David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Cognitive Science 34 (7):1131-1157 (2010)
Recent research suggests that language evolution is a process of cultural change, in which linguistic structures are shaped through repeated cycles of learning and use by domain-general mechanisms. This paper draws out the implications of this viewpoint for understanding the problem of language acquisition, which is cast in a new, and much more tractable, form. In essence, the child faces a problem of induction, where the objective is to coordinate with others (C-induction), rather than to model the structure of the natural world (N-induction). We argue that, of the two, C-induction is dramatically easier. More broadly, we argue that understanding the acquisition of any cultural form, whether linguistic or otherwise, during development, requires considering the corresponding question of how that cultural form arose through processes of cultural evolution. This perspective helps resolve the “logical” problem of language acquisition and has far-reaching implications for evolutionary psychology.
|Keywords||Cultural evolution Biological adaptation Universal grammar Language acquisition Evolutionary psychology Induction Language evolution Natural selection Cognitive development|
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References found in this work BETA
Noam Chomsky (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. The MIT Press.
Nancy Cartwright (1999). The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science. Cambridge University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA
Vladimir M. Sloutsky (2010). From Perceptual Categories to Concepts: What Develops? Cognitive Science 34 (7):1244-1286.
Stephen C. Levinson & Russell D. Gray (2012). Tools From Evolutionary Biology Shed New Light on the Diversification of Languages. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16 (3):167-173.
Robert L. Goldstone & David Landy (2010). Domain-Creating Constraints. Cognitive Science 34 (7):1357-1377.
Vladimir M. Sloutsky (2010). Mechanisms of Cognitive Development: Domain-General Learning or Domain-Specific Constraints? Cognitive Science 34 (7):1125-1130.
Anne S. Hsu, Nick Chater & Paul Vitányi (2013). Language Learning From Positive Evidence, Reconsidered: A Simplicity-Based Approach. Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):35-55.
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