It's this moral, and therefore, personal element that Pinker's account doesn't capture, and hence in that sense I think it can be called a fiction. He treats us as homo economicus when really we are homo moralis. Language is a window into human nature, as the subtitle of his book has it, only he doesn't really provide a look through that window. After all the moral and personal matters to us as human beings: what is an analysis of language that doesn't capture the meaning that makes most immediate sense to the users of that language? In general, this is the problem of the bio-economic discourses inherent in game theory, evolutionary psychology and the like, of which Pinker is such an adept.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Only make-believe ...
... Steven Pinker's fictions of thought.