Language and the Mind

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On September 9, 2008 at the Central Library, Steven Pinker discussed his book The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. Check out other books by this two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize or a few books that explore the philosophy of language.

Books by Steven Pinker | Philosophy of Language

Books by Steven Pinker

book jacket

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
By Steven Pinker
Bestselling author Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best: language and human nature. The result is a fascinating look at how words explain human nature.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
By Steven Pinker
Widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading experts on language and the workings of the mind, Pulitzer Prize finalist Pinker has undertaken an ambitious and controversial work – a reexamination of the concept of human nature.

Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language
By Steven Pinker
One of the most visible intellectuals in the new field of cognitive science explains the mysteries of language and mind in an entirely new way, and explores the use of regular and irregular verbs with the help of jokes, cartoons, song lyrics, and more. This book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award.

How the Mind Works
By Steven Pinker
This fascinating, provocative book explores the mysteries of human thought and behavior, using "reverse engineering" – determining what natural selection designed the mind to accomplish in a hunting-and-gathering environment – to explain how the mind stores and uses information.

The Language Instinct
By Steven Pinker
This classic study of the development of the human language explains how language works, how it is learned, how it has evolved, and argues that language is a biological function.

Philosophy of Language

book jacket

The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention
By Dr. Guy Deutscher
Drawing on recent discoveries in modern linguistics, the author exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication, giving fresh insight into how language emerges, evolves, and decays.

Language and Politics
By Noam Chomsky
This book is a comprehensive introduction to the whole range of Noam Chomsky's work – his writings as a linguist, a philosopher, and a critic of contemporary politics. It provides an accessible and coherent account of Chomsky's highly influential work on natural languages, the human mind and the role of intellectuals in the world today.

I See a Voice: Deafness, Language, and the Senses--A Philosophical History
By Jonathan Rée
In this historical narrative, Jonathan Ree tells the story of the deaf, from the sixteenth century to the present. Ree explores the great debates about deafness and its "cure" between those who believed the deaf should be made to speak and those who advocated non-oral communication. He traces the botched attempts to make language visible through such methods as picture-writing, manual spellings, and vocal photography. And he charts the progress and final recognition of sign systems as natural languages in their own right.

Serendipities: Language and Lunacy
By Umberto Eco
Unlocking the riddles of history, Eco explores the "linguistics of the lunatic," stories told by scholars, scientists, poets, fanatics, and ordinary people in order to make sense of the world. The bewildering anecdotes and scholarly rigor entertain readers with a passion for the curious history of languages.

Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
By Maryanne Wolf
Interweaving her vast knowledge of neurology, sociology, psychology, and philosophy with fascinating down-to-earth examples and lively personal anecdotes, developmental psychologist, neuroscientist, and dyslexia expert Wolf probes the question "How do we learn to read and write?"

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.

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