Human Language: cognitive, neuroscientific and dynamical systems perspectives
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The human language faculty has traditionally been studied mainly by two disciplines: generative linguistics and experimental neuroscience. Until fairly recently these have worked largely in isolation from one another. Linguistics has focused on explanation at the symbolic cognitive level, and ignored neuroscience on the grounds that it deals with the implementational level and is thus irrelevant to its concerns. Neuroscience has for its part taken a broadly reductionist view, and made little effort to relate brain mechanisms to those proposed by linguistics. These traditional paradigms have, moreover, now been joined by a third, dynamical systems theory, which is being used to interpret brain dynamics on the one hand, and language and cognition on the other. There are indications that the three approaches are finding common ground, but their respective conceptual frameworks and terminologies remain an obstacle to mutual understanding. The aim of this symposium is to promote further integration by bringing together researchers who can both articulate the current state of knowledge in their research paradigms, and engage in an informed discussion of the interrelationships of key concepts in linguistic, neuroscientific, and dynamical systems understanding of language.
The symposium will address the following topics: