Universal grammar and the Baldwin effect: a hypothesis and some philosophical consequences

Biology and Philosophy 26 (2):201-222 (2011)
Abstract
Grammar is now widely regarded as a substantially biological phenomenon, yet the problem of language evolution remains a matter of controversy among Linguists, Cognitive Scientists, and Evolutionary Theorists alike. In this paper, I present a new theoretical argument for one particular hypothesis—that a Language Acquisition Device of the sort first posited by Noam Chomsky might have evolved via the so-called Baldwin Effect . Close attention to the workings of that mechanism, I argue, helps to explain a previously mysterious feature of the Language Acquisition Device—the sheer variety of languages it allows the child to learn—thereby revealing a far stronger case than adherents of the hypothesis have previously supposed. A further unheralded consequence of the hypothesis is a conceptual shift in the Chomskyan understanding of language, wherein the essentially public nature of language is freshly emphasised. This has the effect of bringing the Chomskyan view into closer accord with Saussurean accounts of language, as well as with recent trends in evolutionary theory
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,398
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Noam A. Chomsky (1980). Rules and Representations. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (127):1-61.

View all 30 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-07-26

Total downloads

34 ( #48,962 of 1,096,953 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #164,383 of 1,096,953 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.