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Actual and non-actual motion: why experientialist semantics needs phenomenology (and vice versa)

Blomberg, Johan LU and Zlatev, Jordan LU (2014) In Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13(3). p.395-418
Abstract
Experientialist semantics has contributed to a broader notion of linguistic meaning by emphasizing notions such as construal, perspective, metaphor and embodiment, but has suffered from an individualist concept of meaning and has conflated experiential motivations with conventional semantics. We argue that these problems can be redressed by methods and concepts from phenomenology, through a case study of sentences of non-actual motion such as The mountain range goes all the way from Mexico to Canada. Through a phenomenological re-analysis of proposals of Talmy, Langacker and Matlock, we show that non-actual motion is both experientially and linguistically non-unitary. At least three different features of human consciousness – enactive... (More)
Experientialist semantics has contributed to a broader notion of linguistic meaning by emphasizing notions such as construal, perspective, metaphor and embodiment, but has suffered from an individualist concept of meaning and has conflated experiential motivations with conventional semantics. We argue that these problems can be redressed by methods and concepts from phenomenology, through a case study of sentences of non-actual motion such as The mountain range goes all the way from Mexico to Canada. Through a phenomenological re-analysis of proposals of Talmy, Langacker and Matlock, we show that non-actual motion is both experientially and linguistically non-unitary. At least three different features of human consciousness – enactive perception, visual scanning and imagination –constitute experiential motivations for non-actual motion sentences, and each of these could be related to phenomenological analyses of human intentionality. The second problem is addressed by proposing that the experiential motivations of non-actual motion sentences can be viewed as sedimented through “passive” processes of acquisition and social transmission, and that this implies an interactive loop between experience and language, yielding losses in terms of original experience, but gains in terms of communal signification. Something that is underestimated by phenomenology is that what is sedimented are not only intentional objects such as states of affairs, but aspects of how they are given, i.e. the original, temporal, bodily experiences themselves. Since cognitive semantics has emphasized such aspects of meaning, we suggest that phenomenology can itself benefit from experientialist semantics, especially when it turns its focus from pre-predicative to predicative, linguistic intentionality. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
cognitive semantics, fictive motion, grounding, language-consciousness interactionism, mental simulation, phenomenology, sedimentation, subjective motion
in
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
volume
13
issue
3
pages
395 - 418
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000340084400001
  • scopus:84905383616
ISSN
1568-7759
DOI
10.1007/s11097-013-9299-x
project
Centre for Cognitive Semiotics (CCS)
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a818b9ef-a7af-4980-92a0-0236507f740b (old id 3450398)
date added to LUP
2013-02-01 13:59:08
date last changed
2017-01-01 03:33:43
@article{a818b9ef-a7af-4980-92a0-0236507f740b,
  abstract     = {Experientialist semantics has contributed to a broader notion of linguistic meaning by emphasizing notions such as construal, perspective, metaphor and embodiment, but has suffered from an individualist concept of meaning and has conflated experiential motivations with conventional semantics. We argue that these problems can be redressed by methods and concepts from phenomenology, through a case study of sentences of non-actual motion such as The mountain range goes all the way from Mexico to Canada. Through a phenomenological re-analysis of proposals of Talmy, Langacker and Matlock, we show that non-actual motion is both experientially and linguistically non-unitary. At least three different features of human consciousness – enactive perception, visual scanning and imagination –constitute experiential motivations for non-actual motion sentences, and each of these could be related to phenomenological analyses of human intentionality. The second problem is addressed by proposing that the experiential motivations of non-actual motion sentences can be viewed as sedimented through “passive” processes of acquisition and social transmission, and that this implies an interactive loop between experience and language, yielding losses in terms of original experience, but gains in terms of communal signification. Something that is underestimated by phenomenology is that what is sedimented are not only intentional objects such as states of affairs, but aspects of how they are given, i.e. the original, temporal, bodily experiences themselves. Since cognitive semantics has emphasized such aspects of meaning, we suggest that phenomenology can itself benefit from experientialist semantics, especially when it turns its focus from pre-predicative to predicative, linguistic intentionality.},
  author       = {Blomberg, Johan and Zlatev, Jordan},
  issn         = {1568-7759},
  keyword      = {cognitive semantics,fictive motion,grounding,language-consciousness interactionism,mental simulation,phenomenology,sedimentation,subjective motion},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {395--418},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences},
  title        = {Actual and non-actual motion: why experientialist semantics needs phenomenology (and vice versa)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11097-013-9299-x},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2014},
}