Communication as Navigation: A New Role for Consciousness in Language

Topoi 33 (1):263-274 (2014)
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Abstract

Classical cognitive science has been characterized by an association with the computational theory of mind. Although this association has produced highly significant results, it has also limited the scope of scientific psychology. In this paper, we analyse the limits of the specific kind of computational model represented by the Chomskian-Fodorian tradition in the study of mind and language. In our opinion, the adhesion to the principle of formality imposed by this specific computational model has motivated the exclusion of consciousness in the reflection on language and, consequently, has led to the inability to account for some aspects of language functioning at the processing level of discourse. The aim of this article is to restore the role of consciousness in discourse comprehension and production processes. Specifically, we argue that the ability to produce and understand discourses is based on individuals’ capacity for navigation in space and time. We will show that the space–time orientation is guaranteed by the projection of the self, which involves a special kind of consciousness

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Erica Cosentino
Ruhr-Universität Bochum