With language, we can make things happen, we can influence, even manipulate other people. But language misunderstood can have disastrous consequences. July 1945: The mistranslation of Japan's answer to the US ultimatum may have been responsible for the atom bombs falling on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
This book is a long overdue survey of all the effects of language on the three levels of evolution, system and discourse - and of what thinkers have written about them. From Plato's critique of Sophistry to Bacon's idola fori, Humboldt's 'language is energy', and finally Wittgenstein's 'language games' - this book deals critically with the power of language and what philosophers have said about it. A glossary of terms and an annotated list of thinkers make this book easy to use.