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|A B C D E F G H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z &
- The Proper Study of Man
- I want to begin with the Cognitive Revolution as my point of departure. That revolution was intended to bring "mind" back into the human sciences after a long cold winter of objectivism.
- ... that revolution has now been diverted into issues that are marginal to the impulse that brought it into being. Indeed, it has been technicalized in a manner that even undermines that original impulse. This is not to say that it has failed: far from it, for cognitive science must surely be among the leading growth shares on the academic bourse.
- Some critics ... argue that the new cognitive science, the child of the revolution, has gained its technical successes at the price of dehumanizing the very concept of mind it had sought to reestablish in psychology, and that it has thereby estranged much of psychology from the other human sciences and the humanities.
- I ... want to turn ... to a preliminary exploration of a renewed cognitive revolution -- a more interpretive approach to cognition concerned with "meaning-making," one that has been proliferating these last several years in anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, literary theory, psychology, and ... wherever one looks these days.
- Now let me tell you ... what I and my friends thought the revolution was about back there in the late 1950s. It was ... an all-out effort to establish meaning as the central concept of psychology -- not stimuli and responses, not overtly observable behavior, not biological drives and their transformation, but meaning. It was not a revolution against behaviorism with the aim of transforming behaviorism into a better way of pursuing psychology by adding a little mentalism to it. [...] It was an altogether more profound revolution than that. Its aim was to discover and to describe formally the meanings that human beings created out of their encounters with the world, and then to propose hypotheses about what meaning-making processes were implicated. It focused upon the symbolic activities that human beings employed in constructing and in making sense not only of the world, but of themselves. Its aim was to prompt psychology to join forces with its sister interpretive disciplines in the humanities and in the social sciences. Indeed, beneath the surface of the more computationally oriented cognitive science, this is precisely what has been happening -- first slowly and now with increasing momentum.
- I think it should be clear to you by now that we were not out to "reform" behaviorism, but to replace it. As my colleague George Miller put it some years later, "We nailed our new credo to the door, and waited to see what would happen. All went very well, so well, in fact, that in the end we may have been the victims of our success."6
It would make an absorbing essay in the intellectual history of the last quarter-century to trace what happened to the originating impulse of the cognitive revolution, how it became fractionated and technicalized. The full story had best been left to the intellectual historians. All we need note now are a few signposts along the way, just enough of them to give a sense of the intellectual terrain on which we were all marching. Very early on ... emphasis began shifting from "meaning" to "information," from the construction of meaning to the processing of information. These are profoundly different matters. The key factor in the shift was the introduction of computation as the ruling metaphor and of computability as a necessary criterion of a good theoretical model. Information is indifferent with respect to meaning. In computational terms, information comprises an already precoded message in the system. Meaning is preassigned to messages. It is not an outcome of computation nor is it relevant to computation save in the arbitrary sense of assignment.
Information processing inscribes messages at or fetches them from an address in memory on instructions from a central control unit, or it holds them temporarily in a buffer store, and then manipulates them in prescribed ways: it lists, orders, combines, compares precoded information. The system that does all of these things is blind with respect to whether what is stored is words from Shakespeare's sonnets or numbers from a random number table. According to classic information theory, a message is informative if it reduces alternative choices. (pp. 3-4, blue-colored by WV) [c 1]
- Folk Psychology as an Instrument of Culture
- It simply will not do to reject the theoretical centrality of meaning for psychology on the grounds that it is "vague." Its vagueness was in the eye of yesterday's formalistic logician. We are beyond that now. (p. 65)
- Entry into Meaning
- I was particularly concerned to describe what I called "folk psychology".... I wanted to show how human beings, in interacting with one another, form a sense of the canonical and ordinary as a background against which to interpret and give narrative meaning to breaches in and deviations from "normal" states of the human conditions. Such narrative explications have the effect of framing the idiosyncratic in a "lifelike" fashion that can promote negotiation and avoid confrontational disruption and strife. I presented the case ... for a view of cultural meaning-making as a system concerned not solely with sense and reference but with "felicity conditions" -- the conditions by which differences in meaning can be resolved by invoking mitigating circumstances that account for divergent interpretations of "reality."
This method of negotiating and renegotiating meanings by mediation of narrative interpretation is, it seems to me, one of the crowning achievements of human development....
