Language as a Tool. An Insight From Cognitive Science

Open access

Abstract

In this paper it has been argued that the theory of conceptual maps developed recently by Paul M. Churchland provides support for Wittgenstein’s claim that language is a tool for acting in the world. The role of language is to coordinate and shape the conceptual maps of the members of the given language community, reducing the cross-individual cognitive idiosyncrasies and paving the way for joint cognitive enterprises. Moreover, Churchland’s theory also explains our tendency to speak of language as consisting of concepts which correspond to things we encounter in the world. The puzzle of common sense reference is no longer a puzzle: while at the fundamental level language remains a tool for orchestrating conceptual maps, the fact that the maps encode some communally shared categorization of experience fuels our talk of concepts capturing the essences of things, natural kinds, prototypes, etc.

1. Brożek, B. Rule-Following. From Imitation to the Normative Mind, Kraków: Copernicus Center Press, 2013.

2. Brożek, B., Hohol, M. Umysł matematyczny, Kraków: Copernicus Center Press, 2014

3. Brożek, B., Olszewski, A. “The Mathematics of the Transcendental Ego”, Copernicus Center Reports 2, 2011, 75-124.

4. Churchland, P.M. Plato’s Camera How the Physical Brain Captures a Landscape of Abstract Universals, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press 2012.

5. Descartes, R. The Principles of Philosophy, translated by J. Veitch, http://www.gutenberg.org/, 1901.

6. Gärdenfors, P. Conceptual Spaces: The Geometry of Thought, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2000.

7. Gärdenfors, P. The Geometry of Meaning: Semantics Based on Conceptual Spaces, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2014.

8. Fodor, J. The Language of Thought, Crowell Press: New York, 1975.

9. Hamming, R. “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics”, The American Mathematical Monthly, 87(2), 1980, p. 81-90.

10. Kant, I. Critique of Pure Reason, translated by P. Guyer and A.W. Wood, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 1998.

11. Locke, L. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Hazleton: Pennsylvania University Press, 2009

12. Margolis, E., Laurence, S. “Concepts”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), E.N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2014/entries/concepts/>.

13. Müller, M. “On Thought and Language”, Monist 1(4), 1891, p. 572-589.

14. Pais, A. Niels Bohr’s Times in Physics, Philosophy, and Polity, Oxford – New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

15. Tomasello, M. The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

16. Vygotsky, L. Thought and Language, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Unviersity Press, 1986.

17. Winger, W. “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences”, Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics 13(1), 1960, p. 1-14.

18. Wittgenstein, L. Philosophical Investigations, translated by G.E.M. Anscombe, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986.

Journal Information

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 128 128 14
PDF Downloads 35 35 7