Cunha&Salgado_IPBS2008 (P)

Cunha&Salgado_IPBS2008 (P) - Integr Psych Behav DOI...

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COMMENTARIES Being Human: Experiencing and Communicating Carla Cunha João Salgado # Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007 Abstract Haye s article Living being and speaking being highlights a confusion that the traditional cognitive science has been making between cognition and representation, reducing semantics (meaning) to the syntax (computation with symbols). This traditional view cannot fully grasp the dependence of meaning on the relational context, opening space for the need to take into account the Bakhtinian notions of responsivity and addressivity to an other as defining features of the communicational social act. Socialized signs are conceived here as central tools to our relation to the world and to the others. We pursue some of the implications of this radical dialogical commitment specifying their implications to an ontological level of human beings: relationships are the ground for the depiction of human beings and otherness as a necessary complementarity of our own existence. Keywords Dialogicality . Human experience . Communication The present article Living being and speaking being: Towards a dialogical approach to intentionality (Haye 2008 ) highlights several difficulties that psychological science has been facing in its attempts to grasp personhood and what it is to be and to feel human. In particular, we consider that cognitive science, concerned with the nature and process of human cognition, has been presenting a rather narrow view of humans as representational beings. Focusing only on intentionality as aboutness as Haye refers (and also other authors such as Varela et al. 1991 ), human being is depicted by cognitive science as equivalent to representational abilities and abstract capacity to transcend the imprisonment of the here and now experience, and these characteristics provide the distinction between us humans and other living beings. Integr Psych Behav DOI 10.1007/s12124-007-9050-7 C. Cunha ( * ) University of Minho, Braga, Portugal e-mail: [email protected] C. Cunha : J. Salgado ISMAI, Maia, Portugal J. Salgado e-mail: [email protected]
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Paradoxically, this distance from other living beings has been achieved through an implicit metaphor that guides cognitive science since the 1950s, assuming a rather close proximity between humans and representational machines such as computers. In this sense, the history of cognitive science is the history of how the machines freed the mind from its incarceration ascribed by the American behavioural movement in the first decades of the twentieth century and how humans in this process became portrayed like machines more than like living beings. In this sense and as Haye so clearly puts it, the cognitive movement, while picturing the human mind as a matter of representation and cognition as computation with symbols, ends up reducing semantics to the syntax of symbols and looses the meaning created by social action in process (see also Varela et al. 1991 ). Haye suggests that to transcend this reduction of meaning to representing or referencing
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Cunha&Salgado_IPBS2008 (P) - Integr Psych Behav DOI...

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