In recent years we have seen a dramatic shift, in several different areas of communication studies, from an information-theoretic to a dynamic systems paradigm. In an information processing system, communication, whether between cells, mammals, apes, or humans, is said to occur when one organism encodes information into a signal that is transmitted to another organism that decodes the signal. In a dynamic system, all of the elements are continuously interacting with and changing in respect to one another, and an aggregate (...) pattern emerges from this mutual co-action. Whereas the information-processing paradigm looks at communication as a linear, binary sequence of events, the dynamic systems paradigm looks at the relation between behaviors and how the whole configuration changes over time. One of the most dramatic examples of the significance of shifting from an information processing to a dynamic systems paradigm can be found in the debate over the interpretation of recent advances in ape language research (ALR). To some extent, many of the early ALR studies reinforced the stereotype that animal communication is functional and stimulus bound, precisely because they were based on an information-processing paradigm that promoted a static model of communicative development. But Savage-Rumbaugh's recent results with bonobos has introduced an entirely new dimension into this debate. Shifting the terms of the discussion from an information-processing to a dynamic systems paradigm not only highlights the striking differences between Savage-Rumbaugh's research and earlier ALR studies, but further, it sheds illuminating light on the factors that underpin the development of communication skills in great apes and humans, and the relationship between communicative development and the development of language. Key Words: apes; ape language research (ALR); brain development; co-regulation; communication; dynamic systems; language development; symbols. (shrink)
This paper presents the Functional/Emotional approach to language development, which explains the process leading up to the core capacities necessary for language; shows how this process leads to the formation of internal symbols; and how it shapes and is shaped by the child's development of language.
The Greeks had a ready answer for what happens when the mind suddenly finds the answer to a question for which it had been searching: insight was regarded as a gift of the Muses, its origins were divine. It served to highlight the Greeks'' belief that there are some things which are not meant to be scientifically explained. The essence of insight is that it comes from some supernatural source: unpredicted and unfettered. In other words, the origins of insight are (...) unconscious, and hence, unexplainable. Wittgenstein felt that, as long as there continues to be a noun expression like to have a moment of insight which functions in the same way as the expression to have a hunger pang, thereby inducing us to treat moment of insight as the name of an experience, then people will keep stumbling over the same puzzling difficulties and find themselves staring at something which no explanation seems capable of clearing up. To the founders of AI, this argument reeked of obscurantism. The moment of insight, they felt, is indeed a mystery, but it is one that begs to be explained in causal terms. Indeed, the problem of insight served as one of the leading problems in the evolution of AI. Hence anyone interested in the foundations of AI is compelled to examine the manner in which the early pioneers of the field sought to explain the eureka experience. In this paper I will look at some of the key conceptual developments which paved the way for Newell and Simon''s theory of GPS: the fundamental changes in the notion of the unconscious — the emergence of the cognitive unconscious — which took place in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century. In so doing, I hope to clarify what Wittgenstein may have had in mind in his strictures against mechanist attempts to analyse the nature of insight. (shrink)
This paper presents the Functional/Emotional approach to language development, which explains the process leading up to the core capacities necessary for language; shows how this process leads to the formation of internal symbols; and how it shapes and is shaped by the child’s development of language.
There is a striking parallel between w v o quine's 'indeterminacy of translation' thesis and k o apel's 'indeterminacy of textual interpretation thesis. both arguments are based on what is essentially the same 'sceptical dilemma'. the key to resolving these 'hermeneutic problems' is to recognize that such a 'sceptical problem' is unintelligible. this is precisely the point of wittgenstein's discussions of rule-following. many have misunderstood this, however, for they have misconstrued what was intended to be read as a "reductio ad (...) absurdum" establishing the "unintelligibility" of the dilemma, as a sceptical attack on the possibility of our ever solving the problem. (shrink)