Language understanding is grounded in experiential simulations: a response to Weiskopf

Several disciplines within the cognitive sciences have advanced the idea that people comprehend the actions of others, including the linguistic meanings they communicate, through embodied simulations where they imaginatively recreate the actions they observe or hear about. This claim has important consequences for theories of mind and meaning, such as that people’s use and interpretation of language emerges as a kind of bodily activity that is an essential part of ordinary cognition. Daniel Weiskopf presents several arguments against the idea that experiential simulations play a major role in immediate language use and meaning. We offer several rebuttals to Weiskopf, in which we critique his interpretation of simulation theory, present additional psycholinguistic evidence supportive of the simulation perspective, and suggest that a more traditional theory of linguistic meaning and processing has little psychological and empirical validity.Keywords: Language; Comprehension; Embodied cognition; Embodied simulation; Linguistic meaning, Psycholinguistics
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Daniel A. Weiskopf (2010). Understanding is Not Simulating: A Reply to Gibbs and Perlman. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):309-312.
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