Number and natural language

In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. pp. 1--216 (2005)
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Abstract

One of the most important abilities we have as humans is the ability to think about number. In this chapter, we examine the question of whether there is an essential connection between language and number. We provide a careful examination of two prominent theories according to which concepts of the positive integers are dependent on language. The first of these claims that language creates the positive integers on the basis of an innate capacity to represent real numbers. The second claims that languageā€™s function is to integrate contents from modules that humans share with other animals. We argue that neither model is successful.

Author Profiles

Eric Margolis
University of British Columbia
Stephen Laurence
University of Sheffield

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