A snippet from The
Language Instinct Stuff of Thought:
“The opacity of everyday metaphors is also apparent in [other examples] and entry into the club called AWFUL — Americans Who Figuratively Use “Literally.” The charter member was Rabbi Baruch Koff, a defender of Richard Nixon during his Watergate ordeal, who at one point protest, “The American press has literally emasculated President Nixon.””
I’ve probably blogged about the issue before, but I really do hate it. The book as a whole is great and serves to culminate both his language and human nature trilogies. I’d like to spend more time here praising the book, but my mind is too absorbed by the thought of this abuse of language.
At the recommendation of Razib, my next read is going to be East of the Sun: The Epic Conquest and Tragic History of Siberia, so I might blog about that in the near future.
UPDATE: Another gem I had to quote, which follows a discussion of some of Hilary Putnam’s thought experiments: “[…] there are fewer things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy”.