Who Ordered the Code Read?
Posted by cadsmith on November 10, 2007
Reviewed The Stuff of Thought, Pinker, 2007. This perceptive book is a Pinkerian parade of poems, paintings and percussion. The author shows a “word’s eye view” of human nature leading the way out of the cave through powerful conceptual combinations. The nonordinary conversations overhead in public or at the office are explained as well as some things that Kant otherwise be grudged. Words command the whole human mind, breach most barriers, and teach things that one might not have originally desired to learn. This includes how things and people are named, and the emotions behind swearing. The master of metaphor never arrived. Humans have various models of reality in their heads and that they project to others. The issues around free speech versus audience sensibilities are commented on. Video presentations by the author about the publication also exist on the web.
This book may be relevant for its discussion of how names are picked, such as bootup, and the design or documentation of interactions between things including mind-machine interfaces. e.g. “…the human mind and commercial digital computers are two examples of the category ‘computational system’” (p259).