By J. Canfield
This ebook is a philosophical exam of the phases in our trip from hominid to human. facing the character and foundation of language, self-consciousness, and the non secular perfect of a go back to Eden, it has a philosophical anthropology procedure. It presents an account of our position in nature in line with either empiricism and mysticism.
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Additional info for Becoming Human: The Development of Language, Self, and Self-Consciousness
That is, it cannot be that gesture outside that particular context, for two reasons. One is that context disambiguates a gesture; the same motion can be a request- or an intention-gesture, depending upon the context. A second, more radical, reason is that a social group cannot employ, say, a gesture to initiate grooming if they are not creatures that groom one another. Neither can they give an intention-gesture if they are not creatures who do anticipate and respond to one another’s projects. The gestures I have discussed constitute communicative acts.
What we should say, rather, is that we will not count the child as having learned the meaning of “red” if it does not go on to use the word as we do, for example in giving or receiving request-statements involving the term. Given the right context, the child does pick up on the ostensive definition of red. Having been shown samples, it goes on to be able to point to new samples and then to do things like bring the right book when told to get the red one from the table. The legitimate point behind the objection is that for definition by means of examples to work there must be presupposed a use for the term being defined.
So to understand “language” we must consider above all the paradigmatic uses employed to convey the idea of a language-game, and hence the idea of language itself. The series of examples implicitly or explicitly 28 Becoming Human used to convey the idea of a language-game are all such that in them words are exchanged between people. Not just exchanged, as in my description in Chapter 2 of the merely naming people, but exchanged to some point. In the examples of words having a use, speech is communal in that it functions to elicit a response from the hearer.