Joseph L. Subbiondo

Joseph L. Subbiondo, formerly the President of CIIS, has served as Dean of the School  of Liberal Arts at St. Mary’s College of California; Vice President for  Academic Affairs at the University of the Pacific; and Dean of the  College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University. Prior to his  administrative appointments, Mr. Subbiondo served as a faculty member in  the English Departments at Santa Clara University and Villanova  University. His numerous scholarly publications primarily focus on the  history of linguistics, especially the seventeenth-century philosophical  language movement. Presently, his principal publications and presentations explore the relationship between language and consciousness as well as the development of integral education.  jsubbiondo@gmail.com.

Abstract

The Relevance of Linguistic Relativity to Consciousness Studies. Scholars are increasingly integrating multicultural and multidisciplinary studies into their research; and, as a result, they are developing new areas of inquiry and expanding traditional disciplines. A prime beneficiary of this integration has been consciousness studies because it is situated at the intersections of several, if not all, disciplines. In my presentation, we will explore the relevance of linguistic relativity to consciousness studies. We will start with Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897-1941) who, as a scholar at Yale, presented the strongest version of the principle to date as exemplified in his assertions: “Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about”; “We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native language”; and “A change in language can transform our appreciation of the cosmos.” While most linguists ignored linguistic relativity during the mid twentieth century due to the dominance of generative grammar with its emphasis on universal deep structure grammar, it has reemerged in the late twentieth century to the present with the growth of cognitive linguistics. While current versions of linguistic relativity vary in degree from that of Whorf, they offer similar insights into the interrelationships of language, thought, culture, and self. As studies of consciousness come to the forefront of scholarly inquiry, the role of linguistics in facilitating this inquiry is as critical today as Whorf advocated nearly a century ago. Presentation