GARCIA adolfo Martin
congresos y reuniones científicas
The meagre overlaps between epistemic conviction and methodological possibility in the study of linguistic bodies
Encuentro; 2º Encontro Cognição & Linguagem; 2019
In the engaging volume Linguistic Bodies: The Continuity between Life and Language, Di Paolo, Cuffari, and De Jaegher (2018)1 set forth an enactivist, embodied, situated, intercorporeal account of the continuities between language and its dynamic co-determinations with the rich socio-historical sensorimotor frames shaping the flow of daily interactions. Because of my own history as a linguistic body and the (participatory) sense-making events that have shaped my worldview so far, I share many of the wide-ranging principles advanced by the authors ?often captured, to different degrees of success and with different degrees of compatibility, by specific incarnations of the ?4EA cognition? program. Yet, as a cognitive neuroscientist, revisiting these theoretical and philosophical premises has confronted me, once again, with the tensions between overarching conceptions of language and the constraints with which it can be fruitfully studied in laboratory settings ?namely, the powerhouse for any non-rationalist approach to the issue. Put briefly, most (neuro)scientific experiments capable of informing aspects of linguistic bodies are hatched in the meagre overlaps between epistemic convictions and methodological possibility. In this intervention, I aim to identify some of the practices distancing mainstream laboratory research from a full-blown incarnation of the authors? key notions (autonomy, adaptivity, sense-making, agency, participatory sense-making) and reflect on how this limits but also fuels ongoing theoretical and translational breakthroughs in numerous interdisciplinary spheres. Specifically, I will address the following issues, considering examples, problems, and solutions from studies on healthy participants and patients with developmental, neurological, or psychiatric disorders:(a)the ?scientific catch-22? between experimental control and ecological validity2;(b)the use of atomistic, decontextualized stimuli and key alternatives to them3-6;(c)the use of artificial task settings and key alternatives to them7,8;(d)the predominance of individualistic and spectatorial paradigms and key alternatives to them9,10;(e)the predominance of repetitive (as opposed to dynamic and partially unpredictable) task settings2;(f)the favoring of tailor-made models of couplings between language and action11; and(g)the methodological subdetermination of key constructs and ensuing weakness of ensuing generalizations;To conclude, I will posit that many of these tensions, though partially approachable, may ultimately be marked by an ontological conundrum: although we can ask (and answer) questions about linguistic processes and experiences, these remain directly unperceivable, so that we can only imperfectly infer them through their partial physical proxies. These reflections can nurture ongoing discussions on the theoretical, clinical, educational, and even ethical dimensions of the ?linguistic bodies? framework as well as the 4EA cognition program at large.