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Articulating the WorldConceptual Understanding and the Scientific Image$
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Joseph Rouse

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226293677

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226293707.001.0001

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Language, Social Practice, and Conceptual Normativity

Language, Social Practice, and Conceptual Normativity

(p.131) Four Language, Social Practice, and Conceptual Normativity
Articulating the World

Joseph Rouse

University of Chicago Press

Recognizing language and other conceptual capacities as forms of behavioral niche construction that involve practical-perceptual skill requires understanding conceptual contentfulness in those terms. This chapter argues that proto-linguistic capacities for symbolic displacement are not sufficient for conceptual understanding, and builds upon other recent accounts of how a more articulated discursive practice evolved. Linguistic and other conceptually articulated performances must be partially autonomous from their environmental circumstances: proximally dependent upon their iterative and “conversational” relations to other expressive performances, but also accountable to the broader practical-perceptual significance of these discursive patterns. The vocative and recognitive aspects of language enable speakers to hold one another to account for their performances and their relations to partially shared circumstances. Such partially autonomous conceptual practices extend well beyond language to include other expressive domains, and interconnected domains of equipment and social roles. This conception of discursive practices then points toward a more adequate account of their social character. The “two-dimensional” normativity of discursive social practices arises not from communal regularities, or supposedly shared rules or norms, but instead from how participants in these practices hold one another’s performances accountable to issues and stakes that are anaphorically indicated by temporally extended interactions.

Keywords:   language, proto-language, niche construction, discursive practice, conceptual articulation, social practices, normativity, norms, temporality

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