Kindergarten means a garden of children, and Froebel, the inventor of it, or rather, as he would prefer to express it, the discoverer of the method of Nature, meant to symbolize by the name the spirit and plan of treatment. How does the gardener treat his plants? He studies their individual natures, and puts them into such circumstances of soil and atmosphere as enable them to grow, flower, and bring forth fruit,-- also to renew their manifestation year after year.
1. Children and youth need ongoing opportunities to practice caring and helpfulness,
sometimes with guidance from adults. Children are not simply born good or bad
and we should never give up on them. A good person is something one can always
become; throughout life we can develop our capacities for caring and fairness as
well as many other social, emotional, and ethical capacities. Learning to be caring
and to lead an ethical life is like learning to play an instrument or hone a craft.
Metaphor in science, Boyd suggests, is a version of the everyday process in which a metaphor is pressed into service to fill gaps in a language’s vocabulary, like rabbit ears to refer to the antennas that used to sprout from the tops of television sets. Scientists constantly discover new entities that lack an English name, so they often tap a metaphor to supply the needed label: selection in evolution, kettle pond in geology, linkage in genetics, and so on. But they aren’t shackled by the...
Onomatopoeia and sound symbolism are the seeds of a more pervasive phenomenon in language called phonesthesia, in which families of words share a teeny snatch of sound and a teeny shred of meaning. Many words with the sound sn-, for example, have something to do with the nose, presumably because you can almost feel your nose wrinkle when you pronounce it. They include words for the nose itself (like snout), words for noselike instruments (like snorkel and snoot, a cone for directing a spotlig...
The revolution in our understanding of the logic of names began with a basic question: Where do the meanings of words live? There are two likely habitats. One is the world, where we find the things that a word refers to. The other is in the head, where we find people’s understanding of how a word may be used.
For anyone interested in language as a window into the mind, the external world might seem to be an unpromising habitat. The word cat, for example, refers to the set of all the cats t...
Of course, it is a cliché of our times that we suffer from information overload because of the ubiquity of electronic media. And for fifty years, cognitive scientists have been harping on the limitations of the brain in processing information. Some have argued that Grice’s cooperative maxims are a way to manage the flow of information in a conversation, maximizing the rate of transmission of usable knowledge.
But the ultimate reason our speech is so indirect may lie in a different danger ...
“Do not squander time,” said Benjamin Franklin, “for that is the stuff life is made of.” Our consciousness, even more than it is posted in space, unrolls in time. I can imagine abolishing space from my awareness—if, say, I were floating in a sensory deprivation tank or became blind and paralyzed—while still continuing to think as usual. But it’s almost impossible to imagine abolishing time from one’s awareness, leaving the last thought immobilized like a stuck car horn, while ...
On a time-scale of a thousand years, neither politics nor
technology is predictable. China and Japan are the only
major political units that have lasted that long. A thousand
years ago, Europe was an unimportant peninsula
lying on the edge of the more advanced and civilized
Arab world. The technologies of today would be unintelligible
to our ancestors of a millennium ago. The
only human institutions that retain their identities over
a thousand years are languages, cultures, and religions.
We do not, we writers, represent mankind adequately.
We do not think well of ourselves. We do not think
amply about what we are. Essay after essay, book after
book, maintain the usual thing about mass society, dehumanization,
and the rest. How weary we are of them.
How poorly they represent us. The pictures they offer
no more resemble us than we resemble the reconstructed
reptiles and other monsters in a museum of
paleontology. We are much more limber, versatile, better
articulated; there is ...
I think it was Utz who first convinced me that history
is always our guide for the future, and always full of
capricious surprises. The future itself is a dead land
because it does not yet exist. When a Czech writer
wishes to comment on the plight of his country, one
way open to him is to use the fifteenth-century Hussite
Rebellion as a metaphor. I found in Prague Museum
this text describing the Hussites' defeat of the German
Knights: ''At midnight, all of a sudden, frightened
shouting was he...