Blind men, elephants, and dancing information processors

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (5):645-646 (2002)
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Abstract

Whatever else language may be, it is complex and multifaceted. Shanker & King (S&K) have tried to contrast a dynamic interactive view of language with an information processing view. I take issue with two main claims: first, that the dynamic interactive view of language is a “new paradigm” in either animal research or human language studies; and second, that the dynamic systems language-as-dance view of language is in any way incompatible with an information-processing view of language. That some information is defined in coregulated social interaction guarantees the dancing. That all information is composed of relevant differences guarantees the information processing.

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