John Goldsmith - "Battle in the Mind Fields" - Haun Saussy, Robert Richards, Jason Merchant

Monday, February 10, 2020 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
John Goldsmith

John Goldsmith discusses Battle in the Mind Fields. He will be joined in conversation by Haun Saussy, Robert Richards, and Jason Merchant. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE. (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: This book is an engaged study of linguistics and its neighboring disciplines -- psychology, logic, and philosophy -- and it aims to bring to the reader an entirely new sense of where these disciplines came from and what their impact has been on the way we think about language and thought today. The central questions studied concern the nature of continuity and rupture, both in the world of ideas and in the political, social, and historical world in which we live. The over-arching vision that informs the book is one in which we are all part of an ongoing conversation on the nature of mind and thought that was carried out in many geographical and disciplinary venues throughout the 19th and 20th centuries -- and the vast majority of researchers in these mind sciences are oblivious of where the ideas that they use came from. Goldsmith and co-author Bernard Laks trace theories of thought, self-consciousness, and language from the machine-age obsession with mind and matter to the development of analytic philosophy, behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, positivism, and structural linguistics, always emphasizing the synthesis and continuity that have furthered our understanding of the human mind. Arguing that it is impossible to understand the history of any of these fields in isolation, Goldsmith and Laks suggest that the ruptures between them arose chiefly from social and institutional circumstances, rather than a fundamental disparity of ideas.

About the author: John Goldsmith is the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor in the departments of linguistics and computer science at the University of Chicago. He’s worked in areas as varied as the structure of African tone languages, automatic linguistic analysis of large corpora, and the history of linguistics, and this book is an attempt to put all of it together. He received his PhD degree in1976 in linguistics from MIT, where he studied with Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle. He was professor of linguistics at Indiana University from 1976 to 1984, when he came to the University of Chicago. He’s been a visiting professor at Harvard University, Stanford University, and the Université de Paris X, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Linguistic Society of America.

About Haun Saussy: Haun Saussy is University Professor at the University of Chicago, in Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, and the Committee on Social Thought. His books include The Problem of a Chinese Aesthetic (1993), Great Walls of Discourse and Other Adventures in Cultural China (2001), The Ethnography of Rhythm: Orality and its Technologies (2016).

About Robert J. Richards: Robert J. Richards is the Morris Fishbein Distinguished Service Professor in the History of Science, and Professor in the Departments of Philosophy, History, Psychology, and in the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science; he is also director of the Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine.

About Jason Merchant: Jason Merchant is the Lorna Puttkammer Straus Professor in the Department of Linguistics and in the College. As Vice Provost, Jason works with deans and chairs on faculty and other academic appointments, promotions, recruitments, and retention, where the University’s commitment to the highest levels of research and teaching inform faculty-governed meritocratic decisions. Jason also serves as co-director of UChicagoGRAD, overseeing policy for the University’s PhD programs and postdoctoral researchers, in coordination with the deans. He is also the central point of contact for the administration of the University’s labor contract with non-tenure-track academic appointees.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637