Language and Core Cognition
This chapter touches on some relations between core cognition and language. It distinguishes the strong linguistic continuity hypothesis that emerges from the language-acquisition literature with two broad ways language learning might affect thought called “weak linguistic influence” and “Quinian linguistic determinism”, respectively. At issue is the continuity thesis mentioned in Chapter 1: the thesis that the resources needed to express all concepts humans can represent are available throughout development, even at the beginning. Two case studies—representations of quantifiers and representations of object kind sortals—illustrate what is at stake and how the arguments go. The chapter reviews evidence for an influence of language learning on nonlinguistic representations in each of these cases, and concludes with arguments that these particular cases reflect weak linguistic influences, at most, and not Quinian linguistic determinism.
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