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The Puzzle Instinct: The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life (Hardback)
  • The Puzzle Instinct: The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life (Hardback)
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The Puzzle Instinct: The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life (Hardback)

(author)
£19.99
Hardback Published: 19/06/2002
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Why are humans fascinated by puzzles? Puzzle-addict and renowned communication theorist Marcel Danesi takes readers on an exploration of the philosophical implications of the puzzle instinct. Puzzles are as old as humanity and the human instinct for puzzles betrays the larger perpetual search for meaning to life. Danesi not only has included many in this book to puzzle over, he explores why we like to puzzle over them as well. Among the smaller puzzles in this book are the solutions to some much larger puzzles: what is the necessary raison d'etre that puzzles serve, why did they emerge at the same time in history as myth, magic and the occult arts, and why can't we put them down. Puzzles are as old as humanity and the human instinct for puzzles betrays the larger perpetual search for meaning to life. Marcel Danesi not only has included many in this book to puzzle over, he explores why we like to puzzle over them as well.Following a history of puzzles, Danesi goes in depth into the main genres of puzzles - from riddles and anagrams to magic squares and optical illusions. As each chapter unfolds, Danesi puts the puzzle genre into the greater cultural context from which it arises, and to which it still applies. He explains the portrayal of riddles as 'warnings' against the ambiguities built into language, or tells us that magic squares are manifestations of innate tendencies to see patterns worked into number systems and designs. On the other hand, Danesi contends, puzzles are not merely the product of superstition; more often than not, they have led to veritable discoveries in mathematics and science, as well as revolutions in philosophical methods, after which they have quietly disappeared into the background of history.This book is not a puzzle collection intended for aficionados. It is, uniquely, an exploration of the philosophical implications of the puzzle instinct. Among the smaller puzzles in this book are the solutions to some much larger puzzles: what is the necessary raison d'etre that puzzles serve, why did they emerge at the same time in history as myth, magic and the occult arts, and why can't we put them down. However, if you do feel the need to make sense of things by attempting to solve puzzles there are many examples in this book. And if you absolutely can't come up with the solutions to some, they are provided at the back of the book.

Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 9780253340948
Weight: 562 g
Dimensions: 234 x 154 x 26 mm

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