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

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Penguin Books Limited, Jun 5, 2008 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 512 pages
17 Reviews
The Stuff of Thought is an exhilarating work of non-fiction. Surprising, thought-provoking and incredibly enjoyable, there is no other book like it - Steven Pinker will revolutionise the way you think about language. He analyses what words actually mean and how we use them, and he reveals what this can tell us about ourselves. He shows how we use space and motion as metaphors for more abstract ideas, and uncovers the deeper structures of human thought that have been shaped by evolutionary history. He also explores the emotional impact of language, from names to swear words, and shows us the full power that it can have over us. And, with this book, he also shows just how stimulating and entertaining language can be.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jimocracy - LibraryThing

This book really made me think about thought and about human language. I especially enjoyed the chapter on profanity. Admittedly, some parts of the book were dry for my tastes but in a lot of places, the author made some very good analyses and seemed to show some real insight. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JenneB - LibraryThing

My favorite chapter was "Games People Play" which is all about how people save face by asking for things in indirect ways. "If you know that I've asked you for sex and have been turned down, and I ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the 'New York Times', 'Time' and 'Slate', and is the author of six books, including 'The Language Instinct', 'How the Mind Works' and 'The Blank Slate'.

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