Language as a disruptive technology: Abstract concepts, embodiment and the flexible mind

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 1752 (373):1-9 (2018)
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Abstract

A growing body of evidence suggests that cognition is embodied and grounded. Abstract concepts, though, remain a significant theoretical chal- lenge. A number of researchers have proposed that language makes an important contribution to our capacity to acquire and employ concepts, particularly abstract ones. In this essay, I critically examine this suggestion and ultimately defend a version of it. I argue that a successful account of how language augments cognition should emphasize its symbolic properties and incorporate a view of embodiment that recognizes the flexible, multi- modal and task-related nature of action, emotion and perception systems. On this view, language is an ontogenetically disruptive cognitive technology that expands our conceptual reach.

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Author's Profile

Guy Dove
University of Louisville

References found in this work

Metaphors we live by.George Lakoff & Mark Johnson - 1980 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Mark Johnson.
The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
The Language of Thought.J. A. Fodor - 1978 - Critica 10 (28):140-143.

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