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FW: [ANTHRO-L] Ann Dowker on 'Language and Thought: Interdisciplinary Themes'

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Ian Pitchford [mailto:ian.pitchford@scientist.com] Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2002 12:45 PM To: ANTHRO-L@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU Subject: [ANTHRO-L]
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 9, 2002
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Ian Pitchford [mailto:ian.pitchford@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2002 12:45 PM
      To: ANTHRO-L@...
      Subject: [ANTHRO-L] Ann Dowker on 'Language and Thought:
      Interdisciplinary Themes'

      Human Nature Review 2002 Volume 2: 277-278 ( 9 July )
      URL of this document http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/dowker.html

      Book Review

      Language and Thought: Interdisciplinary Themes
      edited by Peter Carruthers and Jill Boucher. Cambridge: Cambridge University

      Reviewed by Ann Dowker, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of
      Oxford, United Kingdom.

      This book is an interdisciplinary collection of essays by psychologists (e.g.
      Susan Goldin-Meadow and Josef Perner), linguists (e.g. Dan Sperber and Deirdre
      Wilson) and philosophers (e.g. Daniel Dennett and Gabriel Segal). All of the
      essays deal in some way with the relationships between language and thought.
      The book is divided into three parts: one dealing with "Language, development
      and evolution"; one dealing with "Language, reasoning and concepts"; and one
      with "Language and conscious reasoning". Each part contains contributions from
      psychologists, linguists and philosophers.

      To me, and probably to most readers of this journal, the most interesting
      essays are those which deal with psychology: especially those that deal with
      possible dissociations between language and cognition in atypical populations.
      These essays appear to converge in indicating that language and cognition have
      the potential for independence, but interact to a considerable degree in people
      with 'normal' cognitive and linguistic functions. Jill Boucher's chapter on
      "The pre-requisites for language acquisition: evidence from cases of anomalous
      language development" carries a welcome recommendation for more analytic,
      componential studies of cognition. She discusses the implications of specific
      language impairments and of the relative sparing of language in people with
      general cognitive impairments. She concludes (p. 74) that the evidence "argues
      against... strong theories of either the independence, or the inseparability,
      of language and thought" and that in order to make sense of the evidence we
      must analyze the relationships between different subcomponents of language and
      different subcomponents of cognition.

      Full text

      Other reviews at

      LETTERS TO THE EDITOR should be addressed to review@...

      Language and Thought: Interdisciplinary Themes
      by Peter Carruthers (Editor), Jill Boucher (Editor)
      Paperback: 320 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.86 x 8.99 x 6.05
      Publisher: Cambridge Univ Pr (Pap Txt); ISBN: 0521637589; (September 1998)
      AMAZON - US
      AMAZON - UK
      AMAZON - CA

      Book Description

      What is the place of language in human cognition? Do we sometimes think in
      natural language? Or is language for purposes of interpersonal communication
      only? Although these questions have been much debated in the past, they have
      almost dropped from sight in recent decades amongst those interested in the
      cognitive sciences. Language and thought is intended to persuade such people to
      think again. It brings together essays by a distinguished interdisciplinary
      team of philosophers and psychologists, who discuss various ways in which
      language may be implicated in human cognition.

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