October 22, 2018

Leonard Bloomfield is a 20th century American linguist and professor of Germanic languages.


Leonard Bloomfield Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Leonard Bloomfield
  • Date of Birth: April 1, 1887
  • Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Date of Death: April 18, 1949
  • Place of Death: New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  • Cause of Death: Illness caused by a stroke
  • Zodiac Sign: Aries
  • Nationality: American
  • Ethnicity: Jewish-Germanic
  • Father: Sigmund Bloomfield
  • Mother: Carola Buber Bloomfield
  • Spouse: Alice Sayers
  • Alma Mater: Harvard College, University of Wisconsin, University of Chicago, University of Leipzig, and University of Göttingen
  • Leonard Bloomfield is known for: scientific systemization of linguistic study and presentation of rigorous model for linguistic description.
  • Leonard Bloomfield is criticized for: his dismissal of serious study of meaning in linguistics.
  • Leonard Bloomfield was influenced by: Eduard Prokosch, August Leskien, Karl Brugmann, Hermann Oldenberg, and John B. Watson
  • Leonard Bloomfield influenced: Charles Hockett, and Zellig Harris

Quotes

“The totality of utterances that can be made in a speech community is the language of that speech community.” ― Leonard Bloomfield, An introduction to the study of language

Major Works

  • Introduction to the Study of Language (1914)
  • Tagalog Texts with Gramatical Analysis (1917)
  • Menomini Texts (1928)
  • Sacred stories of the Sweet Grass Cree (1930)
  • Language (1933)
  • The Stressed Vowels of American English (1935)
  • Linguistic Aspects of Science (1939)

Did You Know?

  • Bloomfield was born in a Jewish-Germanic family.
  • When he was nine his family moved to the village of Elk-hart Lake, Wisconsin.
  • In Wisconsin his father was the proprietor of a hotel.
  • His uncle, Maurice Bloomfield, was professor of comparative philology and Sanskrit at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
  • Bloomfield studied at local school in the village of Elk-hart Lake, where he failed to get promotion to the next grade due to opposing the existing teaching method.
  • After passing high-school entrance examination with the help of his mother’s tuition he returned to Chicago to attend the North Division School for his secondary studies.
  • In 1903 he attended Harvard College and graduated three years later.
  • He completed his post-graduate studies at University of Wisconsin (1906-1908) and University of Chicago (1908-1909) and obtained the doctorate degree in 1909.
  • At University of Wisconsin he met Eduard Prokosch who inspired him to be a linguist.
  • In 1909 he started as Assistant professor of German at University of Cincinnati.
  • In 1910, he joined as an associate professor of German and comparative philology at University of Illinois.
  • In 1921 Bloomfield worked as Professor at Ohio State University.
  • In 1927 Bloomfield moved to University of Chicago, where he worked as a professor of German Philology till 1940.
  • He became president of the LSA in 1935.
  • In 1940 he became Edward Sapir’s successor at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, as the Sterling Professor of Linguistics.
  • In 1914 he published his first book entitled Introduction to the Study of Language which was published by the Publisher Henry Holt in New York.
  • His 1933 book Language paved the way for creating the field of linguistics as a branch of science.
  • Bloomfield was one of the main figures behind the American structural approach to linguistics.
  • Bloomfield thought of language in strict scientific terms rather than in any philosophical way.
  • Although Bloomfield’s earlier works reflects his interest in the psychological theories of Wilhelm Wundt, his later philosophical position was less dogmatic, and he showed much interest in behaviourism as posited by A.P. Weiss.
  • Many critics consider him as anti-mentalist. 
  • The influence of Bloomfieldian structural linguistics declined in the late 1950s and 1960s after development of generative grammar by Noam Chomsky.
  • Much of his works were published posthumously.
  • Leonard Bloomfield died at the age of 62, after suffering nearly three years of a paralyzing stroke.

Media Gallery

Leonard Bloomfield

Leonard Bloomfield


October 10, 2018

Eric Lenneberg (1921 –1975) was a 20th century linguist, neurologist, and educator.

Eric Lenneberg Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Eric Heinz Lenneberg
  • Date of Birth: September 19, 1921
  • Place of Birth: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
  • Date of Death: May 31, 1975
  • Place of Death: White Plains, Westchester, New York, USA
  • Cause of Death: Unknown
  • Interred at: Unknown
  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo
  • Nationality: NA
  • Ethnicity: Jewish
  • Father: NA
  • Mother: NA
  • Siblings:  Helmut Lenneberg
  • Spouse(s):
  1. Edith Maria Lenneberg née Salomon (1923-2005)
  2. Elizabeth Lenneberg née Smith(1933–2007)
  • Children:
  1. Daughter-  Miriam Lenneberg
  2. Son-  Roger Lenneberg
  • Alma Mater: University of Chicago, Harvard University
  • Eric Lenneberg is known for: pioneering the biological approach to the study of human language.
  • Eric Lenneberg is criticized for: not being able to put forward substantial proof against his claim regarding start of lateralization.
  • Eric Lenneberg was influenced by: NA
  • Eric Lenneberg influenced: Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker
  • Awards: Guggenheim Fellowship for Social Sciences, US & Canada

Quotes

“The central nervous system and other tissues in the body develop simultaneously and influence one another continuously during morphogenesis.”  ― Eric Lenneberg, Biological Foundations of Language (1967) p. 28
“Animals develop as an integrated whole including structure, function and behavioral capacities.” ― Eric Lenneberg, Biological Foundations of Language (1967) p. 240
“All animals have the ability to group together stimulus configurations which may be physically totally different from each other; however, the animal makes an identical response to certain ones and thus treats them as if they were similar in some respect; we cannot escape the conclusion that for the animal, some similarity exists among such stimuli.” ― Eric Lenneberg, Biological Foundations of Language (1967) p. 298

Major Works

  • The language of experience (1956)
  • New directions in the study of language (1964)
  • Biological Foundations of Language (1967)

Did You Know?

