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The Language Instinct

Harper Perennial (1994/2007)

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  1. Introduction: Organ Transplantation—A Challenge for Global Ethics.Barbara A. Strassberg - 2003 - Zygon 38 (3):643-662.
    A social scientific interpretation of the development of global ethics is offered. Both spontaneous and intended mechanisms of the construction of such an ethics within the broader processes of globalization are analyzed, and possible theoretical foundations are suggested. The scientific and technological achievements that gave rise to the medical procedure of organ transplantation generated new questions and challenges that theologians, scholars of religion, natural scientists, and social scientists are now trying to resolve.
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  • Teaching Care Ethics: Conceptual Understandings and Stories for Learning.Colette Rabin & Grinell Smith - 2013 - Journal of Moral Education 42 (2):164-176.
    An ethic of care acknowledges the centrality of the role of caring relationships in moral education. Care ethics requires a conception of ?care? that differs from the quotidian use of the word. In order to teach care ethics more effectively, this article discusses four interrelated ways that teachers? understandings of care differ from care ethics: (1) conflating the term of reference ?care? with its quotidian use; (2) overlooking the challenge of developing caring relationships; (3) tending toward monocultural understandings of care; (...)
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  • Inside the Concept: Rethinking Dōgen's Language.Rein Raud - 2011 - Asian Philosophy 21 (2):123 - 137.
    One of the most characteristic features of the philosophy of D?gen is his idiosyncratic use of language, in particular, the replacement of expected semantic connections between two adjacent Chinese characters with improbable, but grammatically possible ones, from which new philosophical concepts are then derived. The article places this writing technique in the context of the linguistic changes that were taking place both in China and Japan at the time of D?gen's writing as well as the general attitude of Chan/Zen thinkers (...)
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  • Human Nature and Neurosciences: A Methodical Cultural Criticism of Naturalism in the Neurosciences.P. Janich - 2003 - Poiesis and Praxis 2 (1):29-40.
    In its predominant form, the understanding of the neurosciences, which stand in high public esteem, is a naturalistic one. The critique of this naturalism concerns the technical modelling of brain functions as a syntactic or control loop machine. Adequate solutions to the mind-body problem are not found in this way.
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  • Inference or Interaction: Social Cognition Without Precursors.Shaun Gallagher - 2008 - Philosophical Explorations 11 (3):163 – 174.
    In this paper I defend interaction theory (IT) as an alternative to both theory theory (TT) and simulation theory (ST). IT opposes the basic suppositions that both TT and ST depend upon. I argue that the various capacities for primary and secondary intersubjectivity found in infancy and early childhood should not be thought of as precursors to later developing capacities for using folk psychology or simulation routines. They are not replaced or displaced by such capacities in adulthood, but rather continue (...)
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  • The Emotional Mind: The Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition.Stephen Asma & Rami Gabriel - 2019 - Harvard University Press.
    Tracing the leading role of emotions in the evolution of the mind, a philosopher and a psychologist pair up to reveal how thought and culture owe less to our faculty for reason than to our capacity to feel. Many accounts of the human mind concentrate on the brain’s computational power. Yet, in evolutionary terms, rational cognition emerged only the day before yesterday. For nearly 200 million years before humans developed a capacity to reason, the emotional centers of the brain were (...)
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  • Précis of the Origin of Concepts.Susan Carey - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):113-124.
    A theory of conceptual development must specify the innate representational primitives, must characterize the ways in which the initial state differs from the adult state, and must characterize the processes through which one is transformed into the other. The Origin of Concepts (henceforth TOOC) defends three theses. With respect to the initial state, the innate stock of primitives is not limited to sensory, perceptual, or sensorimotor representations; rather, there are also innate conceptual representations. With respect to developmental change, conceptual development (...)
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  • Food in the Metaphysical Orders: Gender, Race, and the Family.Andrea Borghini - 2012 - Humana Mente 5 (22).
    By looking at human practices around food, the paper brings novel evidence linking the social constructionist and the naturalist theories of gender, race, and the family, evidence that is based on the analysis of developmental trajectories. The argument rests on two main theoretical claims: unlike evolutionary explanations, developmental trajectories can play a decisive role in exhibiting the biological underpinnings of kinds related to gender, race, and family; food constitutes a point of convergence between constructionist and naturalist perspectives because it embeds (...)
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  • Information Extraction, Automatic.Hamish Cunningham - 2005 - In Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. pp. 665--677.
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  • Radical Concept Nativism.Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis - 2002 - Cognition 86 (1):25-55.
