Wednesday, December 19, 2007
A Mea Culpa - Pinker and his critics
I think in general that Steven Pinker goes way overboard on the nativist angle, and so recently approvingly passed on this Churchland review in the Nov. 1 issue of Nature critical of Pinker's new book, "The Language of Thought." - I hadn't actually read the book. These retorts by Marc Hauser and Pinker himself in the Dec. 6 issue make me realize that I should have. I have zapped my original post, and I'm now going to read the book......(one thing about doing a blog is that you read fewer good long books). I admit to a residual grumpyness about Pinker (a brilliant man) from his visit to Wisconsin a number of years ago as a featured speaker. He was dragged through the usual torture of serial 30 minute interviews with local "prominent persons" (I was the Zoology Chair at that time), and during our conversation I found him to be quite remote. At his talk he read from a typescript - word for word - a lecture that I had already heard twice before.