Chapter

Symbolism, embodied cognition, and the broader debate

Lawrence Shapiro

in Symbols and Embodiment

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199217274
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191696060 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217274.003.0004
Symbolism, embodied cognition, and the broader debate

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This chapter begins with a discussion of Searle's Chinese room, showing how it is supposed to render obvious the folly inherent in the symbolist's folly. It argues that the Chinese room does not show that symbolic approaches to cognition are deficient; that is the Chinese room contains nothing that need worry a good old-fashioned symbolist. It also argues that the same resources a symbolist can marshal in response to Searle work equally well to deflect the charge that one must turn to embodied cognition to avoid the symbolist's folly. It focuses on Barsalou's important work on perceptual symbol systems. It suggests a positive motivation for embodied cognition. Embodied cognition proposes new ways to conceive of the role of representation in cognition, new ways that promise to provide better and simpler accounts of cognition than those that insist on traditional conceptions of representation.

Keywords: Searle's Chinese room; symbolist; Barsalou; perceptual symbol systems; embodied cognition; representation; cognition

Chapter.  9661 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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