Reconciling Embodied and Distributional Accounts of Meaning in Language

Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (3):359-370 (2014)
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Over the past 15 years, there have been two increasingly popular approaches to the study of meaning in cognitive science. One, based on theories of embodied cognition, treats meaning as a simulation of perceptual and motor states. An alternative approach treats meaning as a consequence of the statistical distribution of words across spoken and written language. On the surface, these appear to be opposing scientific paradigms. In this review, we aim to show how recent cross-disciplinary developments have done much to reconcile these two approaches. The foundation to these developments has been the recognition that intralinguistic distributional and sensory-motor data are interdependent. We describe recent work in philosophy, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and computational modeling that are all based on or consistent with this conclusion. We conclude by considering some possible directions for future research that arise as a consequence of these developments



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References found in this work

Minds, brains, and programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
Perceptual symbol systems.Lawrence W. Barsalou - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (4):577-660.
Minds, Brains, and Programs.John Searle - 1980 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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