    Radical concept nativism is the thesis that virtually all lexical concepts are innate. Notoriously endorsed by Jerry Fodor (1975, 1981), radical concept nativism has had few supporters. However, it has proven difficult to say exactly what’s wrong with Fodor’s argument. We show that previous responses are inadequate on a number of grounds. Chief among these is that they typically do not achieve sufficient distance from Fodor’s dialectic, and, as a result, they do not illuminate the central question of how new (...)
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  • Filosofia da Linguagem - uma introdução.Sofia Miguens - 2007 - Porto: Universidade do Porto. Faculdade de Letras.
    O presente manual tem como intenção constituir um guia para uma disciplina introdutória de filosofia da linguagem. Foi elaborado a partir da leccionação da disciplina de Filosofia da Linguagem I na Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto desde 2001. A disciplina de Filosofia da Linguagem I ocupa um semestre lectivo e proporciona aos estudantes o primeiro contacto sistemático com a área da filosofia da linguagem. Pretende-se que este manual ofereça aos estudantes os instrumentos necessários não apenas para acompanhar uma (...)
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  • Theories and Measures of Consciousness: An Extended Framework.Anil K. Seth, Gerald M. Edelman, Eugene I. Izhikevich & George N. Reeke - 2006 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the Usa 103 (28):10799-10804.
    A recent theoretical emphasis on complex interactions within neural systems underlying consciousness has been accompanied by proposals for the quantitative characterization of these interactions. Here, we distinguish key aspects of consciousness that are amenable to quantitative measurement from those that are not. We carry out a formal analysis of the strengths and limitations of three quantitative measures of dynamical complexity in the neural systems underlying consciousness: neural complexity, information integration, and causal density. We find that no single measure fully captures (...)
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  • Culture Prefigures Cognition in Pan/Homo Bonobos.Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, William M. Fields & Par Segerdahl - 2010 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 20 (3):311-328.
    This article questions traditional approaches to the study of primate cognition. Because of a widespread assumption that cognition in non-human primates is genetically encoded, these approaches neglect how profoundly apes’ cultural rearing experiences affect test results. We describe how three advanced cognitive abilities – imitation, theory of mind and language – emerged in bonobos maturing in a Pan/Homo culture.
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  • Language, Culture and Spatial Cognition: Bringing Anthropology to the Table.Norbert Ross, Jeffrey T. Shenton, Werner Hertzog & Mike Kohut - 2015 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 10 (1):1-18.
    Languages vary in their semantic partitioning of the world. This has led to speculation that language might shape basic cognitive processes. Spatial cognition has been an area of research in which linguistic relativity – the effect of language on thought – has both been proposed and rejected. Prior studies have been inconclusive, lacking experimental rigor or appropriate research design. Lacking detailed ethnographic knowledge as well as failing to pay attention to intralanguage variations, these studies often fall short of defining an (...)
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  • Whorfian Effects in Color Perception: Deep or Shallow?Elisabetta Lalumera - 2014 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 9.
    This paper discusses, from the point of view of the philosophy of psychology, recent behavioral and brain studies showing effects of the diversity of language vocabulary on color perception. I show that in the domain of colors the traditional Relativism-Universalism dychotomy is explanatorily inadequate. The interesting alternative on the table is rather whether language affects perception by establishing long-term, stable habits of seeing the world (habitual or deep whorfianism), or rather by providing short-term online cues during the perceptual process (Language-as-a-Meddler (...)
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  • Thoughts Without Distinctive Non-Imagistic Phenomenology.William S. Robinson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (3):534-561.
    Silent thinking is often accompanied by subvocal sayings to ourselves, imagery, emotional feelings, and non-sensory experiences such as familiarity, rightness, and confidence that we can go on in certain ways. Phenomenological materials of these kinds, along with our dispositions to give explanations or draw inferences, provide resources that are sufficient to account for our knowledge of what we think, desire, and so on. We do not need to suppose that there is a distinctive, non-imagistic 'what it is like' to think (...)
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  • Rappresentazione tacita della conoscenza e interpretazione delle capacità di cognizione sociale nella prima infanzia.Marco Fenici - 2013 - Annali Del Dipartimento di Filosofia 18 (1):197-216.
