Chad EngellandOstension: Word Learning and the Embodied Mind

MIT Press, 2015

by Carrie Figdor on August 14, 2015

Chad Engelland

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How do we learn our first words? What is it that makes the linguistic intentions of others manifest to us, when our eyes follow a pointing finger to an object and associate that object with a word? Chad Engelland addresses these and related questions in Ostension: Word Learning and the Embodied Mind (MIT Press, 2015).  Engelland, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Dallas, explores the way in which ostension crosses the Cartesian boundary between body and mind. Drawing on historical and contemporary figures and continental and analytical traditions, he defends an embodied view of ostension in which we directly perceive intentions in ostension rather than infer to them, and gives an account of how we are able to disambiguate gestures through the joint presence of objects in a shared environment.

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