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Foreword: Pointing: where embodied cognition meets the symbolic mind

By David Leavens

Abstract

As this foreword is written, at the dawn of the 21st Century, the cognitive sciences are in epistemological ferment. The exuberant optimism of the late 20th-Century adaptationist programme has, itself, started to fragment like the many fingers of a wave against the implacable shore of empirical reality. Dramatic new directions in the philosophy of mind (enactivism, embodied cognition, distributed cognition) and in developmental psychology (dynamic systems theory) are beginning to mature. This special issue, Pointing: Where Embodied Cognition meets the Symbolic Mind, edited by Massimiliano Cappuccio, brings together in one volume an incendiary mix of the emerging generation of philosophers and language researchers, who bring their diverse perspectives to moor on one of the most fascinating phenomena in human development: the ability to co-orient in both space and time to a common focus with what seems, on the face of it, to be a simple pointing gesture. The emerging significance of research and analysis pertaining to pointing reflects a recent phase shift in the sciences concerned with mind and behaviour. To put these innovations in context, it might be worthwhile to review the sweeping upheavals that have recently occurred in the conceptual bedrocks of psychology and the philosophy of language

Topics: BD143, BF0038
Publisher: EDIZIONI ETS - Pisa
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:sro.sussex.ac.uk:45195

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