Reaction to ‘linguistic meaning meets linguistic form in action’
Palavras-chave:Linguistic form, Enactivism, Materialism, Behaviorism
The enactivist position adopted by Figueiredo and Cuffari is argued to represent a return to a form of behaviorism which denies that mental content is constitutive of the meaning of linguistic signs in favour of the view that language is first and foremost a physical activity based on shared practices of bodily behaviour. This view is shown to be highly problematic, as it is unable to account for the fact that certain mental experiences have characteristic qualia that cannot be reduced to practices of bodily behaviour, nor for the fact that children’s linguistic abilities are radically underdetermined by the verbal behaviour to which they are exposed in the short period in which they develop these abilities. The Wittgensteinian view of ‘meaning as use’ adopted in the paper is subjected to a reductio ad absurdum, as it basically entails that there are no pots, but only uses of pots. The nature of the human mind, as attested to by quantum theory, Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem and natural language itself are argued to demonstrate that it cannot be reduced to the purely material level.
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