An interview in which I discuss serious problems with the very concept of Universal Grammar.
In August 2016, author Tom Wolfe published a book , The Kingdom of Speech, in which he discusses the work of four major figures in the history of the sciences of evolution and language. These are Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, Noam Chomsky and myself. He also wrote an article for Harper’s Magazine that outlines his take on my debate with Chomsky (click here to read).
I have been listed as a producer on Blessid, a local indie film. It is a suspense drama about a pregnant woman who forms a bond with a man who is immortal. At its core, Blessid is an anti-suicide film with a message of self forgiveness. I was contacted by the filmmaker because there is one part near the climax of the film that was inspired by my experience in the Amazon explaining the concept of suicide to the Piraha. He had discovered the anecdote on the Internet in his research of suicide – to him, there was no better anti-suicide message than suicide being “laughable” as life is so precious (and the Piraha did laugh at the idea that one would kill themselves).
The film is slated for release on July 22, 2016 on Amazon Video. Watch the official trailer and read more: http://blessidthemovie.com/
Simple8, a theatre company based in London, has produced a play based on my book Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes. It opened March 22, 2016 and there have been great reviews so far in The Times, London Theatre, The Reviews Hub, and What’s on Stage, to name a few, plus an interview with the actor who plays me. More information is available on the Simple8 site as well as the Park Theatre site, and a copy of the program is available here.
“Dark Matter of the Mind: How Unseen Forces Shape our Words and World” for the University of Chicago Press, for release in late 2014.
I gave a solo talk on this subject in May of 2014 at the HowTheLightGetsIn festival, an initiative of the Institute of Arts and Ideas, in Hay-on-Wye, United Kingdom. Click here to watch the video.
Thomas Hobbes believed life before civilisation was nasty, brutish and short. From diets to lifestyles, some anthropologists think otherwise. Did hunter gatherers have a better grasp on life? Should we look toward today’s tribal societies to see how to live, or is this a romantic delusion?
BBC documentary maker Bruce Parry, myself and bioethicist Sarah Chan contemplate humanity’s past and present with Oxford philosopher Janet Radcliffe-Richards. Watch our debate on life in traditional societies.
I have been invited to go back and participate in next year’s HowTheLightGetsIn Festival. Learn more about 2015’s event.
I have had the honor and privilege of joining Ardea Arts and the Family Opera Initiative in developing the extraordinary children’s book The Three Astronauts for the stage as a contemporary American opera-musical. In the book, by world-renowned author, political philosopher and semiotician Umberto Eco, and by revered Italian visual artist Eugenio Carmi, an American, a Russian, and a Chinese astronaut take off separately in their rockets to Mars. Each wants to be the first; they all land at the same time. The story of how they evolve from enemies that do not share a common language into allies and then how they confront the ultimate “other” (the Martian) showcases the difficulty of communicating across cultural and language barriers and addresses a very important issue: How do we reach beyond ourselves? Click here for official booklet.
I am part of a team that includes Pulitzer prize-winning poets, best-selling authors, brilliant composers and astonishing musicians. The Martian language component of the libretto is what I am creating; it will be inspired by Piraha.
This book was edited by Gordon Hardy, Senior Associate Director of Content, Communication and Creative Services at Bentley University, and myself and addresses Bentley’s undergraduate business education.
Creation of Bentley’s forward-thinking curriculum was the result of an innovative, cross-disciplinary effort by the business and arts & sciences faculties that is now documented in this book. Faculty members created a collection of chapters, each arguing for and demonstrating the integration of business and the arts and sciences- the “Bentley way”.
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Recent News and Travels
I was recently a guest on the Global Journalist, a radio and television station broadcast on KBIA, an NPR affiliate in Missouri. They did a program on the world's uncontacted tribes.
February 27-28, 2017 - University of Rochester
March 22-26, 2017 - Bratislava and Svolen, Slovakia
Blog: Dark Matter of the Mind
- A discussion of “Understanding Recursion and Looking for Self-Embedding in Pirahã”December 19, 2016 - 1:52 pm
A discussion of Understanding Recursion and Looking for Self-Embedding in Pirahã, by Raiane Oliveira Salles, Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro. http://www.maxwell.vrac.puc-rio.br/26480/26480.PDF In the decades since I began field research on the Pirahã language, in December of 1977, 39 years ago, no one else has done any descriptive linguistics field research on this language. Brazilian […]