Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Coming Soon: Steven Pinker!

By Dr. Meagan Rodgers
USAO Assistant Professor of English
Writing Center Director

I'm looking forward to my first Emerson Weir Symposium-- Steven Pinker will be headlining. His talk ("The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature") sounds like it will pick up on some of the themes he talked about in his fascinating TED presentation. We watched this video in my History of Composition class this term. I've been encouraging the students to consider what it means to "compose" (broadly defined), and Pinker's work fits right in. I'm very interested in learning more about the relationship between language and thought-- to what extent do words shape thought? To what extent do thoughts dictate words? All of this comes into play when writing, communicating, and otherwise "composing."

The other panelists also look interesting-- they'll be inviting us to consider the mind in terms of poetry, philosophy, and data mining/knowledge management.

Dr. Haj Ross is a linguistics professor from UNT. Dr. Justin Fisher is a philosopher at SMU. Dr. Amy McGovern is on the faculty of the School of Computer Science at OU.

The symposium happens on Thursday, April 8th. The panel is from 2-4; Pinker will speak at 7:30pm.

I feel smarter already!

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