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  1. Reconsidering the Role of Manual Imitation in Language Evolution.Antonella Tramacere & Richard Moore - 2018 - Topoi 37 (2):319-328.
    In this paper, we distinguish between a number of different phenomena that have been called imitation, and identify one form—a high fidelity mechanism for social learning—considered to be crucial for the development of language. Subsequently, we consider a common claim in the language evolution literature, which is that prior to the emergence of vocal language our ancestors communicated using a sophisticated gestural protolanguage, the learning of some parts of which required manual imitation. Drawing upon evidence from recent work in neuroscience, (...)
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  • Social Cognition, Stag Hunts, and the Evolution of Language.Richard Moore - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):797-818.
    According to the socio-cognitive revolution hypothesis, humans but not other great apes acquire language because only we possess the socio-cognitive abilities required for Gricean communication, which is a pre-requisite of language development. On this view, language emerged only following a socio-cognitive revolution in the hominin lineage that took place after the split of the Pan-Homo clade. In this paper, I argue that the SCR hypothesis is wrong. The driving forces in language evolution were not sweeping biologically driven changes to hominin (...)
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  • Gricean Communication, Joint Action, and the Evolution of Cooperation.Richard Moore - 2018 - Topoi 37 (2):329-341.
    It is sometimes claimed that Gricean communication is necessarily a form of cooperative or ‘joint’ action. A consequence of this Cooperative Communication View is that Gricean communication could not itself contribute to an explanation of the possibility of joint action. I argue that even though Gricean communication is often a form of joint action, it is not necessarily so—since it does not always require intentional action on the part of a hearer. Rejecting the Cooperative Communication View has attractive consequences for (...)
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  • Gricean Communication, Language Development, and Animal Minds.Richard Moore - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12550.
    Humans alone acquire language. According to one influen- tial school of thought, we do this because we possess a uniquely human ability to act with and attribute “Gricean” communicative intentions. A challenge for this view is that attributing communicative intent seems to require cognitive abilities that infant language learners lack. After considering a range of responses to this challenge, I argue that infant language development can be explained, because Gricean communication is cognitively less demanding than many suppose. However, a consequence (...)
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