On the Virtues of Theft Over Honest Toil: Grounding Language and Thought in Sensorimotor Categories

Harnad, Stevan (1996) On the Virtues of Theft Over Honest Toil: Grounding Language and Thought in Sensorimotor Categories. [Conference Paper] (Unpublished)

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What language allows us to do is to steal categories through hearsay instead of having to earn them through the honest toil of learning them from direct exposure and trial and error feedback from the consequences of miscategorisation. To make us capable of theft, however, the content-bearing symbols of language must ultimately be grounded in categories that have been earned through honest toil (unless "prepared" by Darwinian theft); it cannot be linguistic theft all the way down. Category names must be grounded in the capacity to sort, label and interact with the proximal sensorimotor projections of their distal members in a way which coheres systematically with their interpretations, singly, and strung together to express propositions.

Item Type:Conference Paper
Keywords:language evolution, frame problem, symbol grounding, categorical perception, categorization, perceptual learning, menaing
Subjects:Biology > Evolution
Computer Science > Language
Psychology > Perceptual Cognitive Psychology
ID Code:1626
Deposited By:Harnad, Stevan
Deposited On:19 Jun 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

References in Article

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