Dialogical cognition

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In this article we review Per Linell's work within the last five decades that led to his dialogism framework, which he defines as a general epistemology of language, cognition and communication. We critically discuss how his contribution on the one hand, altered and qualified existent models within language, communication and cognitive science, because dialogism removed language and cognition from their abstract and mental seat in the brain, and embedded them instead in situational contexts and embodied interaction. In that sense, his dialogism successfully replaced monological assumptions about the mind, action and thinking with more contextual and temporally distributed ones. On the other hand, we also question why Linell has not pursued a more rigorous empirical program for studying human cognition, when he did establish a theoretical apparatus for approaching cognition from a dialogical starting point. In going through Linell's arguments over the past five decades we suggest that this absence of an empirical program is due to his humanistic roots which both have sensitised him to appreciating the contingencies and dynamics of human sense making and cognition, and have impeded him from buying into a necessary condition for pursuing a cognitive analysis, even if he conceptually and methodologically accepts a distributed view on cognition. The outcome of this discussion leads to an empirical-based cognitive analysis of a medical interaction. Altogether, the purpose of this article is to show how Linell's conceptual framework can be put to use in ways that make a dialogical cognitive science achievable.

TidsskriftLanguage Sciences
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - maj 2024


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