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How Language Promotes Human Cognition-A Study Based on the Work of Andy Clark on the Extended Mind

Abstract

This article focuses on the role of language in promoting human cognition. Drawing on the work of Andy Clark, this article deciphers how language promotes human cognition and provides arguments on language’s function in cognitive development. Through the arguments expanded from Andy Clark’s extended mind theory, this article contributes to the literature on language understood in terms of its role in developing human cognition. Moreover, the paper also critically reviews Andy Clark’s extended mind concepts and finds some internally controversial arguments. By comparing Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development with extended mind theory, this paper concentrates on the concept of learning capacity to explain cognitive development under the help of language. Based on the comparisons between Andy Clark’s extended mind and Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, this article highlighted the following main results: 1) Language can promote cognitive development like mangroves. In other words, the special development of human cognition determines the language broad functions. 2) Then, the extended mind depicts language which prompts human to pursue many more profound understandings on the extended world as a necessary tool of extending human mind. After discussing Andy Clark’s work, this article provides suggestions for how to develop language functions as a tool promoting cognitive development.

Keyu Zhai and Xing Gao

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