Why behavior should matter to linguists

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (6):670-672 (2003)
Jackendoff's Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution has many points of similarity with Skinner 's analysis of verbal behavior, though the former emphasizes structure whereas the latter emphasizes function. The parallels are explored in the context of a selectionist account of behavior in general and of verbal behavior in particular. Part of the argument is that behavior drives evolution and therefore also drives brain organization. Another concerns itself with the nature of explanation. Recent experimental developments in behavior analysis are reviewed as potential contributions to an understanding of language that incorporates its functional as well as structural dimensions
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DOI 10.1017/S0140525X03260155
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