Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
2008 The Boundaries of Babel: The Brain and the Enigma of Impossible Languages (Current Studies in Linguistics) by Andrea Moro (Author), Noam Chomsky (Foreword) (Hardcover - Jun 30, 2008) Buy new:
"In this engaging, informative, and provocative book, a leading theoretical linguist shows why so many of us are so excited about the 'biolinguistic revolution.' Neuroscientists can discover some of the central ideas of current Chomskian linguistics; linguists can learn some of the core concepts of neuroscience; and anyone interested can see how the two fields are beginning to come together."
—Howard B. Lasnik, Department of Linguistics,
"Andrea Moro has gained a unique position in formulating and implementing constructive approaches to … difficult and demanding tasks. He is able to address them with a deep understanding of modern linguistics, a field to which he has made a major contribution of his own, and mastery of the relevant technology and its potential. His new book is a lucid introduction to these exciting areas, superbly informed and imaginatively presented, with intriguing implications well beyond biolinguistics.... A rare achievement...."
—Noam Chomsky, from the foreword
In The Boundaries of Babel, Andrea Moro tells the story of an encounter between two cultures: contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences. The study of language within a biological context has been ongoing for more than fifty years. The development of neuroimaging technology offers new opportunities to enrich the "biolinguistic perspective" and extend it beyond an abstract framework for inquiry. As a leading theoretical linguist in the generative tradition and also a cognitive scientist schooled in the new imaging technology, Moro is uniquely equipped to explore this.
Moro examines what he calls the "hidden" revolution in contemporary science: the discovery that the number of possible grammars is not infinite and that their number is biologically limited. This radical but little-discussed change in the way we look at language, he claims, will require us to rethink not just the fundamentals of linguistics and neurosciences but also our view of the human mind. Moro searches for neurobiological correlates of "the boundaries of
About the Author
Andrea Moro is Professor of General Linguistics at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in
Susan Blackmore is dedicated to understanding the scientific nature of consciousness. Her latest work centers on the existence of memes -- little bits of knowledge, lore, habit that seem to spread themselves using human brains as mere carriers. She's exploring the existence of a new class of meme, spread by human technology. It's temporarily named the "teme."
She has written about memes, consciousness, and near-death experiences; has appeared on the British Big Brother to discuss the psychology of the participants; and writes for the Guardian
Susan Blackmore: Memeticist