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The Humorist


Wednesday, March 6, 2013
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

Humorist Fran Lebowitz discusses the illusion of language with experimental psychologist Steven Pinker.

About the Speakers

The much-quoted humorist Fran Lebowitz got her break when hired by Andy Warhol as a columnist for Interview. Her warmly sardonic and urbane wit shone was already apparent, leading to further magazine articles and then her first book in 1978, a collection of essays Metropolitan Life, followed by Social Studies in 1981. Both are collected with a new introductory essay in The Fran Lebowitz Reader. For more than twenty years, Lebowitz has been famous in part for not writing Exterior Signs of Wealth, a long-overdue novel purportedly about rich people who want to be artists, and artists who want to be rich. Her appearances on Late Night With David Letterman early in its run are legendary. She returned 16 years later to mark the release of HBO’s Public Speaking, a documentary on her directed by Martin Scorsese.
StevenPinkeris an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received seven honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate. He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and The New Republic. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”

About Brainwave: Illusion

The Buddha said that everything is illusion. What did he mean by that? This sixth edition of Brainwave will enlist the aid of neuroscientists to help us understand how the perception of our world is shaped by the surprising adaptability of our brains. Brainwave includes talks, special film screenings followed by discussions, interactive workshops, and much more!
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