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).