A User’s Guide to Thought and Meaning by Ray Jackendoff
Nikki Dekker doesn’t think too much of Ray Jackendoff’s book.
That classification of this book as ‘a user’s guide’ is either a clever marketing trick or wishful thinking. Handbooks are generally focused and well-structured, whereas A User’s Guide to Thought and Meaning stretches unpredictably across philosophy, linguistics, psychology and critical theory to talk about, well, anything. Professor Jackendoff grants as much in his Foreword, where he says the book is not so much a study of one subject, but a summary of the range of issues he’s been writing about for the past thirty years. That’s enough to make me a bit suspicious. Thirty years of careful thinking in one small book? But after all, what Jackendoff wants is for his work to be accessible.