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2010s[edit | edit source]

2010 Harris[edit | edit source]

  • Harris, Sam (2010). The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. Free Press. (Oct. 5, 2010) ISBN 978-1-4391-7121-9 [^]

2010 Reagle[edit | edit source]

A hazard in thinking about new phenomena -- such as the Web, wiki, or Wikipedia -- is to aggrandize novelty at the expense of the past. To minimize this inclination I remind myself of the proverb "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Therefore, I begin in chapter 2 with an argument that Wikipedia is an heir to a twentieth-century vision of universal access and goodwill; an idea advocated by H. G. Wells and Paul Otlet almost a century ago. This vision is inspired by technological innovation -- microfilm and index cards then, digital networks today -- and driven by the encyclopedic impulse to capture and index everything known. In some ways my argument is an extension of that made by historian Boyd Rayward who notes similarities between Paul Otlet's information "Repertory" and Project Xanadu, an early hypertext system.[1] My effort entails not only showing similarities in the aspirations and technical features of these older vision and Wikipedia, but also recovering and placing a number of Wikipedia's predecessors (e.g., Project Guttenberg, Interpedia, Nupedia) within this history.

From This Book, in Short (p. 13)

2011 Corballis[edit | edit source]

  • Corballis, Michael C. (2011). The Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization. Princeton University Press. [^]

Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. -- George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1946)

In his novel Nineteen Eighty-four, Orwell painted a grim picture of a future in which the ultimate technology for thought control was the language Newspeak, which could render impossible all modes of thought other than those required by Ingsoc (English Socialism). We have struggled past 1984, but political life, at least, is still replete with euphemisms designed to make us think differently. [...] An extreme movement known as General Semantics was established in 1933 by Count Alfred Korzybski, an engineer, and popularized in best-sellers such as Stuart Chase's Tyranny of Words, and Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa's Language in Thought and Action. [...] According to General Semantics, human folly is created by semantic damage brought about by the structure of language.

The relation between language and thought is one of the most contentious issues in the history of philosophy. As we saw [elsewhere], Chomsky's concept of I-language -- the common language underlying E-language -- is essentially the language of thought. This is encapsulated also in the so-called language of thought hypothesis proposed by the philosopher Jerry Fodor, who argued that virtually all of the concepts underlying words are innate.[2] Steven Pinker refers to this as the theory that "we are born with some 50,000 concepts," based on the number of words in the typical English speaker's vocabulary.[3] Of course the actual words we use will depend on the linguistic environment a person is exposed to, but it is as though we have been already supplied with all the meanings we shall ever want, and all we need do is discover the verbal labels. [...]

The idea of a strong connection between language and thought implies that nonhuman animals are incapable of thinking as we humans do, an idea defended by the psychologist Clive Wynn in his 2004 book Do Animals Think? [...]

From Language and Mind (pp. 151-152)

Notes[edit | edit source]

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