A playful collection of philosophical critiques from the internationally acclaimed and bestselling author of The Name of the Rose and The Prague Cemetery
How much do our perceptions of things depend on our cognitive ability, and how much on our linguistic resources? Where, and how, do these two questions meet? Umberto Eco undertakes a series of idiosyncratic and typically brilliant explorations, starting from the perceived data of common sense, from which flow an abundance of 'stories' or fables, often with animals as protagonists, to expound a clear critique of Kant, Heidegger and Peirce. And as a beast designed specifically to throw spanners in the works of cognitive theory, the duckbilled platypus naturally takes centre stage.
“Full of jokes, conundra and startling insights...Eco has both moved with the times and moved his discipline along... Few will come to Kant and the Platypus for a bulletin on the world of literary theory...what the general reader will find here is an extraordinary mind at play”
“A typical Eco book in its scope and vastness of ambition. In his hands, semiotics is transformed from a specialist branch of learning into a theory of everything...readers will not fail to be stimulated”
“Eco's sensitivity to the mysteries of signification supplies the irony and perceptiveness of his essays. Here, he addresses the mysteries themselves. He does it in characteristic fashion, with wit and invention; but with serious intent too... Eco deploys all his skills of anecdote and illustration, pleasurably decorating an earnest and complicated matter”
“Umberto Eco is perhaps the leading contemporary representative of the philosophy of semiotics... The discussion is consistently fertile and provocative and provides a wealth of suggestive anecdotes and illustrations”