The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Cognitive Linguistics

The US linguist George Lakoff is critical of Chomsky's theory on philosophical grounds: Chomsky's theory belongs to the old logical-analytical tradition, because Chomsky embraced logical formalism and several of Descartes' assumptions while neglecting how thinking and language rest on bodily experience.  Lakoff does not believe in an innate, universal grammar.  Lakoff does not believe that the structure of language is independent of meaning.

Lakoff's "cognitive linguistics" rests on the opposite assumption that language (like anything else in mental life) is grounded in our bodily experience. Language is embodied, which means that its structure reflects our bodily experience. Syntax is a consequence (not a prerequisite) of concepts.  Our bodily experience creates concepts that are then abstracted into syntactic categories. Syntax is a direct consequence of our bodily experience, not an innate property. It is shared (to some degree) by all humans for the simple reason that we all share roughly the same bodily experience.


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