This book is a long overdue survey of all the effects of language on the three levels of evolution, system and discourse? and of what thinkers have written about them. From Plato?s critique of Sophistry to Bacon?s idola fori, Humboldt?s?language is energy?, and finally Wittgenstein?s?language games?? the 21 chapters of the book deal critically with the power of language and what philosophers have said about it. A glossary of terms and an annotated list of thinkers make this book easy to use.