  • At the age of twelve Eric Lenneberg left Germany with his parents to live in Brazil.
  • He came to the United States in 1945 and served in the Army for one year.
  • Lenneberg married twice.
  • He pioneered the notion that human capacity for language could be explained only on the basis of the biological properties of the brain and vocal tract.
  • He received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Chicago.
  • Lenneberg obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard University in psychology and linguistics in 1956.
  • He attended Harvard Medical School to study neuroscience.
  • After earning his Ph.D. he held faculty posts at Harvard University.
  • From 1964-1965 Lenneberg was a visiting professor of psychology at the University of Zurich.
  • From 1967–1968 he was a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.
  • In the fall of 1968 became professor of psychology and neurobiology at Cornell University and Medical School.
  • He was a visiting professor at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil.
  • He was an invited lecturer at the Academia Nacional de Neurologia do Brasil.
  • He conducted research at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston for locating children with extraordinary language disabilities or living in unusual circumstances to elaborate his theory of language development.
  • With his wife, Elizabeth, he edited a book for UNESCO entitled Foundations of Language Development: A Multidisciplinary Approach.
  • His experiments and views were encapsulated in his 1967 book, Biological Foundations of Language.
  • His Biological Foundations of Language reflected his interest and expertise in both language and psychobiology.
  • His ideas were subsequently adopted by Noam Chomsky and popularized by Steven Pinker in his book, The Language Instinct.
  • Lenneberg died prematurely at the age of 53.
  • Before his demise Lenneberg had been working at Cornell University as the professor of psychology and neurobiology.
  • He died in White Plains, where he had been working on a, clinical research project in neuropsychology at the WestChester Division of New York hospital‐Cornell Medical Center.

Media Gallery

Eric Lenneberg

Eric Lenneberg

Eric Lenneberg


October 6, 2018

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was a 20th century Swiss biologist, philosopher, psychologist, and educator.


Jean Piaget Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Jean William Piaget
  • AKA: Jean William Fritz Piaget
  • Date of Birth: August 9, 1896
  • Place of Birth: Neuchatel, Neuchâtel, Canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Date of Death: September 16, 1980
  • Place of Death: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Cause of Death: Unknown
  • Interred at: Cimetière des Rois (Cemetery of Kings)
  • Zodiac Sign: Leo
  • Nationality: Swiss
  • Father: Arthur Piaget
  • Mother: Rebecca Jackson
  • Siblings: Madeleine Vautheir
  • Spouse: Valentine Piaget née Châtenay
  • Children:
  1. Daughter-Jacqueline Piaget
  2. Daughter - Lucienne Piaget
  3. Son- Laurent Piaget
  • Alma Mater: University of Neuchâtel (1918), University of Zurich, University of Geneva
  • Jean Piaget is known for: Constructivism, Genevan School, genetic epistemology, theory of cognitive development, object permanence, and egocentrism.
  • Jean Piaget is criticized for: not considering sociocultural or geographical differences among children.
  • Jean Piaget was influenced by: Immanuel Kant, Henri Bergson, Pierre Janet, Alfred Binet, Théodore Simon, Sabina Spielrein, and James Mark Baldwin.
  • Jean Piaget influenced: Rabbi ShlomoWolbe, BärbelInhelder, Jerome Bruner, Kenneth Kaye, Lawrence Kohlberg, Robert Kegan, Howard Gardner, Thomas Kuhn, Seymour Papert, Lev Vygotsky, Jordan Peterson, and John Flavell.

Quotes

“I know some very intelligent philosophers, not at all dogmatic, who believe that “science” cannot introduce the concept of finality in the analysis and explanation of vital processes, but that “philosophy” equally cannot arrive at an adequate concept of organic life without introducing finality. It is not a question here of moral or other values, but rather of a concept peculiar to philosophical biology as opposed to biology. Indeed, one such philosopher concluded, drawing inspiration from Merleau-Ponty, that science can “never” give an adequate explanation of the concept of the “whole structure” of the organism.” ― Jean Piaget, Insights and Illusions of Philosophy

Major Works

  • The Language and Thought of the Child (1923)
  • The Child's Conception of the World (1926)
  • Child's Conception of Physical Causality (1927)
  • Judgment and Reasoning in the Child (1928)
  • The Moral Judgment of the Child (1932)
  • The Origins of Intelligence in Children (1936)
  • The construction of Reality in the Child (1937)
  • The Child's Conception of Number (1941)
  • Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood (1945)
  • The psychology of intelligence (1947)
  • Logic and Psychology (1953)
  • The Child's Conception of Space (1956)
  • Six psychological Studies (1964)
  • Insights and Illusions of Philosophy (1965)
  • Sociological Studies (1965)
  • The Psychology of the Child (1966)
  • Mental imagery in the child: a Study of the Development of Imaginal Representation (1966)
  • Biology and Knowledge: An Essay on the Relations Between Organic Regulations and Cognitive Processes (1967)
  • Memory and intelligence (1968)
  • Science of Education and the Psychology of the Child (1969)
  • The Child's Conception of Time (1969)
  • Genetic Epistemology (1970)
  • Psychology and Epistemology: Towards a Theory of Knowledge (1971)
  • OuVaL'education (1972)
  • Equilibration of Cognitive Structures: The Central Problem of Intellectual Development (1975)
  • The Essential Piaget (1977)
  • The Child and Reality: Problems of Genetic Psychology (1973)
  • To understand is to invent: The Future of Education (1973)
  • Success and Understanding (1974)
  • Understanding Causality (1974)
  • The Origin of the Idea of Chance in Children (1975)
  • Behaviour and Evolution (1976)
  • Language and Learning: The Debate Between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky (1979)
  • Adaptation and Intelligence: Organic Selection and Phenocopy (1980)
  • Psychogenesis and the History of Science (1982)

Did You Know?

