Words and Images: An Essay on the Origin of Ideas

Paperback | September 18, 2013

byChristopher Gauker

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At least since Locke, philosophers and psychologists have usually held that concepts arise out of sensory perceptions, thoughts are built from concepts, and language enables speakers to convey their thoughts to hearers. Christopher Gauker holds that this tradition is mistaken about bothconcepts and language. The mind cannot abstract the building blocks of thoughts from perceptual representations. More generally, we have no account of the origin of concepts that grants them the requisite independence from language. Gauker's alternative is to show that much of cognition consists inthinking by means of mental imagery, without the help of concepts, and that language is a tool by which interlocutors coordinate their actions in pursuit of shared goals. Imagistic cognition supports the acquisition and use of this tool, and when the use of this tool is internalized, it becomes thevery medium of conceptual thought.

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At least since Locke, philosophers and psychologists have usually held that concepts arise out of sensory perceptions, thoughts are built from concepts, and language enables speakers to convey their thoughts to hearers. Christopher Gauker holds that this tradition is mistaken about bothconcepts and language. The mind cannot abstract th...

Christopher Gauker is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati. He works in both the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. His prior books include Words without Meaning (2003) and Conditionals in Context (2005).

other books by Christopher Gauker

Format:PaperbackDimensions:316 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:September 18, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019968474X

ISBN - 13:9780199684748

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction: Defining the Question1. The Lockean Theory2. The Kantian Theory3. Regions of Similarity Space4. The Sellarsian Theory5. Imagistic Cognition6. Similarity without Concepts7. Cooperation by Means of Words8. Thinking in LanguageReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"a mind-boggling effort to overthrow many philosophical orthodoxies and received wisdoms." --Organon