PNP 390
Book Club: The Symbolic Species

Professor: William Bechtel Spring 2001
Office: Busch 225 Monday, 4-5:30 pm
Telephone: 935-6873  
Email: Office Hours: MW 3:00-4:00


A. Course Description

The Book Club is designed to foster interdisciplinary analysis of a book that spans the disciplines included in PNP. Terrence Deacon's The Symbolic Species raises questions about what is distinctive about language, the neural and psychological mechanisms supporting it, and how it might have arisen in evolution. We will read and discuss one to two chapters a week. The emphasis will be on discussion and the topics emphasized will be determined by student interest.

B. Text

Deacon, T. W. (1997). The Symbolic Species. New York: Norton.

C. Requirements

Students are expected to complete reading assignments, attend all class sessions, and participate in class discussion. In addition, students are required to give one class presentation and to write one five page paper on a major theme from the text. Topics for the paper should be discussed with the instructor in advance.

D. Schedule

The following schedule is tentative. In particular, if unforseen events require cancellation of one of the scheduled classes, we may need to hold class on one of the dates currently listed as having no class.

January 22: First Class: What is language? How is it studied?
January 29 Chapters 1-2
February 5 Chapter 3
February 12 Chapter 4
February 19 Chapters 5-6
February 26 Chapter 7
March 5 Chapters 8-9
March 19 No class
March 26: Chapter 10
April 2 Chapter 11
April 9 Chapter 12
April 16 Chapters 13-14
April 23 No class. Papers due