  • He was the eldest son born to Arthur Piaget and Rebecca Jackson.
  • His father was a professor of medieval literature at the University of Neuchâtel.
  • Much of Piaget's childhood was influenced by his father, who was profoundly dedicated to his studies and work.
  • He made his first publication at the age of 10 and continued working until his death at the age of 84.
  • At the University of Neuchâtel, he finished natural science studies in 1916 and earned a doctoral degree for research on mollusks in 1918.
  • Piaget is famous for his learning theories based on different stages in the development of children's intelligence, which are sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational.
  • Piaget’s theories on child development are collectively called "genetic epistemology."
  • Piaget created the International Center for Genetic Epistemology in Geneva in 1955 and directed it until his death in 1980.
  • His work with children and focus on child development lead to many of the early education reform movements.
  • From 1925 to 1929 Piaget was professor of psychology, sociology, and the philosophy of science at the University of Neuchâtel.
  • Piaget made many impressive guest appearances at conferences concerning childhood development and learning.
  • He authored more than 50 books and hundreds of papers.
  • Piaget was the recipient of honorary degrees from Oxford and Harvard universities.
  • He is the recipient of many the prestigious accolades, such as Erasmus (1972) and Balzan (1978) prizes.
  • He died in Geneva and to be concurrent with his request he was buried with his family in an unmarked grave in the Cimetière des Rois.

Media Gallery

Photos
Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

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October 3, 2018

Stephen Krashen (b. 1941) is an American Linguist, educational researcher, political activist, and professor emeritus at the University of Southern California.


Stephen Krashen Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Stephen Krashen
  • Date of Birth: 1941
  • Placf Birth: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Nationality: American
  • Alma Mater: University of California, Los Angeles
  • Stephen Krashen is known for: work in establishing a general theory of second language acquisition, as the cofounder of the Natural Approach, and as the inventor of sheltered subject matter teaching.
  • Stephen Krashen is widely criticized because: his theories lack substantial empirical content and have limited explanatory power.
  • Krashen is influenced by: Professor Jim Cummins

Quotes

“Language is best taught when it is being used to transmit messages, not when it is explicitly taught for conscious learning.―  Stephen Krashen, The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom (1983)

Major Works

  • Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning (1981)
  • Language Two (1982)
  • Child-adult Differences in Second Language Acquisition (1982)
  • Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition (1982)
  • Language Two (1982)
  • The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom (1983)
  • Writing--research, theory, and applications (1984)
  • The input hypothesis (1985)
  • Inquiries & Insights: Second Language Teaching: Immersion & Bilingual Education, Literacy (1985)
  • Language Acquisition and Language Education (1989)
  • Fundamentals of language education (1992)
  • The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research( 1993)
  • Under Attack: The Case against Bilingual Education 1996)
  • Every Person a Reader: An Alternative to the California Task Force Report on Reading (1996)
  • The Case for Late Intervention: Once a Good Reader, Always a Good Reader (1996)
  • Sheltered English/ ESL Manual (1997)
  • Foreign language education the easy way (1997)
  • Three Arguments Against Whole Language & why They are Wrong (1999)
  • Condemned without a Trial: Bogus Arguments against Bilingual Education (1999)
  • Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use (2003)
  • Power of Reading: Insights from the Research 2nd Edition (2004)
  • Summer Reading: Program and Evidence (2008)
  • Free Voluntary Reading (2011)
  • Fourth Estate, Fall 2016: Developing Esol Language Proficiency (2016)
  • Comprehensible and Compelling: The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading (2017)

Did You Know?

  • Stephen Krashen received his doctorate degree from the University of California in the year 1972.
  • Krashen is chiefly noted for postulating a number of SLA theories such as the Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis, the Input Hypothesis, the Monitor Hypothesis, the Affective Filter Hypothesis, and the Natural Order Hypothesis.
  • Krashen based many of his ideas on the theories of Professor Jim Cummins of the University of Toronto.
  • He founded the Natural Approach (1983) in association with Terrell.
  • His Bilingual Education is widely used in ESL classrooms in California, USA.
  • Krashen's Bilingual Education earned him a lot of money.
  • Despite its influence across the country, the bilingual education is heavily criticized for its lack of scientific evidence and de-emphasis on English phonics, grammar, spelling, reading, or writing.
  • Before proposing bilingual education, Krashen was an advocate of "structured immersion" English-language training for children.
  • He spends hours on the Internet to respond numerous queries regarding his theories.
  • Krashen has authored numerous books and articles contributing to the fields of second language acquisition, bilingual education, and literacy.

Media

Photos
Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen
 
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October 1, 2018

Larry Selinker (1937) is an American linguist and the world’s most influential Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theorist.


Larry Selinker Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Larry Selinker
  • Date of Birth: September 19, 1937
  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo
  • Nationality: American
  • Spouse: Phyllis Selinker
  • Children: Mike Selinker
  • Alma Mater: Brandeis University, The American University, Georgetown University.
  • Larry Selinker is known for: his concept of interlanguage which helped to found the field of Second Language Acquisition.
  • Larry Selinker is criticized for: limited explanatory power of his interlanguage theory.
  • Larry Selinker was influenced by: Pit Corder.

Quotes

“[t]he process of learning a second language (L2) is characteristically non-linear and fragmentary, marked by a mixed landscape of rapid progression in certain areas but slow movement, incubation or even permanent stagnation in others. Such a process results in a linguistic system known as ‘interlanguage’.” ― Larry Selinker, “Interlanguage” (1972)

Major Works

  • “Language Transfer” (1969)
  • “Interlanguage” (1972)
  • Workbook in Second Language Acquisition (1984)
  • Rediscovering Interlanguage (1991)
  • Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course (1993)
  • The Current State of Interlanguage: Studies in Honor of William E. Rutherford (1995)
  • Second Language Learning Data Analysis : Teachers Manual (1998)

Did You Know?

