Graduate studies at Western
Philosophical Psychology 19 (3):291-307 (2006)
|Abstract||What is the relation between the material, conventional symbol structures that we encounter in the spoken and written word, and human thought? A common assumption, that structures a wide variety of otherwise competing views, is that the way in which these material, conventional symbol-structures do their work is by being translated into some kind of content-matching inner code. One alternative to this view is the tempting but thoroughly elusive idea that we somehow think in some natural language (such as English). In the present treatment I explore a third option, which I shall call the "complementarity" view of language. According to this third view the actual symbol structures of a given language add cognitive value by complementing (without being replicated by) the more basic modes of operation and representation endemic to the biological brain. The "cognitive bonus" that language brings is, on this model, not to be cashed out either via the ultimately mysterious notion of "thinking in a given natural language" or via some process of exhaustive translation into another inner code. Instead, we should try to think in terms of a kind of coordination dynamics in which the forms and structures of a language qua material symbol system play a key and irreducible role. Understanding language as a complementary cognitive resource is, I argue, an important part of the much larger project (sometimes glossed in terms of the "extended mind") of understanding human cognition as essentially and multiply hybrid: as involving a complex interplay between internal biological resources and external non-biological resources|
|Keywords||Language Materiality Mind Symbol System Thought|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
William P. Bechtel (1986). What Happens to Accounts of Mind-Brain Relations If We Forgo an Architecture of Rules and Representations? Philosophy of Science Association 1986:159 - 171.
Laurence BonJour (1991). Is Thought a Symbolic Process? Synthese 89 (3):331-52.
Andy Clark (2005). Word, Niche and Super-Niche: How Language Makes Minds Matter More. Theoria 20 (54):255-268.
Gary E. Schwartz (1996). Symbols and Thought. Synthese 106 (3):399-407.
Susan Schneider (forthcoming). The Nature of Primitive Symbols in the Language of Thought. Mind and Language.
Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (2002). Radical Connectionism: Thinking with (Not in) Language. Language and Communication 22 (3):313-329.
Angelo Cangelosi, Alberto Greco & Stevan Harnad (2002). Symbol Grounding and the Symbolic Theft Hypothesis. In A. Cangelosi & D. Parisi (eds.), Simulating the Evolution of Language. Springer-Verlag.
Susan Schneider (2009). The Nature of Symbols in the Language of Thought. Mind and Language 24 (5):523-553.
Andy Clark (2005). Word, Niche and Super-Niche. Theoria 20 (3):255-268.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads152 ( #3,295 of 739,474 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #12,339 of 739,474 )
How can I increase my downloads?