Language, Cognition, and Human Nature

Language, Cognition, and Human Nature

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Language, Cognition, and Human Nature collects together for the first time much of Steven Pinker's most influential scholarly work on language and cognition. Pinker's seminal research explores the workings of language and its connections to cognition, perception, social relationships, child development, human evolution, and theories of human nature.

This eclectic collection spans Pinker's thirty-year career, exploring his favorite themes in greater depth and scientific detail. It includes thirteen of Pinker's classic articles, ranging over topics such as language development in children, mental imagery, the recognition of shapes, the computational architecture of the mind, the meaning and uses of verbs, the evolution of language and cognition, the nature-nurture debate, and the logic of innuendo and euphemism. Each outlines a major theory
or takes up an argument with another prominent scholar, such as Stephen Jay Gould, Noam Chomsky, or Richard Dawkins. Featuring a new introduction by Pinker that discusses his books and scholarly work, this collection reflects essential contributions to cognitive science by one of our leading thinkers
and public intellectuals.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 165 x 234 x 26mm | 526g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 23 b&w illustrations
  • 0190259280
  • 9780190259280
  • 364,736

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Formal models of language learning ; 2. A computational theory of the mental imagery medium ; 3. Rules and connections in human language ; 4. When does human object recognition use a viewer-centered reference frame? ; 5. Natural language and natural selection ; 6. The acquisition of argument structure ; 7. The nature of human concepts: evidence from an unusual source ; 8. Why nature and nurture won't go away ; 9. The faculty of language: What's special about it? ; 10. So how does the mind work? ; 11. Deep commonalities between life and mind ; 12. Rationales for indirect speech: The theory of the strategic speaker ; 13. The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language ; Author Biography
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Review quote

Pinker is a rarity among academic psychologists not only as a stylish writer, but also as a
profound thinker with an ability to grasp the major issues of human nature and human
evolution. Language, Cognition, and Human Nature: Selected Articles is as good an
introduction as any into the range and depth of his thinking and will have general appeal
beyond an academic readership." -Michael Corballis, PsycCRITIQUES With wit and acumen, Pinker introduces us to some of his most important scientific contributions. These glimpses into the development of these foundational articles and of course the articles themselves will be of great interest to academics and to his many fans beyond the walls of academia." * David C. Geary, author of Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Difference
* Pinker is an intellectual giant in the field, one of the most important psychologists and thinkers in our day. This compilation is outstanding, a fitting crown on his career so far, although I suspect he has much more to contribute. Even though I'd read a handful of these papers before, there were some that I was unaware of that are gems. Even those I'd read before, I re-read, and got even more on the second reading." * David Buss, author of Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind
* Steven Pinker is among the best synthesizers in the cognitive sciences. He is unique in the breadth of his interests and the depth of his knowledge. To top it off, his elegant and witty writings speak equally to specialists and to literate individuals everywhere." * Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University
* Pinker is a star, and the world of science is lucky to have him." * Richard Dawkins, The Times Literary Supplement, 2002
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About Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time and The New Republic, and is the author of eight books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, Words and Rules, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, and, most recently, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has
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Rating details

68 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 28% (19)
4 41% (28)
3 21% (14)
2 6% (4)
1 4% (3)
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