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Monday, November 15, 2004

Speaking of stories, Denis Dutton's invaluable Arts & Letters Daily today featured an exciting review by Denis Dutton of Joseph Carroll's Literary Darwinism: Evolution, Human Nature, and Literature which appeared in Philosophy and Literature, edited by Garry Hagberg and … Denis Dutton. He's good enough to get away with that, and I certainly ain't complaining, even if Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, is more on the Pinker-lit-as-means-"to get at the pleasure circuits of the brain and deliver little jolts of enjoyment without the inconvenience of wringing bona fide fitness increments from the harsh world" side than the Carroll-lit-as-means-"by which people learn to understand their own emotions and the feelings of others" side. Dutton convincingly argues both views of fiction are true of any particular work to varying degrees, and in both narrative is a fundamental aspect of human nature.

And speaking of Pinker, or rather not speaking of Pinker or Rosch or Lakoff or Turner or Sweetser or Fauconnier or Johnson and barely mentioning Chomsky, Ron Silliman exposes the intellectual backwardness and bankruptcy of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E theory by claiming Saussure's work as "the origin of contemporary linguistics." The rest of the post is pretty silly, too.


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