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Mind Your Language: Metaphor, Thought and Imagination

Thursday, September 30, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT

Language ranks among the most powerful influences on human existence. Even so, language presents many mysteries that are the subject of heated debate. Was there a rewiring of the human brain in our ancestral past which gave us the capacity for language? Is language a human invention developed by our ancestors to facilitate group cooperation? Is language primarily a tool for external communication or is it the fundamental substrate of inner thought? And how is that with a few choice phrases language can fire the imagination or transport us to the stars? Join Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker and other leading scientists as they grapple with the foundations of language.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, which is supported by the John Templeton Foundation.


Brian GreenePhysicist, Author

Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

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Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is a seminal figure in the field of linguistics, and ranks among the most cited widely scholars in modern history. In 1959, he revolutionized the study of modern …

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Daniel Dor

Daniel Dor, a linguist, media researcher and political activist, received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stanford University (1996). He is a professor at Tel Aviv University. Dor is the author …

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Evelina Fedorenko

Ev Fedorenko is is currently the Frederick A. (1971) and Carole J. Middleton Career Development Associate Professor of Neuroscience in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department and the McGovern Institute …

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Steven PinkerExperimental Psychologist, Psycholinguist, Author

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has won numerous prizes for his research, teaching, and books.

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