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According to Dirac, light can be treated as waves or particles. In fact, in quantum mechanics, particles are regarded as waves. The behaviour of these particles can be predicted, as it were, and, they are thus known as probability waves or Dirac wave particles. When the particle is not observed when consciousness is not present , it remains a wave a probability wave , but upon being observed when consciousness is present it becomes a particle. Hence, the evident importance of the part played by consciousness in quantum mechanics. Wigner had remarked that it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum theory in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness. The mind is part, an indispensable part, of nature.
The behaviour of these particles can be predicted, as it were, and, they are thus known as probability waves or Dirac wave particles.
When the particle is not observed when consciousness is not present , it remains a wave a probability wave , but upon being observed when consciousness is present it becomes a particle.
Hence, the evident importance of the part played by consciousness in quantum mechanics. Wigner had remarked that it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum theory in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.
The mind is part, an indispensable part, of nature. Scientists such as David Bohm and Werner Heisenberg, as well as many other scientists, evidently understood this fundamental aspect. Classical philosophers such as Berkeley and Hume had wondered whether the existence of any object was independent of the existence of the mind or consciousness: If I had never seen never been aware of an object, does that object exist?
Thus, even if a unified field theory or theory of everything were obtained, it will still not give a complete picture of nature if consciousness were excluded. There should therefore be a complementary General Theory of Consciousness.
This General Theory of Consciousness will be a very important aspect in our search for the ultimate truth. Many scientists, e.
It amounts to reading language productions through a spatial lens, picking out the categories that one is interested in regardless of their structural importance in the language. My concern in developing my approach was to make thinking on the issue more precise and to open it to empirical research in a systematic, rather than ad hoc way.
I therefore started by looking at the language structure more carefully. For instance, when looking at Mayan languages see Lucy, , I first analyzed the grammatical structure and then assessed the language in a number of experimental conditions, to get a measure of language use. Yucatec Maya, an indigenous language of southeastern Mexico, notably differs from American English in how it expresses number with nouns: plural number marking is optional and there are an extensive range of obligatory numeral classifiers.
Starting from this language contrast we could start making predictions and designing experiments that derive their relevance from the language, rather than from our own pre-existing concerns.
Books and Ideas: Would you agree that universalist assumptions, and more precisely nativism — i. Would you say that current approaches to linguistic relativity reconciled nativists and empiricists? Lucy: If holding a nativist view means that you will only accept that view, then it does tend to block research, because you will simply ignore or discount inconvenient empirical findings. But if one is open to the empirical evidence, then there is room for a more balanced view.
I believe elements of my own approach allow such a reconciliation, but I find it still makes people on both sides uncomfortable to consider a middle ground. Books and Ideas: Developmental findings suggest that children gradually tune-in to their language. You have evidenced one turning point in language acquisition and development more broadly, and it occurs rather late. Is there a contradiction between your results and other studies showing an impact of input language from the very first words a child utters e.
Lucy: Work on early acquisition shows that children are sensitive to the input of the surrounding language s — apparently starting even before birth and continuing through their development. But in itself, that has nothing to do with linguistic relativity, which has to do with the influences of language on thinking more generally.
I suspect there are some early influences on nonverbal cognition, but to date in my own research, I find children speaking differently but performing similarly cognitively until age 7. Then their cognitive patterns begin to diverge in line with their language structures, suggesting that they are now drawing on language-specific categories for tasks other than speaking or language acquisition per se.
A number of studies on early acquisition have taken spatial language as a starting point for cross-linguistic comparison. But the difficulty is showing that these language-learning patterns have some broader effect on cognition beyond language. Part of the difficulty is that these forms have been analyzed out of structural context. So, for example, these English spatial prepositions also signal aspectual meaning e.
And without taking these other uses into account, it is hard to know what to predict in cognition. And even when you have a solid linguistic contrast, testing for cognitive patterns is not easy.
In order to show language effects, we need a narrower focus than the description of a whole complex scene. In my own work I have used very simple object sorting tasks.
For example, when shown triads of objects e. These effects on cognition then are arising many years after the basic linguistic distinctions have been drawn, raising important developmental questions as to why. This would account for a strong bias, which according to you may be temporarily overcome but will inevitably come back.
Could you explain what this conclusion implies? Lucy: There are two claims here. One claim is that drawing on language-specific categories for other kinds of thought probably imparts some advantages. So, in that sense, normal development seems to presuppose doing this. The second claim is that making this commitment can create problems for engagement with a second language afterwards if it requires substantially different commitments.
And this means that modes of thought that rely on these other commitments may also prove difficult. The degree of effect will, of course, depend on the age of exposure, amount of exposure, similarity of the languages, etc. In the case of late, limited exposure to a very different L2, that L2 will likely be construed in terms of the categories of the L1, that is, that L2 will not contribute to cognition in the usual way, and there will be a preference for continuing to draw on the L1 for certain tasks.
How this plays out under different developmental scenarios is all very much in the forefront of current research on bilingual cognition. Books and Ideas: Ultimately, can we really distinguish language from cultural factors? Lucy: Well, language is a part of culture.
But as I mentioned above, it does have some semi-autonomy. We have several methods at our disposal for trying to assess to what extent language is influencing thought independently of other cultural factors that co-occur with it. One method is to produce a prediction that is so tightly tied to language, that alternative accounts become very unlikely. A second is to use comparative populations so as to compare similar languages in different cultures, and vice versa.
A third is to use developmental research, which gives us a sense of which influences operate earlier. And a final strategy is to use special populations — the deaf, late L1 learners, L2 learners, etc.
There is currently a lot of new research on the impact of having a second language in relation to cognitive abilities. We are still in the early stages of research and linguistic relativity proposals are still in need of empirical verification. At present, well-controlled assessments using concrete referential tasks e. But while these domains of cognition are tractable to experimentation, others are less so. It remains unclear how we can assess the impact of language structure on more abstract notions such as love or honor, counterfactuality or stance, etc..
Finally, even when we have well-controlled data, we still have to discover how generalizable they are. How pervasive are these linguistic effects out there in the everyday world?
Surely there are other conditioning factors on behavior that will have an impact in non-experimental contexts. In short, we have made a good beginning but still have much to learn.
Learning to express motion events in English and Korean: The influence of language-specific lexicalization patterns, Cognition, 41 , pp. Rethinking linguistic relativity, Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Humboldt, W. Caussat, Paris : Seuil. Levinson, SC. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ.