Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Kairos. Journal of Philosophy & Science

3 Issues per year

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Anatomia da Linguagem: Podemos Compreender Jogos de Linguagem a Partir de Redes Corticais?

Inês Hipólito
  • University International Postgraduate Award School of Humanities and Social Inquiry Faculty of Law, Humanities, and the Arts University of Wollongong (Australia)
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-06-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kjps-2017-0004


There is today much interest in research of neuronal substrata in metaphor processing. It has been suggested that the right hemisphere yields a key role in the comprehension of figurative language (non-literal) and, particularly, in metaphors. Figurative language is included in pragmatics, a branch of linguistics that researches the use of language, in opposition to the study of the system of language. There lingers, though, an open debate in respect to the identification of the specific aspects concerning semantics, as opposed to those dominated by pragmatics. Can studies from neuronal correlates clarify questions that relate to semantics/pragmatics representation? I shall analyze neuroscientific developments about implicit language to attempt to understand, in section 2, scientific techniques available and more suitable to the phenomenology of the act of understanding an implicit, figurative or implicated message in a certain language game. To do so, I shall start by reviewing the studies in philosophy of language, and accommodate the development of the research in pragmatics underlying metaphor, particularly, in Philosophical Investigations by Wittgenstein. Finally, I discuss the possibility of interpretative capabilities being socioculturally grounded. I expect this methodological analysis to contribute to the enlightenment of the problem of phenomenology of intersubjective pragmatics, and to its future experimental paradigms.

Keywords: pragmatics; figurative language; metaphor; language games; neuronal correlates; neuroimage


  • Albertazzi, L. (Ed.). (2000). Meaning and cognition: A multidisciplinary approach. John Benjamins Publishing.Google Scholar

  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2006). History of Psycholinguistics. in K. Brown (ed). The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2nd edition). Elsevier.Google Scholar

  • Austin, J.L. (1979). Philosophical papers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Austin, J.L. (1962). Sense and Sensibilia. (Warnock, ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Beaty, R.E., Silvia, P.J., & Benedek, M. (2017). Brain networks underlying novel metaphor production. Brain and Cognition, 111, 163-170.Google Scholar

  • Baker, C.L., & McCarthy, J.J. (Eds). (1981). The logical problem of language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

  • Beeman, M.J., & Chiarello, C. (1998). Complementary right-and left-hemisphere language comprehension. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 7(1), 2-8.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Borg, E. (2007). Minimalism versus contextualism in semantics (pp. 339-359). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Beeman, M., Friedman, R.B., Grafman, J., Perez, E., Diamond, S., & Lindsay, M.B. (1994). Summation priming and coarse semantic coding in the right hemisphere. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 6, 26-45.Google Scholar

  • Blumenthal, A.L. (1987). The emergence of psycholinguistics. Synthese, 72, 313–323.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Bloomfield, L. (1914). Introduction to the study of language. New York: Henry Holt and Company.Google Scholar

  • Bottini, G., Corcoran, R., Sterzi, R., Paulesu, E., Schenone, P., Scarpa, P., Frackowiak, R.S.J., & Frith, C.D. (1994). The role of the right hemisphere in the interpretation of figurative aspects of language: A positron emission tomography activation study. Brain, 117, 1241–1253.Google Scholar

  • Brown, R. (1973). A first language: The early stages. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Brownell, H.H., Potter, H.H., Bihrle, A.M., & Gardner, H. (1986). Inference deficits in right brain-damaged patients. Brain and Language, 29, 310–321.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Buswell, G.T. (1922). Fundamental reading habits: A study of their development. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

  • Bransford, J.D., & Johnson, M.K. (1972). Contextual prerequisites for understanding: Some investigations of comprehension and recall. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 717-726.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Cardillo, E.R., Watson, C., & Chatterjee, A. (2016). Stimulus needs are a moving target: 240 additional matched literal and metaphorical sentences for testing neural hypotheses about metaphor. Behavior research methods, 1-13.Google Scholar

  • Catania, A.C. (1998). The taxonomy of verbal behavior. In: K.A. Lattal, & M. Perone (Eds), Handbook of research methods in human operant behavior (pp. 405–433). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar

  • Caplan, R., & Dapretto, M. (2001). Making sense during conversation: An fMRI study. NeuroReport, 12, 3625–3632.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Cappelen, H., & LePore, E. (2005). Quotation, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2012/entries/quotation/>.

