The Life & Mind Seminar Network

Seminar #29: The ‘distributed’ view of language: what kind of language capabilities does a robot need?

Posted in Seminars by Ezequiel on December 3, 2007

On Wednesday 5th, 14:30 – 15:30, Room PEV1 2A03

Rob Clowes, from COGS, Sussex will be talking about:

The ‘distributed’ view of language: what kind of language capabilities does a robot need?

Traditionally, cognitive science has considered language as a tool for communication between fully-fledged cognitive systems, and the essence and structure of language to be dependent on ‘internal’ systems in some sense pre-specified by the brain. This encodingism and nativism has tended to imply certain ideas about thinking. Thought becomes figures as a ‘private language’, i.e. the privileged internal representational structure in which temporally extended mental processes – i.e. thinking – is carried out.

Some (fairly) recent moves in philosophy and robotics have helped us to reconceptualise language anew, in opposition to these encodingist, internalist and nativist assumptions, but at least in robotics language has still tended to be seen as distinct from thought. In this talk (in development for the forthcoming Distributed Language Group meeting in Portugal) I will consider a cognitive take on language which parts company from each of these traditional cognitivist assumptions and also the assumption that language and thought can be so easily set apart. Especially I want to consider what might be meant by  saying that language is distributed, and what implications this may have for robotics both theoretical and practical. However, these considerations rather problematise the question of what language is …

NOTE: This isn’t quite the last seminar of the term. There will be a special Life and Mind seminar on Wednesday 12th, by Giovanna Colombetti (Exeter) on: “Naturalism and affective science: From traditional to dynamical discrete emotions”. Watch this space!

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