Publication 5365

van Dijk L. (2016) Laying down a path in talking. Philosophical Psychology 29(7): 993–1003. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/5365
This paper aims to provide a starting point for a non-representational approach to language. It will do so by undoing some of the reifying tendencies that are at the heart of the ontology of scientific psychology. Although non-representational theories are beginning to emerge, they remain committed to giving explanations in terms of ontological structures that are independent of human activity. If they maintain this commitment it is unlikely that they will displace representationalism in domains such as language. By following some of Wittgenstein’s remarks on language, I explain the phenomenon of reification by carefully considering the formative, situational flow of language – thus without invoking representations. In this way, the paper sketches a direction of approach for a non-representational theory of language, undercutting the most important assumptions that justify an explanatory ontology devoid of human activity.

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