  • Cattell, J. (1886). The time it takes to see and name objects. Mind, 11, 63–65.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Delbrück, B. (1901). Grundfragen der Sprachforschung; mit rücksicht auf W. Wundt’s Sprachpsychologie. Strassburg: Trabner.Google Scholar

  • Dronkers, N.F. (1996). A new brain region for coordinating speech articulation. Nature, 384 (6605), 159.Google Scholar

  • Elmer, S. (2016). Broca Pars Triangularis Constitutes a “Hub” of the Language-Control Network during Simultaneous Language Translation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10.Google Scholar

  • Eviatar, Z., & Just., M.A. (2006). Brain correlates of discourse processing: An fMRI investigation of irony and conventional metaphor comprehension. Neurpsychologia, 44, 2348-2359.Google Scholar

  • Ferstl, E.C., & Von Cramon, D.Y. (2001). The role of coherence and cohesion in text comprehension: An event-related fMRI study. Cognitive Brain Research, 11, 325–340.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Frege, G. (1879). Concept script, a formal language of pure thought modelled upon that of arithmetic. In: J. Van Heijenoort (ed.) From Frege to Gödel: A Source Book in Mathematical Logic: 1879-1931. Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press, 1967.Google Scholar

  • Frege, G. (1948 [1892]), Sense and reference. The philosophical review, 57(3), 209-230.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Freud, S. (1975). The psychopathology of everyday life (Trans. A. Tyson). Harmondsworth, UK:Penguin (originally published 1901).Google Scholar

  • Gallagher, S. (2016). On the limits of finding human identity in the brain. Modern Believing, 57(2), 121-130.Google Scholar

  • Gallagher, H.L., & Frith, C.D. (2003). Functional imaging of ‘theory of mind’. Trends in Cognitive Neuroscience, 7, 77–83.Google Scholar

  • Gallagher, S., & Hutto, D. (2008). Understanding others through primary interaction and narrative practice. The shared mind: Perspectives on intersubjectivity, 12, 17-38.Google Scholar

  • Gernsbacher, M.A. (1990) Language comprehension as structure building. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar

  • Giora, R. (1997). Understanding figurative and literal language: The graded salience hypothesis. Cognitive Linguistics, 7, 183–206.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Grice, H.P. (1991). Studies in the Way of Words. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Huey, E.B. (1908). The psychology and pedagogy of reading. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar

  • Hutto, D.D. (2012). Folk psychological narratives: The sociocultural basis of understanding reasons. MIT Press.Google Scholar

  • King, J., & Stanley, J. (2005). Semantics, pragmatics, and the role of semantic content. Semantics versus pragmatics, 111-164.Google Scholar

  • Kintsch, W. (1988). The role of knowledge in discourse comprehension: A construction-integration model. Psychological Review, 95, 163–182.Google Scholar

  • Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). The metaphorical structure of the human conceptual system. Cognitive science, 4(2), 195-208.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Lenneberg, E.H. (1967). Biological foundations of language. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

  • Levelt, W. (2014). A history of psycholinguistics: The pre-Chomskyan era. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Maguire, E.A., Frith, C.D., & Morris, R.G.M. (1999). The functional neuroanatomy of comprehension and memory: The importance of prior knowledge. Brain, 122, 1839–1850.Google Scholar

  • Mason, R.A., & Just, M.A. (2004). How the brain processes causal inferences in text: A theoretical account of generation and integration component processes utilizing both cerebral hemispheres. Psychological Science, 15, 1–7.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Mason, R.A., & Just, M.A. (2006). Neuroimaging contributions to the understanding of discourse processes. Handbook of psycholinguistics, 799.Google Scholar

  • Minsky, M. (Ed.) (1968). Semantic information processing. Cambridge, MA: MIT.Google Scholar

  • Murphy, G.L., & Medin, D.L. (1985). The role of theories in conceptual coherence. Psychological review, 92(3), 289.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Quillian, M.R. (1968). Semantic memory. In: M. Minksy (Ed.), Semantic information processing. Cambridge, MA; MIT Press, 227–270.Google Scholar

  • Myers, J.L., & O’Brien, E.J. (1998). Accessing the discourse representation during reading. Discourse Processes, 26, 131–157.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Myers, J.L., Shinjo, M., & Duffy, S.A. (1987). Degree of causal relatedness and memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 26(4), 453-465.Google Scholar

