Sunday, May 26, 2013


Continuing from this post, also see this post et seq on the topic earlier in the thread.

I’ve cited this article before but it’s relevant here as well: “We are live creatures” by Johnson and Roher (in Body, Language and Mind). A couple of excerpts with commentary to follow:

The patterns of human-environment interaction are described as “image schemas that ground meaning in our embodiment and yet are not internal representations of an external reality. This leads to an account of an emergent rationality that is embodied, social and creative” (21) (my bolding).

“The fundamental assumption of the Pragmatists’ naturalistic approach is that everything we attribute to ‘mind’…has emerged (and continues to develop) as part of a process in which an organism seeks to survive, grow and flourish within different kinds of situations” (21-2).

For now note that image schemas are not merely internal translations of an outside event like endo-relations: they are just as much outside the organism as within it. It seems endo-relations can be loosely called a suobject’s ‘mind’ in that it is what translates the outside stimulus into its own terms. But with image schemas (IS) there is no strictly inside translating an outside. ISs are in the specific and particular inner-outer assemblage or coupling.

On p. 34 of WALC they discuss mirror neurons, which facilitate and activate the same image schemata in one humanoid observing another doing some activity. That is, the first one doesn't have to do the same act but nonetheless its system is activated by a sort of sympathetic resonance. The same is true of thoughts and ideas transmitted through writing. Given humans share a highly similar structure thoughts and feelings are shared and activated from without. And given the similarities of our human embodiment those thoughts and feelings are much more alike than they are different, so that we can say for practical purposes that the thoughts or feelings so received are virtually as they were transmitted from outside.

"Recent research on primates suggest that it is the distinctively human socio-cultural environment...that facilitates the cross-modal cognitive capabilities underlying language and abstract reason.... We tend to off-load much of our cognition onto the environment we create.... We make cognitive artifacts to help us engage in complex cognitive actions and...we distribute cognition among members of a social organization" (45).

And recall this post, wherein I quoted Clark's paper "Beyond the flesh":

"Words are...the concrete objects that structure new spaces for basic forms of learning and reason.... Language is thus conceived as primarily a form of environmental structuring rather than as an information stream requiring translation into and out of various inner codes" (2-3).

No comments:

Post a Comment

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