During our analysis of fashion magazine ads, I suggested that it is our cognitive abilities to conceptualize and memory that permit us to distinguish a bag from a woman in a photograph. Jeff then firmly stated that a structuralist would disagree because they would argue that it is our linguistic abilities that permit us to give meaning to the photograph. So with a structuralist perspective emphasizing language so much, I tried to figure out what it was about ‘language’ that might be so different from cognition.
Cognition is clearly a prerequisite for language. Our memory and ability to personify experiences and senses into symbols is what allows us to think. You might say we have a need, desire or just natural abilities that drive us to think, conceptualize and categorize objects. When we represent perceptions and ideas into expressible symbols, it becomes a language. Cognition semantically permits us to give meaning to syntax.
Cognition being a prerequisite for language suggests that the differentiating factor between language and cognition is the ability to communicate with expressible symbols. And communication requires two people. If that be the case, then wouldn’t a pure structuralist approach necessitate (phenomenological) intersubjectivity?