Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | May 21, 2009

Weekly Read-Along—May 22, 2009: Thought and Language

Material for the Stout-Hearted Reader to Ruminate

♦ Essays, Lectures & Speeches ♦

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Samuel Butler (1835–1902) was an English writer whose work often dealt with religious orthodoxy, evolutionary thought, or literary criticism.  He wrote the utopian satire Erewhon (an acronym of the word ‘nowhere’), which Aldous Huxley acknowledged had influenced his writing of Brave New World.   

 

This week’s text is Butler’s essay “Thought and Language” from lectures he delivered in 1890 and 1894. The essay investigates the relationship between thought and language and how the two in humans compare to the same in lower animals.  However, Butler’s use of anthropomorphism weakens his argument.   

 

A modern view of this topic can be found in the book, The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved from Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans (2004) by Stanley I. Greenspan and Stuart G. Shanker.

 

Join others from around the world in this weekly reading event!  You can find Butler’s text at these websites: 

 

http://www.online-literature.com/samuel-butler/essays/8/

http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/15269/

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