When explaining cognition one must explain how representations in the mind, or symbols, become meaningful by connecting to the external world. This process of connecting symbols with sensorimotor experiences is known as symbol grounding. The classical view of symbol grounding is that it is an individual process: a person or machine interacts with the environment and associates symbols with external experiences.
This volume contains views from different disciplines - ranging from psychology to robotics - on how this view can be extended by first extending symbol grounding to encompass semiotics and by showing how the classical view exaggerates the importance of written language: grounding does not necessarily involve written notations, but rather language is an external cognitive resource that allows us to acquire categories and concepts. Secondly, as symbol grounding relies on language to acquire and coordinate the process and language is a dynamical process rooted in both culture and biology, symbol grounding by extension is also sensitive to culture, emotion and embodiment.
The contributions to this volume were previously published in Interaction Studies 8:1 (2007).
1. Foreword (by Belpaeme, Tony); 2. Grounding symbols in the physics of speech communication (by Worgan, Simon F.); 3. Social symbol grounding and language evolution (by Vogt, Paul); 4. How many words can my robot learn? An approach and experiments with one-class learning (by Lopes, Luis Seabra); 5. How human infants deal with symbol grounding (by Cowley, Stephen J.); 6. Semiotic symbols and the missing theory of thinking (by Clowes, Robert); 7. The acquired language of thought hypothesis: A theory of symbol grounding (by Viger, Christopher); 8. Afterword: Life after the symbol system metaphor (by MacDorman, Karl F.); 9. Index