Thinking in action
While computers can be used to model human competencies, formalization has its limits. Sensori-motor dynamics are probably necessary to intelligence. Applied to language, verbal patterns become constraints or, in Elman’s (2004) terms, cues to meaning. Unlike symbol processors, humans act, mean and use the feeling of thinking (Harnad 2005). While language has an artificial (or formal) aspect, human intelligence is embodied. In spite of widespread belief to the contrary, brains do not need to generate sets of sentences. In challenging code views of language, we find parallels with the complex systems we call cells. Given DNA code-makers, formal features constrain protein synthesis. Life, Barbieri (2007) argues, can be traced to natural artifacts.1 This parallels how culture enables us to bring biodynamics under the control of physical and non-physical (or cultural) patterns. In turning from physical symbol systems, weight falls on DEEDS: human thinking is Dynamical, Embodied, Embedded, Distributed and Situated (Walmsley 2008).