Language and cognition: A postrelativist research program

2019. №4, 106-136

Sergey Yu. Boroday
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia;


This article analyses contemporary trends in the study of how natural language influences cognitive processes, and formulates a new program of interdisciplinary research in the field of language and cognition. The author first briefly examines the history of “the linguistic relativity hypothesis” (“the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis”), focusing on the neorelativist research program and results achieved in the period from 1990 to 2010. Next, the weak points in the neorelativist project are highlighted and the author introduces the fundamental tenets of postrelativism, a new theoretical model that attempts to recontextualize the main ideas of Benjamin Whorf while taking account of contemporary tendencies in linguistics (neostructuralism) and cognitive science (postcognitivism). The second half of the article formulates a research program for the field of language and cognition. Different levels of cognition are considered (pre-conceptual experience, perception, thought, philosophical activity) and their connection with the structure of natural language examined. Relying on the latest discoveries in these fields, the author outlines what he considers to be the most productive research problems.

For citation:

Boroday S. Yu. Language and cognition: A postrelativist research program. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2019, 4: 106–136.