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Notice

AISB event Bulletin Item

TODAY! Whitehead Lecture 24th November - STEPHEN COWLEY - Linguistic sense-making: from Maturana to biosemiotics


The fifth Whitehead lecture of autumn term 2010 will be given by Dr. Stephen Cowley, Psychology, Hertfordshire University, at 4 pm on Wednesday 24th November 2010, and will be entitled "Linguistic sense-making: from Maturana to biosemiotics". An abstract for the lecture and short biography for the speaker are appended below.

The lecture will take place on 20th October at 4pm in the Ben Pimlott lecture theatre at Goldsmiths College .

Everyone is very welcome to attend the lecture and a drinks reception afterwards.

PLEASE ADVERTISE: a colour display poster can be downloaded from 


Linguistic sense-making: from Maturana to biosemiotics
============================================
- Dr. Stephen Cowley

ABSTRACT: In dialogue, language spreads through brain, body and the world. What we ordinarily do eludes models of autonomous 'language systems' or how we manipulate material linguistic symbols. Rather, while having a local aspect language is also non-localizable. It is, at once measurable and traceable to a community's history. Accordingly, its phylogenetic, ontogenetic and microgenetic manifestations are most suitably traced to languaging. In recent years, there has been a boom in theoretical and empirical work that addresses how people language. New importance has been given to pico-scale resonances (lasting tens of milliseconds). Languaging is (1) biocognitive; (2) depends on particularities; and (3) prompts situation transcending 'thoughts'.  How is this to be explained? In this paper, I contrast De Jaegher and Di  Paolo's (2007) participatory sense-making with approaches based in the principles of biosemiotics.  It is stressed that languaging (1)  traces its ontology to relations -not the observable;  (2) can use semantic biology to explain how autopoiesis uses natural artefacts (including DNA); and (3) allows life -and language -to treat autonomous agents (including humans) as resources used in expanding into a changing possibility space.  It is shown that these principles can be used to clarify how linguistic activity integrates virtual, dynamical and material features whose origins and functions draw on quite different histories. While participatory sense-making is a valuable model for enactivist simulations, in itself it is far from sufficient to ground linguistic sense-making.

BRIEF BIO: Stephen Cowley is a Senior Lecturer in Developmental psychology at the university of Hertfordshire UK.  While his PhD was in Linguistics, since 2000, he has lectured on Cognitive Science and Psychology. He founded and co-ordinates the Distributed Language Group. This international group of scholars aims to replace code models of language with naturalistic approaches to the directed, dialogical activity that gives human intelligence a collective dimension. In empirical work, Stephen has pursued this around how we resonate with and resist other people's voices, mother-infant interactions, social robotics and how decisions come to be made during medical simulation.