Is Embodiment All That We Need? Insights from the Acquisition of Negation


  • Valentina Cuccio University of Palermo


embodied language, inferential meaning, mindreading, negation


Simulation of propositional content does not sufficiently explain real-life linguistic activity, even for action-related language. In addition, how we get from propositional content to implicit and inferential meaning needs to be explained. Indeed, simulative understanding is immediate, automatic and reflex-like while an explicit interpretative act, even if not always needed, is still a part of many linguistic activities. The aim of this paper is to present the hypothesis that speaking is a complex ability realized by means of at least two different mechanisms that are likely developed at different and consecutive steps of cognitive and linguistic development. The first mechanism has a neural explanation grounded in the notion of embodied simulation. The second implies socio-cognitive skills such as Theory of Mind. In order to fully develop the second mechanism, a symbolic communication and interaction with a cultural community are needed. This hypothesis will be tested by looking at the acquisition of linguistic negation.

Author Biography

Valentina Cuccio, University of Palermo

Department of Philosophy, Philology, Arts, History and Criticism of Knowledge