  • Larry Selinker is chiefly noted for his concept of interlanguage theory, which paved the way for laying the foundation of modern research into SLA.
  • He proposed his interlanguage theory in his paper “Interlanguage” which appeared in the January 1972 issue of the journal International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching.
  • His paper, “Language Transfer” first appeared in a 1969 edition of General Linguistics.
  • His interlanguage theory is also known as compromise system, approximative system, idiosyncratic dialect, learner language, and transitional competence.
  • Although Selinker has been credited for postulating the interlanguage theory, in essence, he based it upon Pit Corder's previous work on the nature of language learners' errors.
  • Selinker’s interlanguage focuses on the linguistic and psychological aspects of SLA research.
  • Selinker earned his doctorate degree from Georgetown University in 1966.
  • He was the assistant professor of linguistics and the director of English for foreign students from 1966 to 1975 in the University of Washington.
  • Selinker held the position of director of the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute from 1977 to 1982.
  • At University of Michigan he designed a course entitled “The Good and Bad Language Learner” which was widely popular amongst undergraduate students.
  • He was also a Professor of Linguistics in the University of Michigan until his retirement in 1993.
  • After his retirement the Regents of the University of Michigan awarded Professor Selinker an emeritus title.
  • His son Mike Selinker is a well-known game designer and puzzle maker.
  • His wife, Phyllis Selinker is an attorney specializing in pro bono services.

Media Gallery

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Larry Selinker

Larry Selinker

Larry Selinker
 
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September 26, 2018

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857 –1913) was a Swiss linguist from the early 20th century who is deemed by many as the chief forerunner of the structural linguistics.


Ferdinand de Saussure Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Ferdinand Mongin de Saussure
  • Date of Birth: November 26, 1857
  • Place of Birth: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
  • Date of Death: February 22, 1913
  • Cause of Death: NA
  • Place of Death: Vufflens-le-Château, Vaud, Switzerland
  • Place of Burial: NA
  • Ethnicity:  NA
  • Nationality:  Swish
  • Father:  Henri Louis Frédéric de Saussure (1829-1905)
  • Mother: Louise Elisabeth de Pourtalès (1837-1906)
  • Siblings:
  1. Brother - Horace de Saussure (1859-1926)
  2. Sister -  Albertine Adèle de Saussure (1861-1940)
  3. Sister - Elisabeth Théodora de Saussure (1863-1944)
  4. Brother - Léopold de Saussure (1866-1925)
  5. Brother - René de Saussure (1868-1943)
  6. Sister - Jeanne de Saussure (1869-1900)
  7. Brother - Louis Octave de Saussure (1871-1943)
  8. Brother - Maximilien de Saussure (1873-1875)
  • Spouse: Marie de Saussure (Marie Eugénie Faesch) (1867-1950)
  • Children:
  1. Son - Raymond Maximilien Théodore de Saussure (1884-1971)
  2. Son- Jacques Alexandre Benedicte de Saussure (1892-1969)
  3. Son-André Victor de Saussure (1895-1895)
  • Alma Mater: University of Geneva, Leipzig University (PhD, 1880), University of Berlin
  • Ferdinand de Saussure is known for: initiating a new approach to linguistics called the structural linguistics.
  • Ferdinand de Saussure is criticized because: many of his ideas are now proven wrong.
  • Ferdinand de Saussure was influenced by:  Émile Durkheim, August Leskien, Heinrich Zimmer, Hermann Oldenberg
  • Ferdinand de Saussure’s works inspired:  Émile Benveniste, Walter Couvreur, Nikolay Trubetzkoy, Roman Jakobson, Leonard Bloomfield, Eugene Nida , Bernard Bloch , George L. Trager , Rulon S. Wells III, Charles Hockett, and Noam Chomsky .

Quotes

“Speech has both an individual and a social side, and we cannot conceive of one without the other.”
- Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics

Major Works

  • Mémoire sur le systéme primitif des voyelles dans les langues indoeuropéennes (1879)
  • Cours de linguistique générale (1916)

Did You Know?

  • Ferdinand de Saussure was the eldest son born to Henri Louis Frédéric de Saussure and Louise Elisabeth de Pourtalès.
  • His father was a mineralogist, entomologist, and taxonomist.
  • His brother René de Saussure was a linguist and Esperantist.
  • Saussure’s another brother Léopold de Saussure was a scholar of ancient Chinese astronomy.
  • His eldest son Raymond de Saussure was a psychoanalyst.
  • Saussure hardly published any remarkable work during his lifetime except the Mémoire sur le systéme primitif des voyelles dans les langues indoeuropéennes (1879).
  • His most naotable work Cours de linguistique générale was published posthumously in 1916.
  • Cours de linguistique générale contains his lectures about important principles of language description in Geneva between 1907 and 1911 which were collected by his pupils.
  • Saussure is generally considered the founder of modern linguistics for giving three key directions in the study of language, such as the distinction between Synchrony and Diachrony, between langue and parole, between signified and signifier.
  • Saussure is the first linguist to emphasize the importance of viewing language as a living phenomenon.
  • He was awarded his doctorate at Leipzig in 1880.

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Ferdinand de Saussure

September 24, 2018

STEVEN PINKER (B. 1954), A CANADIAN BORN AMERICAN EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST, COGNITIVE SCIENTIST, AND LINGUIST.


“According to a recent study of the brains of identical and fraternal twins, differences in the amount of gray matter in the frontal lobes are not only genetically influenced but are significantly correlated with differences in intelligence.” ~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (2002)


“Just as blueprints don't necessarily specify blue buildings, selfish genes don't necessarily specify selfish organisms. As we shall see, sometimes the most selfish thing a gene can do is build a selfless brain. Genes are a play within a play, not the interior monologue of the players.”
~Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (1997)

“I believe that the rape-is-not-about-sex doctrine will go down in history as an example of extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds. It is preposterous on the face of it, does not deserve its sanctity, is contradicted by a mass of evidence, and is getting in the way of the only morally relevant goal surrounding rape, the effort to stamp it out.”
~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (2002)

“Suppose the reasoning centers of the brain can get their hands on the mechanisms that plop shapes into the array and that read their locations out of it. Those reasoning demons can exploit the geometry of the array as a surrogate for keeping certain logical constraints in mind. Wealth, like location on a line, is transitive: if A is richer than B, and B is richer than C, then A is richer than C. By using location in an image to symbolize wealth, the thinker takes advantage of the transitivity of location built into the array, and does not have to enter it into a chain of deductive steps. The problem becomes a matter of plop down and look up. It is a fine example of how the form of a mental representation determines what is easy or hard to think.”
~ Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (1997)

