•  127
    Language as a disruptive technology: Abstract concepts, embodiment and the flexible mind
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 1752 (373): 1-9. 2018.
    A growing body of evidence suggests that cognition is embodied and grounded. Abstract concepts, though, remain a significant theoretical chal- lenge. A number of researchers have proposed that language makes an important contribution to our capacity to acquire and employ concepts, particularly abstract ones. In this essay, I critically examine this suggestion and ultimately defend a version of it. I argue that a successful account of how language augments cognition should emphasize its symbolic …Read more
  •  42
    Consciousness and Physicalism: A Defense of a Research Program explores the nature of consciousness and its place in the world, offering a revisionist account of what it means to say that consciousness is nothing over and above the physical. By synthesizing work in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of science from the last twenty years and forging a dialogue with contemporary research in the empirical sciences of the mind, Andreas Elpidorou and Guy Dove advance and defend a nov…Read more
  •  220
    Three symbol ungrounding problems: Abstract concepts and the future of embodied cognition
    Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 4 (23): 1109-1121. 2016.
    A great deal of research has focused on the question of whether or not concepts are embodied as a rule. Supporters of embodiment have pointed to studies that implicate affective and sensorimotor systems in cognitive tasks, while critics of embodiment have offered nonembodied explanations of these results and pointed to studies that implicate amodal systems. Abstract concepts have tended to be viewed as an important test case in this polemical debate. This essay argues that we need to move beyond…Read more
  •  426
    The Phenomenal Concept Strategy offers the physicalist perhaps the most promising means of explaining why the connection between mental facts and physical facts appears to be contingent even though it is not. In this article, we show that the large body of evidence suggesting that our concepts are often embodied and grounded in sensorimotor systems speaks against standard forms of the PCS. We argue, nevertheless, that it is possible to formulate a novel version of the PCS that is thoroughly in k…Read more
  •  1
    Rethinking the Biology of Grammar: Development and the Language Faculty
    Dissertation, The University of Chicago. 2002.
    This essay proposes and defends a developmentally oriented alternative to the genetic nativism which dominates generative linguistics. According to the rationalist orthodoxy, language acquisition involves an innate body of universal grammatical knowledge which is triggered by experience. The alternative offered in this paper is that the acquisition of grammar involves a process of constructive interaction between the child and her environment. Her knowledge of grammar emerges through the dynamic…Read more
  •  84
    Thinking in Words: Language as an Embodied Medium of Thought
    Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (3): 371-389. 2014.
    Recently, there has been a great deal of interest in the idea that natural language enhances and extends our cognitive capabilities. Supporters of embodied cognition have been particularly interested in the way in which language may provide a solution to the problem of abstract concepts. Toward this end, some have emphasized the way in which language may act as form of cognitive scaffolding and others have emphasized the potential importance of language-based distributional information. This ess…Read more
  •  19
    An additional heterogeneity hypothesis
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3). 2010.
    In this commentary, I make three points concerning Machery's response to neo-empiricism. First, his methodological critique fails to remove the threat that neo-empiricism poses to his conceptual eliminativism. Second, evidence suggests that there are multiple semantic codes, some of which are not perceptually based. Third, this representational heterogeneity thwarts neo-empiricism but also raises questions with respect to how we should
  •  29
    Intermediate representations exclude embodiment
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (4). 2013.
    Given that Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) account integrates language production and comprehension, it is reasonable to ask whether it is compatible with embodied cognition. I argue that its dependence on rich intermediate representations of linguistic structure excludes embodiment. Two options are available to supporters of embodied cognition: They can adopt a more liberal notion of embodiment or they can attempt to replace these intermediate representations with robustly embodied ones. Both of t…Read more
  •  58
    Recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience suggests that certain cognitive processes employ perceptual representations. Inspired by this evidence, a few researchers have proposed that cognition is inherently perceptual. They have developed an innovative theoretical approach that rests on the notion of perceptual simulation and marshaled several general arguments supporting the centrality of perceptual representations to concepts. In this article, I identify a number of weaknesses in these argum…Read more
  •  40
    Redefining Physicalism
    Topoi 37 (3): 513-522. 2018.
    Philosophers have traditionally treated physicalism as an empirically informed metaphysical thesis. This approach faces a well-known problem often referred to as Hempel’s dilemma: formulations of physicalism tend to be either false or indeterminate. The generally preferred strategy to address this problem involves an appeal to a hypothetical complete and ideal physical theory. After demonstrating that this strategy is not viable, I argue that we should redefine physicalism as an interdisciplinar…Read more
  •  30
    Grammar as a developmental phenomenon
    Biology and Philosophy 27 (5): 615-637. 2012.
    More and more researchers are examining grammar acquisition from theoretical perspectives that treat it as an emergent phenomenon. In this essay, I argue that a robustly developmental perspective provides a potential explanation for some of the well-known crosslinguistic features of early child language: the process of acquisition is shaped in part by the developmental constraints embodied in von Baer’s law of development. An established model of development, the Developmental Lock, captures and…Read more
  •  28
    The Geometry of Meaning, by Peter Gärdenfors
    Mind 125 (498): 578-582. 2016.
  •  14