In his paper “Word, Niche and Super-Niche:How Language Makes Minds Matter More,” Andy Clark defends the claim that engaging in linguistic communication can serve to transform the cognitive capacities of agents in highly specific ways. What does it mean to claim that communication can serve to transform the capacities of agents, and in what specific ways is linguistic communication supposed to do this? Do you agree that linguistic communication can transform the cognitive capacities of agents in this way? Why or why not?

To say that communication can serve to transform the capacities of agents means to say that the process of the sharing of information between agents is an active process in that the cognitive capacities of the agents sharing the information are also transformed in the process. According to the author, linguistic communication can transform the cognitive capacities of agents. This is because the author considers language to be a "cognition-enhancing animal-built structure."

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Language is often seen as a tool that helps us understand the world. Words are considered to be descriptions of the things around us that we sense. In this kind of an understanding of language, the knowledge of words appears to be passively stored within us to be used when...

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Language is often seen as a tool that helps us understand the world. Words are considered to be descriptions of the things around us that we sense. In this kind of an understanding of language, the knowledge of words appears to be passively stored within us to be used when required. The author, however, considers language to be a "cognition-enhancing animal-built structure." Language can be seen as a tool that can constantly be upgraded and evolved according to the agent’s needs. In this way, when used in communication, language can serve to transform the capacities of the agents using it.

According to the author, language seen as a "cognitive niche" plays an important role in thought. A cognitive niche is the process animals use to transform problem spaces in "ways that aid thinking and reasoning about some target domain(s)."

Language impacts thought in at least the three following ways: 1) it acts as an augmented reality overlay, 2) it helps in scaffolding action and attention, and 3) it enhances self-knowledge and mind control. It is for these reasons that linguistic communication can transform the cognitive capacities of its agents.

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