“Humans . . . entered the 'cognitive niche.' Remember the definition of intelligence from Chapter 2: using knowledge of how things work to attain goals in the face of obstacles. By learning which manipulations achieve which goals, humans have mastered the art of the surprise attack. They use novel, goal-oriented courses of action to overcome the Maginot Line defenses of other organisms, which can respond only over evolutionary time. The manipulations can be novel because human knowledge is not just couched in concrete instructions like 'how to catch a rabbit.' Humans analyze the world using intuitive theories of objects, forces, paths, places, manners, states, substances, hidden biochemical essences, and, for other animals and people, beliefs and desires. . . . People compose new knowledge and plans by mentally playing out combinatorial interactions among these laws in their mind's eye.”
~ Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (1997)

“Suppose the reasoning centers of the brain can get their hands on the mechanisms that plop shapes into the array and that read their locations out of it. Those reasoning demons can exploit the geometry of the array as a surrogate for keeping certain logical constraints in mind. Wealth, like location on a line, is transitive: if A is richer than B, and B is richer than C, then A is richer than C. By using location in an image to symbolize wealth, the thinker takes advantage of the transitivity of location built into the array, and does not have to enter it into a chain of deductive steps. The problem becomes a matter of plop down and look up. It is a fine example of how the form of a mental representation determines what is easy or hard to think.”
~ Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (1997)

“Visual thinking is often driven more strongly by the conceptual knowledge we use to organize our images than by the contents of the images themselves. Chess masters are known for their remarkable memory for the pieces on a chessboard. But it's not because people with photographic memories become chess masters. The masters are no better than beginners when remembering a board of randomly arranged pieces. Their memory captures meaningful relations among the pieces, such as threats and defenses, not just their distribution in space.”
~ Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (1997)

“The problem with the religious solution [to philosophical problems] was stated by Mencken when he wrote, 'Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.' For anyone with a persistent intellectual curiosity, religious explanations are not worth knowing because they pile equally baffling enigmas on top of the original ones. What gave God a mind, free will, knowledge, certainty about right and wrong? How does he infuse them into a universe that seems to run just fine according to physical laws? How does he get ghostly souls to interact with hard matter? And most perplexing of all, if the world unfolds according to a wise and merciful plan, why does it contain so much suffering? As the Yiddish expression says, If God lived on earth, people would break his windows.”
~ Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (1997)

“According to a recent study of the brains of identical and fraternal twins, differences in the amount of gray matter in the frontal lobes are not only genetically influenced but are significantly correlated with differences in intelligence.”
~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (2002)

“As people age, they confuse changes in themselves with changes in the world, and changes in the world with moral decline—the illusion of the good old days.”
~ Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style (2014)

“Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group... We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.”
 ~ Steven Pinker, "Rules of Language," Science (August 2, 1991)

“It's natural to think that living things must be the handiwork of a designer. But it was also natural to think that the sun went around the earth. Overcoming naive impressions to figure out how things really work is one of humanity's highest callings.”
~ Steven Pinker, “Can You Believe in God and Evolution?” Time Magazine, (August 7, 2005)

“Equality is not the empirical claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group.”
~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (2002)

“We are all members of the same flawed species. Putting our moral vision into practice means imposing our will on others. The human lust for power and esteem, coupled with its vulnerability to self-deception and self-righteousness, makes that an invitation to a calamity, all the worse when the power is directed at a goal as quixotic as eradicating human self-interest.”
~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

“Nothing invests life with more meaning than the realisation that every moment of sentience is a precious gift.”
~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature  (2002)

“As technology accumulates and people in more parts of the planet become interdependent, the hatred between them tends to decrease, for the simple reason that you can't kill someone and trade with him too.”
~ Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature  (2002)

September 20, 2018

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) is a Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author.


Steven Pinker Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Steven Arthur Pinker
  • Date of Birth: September 18, 1954
  • Place of Birth: Montreal, Québec, Canada
  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo
  • Ethnicity: Canadian
  • Nationality: Canadian, American
  • Height: 5 ft 9 in
  • Father: Harry Pinker
  • Mother: Roslyn Pinker née Wiesenfeld
  • Siblings:
  1. Brother: Robert Pinker
  2. Sister: Susan Pinker (b. 1957)
  • Spouse(s):      
  1. Nancy Etcoff  (m. 1980; div. 1992)
  2. Ilavenil Subbiah (m. 1995; div. 2006)
  3. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (b. 1950;  m. 2007)
  • Children: None, but has two stepdaughters
  1. Stepdaughter - Yael Goldstein Love (b. 1978)
  2. Stepdaughter- Danielle Blau
  • Alma Mater: Dawson College, McGill University, Harvard University
  • Awards:
  1. Troland Award (1993, National Academy of Sciences),
  2. Henry Dale Prize (2004, Royal Institution),
  3. Walter P. Kistler Book Award (2005),
  4. Humanist of the Year award (2006, issued by the AHA),
  5. George Miller Prize (2010, Cognitive Neuroscience Society)
  6. Richard Dawkins Award (2013)
  • Website: www.stevenpinker.com
  • Steven Pinker is known for: his research-centric writings on language, mind and human nature.
  • Steven Pinker is criticized for: offering insufficient empirical proof in support of many of his theories.
  • Steven Pinker was influenced by: Noam Chomsky, Thomas Sowell, Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Richard Dawkins, Thomas Schelling
  • Steven Pinker’s works inspired: NA

Quotes

“Just as blueprints don't necessarily specify blue buildings, selfish genes don't necessarily specify selfish organisms. As we shall see, sometimes the most selfish thing a gene can do is build a selfless brain. Genes are a play within a play, not the interior monologue of the players.” ― Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works

Major Works

  • The Language Instinct (1994)
  • How the Mind Works (1997)
  • Words and Rules (2000)
  • The Blank Slate (2002)
  • The Stuff of Thought (2007)
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011)
  • The Sense of Style (2014)

Did You Know?

