Lecture 5: Extreme Language: Discovery Under Pressure
One of the most complex aspects of our language is that we refine the patterns we create in it - by rhyme and metre and metaphor - in the confidence that through this process we will discover something about what our habitual language does not disclose.
Lecture 4: Material Words - Language as Physicality
When we analyse speech, we are not only discussing how words work. Speech also includes gesture and rhythm. As such, speech is a means not only of mapping our environment, but also of 'handling' our environment and its direct impact upon us (a point that can be illustrated with reference to studies of autistic behaviour).
Lecture 3: No Last Words: Language as Unfinished Business
Intelligent life has something to do with knowing what to do next, and how to 'go on'. The focus of knowledge is not necessarily the would-be final, or exhaustive, system. We can learn something about the nature of knowing if we think about the sorts of knowledge involved in physical crafts, where a good and credible performance makes ever new performances possible.
Lecture 2: Can We Say What We Like? Language, Freedom and Determinism
If speech is a physical act, is it ultimately something we must think of as part of a pre-determined material system?
It is difficult to state this without contradiction. Indeed, once we recognise the unstable relationship between what we say and the environment we are seeking to put into words, we cannot treat speech as simply another physical process. Further, we cannot ignore the way in which speech is 'bound' to stimuli that it does not originate (if we did, we could have no conception of what a mistake or a lie was).
When we speak about the world we inhabit, we do so in terms that go well beyond simply listing the elements of what we perceive; that is, we construct schematic models, we extrapolate, we invent, and we use our imagination.