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A User's Guide to Thought and Meaning

Ray Jackendoff

April 2015

ISBN: 9780198736455

288 pages
Paperback
234x156mm

In Stock

Price: £16.49

A profoundly arresting integration of the faculties of the mind - of how we think, speak, and see the world. Written with an informality that belies the originality of its insights and the radical nature of its conclusions, this is the author's most important book since his groundbreaking Foundations of Language in 2002.

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Description

A profoundly arresting integration of the faculties of the mind - of how we think, speak, and see the world. Written with an informality that belies the originality of its insights and the radical nature of its conclusions, this is the author's most important book since his groundbreaking Foundations of Language in 2002.

  • Outlines a radical new theory of the nature of thought and the workings of the mind
  • Presents new conceptions of meaning and perception
  • Informally and accessibly written by one of the world's leading linguists and cognitive scientists

About the Author(s)

Ray Jackendoff, Professor of Philosophy, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University

Ray Jackendoff is Seth Merrin Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. His books include Semantics and Cognition (MIT 1983), Consciousness and the Computational Mind (MIT 1987), The Architecture of the Language Faculty (MIT 1997), Foundations of Language (OUP 2002), Simpler Syntax (with Peter Culicover, OUP 2005), Language, Consciousness, Culture: Essays on Mental Structure (MIT 2007), and Meaning and the Lexicon: The Parallel Architecture, 1975-2010 (OUP, 2010). He is the 2014 recipient of the David E. Rumelhart Prize, the premier award in the field of cognitive science.

Table of Contents

    1:Why do we need a User's Guide to thought and meaning?
    Part One: Language, Words, and Meaning
    2:What's a language?
    3:Perspectives on English
    4:Perspectives on sunsets, tigers, and puddles
    5:What's a word?
    6:What counts as the same word?
    7:Some uses of mean and meaning
    8:"Objective" and "subjective" meaning
    9:What do meanings have to be able to do?
    10:Meanings can't be visual images
    11:Word meanings aren't cut and dried
    12:Not all the meaning is in the words
    13:Meanings, concepts, and thoughts
    14:Does your language determine your thought?
    Part Two: Consciousness and Perception
    15:What's it like to be thinking?
    16:Some phenomena that test the Unconscious Meaning Hypothesis
    17:Conscious and unconscious
    18:What does "What is consciousness?" mean?
    19:Three cognitive correlates of conscious thought
    20:Some prestigious theories of consciousness
    21:What's it like to see things?
    22:Two components of thought and meaning
    23:See something as a fork
    24:Other modalities of spatial perception
    25:How do we see the world as "out there"?
    26:Other "feels" in experience
    Part Three: Reference, Truth, and Thought
    27:How do we use language to talk about the world?
    28:Mismatching reference in conversation
    29:What kinds of things can we refer to? (Cognitive metaphysics, Lesson 1)
    30:Referential files for pictures and thoughts
    31:What's truth?
    32:Problems for an ordinary perspective on truth
    33:What's it like to judge a sentence true?
    34:Noticing something's wrong
    35:What's it like to be thinking rationally?
    36:How much rational thinking do we actually do?
    37:How rational thinking helps
    38:Chamber music
    39:Rational thinking as a craft
    40:Some pitfalls of apparently rational thinking
    Part IV: A Larger View
    41:Some speculation on science and the arts
    42:Ordinary and cognitive perspectives on morality
    43:Ordinary and cognitive perspectives on religion
    44:Learning to live with multiple perspectives
    Index

Reviews

Ray Jackendoff is a monumental scholar in linguistics who, more than any scholar alive today, has shown how language can serve as a window into human nature. Combining theoretical depth with a love of revealing detail, Jackendoff illuminates human reason and consciousness in startling and insightful ways. - Steven Pinker

Ray Jackendoff has an uncanny ability to ask interesting and pressing questions. Anyone interested in language and thought should ask such questions. The asking itself is the primary intellectual act - that, and of course the ordering of the asking, which is by no means obvious and constantly problematical, as he well knows and kindly informs the reader. As for providing answers, pivotal questions may have answers, but they are complex and never simple and thus require extremely careful expression. In his effort to treat his readers in a way that is warm and friendly, he sometimes employs phrases ("kind of," "sort of," "well, like," and other things relaxed speakers tend to say) which I do not find essential, but which for others will surely have the effect of making the issues clear and comprehensible. - Peter Bloom, Professor of Humanities, Smith College

Clear and concise. The pace is perfect: very short chapters making for a very enjoyable read ... As an introduction to a cognitivist perspective on linguistic meaning and thought, this is an extremely helpful book in both tone and content. - Tadeusz Zawidzki, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews