David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (6):85-118 (2008)
The claim that language is in principle inaccessible to consciousness may look counterintuitive but is not as challenging as finding an answer to the subsequent question of why that must be the case -- if language is a function that is in the service of consciousness and we cannot imagine why language would have existed at all without the existence of consciousness. On the one hand, language is the cognitive capacity that seems best fit to support consciousness in its monitoring and control functions; on the other hand, language learning (learning the rules of one's own language), language structure and language processing turn out upon closer scrutiny to be in principle inaccessible to consciousness. I present a set of arguments in favour of the thesis that language is in principle inaccessible to consciousness on the basis of a set of asymmetries between sentence structure and the structure of consciousness. If the thesis in question is on the right track, we have to face two basic problems. The first deals with linguistics method(s), namely how can we study a very complex mental phenomenon like language if it is not available to introspection? The second problem is related to the question put in the title of this article. The suggested answer is along the lines that inaccessibility of language to consciousness enables a cognitive architecture that can run a Cartesian theatre.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Wallace L. Chafe (1996). How Consciousness Shapes Language. Pragmatics and Cognition 4 (1):35-54.
J. B. R. (1970). Linguistics in Philosophy. New Scholasticism 44 (3):469-469.
Ernest Sosa (1983). Consciousness of Self and of the Present. In James E. Tomberlin (ed.), Agent, Language, and the Structure of the World. Hackett.
Christian Emden (2005). Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body. University of Illinois Press.
Maxim I. Stamenov (1997). Grammar, Meaning, and Consciousness: What Sentence Structure Can Tell Us About the Structure of Consciousness. In , Language Structure, Discourse, and the Access to Consciousness. John Benjamins.
Maxim I. Stamenov (2003). Language and Self-Consciousness: Modes of Self-Presentation in Language Structure. In Tilo Kircher & Anthony S. David (eds.), The Self in Neuroscience and Psychiatry. Cambridge University Press. 76-104.
Isa Itkonen (2008). Concerning the Role of Consciousness in Linguistics. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (6):15-33.
Maxim I. Stamenov (ed.) (1997). Language Structure, Discourse, and the Access to Consciousness. John Benjamins.
Maxim I. Stamenov (2001). Language Structure and the Structure of Consciousness: Can One Find a 'Common Denominator' Between Them? In Paavo Pylkkanen & Tere Vaden (eds.), Dimensions of Conscious Experience. John Benjamins. 37--45.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads23 ( #84,015 of 1,413,409 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #154,345 of 1,413,409 )
How can I increase my downloads?