    Recent studies demonstrated that 15-month-olds selectively respond to others’ beliefs. According to an epistemic mentalist interpretation, this attests that 15-month-olds possess a rudimentary capacity to attribute beliefs. Weaker interpretations suggest instead that infants are only sensitive to others’ beliefs because they can detect their proximal correlates. These two opposed interpretations often appeal to principled objections. In contrast, I argue that the dispute can be brought back to its empirical basis if we clearly explain what it means having ‘tacit’ or ‘implicit’ (...)
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  • Enactive and Behavioral Abstraction Accounts of Social Understanding in Chimpanzees, Infants, and Adults.Shaun Gallagher & Daniel J. Povinelli - 2012 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (1):145-169.
    We argue against theory-of-mind interpretation of recent false-belief experiments with young infants and explore two other interpretations: enactive and behavioral abstraction approaches. We then discuss the differences between these alternatives.
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  • The New Alliance Between Science and Education: Otto Neurath’s Modernity Beyond Descartes’ ‘Adamitic’ Science.Stefano Oliverio - 2014 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 33 (1):41-59.
    Starting from a suggestion of Stephen Toulmin and through an interpretation of the criticism to which Neurath, one of the founders of the Vienna Circle, submits Descartes’ views on science, the paper attempts to outline a pattern of modernity opposed to the Cartesian one, that has been obtaining over the last four centuries. In particular, it is argued that a new alliance has to be established between science and education, overcoming Descartes’ banishment against education. In a Neurathian perspective education is (...)
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  • Innateness and Domain Specificity.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 105 (2):191-210.
    There is a widespread assumption in cognitive science that there is anintrinsic link between the phenomena of innateness and domainspecificity. Many authors seem to hold that given the properties ofthese two phenomena, it follows that innate mental states aredomain-specific, or that domain-specific states are innate. My aim inthis paper is to argue that there are no convincing grounds forasserting either claim. After introducing the notions of innateness anddomain specificity, I consider some possible arguments for theconclusion that innate cognitive states are (...)
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  • Plasticity and Language: An Example of the Baldwin Effect?Kevin J. S. Zollman & Rory Smead - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (1):7-21.
    In recent years, many scholars have suggested that the Baldwin effect may play an important role in the evolution of language. However, the Baldwin effect is a multifaceted and controversial process and the assessment of its connection with language is difficult without a formal model. This paper provides a first step in this direction. We examine a game-theoretic model of the interaction between plasticity and evolution in the context of a simple language game. Additionally, we describe three distinct aspects of (...)
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  • Extended Cognition and Fixed Properties: Steps to a Third-Wave Version of Extended Cognition. [REVIEW]Michael David Kirchhoff - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):287-308.
    This paper explores several paths a distinctive third wave of extended cognition might take. In so doing, I address a couple of shortcomings of first- and second-wave extended cognition associated with a tendency to conceive of the properties of internal and external processes as fixed and non-interchangeable. First, in the domain of cognitive transformation, I argue that a problematic tendency of the complementarity model is that it presupposes that socio-cultural resources augment but do not significantly transform the brain’s representational capacities (...)
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  • Embedding If and Only If.Adam Sennet & Jonathan Weisberg - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (2):449-460.
    Some left-nested indicative conditionals are hard to interpret while others seem fine. Some proponents of the view that indicative conditionals have No Truth Values (NTV) use their view to explain why some left-nestings are hard to interpret: the embedded conditional does not express the truth conditions needed by the embedding conditional. Left-nestings that seem fine are then explained away as cases of ad hoc, pragmatic interpretation. We challenge this explanation. The standard reasons for NTV about indicative conditionals (triviality results, Gibbardian (...)
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  • Explaining the Gap: On Humans and Other Animals – Essay Review: Thomas Suddendorf: The Gap: The Science of What Separates Us From Other Animals. [REVIEW]Oren Harman - 2013 - Journal of the History of Biology 46 (4):739-755.
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  • An Evolutionary Theory of Schizophrenia: Cortical Connectivity, Metarepresentation, and the Social Brain.Jonathan Kenneth Burns - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):831-855.
    Schizophrenia is a worldwide, prevalent disorder with a multifactorial but highly genetic aetiology. A constant prevalence rate in the face of reduced fecundity has caused some to argue that an evolutionary advantage exists in unaffected relatives. Here, I critique this adaptationist approach, and review – and find wanting – Crow's “speciation” hypothesis. In keeping with available biological and psychological evidence, I propose an alternative theory of the origins of this disorder. Schizophrenia is a disorder of the social brain, and it (...)
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  • Shared Aesthetic Starting Points?Roberta Dreon - 2015 - Aisthesis: Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 8 (1):53-69.
