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Between Language and Consciousness: Linguistic Qualia, Awareness, and Cognitive Models


The main goal of the paper is to present a putative role of consciousness in language capacity. The paper contrasts the two approaches characteristic for cognitive semiotics and cognitive science. Language is treated as a mental phenomenon and a cognitive faculty (in contrast to approaches that define language as a primarily social phenomenon). The analysis of language activity is based on the Chalmers’ (1996) distinction between the two forms of consciousness: phenomenal (simply “consciousness”) and psychological (“awareness”). The approach is seen as an alternative to phenomenological analyses typical for cognitive semiotics.

Further, a cognitive model of the language faculty is described. The model is implemented in SNePS/GLAIR architecture and based on GATN grammar and semantic networks as a representation formalism. The model - reflecting traditionally distinguished linguistic structures (Jackendoff 2002: 198) - consists of phonological, syntactic, and semantic modules.

I claim that the most important role in the phenomenon of language (and in explanations thereof) is played by psychological consciousness. Phenomenal consciousness accompanies various stages of language functioning (e.g. linguistic qualia), but is not indispensable in explanations of the language faculty.

Calendario de la edición:
4 veces al año
Temas de la revista:
Philosophy, other