Distributed Language
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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This paper explores the hypothesis that first-order linguistic activities are better understood in terms of ecological, values-realizing dynamics rather than in terms of rule-governed processes. Conversing, like other perception-action skills (e.g., driving) is constrained by multiple values, heterarchically organized. This hypothesis is explored in terms of three broad approaches that contrast with models of language which view it as a cognitive system: (1) conversing as a perceptual system for exploring dialogical arrays (Hodges 2007a); (2) conversing as an action system for integrating diverse space-time scales (Van Orden 2007); and (3) conversing as a caring system for embodying the context-sensitivity and interdependency necessary to realize values (Hodges 2007b). Approaching language as a caring action-perception system leads to a reconsideration of cognitive dimensions of linguistic activities, including consciousness, pragmatics, suffering, and hope.


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