See Also: Book Notes, Conceptual Spaces Cheat Sheet, Swarm Intelligence, Blank Slate, Clock of the Long Now, Info Viz & Perception, Consciousness: a user's guide, On Intelligence, The Quest for Consciousness, The Space Between Our Ears, The Stuff of Thought Neuroscience of Human Relationships.

The Stuff of Thought

by Steven Pinker, 2007, New York: Viking Press

"There is a theory of time and space embedded in the words we use. theory of matter..causality..sex..initmacy..." Preface.

Being a huge Pinker fan, it is with great pleasure that I declare this the worst Pinker book I have ever read. I've read The Blank Slate, which I think every Citizen of the World should read ASAP. I've also read How the Mind works, which was truly wonderful and overwhelming to try to make notes of. Actually, what is the purpose of these notes? If you want to get a concise summary of this book, read the 4 pages starting on page 428 with: "Humans construct an understanding of the world that is very different than the analogue flow of sensations the world presents to them." and ending with "As a result, they engage in hypocrisy and taboo, designed to preserve the mutual knowledge that maintains a relationship even as they transact business inconsistent with it."

This is a great book, but with a title, the STUFF of thought, I mean really, couldn'y you put a little more effort into it? Actually, no. Stuff is a powerful word that can be applied to so much stuff. My real complaint is that I got kind of bored in the middle chapter, cleaving the air, and perhaps there were too many digressions about the name Steve - and none about Jan! Not as gripping and tight as the other two. For one thing, this is not a methodical exposition. For example, the basic units given as: events, states, things, substances, places and goals

What is the stuff of thought?

Common to unrelated languages and almost all languages are expressions of limits of orthogonality.

The chapter on Metaphor is especially rich. It starts with the opening of the Declaration of Independence and disects the metaphors. <> Even the work independent is a metaphor. Etymologically, it literally means "not hanging from"

The Chapters cover: metaphors, swearing, names and social language constructs.

A great exposition on "indirect speech" Why doesn't Taco spell check?

http://www.jch.com/jch/pinkersot.html 2008.06.28 jch