Magic Words: How Language Augments Human Computation

@inproceedings{Clark1998MagicWH,
  title={Magic Words: How Language Augments Human Computation},
  author={Andy Clark},
  year={1998}
}
  • A. Clark
  • Published 6 August 1998
  • Psychology
Word power Of course, words aren't magic. Neither are sextants, compasses, maps, slide rules and all the other paraphernalia which have accreted around the basic biological brains of Homo sapiens . In the case of these other tools and props, however, it is transparently clear that they function so as either to carry out or to facilitate computational operations important to various human projects. The slide rule transforms complex mathematical problems (ones that would baffle or tax the unaided… 

Material Symbols

What is the relation between the material, conventional symbol structures that we encounter in the spoken and written word, and human thought? A common assumption, that structures a wide variety of

Beyond the Flesh: Some Lessons from a Mole Cricket

A good hard look at surrogate situatedness turns the standard skeptical challenge on its head, and helps focus what I see as the major challenge for the future: how, in detail, to conceptualize the role of symbols in dynamical cognitive processes.

Is language the ultimate artefact

The Centrality of Language in Human Cognition

The emergence of language—a productive and combinatorial system of communication—has been hailed as one of the major transitions in evolution. By enabling symbolic culture, language allows humans to

Language Augmented Prediction

The solution Clark offers – cursorily in the target article and more in depth in earlier work – is that language together with other aspects of symbolic culture augment an otherwise un-remarkable pattern-completion, surprisal-reducing brain with faculties the authors have come to uniquely associate with the human mind.

How to Qualify for a Cognitive Upgrade: Executive Control, Glass Ceilings and the Limits of Simian Success

It is sometimes suggested that words and language form a kind of ‘cognitive niche’ (Clark, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2008; Chapter 4): an animal-built structure that productively transforms our cognitive

CPHP_A_168956 1..17

What is the relation between the material, conventional symbol structures that we encounter in the spoken and written word, and human thought? A common assumption, that structures a wide variety of

Words are not just words: the social acquisition of abstract words

Language is usually considered as a set of arbitrar y symbols that convey subjacent internal concepts. According to this traditional ap proach words are only words, mere external signals of internal

Meaning to Form: Measuring Systematicity as Information

This work offers a holistic quantification of the systematicity of the sign using mutual information and recurrent neural networks, and finds a statistically significant reduction in entropy when modeling a word form conditioned on its semantic representation.
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 47 REFERENCES

Language and Human Behavior

The author stresses the necessity of viewing intelligence in evolutionary terms, seeing it not as problem solving but as a way of maintaining homeostasis - the preservation of those conditions most favorable to an organism, the optimal achievable conditions for survival and well-being.

Thought and language.

From aphasics' self records, common experience, changes in signification of sentences according to a verbal or non-verbal context, animals and non speaking children performances, it seems possible to

Language, Thought and Reality

Writings by a pioneering linguist, including his famous work on the Hopi language, general reflections on language and meaning, and the "Yale Report." The pioneering linguist Benjamin Whorf

On learning the past-tenses of English verbs: implicit rules or parallel distributed processing

It is shown how rule-like behavior can emerge from the interactions among a network of units encoding the root form to past tense mapping, and how details of the acquisition process not captured by the rule account emerge.

How language helps us think

On formal and empirical grounds, the overt form of language cannot be the vehicle that the mind uses for reasoning. Nevertheless, we most frequently experience our thought as "inner speech". It is

How to learn a language like a chimpanzee

Abstract This paper develops the hypothesis that languages may be learned by means of a kind of cause‐effect analysis. This hypothesis is developed through an examination of E. Sue Savage‐Rumbaugh's

The Intelligent Use of Space

Conversations on mind, matter, and mathematics

The debate between Jean-Pierre Changeux and Alain Connes re-frames in a very up-to-date context a whole series of traditional and difficult questions from the standpoint of the knowledge and experience of two of the leading protagonists of contemporary science.