views treated cognition as a purely internal process. By contrast,
we sought to rethink symbol grounding with respect to both what
happens in the head and external causal processes that connect bodies
as they interact with historically-based customs and artefacts.
Participants at the conference agreed that, by taking a distributed
perspective on language, the problem of how symbols can be meaningful
to the system can be rethought. Language is grounded, at very least,
into both the brain and the social world (for some of us, this has
to be seen as triple grounding: is also grounded into conscious
or phenomenal experience)
Belpaeme and Cowley put it in "Extending Symbol Grounding"
contributors appeal either to semiotic (or triadic) models and/or
give much greater weight to their functional embedding in cultural
process. MacDorman takes a stronger view. The time has come, he
suggests, to move on from the symbol system metaphor by recognising
the person problem. Instead of limiting our goal to that of grounding
symbols into robots, we need to raise the bar. We need to ask how
human bodies -and those of other agents - can self-construct themselves
into persons –and person-like agents -by attuning to patterns
or norms in the environment.
of the published papers are available at:
S.J. and Belpaeme, T. Editorial: Extending
symbols and the missing theory of thinking.
Worgan, S.F. & Damper, B. Grounding
symbols in the physics of speech
P. & Devina, F. Grounding
social symbols in language evolution
human infants deal with symbol grounding
C. The acquired language of thought hypothesis: a theory of symbol
grounding. (Available only from Interaction Studies).
Lopes, L. & Chauhan, A. How
many words can my robot learn?
after the symbol system metaphor.