Language and Mind
Language is the quintessentially human trait: all normal people speak, no non-human animal does. Artificially intelligent machines can now defeat the best minds at chess, but in the domain of language, they don’t even come close to what a 5-year-old can do. What kind of “mental program” underlies our ability to talk? Do creatures who lack words, such as human infants and non-human animals, nevertheless have “concepts”? Can they “think”? Using state-of-the-art evidence from a range of fields, including linguistics, psychology, and philosophy, this seminar will explore the gift of language and its relationship to the mind.