In his most recent book, Ermanno Bencivenga offers a stylistically and conceptually exciting investigation of the nature of language, mind, and personhood and the many ways the three connect. Bencivenga, one of the most iconoclastic voices to emerge in contemporary American philosophy, contests the basic assumptions of analytic (and also, to an extent, postmodern) approaches to these topics. His exploration leads through fascinating discussions of education, courage, pain, time and history, selfhood, subjectivity and objectivity, reality, facts, the empirical, power and transgression, silence, privacy and publicity, and play—all themes that are shown to be integral to our thinking about language. Relentessly bending the rules, Bencivenga frustrates our expectations of a "proper" theory of language. He invokes the transgressions of Nietzsche and Wittgenstein even as he appropriates the aphoristic style of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Written in a philosophically playful and experimental mode, A Theory of Language and Mind draws the reader into a sense of continual surprise, therapeutic discomfort, and discovery.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1997.