Selectionist Approaches in Evolutionary Linguistics: An Epistemological Analysis

Abstract
Evolutionary linguistics is methodologically inspired by evolutionary psychology and the neo-Darwinian, selectionist approach. Language is claimed to have evolved by means of natural selection. The focus therefore lies not on how language evolved, but on finding out why language evolved. This latter question is answered by identifying the functional benefits and adaptive status that language provides, from which in turn selective pressures are deduced. This article analyses five of the most commonly given pressures or reasons why presumably language evolved. I demonstrate that these reasons depend on functional definitions of what language is. To undo this bias, I suggest that scholars move away from the ?why? and ?what for? questions of language evolution, and focus on how language actually evolved. The latter project inquires into the distinct evolutionary mechanisms enabling the evolution of the anatomical and sociocultural traits underlying linguistic behaviour
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: 11,365
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
Derek Bickerton (1984). The Language Bioprogram Hypothesis. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 7 (2):173.

View all 16 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Dominic Murphy (2005). Can Evolution Explain Insanity? Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):745-766.
John Beatty (1984). Pluralism and Panselectionism. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:113 - 128.
Keith Frankish (2010). Evolving the Linguistic Mind. Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 9:206-214.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-05-22

Total downloads

14 ( #115,807 of 1,102,762 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #120,475 of 1,102,762 )

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.