Naturalising Interpretation—Interpreting Naturalism: Towards a Neurosemiotic Model of Interpretation

James Carney from Lancaster University discusses whether interpretation is a mode of inquiry or a cognitive capacity that should itself be a target of inquiry at the next Language and Communication Research Seminar.

Date: Thursday 10th November 2016

Time: 15.00-16.00

Location: Committee Room 2, Town Hall, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

Is interpretation a mode of inquiry, or is it a cognitive capacity that should itself be a target of inquiry?

8006Given the role played by interpretation in the humanities and social sciences, this question has a direct bearing on intellectual activity in both areas. In this talk, James hopes to counterpoise two seemingly incommensurable models of interpretation with a view to exploring its full dimensions.

The first of these is humanist model, which sees all knowledge as historically determined and culturally specific; the second is the positivist model, which views interpretive activities as the result of neurophysiological processes in the brain that are subject to scientific description.

His goal in doing this is not to produce a premature synthesis, but give expression to the difficulties that need to be negotiated by any account of interpretation that respects more than one branch of knowledge.

James Carney is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University, where he does experimental work on the sensorimotor basis of conceptual thinking. Previous to that, he worked at the University of Oxford, University College Cork and the University of Limerick. Originally trained in literary studies, he now works at the intersection of the experimental sciences and the humanities. His main current interest is in the use of machine learning techniques to model the higher-order forms of cognition typically found in interpretive and hermeneutic activities.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For more information or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

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