    Are there any theoretical resources – conceptual, lexical or argumentative ones – in the interdisciplinary debate on the evolutionary origins of the arts that can help us go beyond the traditional autonomistic conception of art, in favour of a more continuist and inclusive interpretation of human artistic practices? The paper examines the different voices in the debate, against the background of a cultural naturalist attitude inspired by John Dewey, by focusing on those contributions which can be interpreted in non-reductionist, anti-foundationalist (...)
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  • The Trouble with Memes: Inference Versus Imitation in Cultural Creation.Scott Atran - 2001 - Human Nature 12 (4):351-381.
    Memes are hypothetical cultural units passed on by imitation; although nonbiological, they undergo Darwinian selection like genes. Cognitive study of multimodular human minds undermines memetics: unlike in genetic replication, high-fidelity transmission of cultural information is the exception, not the rule. Constant, rapid 'mutation' of information during communication generates endlessly varied creations that nevertheless adhere to modular input conditions. The sort of cultural information most susceptible to modular processing is that most readily acquired by children, most easily transmitted across individuals, most (...)
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  • The Cognitive Functions of Language.Peter Carruthers - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (6):657-674.
    This paper explores a variety of different versions of the thesis that natural language is involved in human thinking. It distinguishes amongst strong and weak forms of this thesis, dismissing some as implausibly strong and others as uninterestingly weak. Strong forms dismissed include the view that language is conceptually necessary for thought (endorsed by many philosophers) and the view that language is _de facto_ the medium of all human conceptual thinking (endorsed by many philosophers and social scientists). Weak forms include (...)
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  • The Epigenesis of Meaning in Human Beings, and Possibly in Robots.Jordan Zlatev - 2001 - Minds and Machines 11 (2):155-195.
    This article addresses a classical question: Can a machine use language meaningfully and if so, how can this be achieved? The first part of the paper is mainly philosophical. Since meaning implies intentionality on the part of the language user, artificial systems which obviously lack intentionality will be `meaningless'. There is, however, no good reason to assume that intentionality is an exclusively biological property and thus a robot with bodily structures, interaction patterns and development similar to those of human beings (...)
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  • Puns for Contextualists.Alberto Voltolini - 2012 - Humana Mente 5 (23):113-140.
    In this paper, I will first try to provide a new argument in favour of the contextualist position on the semantics/pragmatics divide. I will argue that many puns, notably multi-stable ones, cannot be dealt with in the non-contextualist way, i.e., as displaying a phenomenon that effectively involves wide context, the concrete situation of discourse, yet only in a pre-, or at least inter-, semantic sense. For, insofar as they involve ambiguous utterances rather than ambiguous sentences, these puns show that the (...)
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  • The Origin of Languages. A Constrained Set of Hypotheses.José Luis Guijarro - 2014 - Humana Mente 7 (27).
    As it seems impossible to find reliable evidence to back up hypotheses on the origin of our use of the linguistic tool in our acts of communication, I believe that we may start by pointing as accurately as possible to the processes involved, using a methodology that attempts to reach the levels of adequacy proposed by Chomsky, complemented by those suggested by David Marr. If we conclude that human communication and human language may have had different origins, we might find (...)
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  • Origins of Human Communication by Michael Tomasello.Alessandra Chiera - 2014 - Humana Mente 7 (27).
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  • Sobre el aporte de la filosofía a las teorías de conceptos en ciencia cognitiva.Bernardo Aguilera & R. Bernardo Pino - 2019 - Revista de Filosofía 76:7-27.
    Este artículo defiende la relevancia de la filosofía en el estudio contemporáneo de conceptos. Con el desarrollo de la ciencia cognitiva, la teorización naturalista e interdisciplinaria acerca de los conceptos ha cobrado impulso. En este contexto, se ha argumentado recientemente que las teorías filosóficas de conceptos no son acerca del tipo de cosas que interesan a los psicólogos, descartando así la pertinencia científica de la contribución filosófica mencionada. Presentamos y discutimos dos casos que sugieren lo contrario, como un intento de (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Words.Roy Sorensen - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 81 (2-3):193 - 214.
    Semantic indeterminacy is the ether of philosophy of language. It fills the interstices of our intentions and pervades accounts of presupposition, tense, fiction, translation, and especially, vagueness. Yet semantic indeterminacy is as impossible as ectoplasm. Indeed, more so! The demonstration need only borrow a few assumptions used elsewhere in widely accepted impossibility results. Since an impossibility is never a necessary condition for anything actual, semantic indeterminacy must be superfluous. Language is no more explained by semantic indeterminacy than calculus is explained (...)
