Fifty Thousand Innate Concepts
89
Cleaving the Air
153
The Metaphor Metaphor
235
The Seven Words You Cant Say on Television
323
Notes
441
References
459
Index
483
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Steven Pinker is one of the world's leading authorities on language and the mind. His popular and highly praised books include Words and Rules, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching and scientific research, Pinker is Peter de Florez professor of psychology in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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