Queering Abstract Concepts. A Grounded Perspective on Gender

Mazzuca, Claudia (2020) Queering Abstract Concepts. A Grounded Perspective on Gender, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Philosophy, science, cognition, and semiotics (pscs), 32 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/9306.
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Concepts are the building blocks of our cognitive system. Theories of conceptual knowledge have attempted to explain how we acquire master concepts by relying on different assumptions. Among several proposals, theories of Embodied and Grounded Cognition (EGC) submit to the idea that our conceptual system is couched in our bodily states and is influenced by the environment surrounding us (Barsalou, 2008). Chapter 1 reviews and critically discusses the debate on conceptual format as developed in cognitive science. Abstract concepts (ACs) like ethic constitute a major challenge for theories of conceptual knowledge, and for EGC theories. Recently, some EG proposals addressed this criticism, arguing that the category of ACs is multifaced and heterogenous, encompassing exemplars that differ among them with respect of their grounding sources (Borghi et al., 2018). According to the WAT theory (Borghi & Binkofski, 2014), for instance, both abstract and concrete concepts are grounded in our bodily states and linguistic system, to different extents. Specifically, ACs are more influenced by social, cultural and linguistic aspects than concrete concepts, hence activating the mouth effector. In addition, ACs would be more influenced by cultural and linguistic variability. Chapter 2 tackles the issue of ACs from an EG perspective. In an EG approach, gender can be considered as a special kind of AC. In fact, its grounding sources enclose biological and perceptual aspects–related to one’s own sexual embodiment–and social and cultural factors. Whereas previous accounts on gender have stressed one specific aspect over the other (Eagly & Wood, 2013), nowadays the dichotomy opposing sex to gender seems less tenable (Butler, 1990; Hyde et al., 2019). Drawing on the description of ACs offered in Chapter 2, in Chapter 3 I defend a queer perspective on ACs and gender, that escapes traditional dichotomies such as abstract/concrete and sex/gender.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Mazzuca, Claudia
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
embodied and grounded cognition; concepts; abstract concepts; gender; sex/gender; queer theory; language and cognition; feminist psychology
Data di discussione
19 Marzo 2020

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