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  • Semantic Externalism, Authoritative Self-Knowledge, and Adaptation to Slow Switching.Andrew F. Smith - 2003 - Acta Analytica 18 (30-31):71-87.
    I here argue against the viability of Peter Ludlow’s modified version of Paul Boghossian’s argument for the incompatibility of semantic externalism and authoritative self-knowledge. Ludlow contends that slow switching is not merely actual but is, moreover, prevalent; it can occur whenever we shift between localized linguistic communities. It is therefore quite possible, he maintains, that we undergo unwitting shifts in our mental content on a regular basis. However, there is good reason to accept as plausible that despite their prevalence we (...)
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  • Adaptive and Genomic Explanations of Human Behaviour: Might Evolutionary Psychology Contribute to Behavioural Genomics? [REVIEW]Marko Barendregt & René Van Hezewijk - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):57-78.
    . Evolutionary psychology and behavioural genomics are both approaches to explain human behaviour from a genetic point of view. Nonetheless, thus far the development of these disciplines is anything but interdependent. This paper examines the question whether evolutionary psychology can contribute to behavioural genomics. Firstly, a possible inconsistency between the two approaches is reviewed, viz. that evolutionary psychology focuses on the universal human nature and disregards the genetic variation studied by behavioural genomics. Secondly, we will discuss the structure of biological (...)
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  • Fine-Tuning Nativism: The 'Nurtured Nature' and Innate Cognitive Structures.Slobodan Perovic & Ljiljana Radenovic - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (3):399-417.
    S. Oyama’s prominent account of the Parity Thesis states that one cannot distinguish in a meaningful way between nature-based (i.e. gene-based) and nurture-based (i.e. environment-based) characteristics in development because the information necessary for the resulting characteristics is contained at both levels. Oyama as well as P. E. Griffiths and K. Stotz argue that the Parity Thesis has far-reaching implications for developmental psychology in that both nativist and interactionist developmental accounts of psychological capacities that presuppose a substantial nature/nurture dichotomy are inadequate. (...)
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  • Developmental Objections to Evolutionary Modularity.John Sarnecki - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):529-546.
    Evolutionary psychologists argue that selective pressures in our ancestral environment yield a highly specialized set of modular cognitive capacities. However, recent papers in developmental psychology and neuroscience claim that evolutionary accounts of modularity are incompatible with the flexibility and plasticity of the developing brain. Instead, they propose cortical and neuronal brain structures are fixed through interactions with our developmental environment. Buller and Gray Hardcastle contend that evolutionary accounts of cognitive development are unacceptably rigid in light of evidence of cortical plasticity. (...)
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  • In Defence of Virtue Epistemology.Christoph Kelp - 2011 - Synthese 179 (3):409-433.
    In a number of recent papers Duncan Pritchard argues that virtue epistemology's central ability condition—one knows that p if and only if one has attained cognitive success (true belief) because of the exercise of intellectual ability—is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge. This paper discusses and dismisses a number of responses to Pritchard's objections and develops a new way of defending virtue epistemology against them.
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  • The Environments of Our Hominin Ancestors, Tool-Usage, and Scenario Visualization.R. Arp - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):95-117.
    In this paper, I give an account of how our hominin ancestors evolved a conscious ability I call scenario visualization that enabled them to manufacture novel tools so as to survive and flourish in the ever-changing and complex environments in which they lived. I first present the ideas and arguments put forward by evolutionary psychologists that the mind evolved certain mental capacities as adaptive responses to environmental pressures. Specifically, Steven Mithen thinks that the mind has evolved cognitive fluidity, viz., an (...)
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  • Hominid Cultural Transmission and the Evolution of Language.Laureano Castro, Alfonso Medina & Miguel A. Toro - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (5):721-737.
    This paper presents the hypothesis that linguistic capacity evolved through the action of natural selection as an instrument which increased the efficiency of the cultural transmission system of early hominids. We suggest that during the early stages of hominization, hominid social learning, based on indirect social learning mechanisms and true imitation, came to constitute cumulative cultural transmission based on true imitation and the approval or disapproval of the learned behaviour of offspring. A key factor for this transformation was the development (...)
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  • A Praxical Solution of the Symbol Grounding Problem.Mariarosaria Taddeo & Luciano Floridi - 2007 - Minds and Machines 17 (4):369-389.
