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Michał B. Paradowski – It’s not over our heads: Why human language needs a body
@ 10:30 - 12:00
In the ‘orthodox’ view, cognition has been seen as manipulation of symbolic, mental representations, separate from the body. This dualist Cartesian approach characterised much of twentieth-century thought and is still taken for granted by many people today.
Language, too, has for a long time been treated across scientific domains as a system operating largely independently from perception, action, and the body (articulatory-perceptual organs notwithstanding). This could lead one into believing that to emulate linguistic behaviour, it would suffice to develop ‘software’ operating on abstract representations that would work on any computational machine.
Yet the brain is not the sole problem-solving resource we have at our disposal. The disembodied picture is inaccurate for numerous reasons, which will be presented addressing the issue of the indissoluble link between cognition, language, body, and environment in understanding and learning. The talk will conclude with implications and suggestions for pedagogy, relevant for disciplines as diverse as instruction in language, mathematics, and sports.