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Article

Референция и вербальные жесты

Contemporary research in the field of developmental psychology confirms one of the main theses of W. Quine that human thinking, that deals with the ontology of everyday experience, needs not only individual, but also in general terms, based on a divided reference. Moreover, our learning of common concepts ensures contact not only with the everyday reality of the surrounding objects and events, as well as the transition to abstract concepts that are characteristic of scientific ontology. A necessary condition for comprehending general concepts about objects is the notions of a stable identity of objects in changing contexts and of not directly perceived parts of the surrounding world. For example, a child in the course of her or his development, can comprehend general concepts about objects, learning to refer not only to individual perceived objects, but also to an unobserved set of similar objects.

However, the main prerequisite for reference to objects with the help of single or general concepts is the knowledge that others also refer to the same objects and their properties, using the same words. It turns out, therefore, that the condition of objective reference is the intersubjective experience of perception of objects and events.This, however, does not imply a relativistic view of the world, but only that the perception of the surrounding world necessarily requires that other people's minds be perceived (however abstractly) as other view of the same situation of the world. According to D. Davidson, such intersubjective triangulation is the core of the concepts of truth and objectivity, without which thinking and language learning would be impossible. Hence it follows that such intersubjectivity assumes a common experience shared with other people only if from a certain age we have some knowledge of these people’s mental states. However, psychologists have not yet advanced beyond establishing a correlation between the ways a child grasps the concepts of the identity of objects and of other people’s mental states.The article proposes a solution of the problem of causal dependence between these concepts. It consists in the fact that knowledge of others’ mental states not only gives reference its intersubjective character, but is also a condition of objective reference to the objects around us in general. In other words, the perception of other people's mental states is not secondary or additional to the perception of objects, it is not a primitive theorizing or predicting someone else's behavior. On the contrary, our reaction to other minds is in fact a primary phenomenon of our perception. To substantiate this solution, the article introduces the notion of verbal gestures to unobservable objects and events. Such verbal gestures not only characterize our perception of other people's mental states, but ultimately permeate our perception of the world as a whole. In this case, all of our speech can be regarded as a verbal gesture and, accordingly, one of the essentially human modes of perceptions of the world.