Embodied Cognition: Lessons from Linguistic Determinism
Prof. Lawrence Shapiro (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

January 9, 2017, 1:00pm - 2:30pm
The School of Education and The Philosophy Program, La Trobe University

City Campus, La Trobe University, Teaching Room 3
360 Collins Street
Melbourne 3000


The School of Education and the Philosophy Program at La Trobe University are pleased to be jointly hosting an interdisciplinary research seminar by Lawrence Shapiro, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Registration is not required but if you intend on coming it would be appreciated if you could let one of the organisers know (either Dr Steven Stolz S.Stolz@latrobe.edu.au or Dr Yuri Cath y.cath@latrobe.edu.au)


Some proponents of embodied cognition have promoted the idea that the nature of our bodies determines (in some sense) how we think. In this talk I compare this idea to its more popular cousin, linguistic determinism. I argue that a challenge to linguistic determinism can be reformulated as an objection to body determinism too. I conclude with some comments on the “neural re-use” hypothesis that is often taken to support body determinism. 

Lawrence Shapiro:

Professor Shapiro’s research spans philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology. Within philosophy of mind he has focused on issues related to reduction, especially concerning the thesis of multiple realization. His books The Mind Incarnate (MIT, 2004) and The Multiple Realization Book (co-authored with Professor Thomas Polger at U. of Cincinnati, Oxford University Press, 2016) as well as articles in The Journal of PhilosophyPhilosophy of Science, and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research examine these issues. His interests in philosophy of psychology include topics in computational theories of vision, evolutionary psychology, and embodied cognition. He’s published numerous articles on these topics in journals such as The Philosophical ReviewBritish Journal for Philosophy of Science, and Philosophy of Science. His book, Embodied Cognition (Routledge Press, 2011), received the American Philosophical Association's Joseph B. Gittler Award for best book in philosophy of the social sciences (2013). His recent interest in philosophy of religion resulted in The Miracle Myth: Why Belief in the Resurrection and the Supernatural is Unjustified (Columbia University Press, 2016).

For more information see Professor Shapiro's website: https://sites.google.com/site/lshapiro911/home-page

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