  • Reber, A.S. (1987). The rise and (surprisingly rapid) fall of psycholinguistics. Synthese, 72: 325-339.Google Scholar

  • Recanati, F. (2005). Literalism and contextualism: Some varieties. In: G. Preyer and G. Peter (eds.), Contextualism in philosophy: Knowledge, meaning, and truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 171-196.Google Scholar

  • Reboul A. & Moeschler J. (1998), Pragmatique du discours. De l’interprétation de l’énoncé à l’interprétation du discours, Paris, Armand Colin (U linguistique).Google Scholar

  • Reichle, E.D. & Mason, R.A. (2006). The neural signatures of causal inferences: A preliminary computational account of brain-imaging and behavioral data. In: F. Schmalhofer, & C.A. Perfetti (Eds), Higher level language processes in the brain: Inference and comprehension processes. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar

  • Robertson, D.A., Gernsbacher, M.A., Guidotti, S.J., Robertson, R.R.W., Irwin, W., Mock, B.J., & Campana, M.E. (2000). Functional neuroanatomy of the cognitive process of mapping during discourse comprehension. Psychological Science, 11, 255–260.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Russell, B. (2009). The philosophy of logical atomism. Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Russell, B. (2005). On denoting. Mind, 114(456), 873-887.Google Scholar

  • Searle, J.R. (1985). Expression and meaning: Studies in the theory of speech acts. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Searle, J.R. (1965). What is a Speech Act?. England: Penguin books.Google Scholar

  • Searle, J.R. (1969). Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language (Vol. 626). Cambridge university press.Google Scholar

  • Schmidt, G.L., & Seger, C.A. (2009). Neural correlates of metaphor processing: the roles of figurativeness, familiarity and difficulty. Brain and cognition, 71(3), 375-386.Google Scholar

  • Skinner, B.F. (1983). Verbal Behavior, 1957. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar

  • Sperber, D., Wilson, D., (1986). Relevance: Communication and cognition (Vol. 142). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Stanley, J., & Gendler Szabó, Z. (2000). On quantifier domain restriction. Mind & Language, 15(2-3), 219-261.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • St George, M., Kutas, M., Martinez, A., & Sereno, M.I. (1999). Semantic integration in reading: engagement of the right hemisphere during discourse processing. Brain, 122(7), 1317-1325.Google Scholar

  • Tinker, M.A. (1936). Reliability and validity of eye-movement measures of reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 19, 732–746.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Tomitch, L.M.B., Just, M.A., & Newman, S.D. (2004). Main idea identification: a functional imaging study of a complex language comprehension process. In C. Rodrigues, & L.M.B. Tomitch (Eds.), Linguagem e o Cérebro Humano: Contribuições multidisciplinares (pp. 167-175). ATMED editora, Portoalegre.Google Scholar

  • Tremblay, P., & Dick, A.S. (2016). Broca and Wernicke are dead, or moving past the classic model of language neurobiology. Brain and Language, 162, 60-71.Google Scholar

  • Thompson, H.E., Henshall, L., & Jefferies, E. (2016). The role of the right hemisphere in semantic control: A case-series comparison of right and left hemisphere stroke. Neuropsychologia, 85, 44-61.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Van Dijk, T., Kintsch, T., (1983). Strategies of Discourse Comprehension. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Xu, J., Kemeny, S., Park, G., Frattali, C., & Braun, A. (2005). Language in context: Emergent features of word, sentence, and narrative comprehension. NeuroImage, 25, 1002–1015.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Winograd, T. (1972). Understanding natural language. Cognitive Psychology, 3, 1–191.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Wittgenstein, L. (1921). Tractatus logico-philosophicus (Trans, D.F. Pears & B.F. McGuinness, 1961). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar

  • Wittgenstein, L. (1999). Philosophical investigations, trans. GEM Anscombe. New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar

  • Zhang, Y., Fan, L., Caspers, S., Heim, S., Song, M., Liu, C. et al. (2017). Cross-cultural consistency and diversity in intrinsic functional organization of Broca's Region. NeuroImage, 150, 177-190.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2017-06-06

Published in Print: 2017-04-01

Citation Information: Kairos. Journal of Philosophy & Science, Volume 18, Issue 1, Pages 84–109, ISSN (Online) 1647-659X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kjps-2017-0004.

Export Citation

© 2017 Inês Hipólito, published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in