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The limits of computational theory of mind and the body's role in semantics capacity

Grant number: 16/02420-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2016
Effective date (End): July 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Epistemology
Principal Investigator:Itala Maria Loffredo D'Ottaviano
Grantee:Nathalia Cristina Alves Pantaleao Strongren
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):18/11181-0 - Does intentionality fits in computational semantics?, BE.EP.DR


This project seeks to analyze the argument that the biological body may be relevant to the ability of systems to operate semantically in a linguistic context. For this, we initially plan to discuss the computational approach to mind, widely propagated in the fields of Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science. Specifically we aim to assess the possibilities and limitations of this approach with respect to the semantics of language, considered as a cognitive capacity. Proponents of computational approach to mind such as Fodor (1975, 1983, 1998, 2001) and Chomsky (1967, 1971, 1980, 2002, 2005) argue that the relationship between mental processes and the body develops in the same way as the software-hardware relationship in a computer. Such an approach assumes the mind as an information processing system just as a digital computer that operates in an initially syntactic form. In this sense, language, as a broad cognitive process that includes syntactic and semantic aspects, would then be a linear and computable information process that is possible because of the biological-structural configuration of certain individuals. We suggest that language can be a tool for research into the mind and, finally, we will investigate which criteria must be met for a system to properly operate semantically and what, if any, is the body's role.