Justin's Reviews > The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker
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's review
Nov 18, 2007

really liked it
Read in June, 2008

Great expose of how the mind can be exposed through the semantics and structure of language.

I was bogged down my the technical aspects of verbs and grammar towards the beginning of the book but the second half really hit its stride as Pinker explains metaphors, the need for taboos, expletives and indirect language.

A worthwile read for those wishing to learn more about humanity and the illogical quirks that make us interesting.

Most importantly, the purpose of education is revealed. Not to convey concepts in alien and unrecognizable form but to package concepts in a way that inspires original thought while relating ideas to past experience. Ideally we can educate people to compensate for the fallacies induced by normal brain operation. A noble and explicit goal for the teaching structure of society.

Perhaps we are trapped in the cave that is the mind but every so often we have a book that shines some light in that cave. The Stuff of Thought is one of those books.
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