Spring Mutual Relevance Lecture sponsored by the Cognitive Science Program
Topic: Meaning and Reference in Human and Non-human Animals
Featured Guest speakers: Department of Psychology's Craig Chambers, Associate Professor and Daphna Buchsbaum, Assistant Professor
More details: Dinner will follow the talk at 6:00 p.m. Mercatto Restaurant, 101 College Street
RSVP required: By March 21st to firstname.lastname@example.org
Talk Description: Language involves the systematic use of meaningful symbols. The words we use in everyday conversation are symbols that refer to, or stand for, things in the world. Our capacity for language allows us to collectively think and act on things in our immediate environment. It also allows us to think and talk about things in distant places, things in the past, or things in the future. We often think that only humans can learn how to use words in this abstract sense, but recent developments and findings in the field of animal cognition suggest that we may be underestimating the symbolic capabilities of our non-human companions.
This raises questions about how we understand the nature of linguistic symbols.
- How do we come to learn the meanings of words?
- What are the relevant cognitive features that allow us to share these meanings witheach other?
- Is it possible to share word meanings with non-human animals like dogs, and arethese meanings qualitatively different from each other?