CFP: Leibniz on Language and Cognition. Special issue of The Journal for the Philosophy of Language, Mind and the Arts
Submission deadline: May 31, 2021
CALL FOR PAPERS (JOLMA 2 | 2 | 2021)
Leibniz on Language and Cognition
Editors: Matteo Favaretti Camposampiero, Luigi Perissinotto
Leibniz’s investigations into the structures of both natural and artificial languages as well as into the impact of language use on human cognition are widely acknowledged to have achieved real breakthroughs with respect to the early modern standard assumptions. Leibniz linked his linguistic interests with his views on mental activity by expounding the idea that language plays a fundamental role not only in communication but also in human cognition, insofar as words and signs in general serve as the indispensable thread for human thought. He used this insight into the linguistic component of thought to approach semantic phenomena such as metaphorical speech and “empty” words or phrases as well as psychological phenomena such as cognitive errors and the weakness of the will. Furthermore, his views on psycho-physical parallelism led him to explore the hypothesis that even abstract, conceptual representations have a physical counterpart in the human brain insofar as they are necessarily verbalized in a language or expressed in any other system of perceptible symbols.
Only a minority of Leibniz’s writings on these topics were published during his lifetime. Most were posthumously discovered during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century, while several manuscripts are still unpublished. This state of affairs has fostered a tendency to consider Leibniz’s contributions to the philosophy of language and cognition as a sort of hidden treasure that had (and partly has) to wait for the modern scholar in order to be adequately appreciated and understood. However justified in terms of the history of manuscripts, this picture has the drawback that it obscures how much Leibniz’s ideas on language and cognition actually contributed to shaping our modernity by inspiring or influencing diverse – sometimes even opposite – philosophical trends. On the one hand, his universalistic commitments – the possibility to discover the alphabet of human thoughts, the rational grammar, and the Universal Character – fueled various modern attempts at unveiling the genuine, logical form of propositions, describing the deep structure of languages, and introducing an artificial notation for the perspicuous expression of thoughts. On the other hand, his recurring emphasis on the linguistic or generally symbolic character of blind thought became a prominent source for later accounts of higher cognitive activities as dependent on language acquisition and therefore influenced by the specific language acquired. Thus, even the origins of the so-called linguistic relativity could be traced back to some Leibnizian root.
This journal issue aims, first, to expand our knowledge of Leibniz’s views on language, its cognitive function, and its role in other dimensions of human nature and behavior, especially moral agency; and second, to reassess Leibniz’s influence on modern philosophy of language and cognition up to the present day. Contributions may address one or more topics related to this Call and focus on Leibniz’s works, his reception, or his contemporary significance.
- Stefano Gensini
- Massimo Mugnai
- Lucia Oliveri
- Jean-Baptiste Rauzy
Submission deadline: May 31th, 2021
Notification of acceptance: June 30th, 2021
Articles must be written in English and should not exceed 6.500 words. The instructions for authors can be consulted in the journal’s website: ‘Editorial Guidelines’.
Submissions must be suitable for blind review. Each submission should also include a brief abstract of no more than 650 words and five keywords for indexing purposes. Notification of intent to submit, including both a title and a brief summary of the content, will be greatly appreciated, as it will assist with the coordination and planning of the issue.
Please submit your proposals to the email [email protected] or using the apposite section ‘Contacts’ of the ‘Journal info’ page.
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