Knowledge, Language, and Cognition

Alexander Pichugin (German Language and Culture Studies)

What is the nature of knowledge? What is language? How are they connected? Does our knowledge control our language or does our language determine how we think and what we know? These and many other questions will be addressed in this Byrne seminar, which is designed to engage students in a discussion focusing on the connections between philosophy, culture, and linguistics. The seminar will include an exploration of some general theoretical questions about the nature of language, including questions of what language is, how it relates to cognition, how it is acquired by children and adults. We will examine Saussure’s structural approach to language, Skinner’s behaviorist theory, and Chomsky’s Universal Grammar, as well as discuss some linguistic universalia and cultural phenomena connected to language and knowledge.