Philosophical Psychology 19 (3):291-307 (2006)
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|
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References found in this work BETA
Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again.Andy Clark - 1997 - MIT Press.
A Neurocomputational Perspective: The Nature of Mind and the Structure of Science.Paul M. Churchland - 1989 - MIT Press.
Citations of this work BETA
The Psychology of Memory, Extended Cognition, and Socially Distributed Remembering.John Sutton, Celia B. Harris, Paul G. Keil & Amanda J. Barnier - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):521-560.
Mathematical Symbols as Epistemic Actions.De Cruz Helen & De Smedt Johan - 2013 - Synthese 190 (1):3-19.
Extended Cognition and Fixed Properties: Steps to a Third-Wave Version of Extended Cognition. [REVIEW]Michael David Kirchhoff - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):287-308.
An Extended Mind Perspective on Natural Number Representation.Helen De Cruz - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):475 – 490.
Language as a Tool for Interacting Minds.Kristian Tylén, Ethan Weed, Mikkel Wallentin, Andreas Roepstorff & Chris D. Frith - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (1):3-29.
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