Beyond just the words (thesis)
I divide this paper into 5 sections. In section 1, I present viewpoints of prominent scholars like Rene Descartes, Daniel Dennett, Jerry Fodor, and Paul Churchland on the issue of language, representation, and thought. Using their works, I exhibit the lack of attention paid to the roles of non-verbal communication. Then, I consider the reasoning behind this negligence towards non-verbal communication and propose three plausible causes. Next, I begin section 2 by briefly addressing the importance of emotion in cognition and decision making. I proceed to present empirical work done in Affective Computing and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and stop at ―checkpoints‖ to consider their philosophical implications. Using the empirical work presented, I also consider both the practical and philosophical implication of the improvement of social signal processing abilities of individuals with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). Social signal processing can be roughly defined as the ability to infer one‘s mental states from one‘s emotional (or affective states). Next, I present further empirical research that pays equal attention to both verbal and non-verbal communication. In section 3, I extend the philosophical implications mentioned beforehand by focusing on the motivations behind using computer models to gain a systematic understanding of non-verbal communication. Moreover, I focus on the power of an embodied language on thought. I delineate how a systematic understanding of non-verbal communication augments our understanding of human-human interaction. In section 4, I consider objections to the current arguments and provide appropriate responses to them. Prior to the conclusion of the paper, section 5 deals with future implications of the current work both from a societal and philosophical point of view. [From the introductory section]
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Upol Ehsan is a member of the Class of 2013 of Washington and Lee University.