Speech acts are generated as the outcome of a dynamics operating on a network

Thought as word dynamics. I. General principles (1)

The general hypothesis is that “speech acts are generated as the outcome of a dynamics operating on a network”; it is specific as far as it states that the data, the “words,” summoned in the generation of speech acts are structured as a network. It is also informative when it distinguishes to the mechanism, two parts: an architecture, being the network itself and a “dynamics” – so far unqualified – operating on it. To a large extent the hypothesis states the obvious as speech performance unfolds in time and is therefore out of necessity a dynamic process; also, any dynamics necessarily operates on a substrate constituting its architecture. In the case of speech performance this architecture automatically comprises the building blocks of speech acts, i.e. the words that get combined sequentially into speech acts.

Also, unless the full complexity of speech performance is assigned to its dynamics, it is reasonable to assume that to some extent it reflects the static organization of the data. There is no hard evidence disallowing the converse view that speech performance results from an extremely complex dynamics operating on unstructured data, sentences being generated through picking individual words on demand from a repository where they are randomly stored. At the same time, this converse hypothesis would suppose a highly uneconomical method for dealing with the task of generating a sequentially organized output. This would be unexpected as it has been observed that as soon as biological processes reach some level of complexity, that complexity is economically distributed between the substrate and the dynamics operating on it (this is the case with the sense organs, for instance, which deal partially with the complexity of information processing through the complexity of the organ itself).

If data (“words”) are to some extent organized within their repository, one obvious avenue for modelling this organization is to represent it by way of the mathematical object known as a graph (a set of ordered pairs). A connected graph (1) is what is being referred to in non-technical terms as a “network.” In other words saying that the dynamics of speech performance operates on a network amounts to saying simply that its substrate of words is “in some way” and “in some degree” organized. Adding that this network is connected amounts to saying that the full lexicon known to the speaker is available whenever a single clause is generated (2).

(1) I’ll show further down (section 21) that the connectedness of the graph is a condition for the rationality of the speech acts uttered by a talking subject).

(2) As will be postulated below (section 21), what happens with psychosis is that only part of the lexicon is available at any one time for speech performance. Neurosis (section 20) would correspond to the less dramatic circumstances when individual words and therefore particular paths in the network are inaccessible, the whole lexicon remaining otherwise accessible, even if sometimes only through convoluted and cumbersome ways.

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