Baltic accent

2022 Vol. 13 №3

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Language and the nature of humanness. Invitation to a discussion



The article invites the reader to contemplate what impedes further development of lan­guage science which is currently in a state of stagnation. This crisis is caused by the inade­quate meth­odology used in linguistic research. It defines the paradigm of so-called ‘normal’ science, which suppresses innovation. The dualistic philosophy of external realism continues to be the epistemo­logical foundation of ‘normal’ linguistics, and neither mainstream cognitive science nor cogni­tive linguistics has been able to break away from it. The author argues that a new, constructivist epistemology is capable of overcoming the crisis and could give a new impetus to further devel­opment of language science. This calls for abandoning the traditional view of language as a tool used for the expression and transfer of thoughts. Instead, research­ers should use a systems ap­proach to linguistic semiosis as a biological adaptation, which is the organizational basis of hu­mans as living systems at both individual and social levels. Lin­guistic semiosis is an evolution­ary stage in the development of Homo sapiens. Establishing the functional role of linguistic semiosis in systemic cognition as a socially organized living system whose unity is ensured and sustained by its circular (self-referential) organization in the relational domain of language, calls for a radical revision of the extant views on the rela­tionship between language and mind, lan­guage and cognition, and language and conscious­ness. An ecological approach to language as­sumes that the cognitive dynamics of humans as living systems consists in the adaptive interac­tional behaviour in the relational domain of linguistic interactions. This domain constitutes the ecological niche of humans as organism-environment systems. It is in this continuously self-constructed human niche that the uniquely human power to reasoning (intelligence) emerges and develops. Humanness rests in language as the creative beginning of the world in which we exist as organisms capable of speech.


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