  • Steven Pinker grew up in Montreal’s English-speaking Jewish community.  
  • His grandparents are the immigrants of Poland and Romania.
  • Pinker is the oldest of three children born to Harry and Roslyn Pinker.
  • His father was a lawyer and his mother was a housewife, high school vice principal, and a guidance counselor.
  • Pinker’s younger sister Susan Pinker is a psychologist and writer.
  • Steven Pinker married thrice. He firstly married to Psychologist Nancy Etcoff in 1980 and divorced in 1992. Afterwards, he married the Malaysian-born cognitive psychologist Ilavenil Subbiah in 1995 but again divorced in 2006. At present he is married to the American philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein.
  • Pinker doesn't have any children from any of his marriages.
  • He has two stepdaughters from his third wife: Yael Goldstein Love, a novelist and Danielle Blau, a poet.
  • Steven Pinker received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1976 from McGill University.
  • Pinker earned a doctorate degree in experimental psychology at Harvard in 1979.
  • He undertook research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) for about one year and subsequently became an assistant professor at both Harvard (1980–1981) and Stanford University (1981–1982).
  • Pinker rejoined Harvard University in 2003, this time, however, as a full professor.
  • He was a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize: in 1998 for How the Mind Works and in 2003 for The Blank Slate.
  • In the year 2004, Time Magazine listed him amongst the 100 most influential thinkers and scientists in the world.
  • Pinker is the Chair of the Usage Panel of The American Heritage Dictionary.
  • Currently Pinker lives in Boston and in Truro with Rebecca Goldstein.

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September 19, 2018

B. F. SKINNER (1904 –1990), A LEADING 20TH CENTURY AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST, PHILOSOPHER, INVENTOR AND POET.

"It is a surprising fact that those who object most violently to the manipulation of behaviour nevertheless make the most vigorous effort to manipulate minds." ~ B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity


"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do."
~ B. F. Skinner, The Technology of Teaching

"It is a mistake to suppose that the whole issue is how to free man. The issue is to improve the way in which he is controlled."
 ~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"The only geniuses produced by the chaos of society are those who do something about it. Chaos breeds geniuses. It offers a man something to be a genius about."
 ~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"No one asks how to motivate a baby. A baby naturally explores everything it can get at, unless restraining forces have already been at work. And this tendency doesn't die out, it's wiped out."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"Going out of style isn't a natural process, but a manipulated change which destroys the beauty of last year's dress in order to make it worthless."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"Some of us learn control, more or less by accident. The rest of us go all our lives not even understanding how it is possible, and blaming our failure on being born the wrong way."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"A person who has been punished is not thereby simply less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment."
~ B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity

"The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. The mystery which surrounds a thinking machine already surrounds a thinking man."
~ B. F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis

"What is love except another name for the use of positive reinforcement? Or vice versa."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"At this very moment enormous numbers of intelligent men and women of goodwill are trying to build a better world. But problems are born faster than they can be solved."    
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"The amateur doesn't appreciate the need for experimentation. He wants his experts to know."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"Nowadays, everybody fancies himself an expert in government and wants to have a say."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"The final state of affairs may not have been foreseen. Perhaps we are merely reading a plan into the world after the fact."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"In a democracy, there is no check against despotism, because the principle of democracy is supposed to be itself a check. But it guarantees only that the majority will not be despotically ruled."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"Democracy is the spawn of despotism. And like father, like son. Democracy is power and rule. It's not the will of the people, remember; it's the will of the majority."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"Men build society and society builds men."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"A scientist may not be sure of the answer, but he's often sure he can find one. And that's a condition which is clearly not enjoyed by philosophy."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"The tender sentiment of the 'one and only' has less to do with constancy of heart than with singleness of opportunity."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"A fourth-grade reader may be a sixth-grade mathematician. The grade is an administrative device which does violence to the nature of the developmental process."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"We are only just beginning to understand the power of love because we are just beginning to understand the weakness of force and aggression."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"Something doing every minute' may be a gesture of despair--or the height of a battle against boredom."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"But restraint is the only one sort of control, and absence of restraint isn't freedom. It's not control that's lacking when one feels 'free', but the objectionable control of force."
~ B. F. Skinner, Walden Two

"It is a surprising fact that those who object most violently to the manipulation of behaviour nevertheless make the most vigorous effort to manipulate minds."
~ B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity


September 18, 2018

B. F. Skinner (1904 –1990) was an American psychologist, philosopher, inventor and poet.


B. F. Skinner Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Burrhus Frederic Skinner
  • Nickname: Fred
  • Date of Birth: March 20, 1904
  • Place of Birth: Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Zodiac Sign: Pisces
  • Date of Death: August 18, 1990
  • Cause of Death: Leukemia
  • Place of Death: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  • Place of Burial: Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: American
  • Father: William Arthur Skinner (1875- 1950)
  • Mother: Grace Madge Burrhus (1878- 1960)
  • Siblings: Edward Skinner (1907- 1923)
  • Spouse: Yvonne (Eve) Blue Skinner (b.1911- d.1997;  m. 1936-1990, i.e. until Skinner’s death)
  • Children:
  1. Daughter - Julie S. Vargas née Skinner (b. 1938)
  2. Daughter- Deborah Buzan née  Skinner
  • Alma Mater: Hamilton College, Harvard University
  • B. F. Skinner is known for: inventing the operant condition chamber and for his own experimental analysis of behaviour, the philosophy of that science he called radical behaviourism.
  • B. F. Skinner is criticized for: for attempting to apply findings based largely on animal experiments to human behaviour in real-life settings
  • B. F. Skinner was influenced by: Charles Darwin, Ivan Pavlov, Ernst Mach, Jacques Loeb, Edward Thorndike, William James, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Henry David Thoreau
  • B. F. Skinner’s works inspired: NA

Quotes

“The only geniuses produced by the chaos of society are those who do something about it. Chaos breeds geniuses. It offers a man something to be a genius about.”
B.F. Skinner, Walden Two

Major Works

  • The Behavior of Organisms (1938)
  • Walden Two (1948)
  • Science and human behavior (1951)
  • Schedules of Reinforcement (1957)
  • Verbal Behavior (1957)
  • Cumulative Record (1959)
  • The Analysis of Behavior: A Program for Self-Instruction (1961)
  • The Technology of Teaching (1968)
  • Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis (1969)
  • Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971)
  • About Behaviorism (1974)
  • Particulars of My Life (1976)
  • Reflections on Behaviorism and Society (1978)
  • The Shaping of a Behaviorist: Part Two of an Autobiography (1979)
  • Notebooks (1980) (edited by R. Epstein)
  • Skinner for the Classroom (1982) (edited by R. Epstein)

Did You Know?

