Wittgenstein, language and embodied cognition

  • Felice Cimatti
Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Embodied cognition, Language, Words as tools, Sociality, Linguistic meaning, Homo sapiens


Embodied Cognition (EC) is a ‘new’ psychological version of an old philosophical idea: human cognition is grounded in sensorimotor experience. According to EC there is not such an entity as abstract and disembodied knowledge, that is, the root of every form of human knowledge is an acting body in the world. In this paper we will try to show that existing extensions of EC to language partly miss the point because do not fully account for the social and normative nature of language. Therefore, a thorough embodied theory of language requires to consider the Wittgenstein legacy, which stresses at least two main points: (a) a complete theory of language is not possible if not embedded in a more comprehensive description of human way of living; (b) the meaning of a word is not an internal and psychological entity but its social use, it is the action we do using that word/tool. In this paper we will comment on some EC literature showing that it needs to be complemented with Wittgenstein ideas on language and mind.


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How to Cite
Cimatti, F. (2020) “Wittgenstein, language and embodied cognition”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio. doi: 10.4396/SFL2019I3.
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