The world on paper

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David R. Olson is University Professor Emeritus of cognitive sciences at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto). His book The World on Paper is an essential read for anyone interested in literacy. From the description of The World on Paper: ‘What role has writing played in the development of our modern understanding of language, nature and ourselves? Drawing on recent advances in history, anthropology, linguistics and psychology, the author offers a bold new perspective on how writing and reading have historically and developmentally altered our understanding of language, mind and nature. These understandings, Olson argues, are by-products of living in a “world on paper.”’

In his latest book first published in 2016, The Mind on Paper, ‘Olson argues that to understand the cognitive implications of literacy, it is necessary to see reading and writing as providing access to and consciousness of aspects of language, such as phonemes, words and sentences, that are implicit and unconscious in speech. Reading and writing create a system of metarepresentational concepts that bring those features of language into consciousness as a subject of discourse. This consciousness of language is essential not only to acquiring literacy but also to the formation of systematic thought and rationality. The Mind on Paper is a compelling exploration of what literacy does for our speech and hence for our thought, and will be of interest to readers in developmental psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, and education.’

An interview with David Olson can be found here: http://skhole.fr/node/208

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