  • Skinner was the eldest of the two sons born to a lawyer and a housewife.
  • His brother Edward died at the age of sixteen of a cerebral hemorrhage.
  • In early life Skinner became an atheist after the demise of his brother, and after his grandmother's teachings on hell.
  • In 1926 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Harvard University where he later received a PhD in 1931.
  • After graduation, he attempted in vain to become a novelist, but was unsuccessful despite encouragement from renowned authors like Robert Frost.
  • B.F. Skinner was a prominent researcher in Harvard University till 1936.
  • In 1945, he became Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Indiana.
  • John B. Watson's Behaviourism inspired him into graduate study in psychology and to the development of his own version of behaviourism.
  • Ten days before his death, he was conferred the lifetime achievement award by the American Psychological Association.
  • During his Master’s course Skinner in association with Fred Keller invented the "Operant Conditioning" or "Skinner Box” which helped him to envision a field of science based on understanding human behaviour.
  • He published the results of his Operant Conditioning experiments in The Behavior of Organisms (1938).
  • He died at the age of 86 of leukemia on August 18, 1990.

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September 4, 2018

Noam Chomsky (b. 1928) is a well-known American linguist, philosopher, political commentator, and cognitive scientist.

Noam Chomsky Quick Facts

Profile

  • Birth Name: Avram Noam Chomsky
  • Date of Birth: December 7, 1928
  • Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
  • Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish
  • Nationality: American
  • Father: William "Zev" Chomsky (1896-1977)
  • Mother: Elsie Chomsky née Simonofsky (1904–1972)
  • Siblings: 1 younger brother, David Eli Chomsky (b.1933)
  • Spouse(s):
  1. Carol Chomsky née Schatz (m. 1949- until death; b. 1930-d. 2008)
  2. Valeria Wasserman (m. 2014)
  • Children:
  1. Daughter - Aviva Chomsky (b. 1957)
  2. Daughter- Diane Chomsky (b. 1960)
  3. Son- Harry Chomsky (b. 1967)
  • Alma Mater: Oak Lane County Day School, Central High School of Philadelphia, and University of Pennsylvania
  • Noam Chomsky is known for: both his groundbreaking contributions to linguistics and his political activism.
  • Noam Chomsky is criticized for: his controversial theories on human linguistic capacity
  • Noam Chomsky was influenced by: Ferdinand de Saussure, Karl Marx, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, René Descartes, George Orwell, Immanuel Kant, Peter Kropotkin, Adam Smith, Roman Jakobson, Alan Turing, Mikhail Bakunin, Antonio Gramsci, John Dewey, David Hume, Willard Van Orman Quine, Zellig Harris, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Nelson Goodman, Antonie Pannekoek, Leszek Kołakowski, Jaklin Kornfilt, and C. West Churchman
  • Noam Chomsky’s works inspired: NA

Quotes

“Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.” - Noam Chomsky

Major Works

  • Syntactic Structures (1957)
  • Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965)
  • The Responsibility of Intellectuals (1967)
  • Language and Mind (1968)
  • The Sound Pattern of English (1968)
  • At war with Asia (1969)
  • American Power and the New Mandarins (1969)
  • Government in the Future (1970)
  • Problems of Knowledge and Freedom (1971)
  • The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory (1975)
  • Language and Responsibility: Based on Conversations with Mitsou Ronat (1979)
  • The Political Economy of Human Rights (1979)
  • The Fateful Triangle (1983)
  • Knowledge of Language (1986)
  • Pirates and Emperors, Old and New: International Terrorism in the Real World (1986)
  • The Chomsky Reader (1987)
  • The culture of terrorism (1988)
  • Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988)
  • Necessary Illusions (1989)
  • Media Control (1991)
  • Deterring Democracy (1991)
  • The Year 501 (1992)
  • What Uncle Sam really wants (1992)
  • The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many (1993)
  • Rethinking Camelot (1993)
  • World Orders Old and New (1994)
  • Como Nos Venden La Moto (1995)
  • Powers and prospects (1996)
  • The Essential Chomsky (1998)
  • On Language (1998)
  • The New Military Humanism (1999)
  • Profit over People (1999)
  • Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs (2000)
  • Chomsky on Mis-Education (2000)
  • A New Generation Draws the Line (2000)
  • Propaganda and the Public Mind (2001)
  • 9-11 (2001)
  • Understanding Power (2002)
  • On Anarchism (2003)
  • Hegemony or Survival (2003)
  • Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (2006)
  • Imperial Ambitions (2005)
  • What We Say Goes (2007)
  • Gaza in Crisis (2010)
  • Hopes and Prospects (2010)
  • How the World Works (2011)
  • Occupy (2012)
  • Making the Future (2012)
  • What Kind of Creatures Are We? (2015)
  • Who Rules the World? (2016)
  • Requiem for the American Dream (2017)

Did You Know?

  • Noam Chomsky is the oldest child born to William Chomsky and Elsie Chomsky.
  • His father was a Jewish emigrant from Kupel, Staro-Konstantinov, Ukraine, whereas his mother was a Jewish emigrant from Babruysk, Belarus.
  • His mother was a noted political activist and his father was a respected professor of Hebrew at Gratz College.
  • While studying at Oak Lane Country Day School Chomsky wrote his first article on the spread of fascism after the Spanish Civil War. During that time he was only ten years old.
  • Chomsky received three university degrees such as, B.A., M.A. and PhD. in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Chomsky got arrested under several occasions for his candid opinions, writings and lectures.
  • Noam Chomsky was greatly influenced by Rudolf Rocker and George Orwell.
  • Chomsky sometimes described as "the father of modern linguistics"
  • Chomsky´s groundbreaking work Syntactic Structures (1857) challenged the authenticity of the behaviourist theory.
  • Although his theory of "universal grammar" incorporated new thoughts into language learning theories, it was not universally accepted and received huge criticism.
  • In the year 1955 Chomsky began work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he taught linguistics and philosophy.
  • Noam Chomsky was the National Science Foundation fellow from 1958 to 1959 at Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Study.

