Language & LunacyeBook - 1998
Umberto Eco unlocks the riddles of history in an exploration of the "linguistics of the lunatic," the stories told by scholars, scientists, poets, fanatics, and ordinary people to make sense of the world. By examining the "Force of the False," Eco reveals the layers of mistakes that have shaped human history and the serendipities that can spring from mistaken ideas. From Christopher Columbus's false assumptions about the size of the world to Marco Polo mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Eco tours the labyrinth of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange and the consequences of false knowledge. He ultimately shows the dangers we face do not lie in the rules we use to interpret other cultures but rather in our insistence on making such rules absolute.