Natural Language as a Technological Tool

history and philosophy of technology
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Abstract:

Language is a technological tool, since it is the outcome of a process of exteriorisation of a set of intentional practices. This process of exteriorisation is semiotic in nature. Language as technology and technology as language are thus ways of socialize consciousness. On the basis of some recent results in applied linguistics, the paper suggests that language and technology have to be considered as “functioning” when they enable social relations, by collectivising consciousness and producing a sort of social intelligence as well as an increase of complexity; on the other hand, language and technology have to be considered as “non-functioning” when they hinder socialization, privatize consciousness and reduce complexity, as is the case in automatized and algorithmic treatment of languages. This concept of language requires a reconsideration of the ways in which linguistics and philosophy of language understand semiotic practices and demands a shift from an “autonomist view” to a “political view” of language.