- I propose to examine some of the ways in which the young human being achieves (or realizes) the power of narrative, the ability not only to mark what is culturally canonical but to account for deviations that can be incorporated in narrative. (p. 68)
- I propose to discuss how quite young human beings "enter into meaning," how they learn to make sense, particularly narrative sense, of the world around them. (p.68)
- Literature/2003/Miller [^]
- Chomsky, Noam (1959). "A Review of B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior." Language, 35(1): 26-57. [^]
- Chomsky, Noam (1957). Syntactic Structures. The Hague: Mouton. [^]
- Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal Behavior. Acton, Massachusetts: Copley Publishing Group. [^]
- Literature/1956/Miller [^]
- Werner Abraham (1975). A Linguistic Approach to Metaphor. Lisse, Netherlands: Peter de Ridder Press. [^]
- Literature/1975/Anderson A [^]
- Literature/1975/Bandler [^]
- Literature/1975/Becker [^]
- Bobrow, Daniel G. & Allan M. Collins eds. (1975). Representation and Understanding: Studies in Cognitive Science (Language, Thought, and Culture). New York, NY: Academic Press. [^]
- Literature/1975/Burzan [^]
- Cole, Peter & Jerry L. Morgan, eds. (1975). Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3: Speech Act. New York: Academic Press. [^]
- Collins, Allan M. & Elizabeth F. Loftus (1975). "A Spreading-Activation Theory of Semantic Processing." Psychological Review (November 1975) 82 (6): 407-428. [^]
- Literature/1975/Culler [^]
- Douglas, Mary (1975). Implicit Meanings: Essays in Anthropology. Routledge. [^]
- Fodor, Jerry (1975). The Language of Thought. Harvard University Press. [^]
- Literature/1975/Gadamer [^]
- Literature/1975/Gardner [^]
- Grice, Paul (1975). "Logic and Conversation," pp. 41-58, in: Cole, Peter & Jerry L. Morgan eds. (1975). Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3: Speech Act. New York: Academic Press. [^]
- Hacking, Ian (1975). Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? Cambridge University Press. [^]
- Literature/1975/Hutchins [^]
- Leavis, Frank (1975). The Living Principle: 'English' as a Discipline of Thought. London: Chatto & Windus. [^]
- Literature/1975/Lewis [^]
- Literature/1975/Luckmann [^]
- Minsky, Marvin (1975). "A Framework for Representing Knowledge," in: Winston, Patrick, ed. (1975). The Psychology of Computer Vision. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 211-77. [^]
- Literature/1975/Norman [^]
- Pask, Gordon (1975). Conversation, Cognition and Learning. Elsevier. [^]
- Percy, Walker (1975). The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, and What One Has to Do with the Other. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. [^]
- Literature/1975/Piattelli-Palmarini [^]
- Literature/1975/Pocock [^]
- Polanyi, Michael & Harry Prosch (1975). Meaning. University of Chicago Press. [^]
- Putnam, Hilary (1975). Mind, Language and Reality, Philosophical Papers Vol. 2, Cambridge University Press. [^]
- Ricoeur, Paul (1975). The Rule of Metaphor: Multi-Disciplinary Studies in the Creation of Meaning in Language. Robert Czerny, Kathleen McLaughlin & John Costello, trans., London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978. [^]
- Literature/1975/Rumelhart [^]
- Schank, Roger C. (1975). "The Structure of Episodes in Memory," in: Literature/1975/Bobrow pp. 237-272. [^]
- Searle, John (1975). "Indirect Speech Acts," pp. 59-82, in: Cole, Peter & Jerry L. Morgan, eds. (1975). Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3: Speech Act. New York: Academic Press. [^]
- Sperber, Dan (1975). Rethinking Symbolism. Cambridge University Press. [^]
- Literature/1975/Suppes [^]
- Miller's view "All went very well" runs head-on into Bruner's view "Very early on ... emphasis began shifting from meaning to information." Yet both appear fatally false. All went very wrong indeed, shifting from "theory-thirsty" psychology to the dehumanizing automation and information theory (maybe attributable to MIT and Bell), until the start of AI winter (maybe attributable to MIT and CMU) around 1975 when every emphasis began shifting all of a sudden from information as signification in the database to information as significance or meaning in the user's mind, say,
- Polanyi's (1975) w: Meaning
- Douglas's (1975) w: Implicit Meanings
- Grice's (1975) w: implicature
- Ricoeur's (1975) w: metaphor
- Sperber's (1975) Rethinking Symbolism
- Putnam's (1975) w: semantic externalism
- Fodor's (1975) w: language of thought