For those unfamiliar, the 'cognitive conception of language' refers to a claim made by some theorists that, in the words of Carruthers:
"besides its obvious communicative functions, language also has a direct role to play in normal human cognition (in thinking and reasoning)."
I've found such accounts extremely intriguing, especially that of Daniel Dennett (1994), who basically claims that language is what turns our massively parallel brain into a decent serial processor.
However, I'm distressed that such discussions are generally tethered to the Philosophy of Mind and despite my efforts, I've yet to come across any empirical evidence or cognitive models that are for or against such hypotheses.
So, do such studies exist (or are underway)? Or is there something fundamental to this subject that keeps it only in the realm of armchair discussion?
- Carruthers, Peter (2002). The cognitive functions of language. Behavioral And Brain Sciences 25 (6):657-674. (DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X02000122)
- Dennett, Daniel C. (1994). The role of language in intelligence. In Jean Khalfa (ed.), What is Intelligence? The Darwin College Lectures. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.