Distributed cognition in interpersonal dialogue.
The study of cognition has suggested different views of what a system needs to perform computations. A strong computationalist approach aims at producing and preserving true statements through syntactic recombinations of elements. AJternately a more action-oriented approach stresses the environment in which the system is placed and the structure that this may provide in performing computation. What is at issue is that the strong computationalist view depends on a particular view of symbols that are decontextualised and function primarily syntactically, in the service of pragmatic goals. It is argued that some of the lessons learned from embodied cognition, in the form of epistemic and strategic action, can aid the ways in which symbols are supposed to function in dialogue. In so doing, attention is turned away from the reification of speech both in the fonn of text manipulation and transcript and begins to look at the environment, situatedness, function and properties of speech. Consequently, language comes to embody some of the ways in which we manage our interaction with the world and other agents, making it a little more than an artefact but a little less than a complete and disembodied picture of rational cognition.