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

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Allen Lane, 2007 - Language and culture - 499 pages
17 Reviews
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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  - joshuabliesath - LibraryThing

Not nearly as good as the Blank Slate or How the Mind Works. If you are very interested in linguistics and what it reveals about how we think, then have a try at this one. I'm about half way through and some chapters are slow, but the content is very deep and original. Read full review

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

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About the author (2007)

Steven Arthur Pinker was born on September 18, 1954 in Canada. He is an experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist, and author. He is a psychology professor at Harvard University. He is the author of several non-fiction books including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, Words and Rules, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, and The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award in 1984 and Boyd McCandless Award in 1986 from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award in 1993 from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize in 2004 from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize in 2010 from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. In 2006, he received the American Humanist Association's Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.

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