Publication 6194

Inkpin A. (2016) Phenomenology of language in a 4e world. In: Reynolds J. & Sebold R. (eds.) Phenomenology and science. Palgrave Macmillan, New York: 141–159. Fulltext at
The topic suggested by this chapter’s title might seem an unlikely one. On the one hand, phenomenology of language is something of a neglected field. This is perhaps partly because historically phenomenologists have been reluctant to venture into the supposed linguistic territory of analytic philosophy, tending instead to focus either more broadly on consciousness, disclosure, or signs, or on the views of language in individual authors. On the other hand, cognitive science in the ‘4e’ tradition – that highlighting the embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended nature of cognition – is generally understood to be defined by a turn away from language. More specifically, it distances itself from the earlier ‘representationalist’ approach in cognitive science, which took all human cognition to be essentially linguistic in form and in principle capable of being modelled algorithmically as a system of language-like ‘rules and representations’. 1 Consequently, despite recognizing that the role of language ultimately needs to be understood, most work in the 4e tradition focuses on nonlinguistic phenomena to correct the earlier overemphasis on language. Thus, it might seem that the title of this chapter gestures into a void.

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