Publication details [#20861]

Sinha, Chris. 1988. Language and representation: A socio-naturalistic approach to human development. Harvester Wheatsheaf. xix + 235 pp.
Publication type
Book – monograph
Publication language


The author aims to outline a general, developmental theory of language and cognitive representation, characterized by the phrase `the materiality of representation'. It is claimed that representation, including mental representation, cannot be understood as a secondary structure, superimposed upon an innocent world of form and matter, but that the world of things is also representational in its material structure. In other words, representation is seen as constitutive, not just of our understanding of the world, but of the world itself as it presents itself to our understanding. S. first explores representation from philosophical, semiotic and linguistic points of view, and presents a pragma-semiotic account. Then, evolutionary, psychobiological and cognitivist approaches to language and representation are examined, and a theory of human representational development, labeled `epigenetic naturalism' is advanced. Finally, the notion of `context' is theorized in terms of discourse-pragmatic, semiotic, and cognitive processes, and an account of language acquisition is presented, focussing upon word meaning.

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