Saturday, May 25, 2013

The embodied mind extended

Earlier in the IPS OOO thread* I questioned that thoughts were non-substantial elements instead of fully substantial suobjects in themselves. Granted we can 'think' prior to language but language certainly extends that process per the embodied mind thesis. I also brought in the extended mind thesis to support my speculations. Along that line I just discovered this article over at Integral Options, "The embodied mind extended." It's nice when 'science' in some ways confirms my theoretical musings. The abstract:

"The extended mind view and the embodied-grounded view of cognition and language are typically considered as rather independent perspectives. In this paper we propose a possible integration of the two views and support it proposing the idea of 'Words As social Tools' (WAT). In this respect, we will propose that words, also due to their social and public character, can be conceived as quasi-external devices that extend our cognition. Moreover, words function like tools in that they enlarge the bodily space of action thus modifying our sense of body. To support our proposal, we review the relevant literature on tool-use and on words as tools and report recent evidence indicating that word use leads to an extension of space close to the body. In addition, we outline a model of the neural processes that may underpin bodily space extension via word use and may reflect possible effects on cognition of the use of words as external means. We also discuss how reconciling the two perspectives can help to overcome the limitations they encounter if considered independently."

* Like here and following.

1 comment:

  1. For example, the following excerpt seems to lend support to my notion that image schema through language are extended into the environment and are not just part of our internal, interpretive apparatus. (Note: EG = embodied-grounded, EM = extended mind.)

    "Not only tools but words as well can be considered as physical things. They are expressed through our bodies, be they spoken or written, and once pronounced or written they have a material and public existence, similarly to tools.... Now consider the relationship between words and body according to EG theories and the relationship between words and mind according to the EM view. EG theorists demonstrated that comprehending words activates the motor system. EM theorists propose that, as tools extend our body schema, 'language extends our capacities for thought and therefore can be treated as extending our mind schema' . In fact, it has been shown that language modifies cognition, for example influencing perception and categorization, in a flexible manner. But so far nobody has shown that word use might recode our bodily space with respect to objects, as it happens for physical tools. Notice that the parallel between words and tools is not only abstract and metaphorical; in contrast, we formulate the precise prediction, to be tested experimentally, that both words and physical tools have a specific effect on cognition, i.e., that their use determines an expansion of the bodily space representations. Demonstrating this would imply to apply the notion of incorporation to the 'ethereal' domain of language. At the same time, it could help reconcile the EG and the EM view."


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.