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Profile: Stephen Cowley (University of Edinburgh)
Profile: Stephen Cowley (University of Edinburgh)
  1. Stephen J. Cowley (2013). Naturalizing Language: Human Appraisal and (Quasi) Technology. AI and Society 28 (4):443-453.
    Using contemporary science, the paper builds on Wittgenstein’s views of human language. Rather than ascribing reality to inscription-like entities, it links embodiment with distributed cognition. The verbal or (quasi) technological aspect of language is traced to not action, but human specific interactivity. This species-specific form of sense-making sustains, among other things, using texts, making/construing phonetic gestures and thinking. Human action is thus grounded in appraisals or sense-saturated coordination. To illustrate interactivity at work, the paper focuses on a case study. Over (...)
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  2. Stephen J. Cowley (2012). Linguistic Fire and Human Cognitive Powers. Pragmatics and Cognition 20 (2):275-294.
    To view language as a cultural tool challenges much of what claims to be linguistic science while opening up a new people-centred linguistics. On this view, how we speak, think and act depends on, not just brains (or minds), but also cultural traditions. Yet, Everett is conservative: like others trained in distributional analysis, he reifies `words'. Though rejecting inner languages and grammatical universals, he ascribes mental reality to a lexicon . Reliant as he is on transcriptions, he takes the cognitivist (...)
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  3. Stephen J. Cowley (2012). Mimesis and Language: A Distributed View. Interaction Studies 13 (1):17-40.
    To unzip language from social behaviour one can hypothesise that language-systems are constituted by words and rules or, alternatively, constructions. The systems thus become autonomous and, if linked to individualist psychology, one can posit that each person’s brain operates a language faculty However, such views find little support in neuroscience. Brains self-organize by linking phonetic (and manual) gestures with action-perception. Far from being housed in the skull,language activity links people across time-scales. Not only does articulation give rise to speech but,together (...)
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  4. Joanna Raczaszek-Leonardi & Stephen J. Cowley (2012). The Evolution of Language as Controlled Collectivity. Interaction Studies 13 (1):1-16.
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  5. Machiel Keestra & Stephen J. Cowley (2011). Concepts – Not Just Yardsticks, but Also Heuristics: Rebutting Hacker and Bennett. Language Sciences 33 (3):464-472.
    In their response to our article (Keestra and Cowley, 2009), Hacker and Bennett charge us with failing to understand the project of their book Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience (PFN; Bennett and Hacker, 2003) and do this by discussing foundationalism, linguistic conservatism and the passivity of perception. In this rebuttal we explore disagreements that explain the alleged errors. First, we reiterate our substantial disagreement with Bennett and Hacker (B&H) regarding their assumption that, even regarding much debated concepts like ‘consciousness’, we can (...)
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  6. Stephen J. Cowley (2009). Distributed Language and Dynamics. Pragmatics and Cognition 17 (3):495-508.
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  7. Evridiki Fioratou & Stephen J. Cowley (2009). Insightful Thinking: Cognitive Dynamics and Material Artifacts. Pragmatics and Cognition 17 (3):549-572.
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  8. Stephen J. Cowley (2008). Meaning in Nature: Organic Manufacture? [REVIEW] Biosemiotics 1 (1):85-98.
    The paper examines Marcello Barbieri’s (2007) Introduction to Biosemiotics. Highlighting debate within the biosemiotic community, it focuses on what the volume offers to those who explain human intellect in relation to what Turing called our ‘physical powers.’ In scrutinising the basis of world-modelling, parallels and contrasts are drawn with other work on embodied-embedded cognition. Models dominate biology. Is this a qualitative fact or does it point to biomechanisms? In evaluating the 18 contributions, it is suggested that the answers will shape (...)
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  9. Tony Belpaeme & Stephen J. Cowley (2007). Extending Symbol Grounding. Interaction Studies 8 (1):1-16.
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  10. Stephen J. Cowley (2007). How Human Infants Deal with Symbol Grounding. Interaction Studies 8 (1):83-104.
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  11. Stephen J. Cowley (2007). The Cradle of Language : Making Sense of Bodily Connexions. In Danièle Moyal-Sharrock (ed.), Perspicuous Presentations: Essays on Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Psychology. Palgrave Macmillan.
     
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  12. Stephen J. Cowley (2006). Interaction Promotes Cognition: The Rise of Childish Minds. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):283-283.
    Life history shaped language as, cascading in time, social strategies became more verbal. Although the insight is important, Locke & Bogin (L&B) also advocate a code model of language. Rejecting this input-output view, I emphasize the interpersonal dynamics of dialogue. From this perspective, childish minds as well as language could be derived from the selective advantages of a total interactional history.
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  13. Stephen J. Cowley (2006). Language and Biosemiosis: Towards Unity? Semiotica 2006 (162):417-443.
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  14. Stephen J. Cowley (2005). In the Beginning: Word or Deed? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):493-494.
    Emphasizing that agents gain from culture-based patterns, I consider the etiology of meaning. Since the simulations show that “shared categories” are not based in learning, I challenge Steels & Belpaeme's (S&B's) folk view of language. Instead, I stress that meaning uses indexicals to set off a replicator process. Finally, I suggest that memetic patterns – not words – are the grounding of language.
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  15. Stephen J. Cowley (2004). Early Hominins, Utterance-Activity, and Niche Construction. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):509-510.
    Falk's argument takes for granted that “protolanguage” used a genetic propensity for producing word-forms. Using developmental evidence, I dispute this assumption and, instead, reframe the argument in terms of behavioral ecology. Viewed as niche-construction, putting the baby down can help clarify not only the origins of talk but also the capacity to modify what we are saying as we speak.
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  16. Stephen J. Cowley (1997). Conversation, Coordination, and Vertebrate Communication. Semiotica 115 (1-2):27-52.
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  17. Stephen J. Cowley & Karl MacDorman (1995). Simulating Convesations: The Communion Game. [REVIEW] AI and Society 9 (2-3):116-137.
    In their enthusiasm for programming, computational linguists have tended to lose sight of what humansdo. They have conceived of conversations as independent of sound and the bodies that produce it. Thus, implicit in their simulations is the assumption that the text is the essence of talk. In fact, unlike electronic mail, conversations are acoustic events. During everyday talk, human understanding depends both on the words spoken and on fine interpersonal vocal coordination. When utterances are analysed into sequences of word-based forms, (...)
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