This paper presents the Functional/Emotional approach to language development, which explains the process leading up to the core capacities necessary for language (e.g., pattern-recognition, joint attention); shows how this process leads to the formation of internal symbols; and how it shapes and is shaped by the child’s development of language. The heart of this approach is that, through a series of affective transformations, a child develops these core capacities and the capacity to form meaningful symbols. Far from being a sudden (...) jump, the transition from pre-symbolic communication to language is enabled by the advances taking place in the child’s affective gesturing. (shrink)
Our starting point for the origins of language goes beyond prosody or infant-directed speech to highlight the affective, multimodal, and co-constructed nature of meaning-making that was likely present before the split between African great apes and hominins. Analysis of vocal and gestural caregiving practices in hominins, and of meaning-making via gestural interaction in African great apes, supports our thesis.
In recent years we have seen a dramatic shift, in several different areas of communication studies, from an information-theoretic to a dynamic systems paradigm. In an information processing system, communication, whether between cells, mammals, apes, or humans, is said to occur when one organism encodes information into a signal that is transmitted to another organism that decodes the signal. In a dynamic system, all of the elements are continuously interacting with and changing in respect to one another, and an aggregate (...) pattern emerges from this mutual co-action. Whereas the information-processing paradigm looks at communication as a linear, binary sequence of events, the dynamic systems paradigm looks at the relation between behaviors and how the whole configuration changes over time. One of the most dramatic examples of the significance of shifting from an information processing to a dynamic systems paradigm can be found in the debate over the interpretation of recent advances in ape language research (ALR). To some extent, many of the early ALR studies reinforced the stereotype that animal communication is functional and stimulus bound, precisely because they were based on an information-processing paradigm that promoted a static model of communicative development. But Savage-Rumbaugh's recent results with bonobos has introduced an entirely new dimension into this debate. Shifting the terms of the discussion from an information-processing to a dynamic systems paradigm not only highlights the striking differences between Savage-Rumbaugh's research and earlier ALR studies, but further, it sheds illuminating light on the factors that underpin the development of communication skills in great apes and humans, and the relationship between communicative development and the development of language. Key Words: apes; ape language research (ALR); brain development; co-regulation; communication; dynamic systems; language development; symbols. (shrink)
Jerome Bruner is one of the grand figures of psychology. From his role as a founder of the cognitive revolution in the 1950s to his recent advocacy of cultural psychology, Bruner's influence has been dramatic and far-reaching. Such is the breadth of his vision that Bruner's work has inspired thinkers in many of the major areas of psychology and has had a powerful impact on adjacent disciplines. His writings on language acquisition, culture and education are of profound and enduring importance. (...) Focusing on the dominant themes of language, culture and self, this volume provides a comprehensive exploration of Bruner's fertile ideas and a considered appraisal of his legacy. With a distinguished list of contributors including Jerome Bruner himself, the result is an outstanding volume of interest to students and scholars in psychology, philosophy, cognitive science, anthropology, linguistics, and education. Among the contributors are Judy Dunn, Howard Gardner, Clifford Geertz, Rom Harré, David Olson, Edward Reed, Talbot Taylor, Michael Tomasello, and John Shotter. The volume is framed by an editorial introduction that considers the distinctively philosophical dimensions of Bruner's thought, and a final chapter by Bruner himself in which he re-examines prominent themes in his work in light of issues raised by the contributors. The volume will be invaluable to students and researchers in the fields of psychology, cognitive science, education, and the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In this lucid and meticulously researched book, Stuart Shanker discusses the theories expounded by Wittgenstein on the philosophy and psychology of cognitive science and the development of artificial intelligence.
Volume 9 of the Routledge History of Philosophy surveys ten key topics in the Philosophy of Science, Logic and Mathematics in the Twentieth Century. Each article is written by one of the world's leading experts in that field. The papers provide a comprehensive introduction to the subject in question, and are written in a way that is accessible to philosophy undergraduates and to those outside of philosophy who are interested in these subjects. Each chapter contains an extensive bibliography of the (...) major writings in the field. Among the topics covered are the philosophy of logic; Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus; a survey of logical positivism; the philosophy of physics and of science; probability theory and cybernetics. (shrink)
Reading through Mechanica1 Intelligence, volume III of Alan Turing's Collected Works, one begins to appreciate just how propitious Turing's timing was. If Turing's major accomplishment in ‘On Computable Numbers’ was to expose the epistemological premises built into formalism, his main achievement in the 1940s was to recognize the extent to which this outlook both harmonized with and extended contemporary psychological thought. Turing sought to synthesize these diverse mathematical and psychological elements so as to forge a union between ‘embodied rules’ and (...) ‘learning programs’. Through their joint service in the Mechanist Thesis each would validate the other: and the frameworks from whence each derived. In this paper I will try to show how Turing's psychological thesis forces us to reassess the consequences of establishing AI on the epistemological foundation that underlies behaviourism. (shrink)
The Greeks had a ready answer for what happens when the mind suddenly finds the answer to a question for which it had been searching: insight was regarded as a gift of the Muses, its origins were divine. It served to highlight the Greeks'' belief that there are some things which are not meant to be scientifically explained. The essence of insight is that it comes from some supernatural source: unpredicted and unfettered. In other words, the origins of insight are (...) unconscious, and hence, unexplainable. Wittgenstein felt that, as long as there continues to be a noun expression like to have a moment of insight which functions in the same way as the expression to have a hunger pang, thereby inducing us to treat moment of insight as the name of an experience, then people will keep stumbling over the same puzzling difficulties and find themselves staring at something which no explanation seems capable of clearing up. To the founders of AI, this argument reeked of obscurantism. The moment of insight, they felt, is indeed a mystery, but it is one that begs to be explained in causal terms. Indeed, the problem of insight served as one of the leading problems in the evolution of AI. Hence anyone interested in the foundations of AI is compelled to examine the manner in which the early pioneers of the field sought to explain the eureka experience. In this paper I will look at some of the key conceptual developments which paved the way for Newell and Simon''s theory of GPS: the fundamental changes in the notion of the unconscious — the emergence of the cognitive unconscious — which took place in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century. In so doing, I hope to clarify what Wittgenstein may have had in mind in his strictures against mechanist attempts to analyse the nature of insight. (shrink)