Pinker on Language and Thought (Part II)

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To Notice and to Learn

In a Part I of this post, I summarized what I thought were the most interesting points in Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct.  Now, I’d like to continue on to his, in some ways, more impressive book, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature (link on Amazon.com).  Since they are both related to language, how might I characterize the relationship between these two books?  Here’s what I would say:  The Language Instinct explores a tool that we all use and have some appreciation for, language, and shows how exquisite and breathtakingly-powerful it is, as if we were in the 1920’s, driving around in Model T Fords, only to find that underneath the exterior we were all driving 1990’s Lamborghinis.  The Stuff of Thought examines the structure and features of these Lamborghinis and speculates on what they reveal about the drivers/creaters of them…

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