A language of baboon thought?
Graduate studies at Western
In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press (2009)
|Abstract||Does thought precede language, or the other way around? How does having a language affect our thoughts? Who has a language, and who can think? These questions have traditionally been addressed by philosophers, especially by rationalists concerned to identify the essential difference between humans and other animals. More recently, theorists in cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and developmental psychology have been asking these questions in more empirically grounded ways. At its best, this confluence of philosophy and science promises to blend the respective strengths of each discipline, bringing abstract theory to bear on reality in a principled and focused way. At its worst, it risks degenerating into a war of words, with each side employing key expressions in its own idiosyncratic way – or worse, contaminating empirical research with a priori dogmas inherited from outmoded philosophical worldviews. In Baboon Metaphysics (2007), Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth offer an analysis of baboon cognition that promises to exemplify the very best interaction of philosophical theory and empirical research. They argue that baboons have a language of thought: a language-like representational medium, which supports the sophisticated cognitive abilities required to negotiate their complex social environment. This claim is intended to be surprising in its own right, and also to shed light on the evolution of spoken language. Because our own ancestors likely lived in a similarly complex social environment, Cheney and Seyfarth propose that the earliest humans also developed language first as a cognitive medium, and that spoken language evolved as a means to express those thoughts. There are two potential difficulties here. First, ‘Language of Thought’ (LOT) is a term of art, with much associated theoretical baggage and often comparatively little careful exposition. Thus, evaluating the claim requires getting clearer about just what LOT implies in this context..|
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|External links||This entry has no external links. Add one.|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Elisabeth Camp (2007). Thinking with Maps. Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):145–182.
Daniel Laurier (2004). La Publicité Et l'Interdépendance du Langage Et de la Pensée. Dialogue 43 (2):281-315.
Gerard O'Brien & Jonathan Opie (2002). Radical Connectionism: Thinking with (Not in) Language. Language and Communication 22 (3):313-329.
Lawrence J. Kaye (1995). The Languages of Thought. Philosophy of Science 62 (1):92-110.
Peter Carruthers (1996). Language, Thought, and Consciousness. Cambridge University Press.
Peter Carruthers & Jill Boucher (eds.) (1998). Language and Thought: Interdisciplinary Themes. Cambridge University Press.
Martin Davies (1991). Concepts, Connectionism, and the Language of Thought. In W Ramsey, Stephen P. Stich & D. Rumelhart (eds.), Philosophy and Connectionist Theory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Robert M. Seyfarth & Dorothy L. Cheney (2008). Primate Social Knowledge and the Origins of Language. Mind and Society 7 (1):129-142.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads37 ( #36,967 of 722,935 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?