Kant and the Platypus

kant and the platypusKant and the Platypus: Essays on Language and Cognition by Umberto Eco, trans. from the Italian by Alastair McEwen, 1/5

I have had to quit books before.  In fact, of the 185 books I’ve read over the last 26.5 months, I’ve quit four.  This, however, is the first one I’ve had to abandon for the sole reason that it is simply too hard for me to understand.  Not only did I fail to understand the concepts, I couldn’t even understand the words used to describe the concepts.  My usual method of relying on context to understand the odd piece of unfamiliar vocabulary was useless in the face of incomprehensible context.  Eco spouts Latin (all of which McEwen leaves untranslated) like he’s suffering from some strange, academic form of Tourette’s, while throwing around words like “infundibular” and “columbarium” with the airy abandon of someone who owns stock in dictionary.com.  I made it to page 69.  Oh, the disgrace…and the irony – that I should find a book on language and cognition to be unreadable.

[Why I [tried to] read it: saw it on an online list of must-read philosophy books, found the title intriguing and mistook the author for Italo Calvino.]

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