Brownian thought space

Cognitive science, mostly, but more a sometimes structured random walk about things.

My Photo
Location: Rochester, United States

Chronically curious モ..

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Concept acquisition in Relevance Theory

[This is parenthetical to the previous] One thing I don't really get is how concepts are acquired in Rel-T. If I understand well, Sperber distinguishes (like many many others; most famously Jerry Fodor) concepts that can be expressed as lexical items (like DOG) and concepts that require phrases of some kind (like SMALL-YAPPY-TYPE-DOGS (cf Eddie Izzard, Definite Article)). In Rel-T, when someone says something to me, they use 'words', prosody, gestures and all kinds of shared social cues to convey something (call it SPKR-MESG) that is typically something like a phrasal concept, which I should concoct on the fly, given the evidence and my (supposed) inferential skills. BUT, this means that the only way to recover SPKR-MESG is that I already have (a) all the necessary base concepts and (b) all the rules of mentalese syntax. --> It seems pretty clear that there must be some basic concepts.. you cannot build phrasal concepts out of nothing; rules of mentalese syntax need something to rule over. --> Rule acquisition is notoriously thorny; the safest bet seems to be that the rules of mental syntax are hardwired as well.

The possibilities

1) the base concepts and mental syntax are hardwired 2) base concepts and mental syntax are ontogenic developments 3) a separate Concept Acquisition Device feeds new concepts into a common store.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home