    This article is the second step in our research into the Symbol Grounding Problem (SGP). In a previous work, we defined the main condition that must be satisfied by any strategy in order to provide a valid solution to the SGP, namely the zero semantic commitment condition (Z condition). We then showed that all the main strategies proposed so far fail to satisfy the Z condition, although they provide several important lessons to be followed by any new proposal. Here, we (...)
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  • Indistinguishable From Magic: Computation is Cognitive Technology. [REVIEW]John Kadvany - 2010 - Minds and Machines 20 (1):119-143.
    This paper explains how mathematical computation can be constructed from weaker recursive patterns typical of natural languages. A thought experiment is used to describe the formalization of computational rules, or arithmetical axioms, using only orally-based natural language capabilities, and motivated by two accomplishments of ancient Indian mathematics and linguistics. One accomplishment is the expression of positional value using versified Sanskrit number words in addition to orthodox inscribed numerals. The second is Pāṇini’s invention, around the fifth century BCE, of a formal (...)
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  • Multiculturalism, Autonomy, and Language Preservation.Ethan Nowak - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    In this paper, I show how a novel treatment of speech acts can be combined with a well-known liberal argument for multiculturalism in a way that will justify claims about the preservation, protection, or accommodation of minority languages. The key to the paper is the claim that every language makes a distinctive range of speech acts possible, acts that cannot be realized by means of any other language. As a result, when a language disappears, so does a class of speech (...)
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  • Moral Relativism and Evolutionary Psychology.Steven D. Hales - 2009 - Synthese 166 (2):431 - 447.
    I argue that evolutionary strategies of kin selection and game-theoretic reciprocity are apt to generate agent-centered and agent- neutral moral intuitions, respectively. Such intuitions are the building blocks of moral theories, resulting in a fundamental schism between agent-centered theories on the one hand and agent-neutral theories on the other. An agent-neutral moral theory is one according to which everyone has the same duties and moral aims, no matter what their personal interests or interpersonal relationships. Agent-centered moral theories deny this and (...)
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  • Perspectives on the Animal Mind.Robert A. Skipper - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):483-487.
    Charles Darwin was one of the first to propose a unified framework with which to understand human and animal behavior. The foundation of Darwin’s framework is his theory of descent with modification. What Darwin was convinced that theory allowed him to say about human and animal behavior is exemplified in the ‘continuity thesis.’ As Darwin put it, ‘there is a much wider interval in mental power between one of the lowest fishes, as a lamprey or lancelet, and one of the (...)
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  • On the Significance of William James to a Contemporary Doctrine of Evolutionary Psychology.Jean Suplizio - 2007 - Human Studies 30 (4):357-375.
    Academic popularizers of the new field of evolutionary psychology make notable appeals to William James to bolster their doctrine. In particular, they cite James’ remark that humans have all the “impulses” animals do and many more besides to shore up their claim that people’s “instincts” account for their flexibility. This essay argues that these scholars misinterpret James on the instincts. Consciousness (which they find inscrutable) explains cognitive flexibility for James. The evolutionary psychologists’ appeal to James is, therefore, unwarranted and, given (...)
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  • Cognitive Technology and the Pragmatics of Impossible Plans — A Study in Cognitive Prosthetics.Roger Lindsay - 1996 - AI and Society 10 (3-4):273-288.
    Do AI programs just make it quicker and easier for humans to do what they can do already, or can the range of do-able things be extended? This paper suggests that cognitively-oriented technology can make it possible for humans to construct and carry out mental operations, which were previously impossible. Probable constraints upon possible human mental operations are identified and the impact of cognitive technology upon them is evaluated. It is argued that information technology functions as a cognitive prosthetic enhancing (...)
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  • Tacit Belief, Semantics and Grammar.Kent Johnson - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (1):57-91.
    This paper explores speakers'' epistemic access to the semanticand syntactic features of sentences of their language. I argue that there is evidence that ceteris paribus, the actual semantic features of sentences of a language are accessible as such by typical speakers of that language.I then explore various linguistic, cognitive, and epistemic consequences of this position.
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  • The Evolution of Language: A Comparative Review. [REVIEW]W. Tecumseh Fitch - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):193-203.
    For many years the evolution of language has been seen as a disreputable topic, mired in fanciful “just so stories” about language origins. However, in the last decade a new synthesis of modern linguistics, cognitive neuroscience and neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory has begun to make important contributions to our understanding of the biology and evolution of language. I review some of this recent progress, focusing on the value of the comparative method, which uses data from animal species to draw inferences about (...)
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