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Chomsky with his first wife Carol Chomsky

Chomsky with his second wife Valeria Wasserman


August 14, 2018

VICTOR HUGO (1802 –1885) A WELL-REGARDED FRENCH POET, NOVELIST, AND DRAMATIST.

“But secondly you say 'society must exact vengeance, and society must punish'. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God.”  ~ Victor Hugo, The Last Day of a Condemned Man


“God manifests himself to us in the first degree through the life of the universe, and in the second degree through the thought of man. The second manifestation is not less holy than the first. The first is named Nature, the second is named Art.”
~ Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare (1864), Part I, Book II, Chapter I

“These two halves of God, the Pope and the emperor.”
~ Victor Hugo, Hernani (1830), Act IV, Scene II

“But secondly you say 'society must exact vengeance, and society must punish'. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Last Day of a Condemned Man

“I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

“He was fine; he, that orphan that foundling that outcast; he felt himself august and strong; he looked full in the face that society from which he was banished, and into which he had so powerfully intervened; that human justice from which he had snatched its prey; all those tigers whose jaws perforce remained empty; those myrmidons, those judges, those executioners, all that royal power which he, poor, insignificant being, had foiled with the power of God.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

“Never, even among animals, does the creature born to be a dove change into an osprey. That is only seen among men.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Let no one misunderstand our idea; we do not confound what are called 'political opinions' with that grand aspiration after progress with that sublime patriotic, democratic, and human faith, which, in our days, should be the very foundation of all generous intelligence.”

~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Marius and Cosette were in the dark in regard to each other. They did not speak, they did not bow, they were not acquainted; they saw each other; and, like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“The poor man shuddered, overflowed with an angelic joy; he declared in his transport that this would last through life; he said to himself that he really had not suffered enough to deserve such radiant happiness, and he thanked God, in the depths of his soul, for having permitted that he, a miserable man, should be so loved by this innocent being.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“During the years of suffering he reached the conclusion that life was war in which he was one of the defeated. Hatred was his only weapon, and he resolved to sharpen it in prison and carry it with him when he left.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“The book the reader has now before his eyes - from one end to the other, in its whole and in its details, whatever the omissions, the exceptions, or the faults - is the march from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from the false to the true, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from rottenness to life, from brutality to duty, from Hell to Heaven, from nothingness to God. Starting point: matter; goal: the soul. Hydra at the beginning, angel at the end.”
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“There, at a depth to which divers would find it difficult to descend, are caverns, haunts, and dusky mazes, where monstrous creatures multiply and destroy each other. Huge crabs devour fish and are devoured in their turn. Hideous shapes of living things, not created to be seen by human eyes wander in this twilight. Vague forms of antennae, tentacles, fins, open jaws, scales, and claws, float about there, quivering, growing larger, or decomposing and perishing in the gloom, while horrible swarms of swimming things prowl about seeking their prey.

To gaze into the depths of the sea is, in the imagination, like beholding the vast unknown, and from its most terrible point of view. The submarine gulf is analogous to the realm of night and dreams. There also is sleep, unconsciousness, or at least apparent unconsciousness, of creation. There in the awful silence and darkness, the rude first forms of life, phantomlike, demoniacal, pursue their horrible instincts.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Toilers of the Sea

“They had done him the honor to take him for a madman, but had set him free on discovering that he was only a poet.”
~ Victor Hugo, The Man Who Laughs (1869)


August 1, 2018

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850 –1894) WAS A PROMINENT SCOTTISH NOVELIST, ESSAYIST, AND POET WRITING TOWARDS THE END OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

“Hope is the boy, a blind, headlong, pleasant fellow, good to chase swallows with the salt; Faith is the grave, experienced, yet smiling man.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Virginibus Puerisque”, Ch. 2

“Fifteen men on the dead man's chest —
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest —
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island (1883)

“Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage (1878)

“In every part and corner of our life, to lose oneself is to be a gainer; to forget oneself is to be happy.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Old Mortality (1884)

“So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, "Lay Morals" Ch. 4, in Lay Morals and Other Essays (1911)

“Not every man is so great a coward as he thinks he is — nor yet so good a Christian.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, The Master of Ballantrae. Mr. Mackellar's Journey (1889)

“Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail, in good spirits.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Complete Works, vol. 26, Reflections and Remarks on Human Life, section 4

“There is no foreign land; it is the traveller only that is foreign, and now and again, by a flash of recollection, lights up the contrasts of the ear.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, The Silverado Squatters

“We do not go to cowards for tender dealing; there is nothing so cruel as panic; the man who has least fear for his own carcase, has most time to consider others.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Aes Triplex (1878)

“Hope is the boy, a blind, headlong, pleasant fellow, good to chase swallows with the salt; Faith is the grave, experienced, yet smiling man.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Virginibus Puerisque”, Ch. 2

“Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but principally by catchwords; and the little rift between the sexes is astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of catchwords to the girls and another to the boys.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Virginibus Puerisque”, Ch. 2

“Falling in love is the one illogical adventure, the one thing of which we are tempted to think as supernatural, in our trite and reasonable world.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Virginibus Puerisque”, Ch. 3

“The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Truth of Intercourse”

“The time would fail me if I were to recite all the big names in history whose exploits are perfectly irrational and even shocking to the business mind. The incongruity is speaking; and I imagine it must engender among the mediocrities a very peculiar attitude, towards the nobler and showier sides of national life.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Crabbed Age and Youth”

“Age may have one side, but assuredly Youth has the other. There is nothing more certain than that both are right, except perhaps that both are wrong. Let them agree to differ; for who knows but what agreeing to differ may not be a form of agreement rather than a form of difference?”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “Crabbed Age and Youth”

“A faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “An Apology for Idlers”.

“Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (1881) “An Apology for Idlers”.

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