Thursday, July 28, 2011

Logan on Language - Big Ideas (TVO)

Finally I have regained some time and on-line connection to write a little more on the blog. I would like to take the opportunity to dig through a long list of podcasts I listened to in the past months and give them short reviews as yet.

The first I bump into, was relatively recently on my playlist. An issue from Big Ideas (TVO). They rerun a short lecture from 2002: Robert K. Logan on The Origin and Evolution of Language. In this lecture Logan not only explains how, in his view, language evolved, but also how it continues to evolve and affects human evolution until this day. In this respect he treats the internet also as 'language', which sounds more confusing than it pans out in the lecture. The basic tenet is that humanity has been able to progress dramatically every time it improved the efficacy and abstract quality of its communications. (feed)

The result is a stimulating and thought-provoking lecture. The only drawback is that the lecture is too short (24 minutes) to dig deep enough and with the amount of mental leaps Logan presents, I got to feel rather uncomfortable and unconvinced. It all seemed a bit too simplified. An example of such is to explain the progress of the West in comparison with China from the alphabet, which is more abstract and reductional than the Chinese character-based script. Really? That takes more than a claim, that needs quite a lengthy argument.

More Big Ideas:
Meaning Systems
The Elegance of the Hedgehog,
Age of Unequals,
Dan Dennett: what should replace religion?,
Chris Hedges.

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