David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Mind and Society 7 (1):129-142 (2008)
Primate vocal communication is very different from human language. Differences are most pronounced in call production. Differences in production have been overemphasized, however, and distracted attention from the information that primates acquire when they hear vocalizations. In perception and cognition, continuities with language are more apparent. We suggest that natural selection has favored nonhuman primates who, upon hearing vocalizations, form mental representations of other individuals, their relationships, and their motives. This social knowledge constitutes a discrete, combinatorial system that shares several features with language. It is probably a general primate characteristic whose appearance pre-dates the evolution of spoken language in our hominid ancestors. The prior evolution of social cognition created individuals who were preadapted to develop language. Several features thought to be unique to language—like discrete combinatorics and the encoding of propositional information—were not introduced by language. They arose, instead, because understanding social life and predicting others’ behavior requires a particular style of thinking
|Keywords||Nonhuman primates Communication Cognition Language Evolution|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
L. BarsaLou (2005). Continuity of the Conceptual System Across Species. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (7):309-311.
Susan Carey & Elizabeth Spelke (1996). Science and Core Knowledge. Philosophy of Science 63 (4):515 - 533.
Jerry A. Fodor (1975). The Language of Thought. Harvard University Press.
Lila Gleitman & Anna Papafragou (2005). Language and Thought. In K. Holyoak & B. Morrison (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning. Cambridge University Press. 633--661.
Marc Hauser, Chomsky D., Fitch Noam & W. Tecumseh (2002). The Faculty of Language: What is It, Who has It, and How Did It Evolve? Science 298 (22):1569-1579.
Citations of this work BETA
Doug Jones (2010). Human Kinship, From Conceptual Structure to Grammar. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (5):367.
Kristen Hawkes (2013). Primate Sociality to Human Cooperation. Human Nature 25 (1):1-21.
Similar books and articles
Jacques Vauclair (2002). Does the Use of the Dynamic System Approach Really Help Fill in the Gap Between Human and Nonhuman Primate Language? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (5):642-643.
Elisabeth A. Lloyd (2004). Kanzi, Evolution, and Language. Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):577-88.
Barry Horwitz, Fatima T. Husain & Frank H. Guenther (2005). Auditory Object Processing and Primate Biological Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):134-134.
Barry C. Smith (2006). What We Know When We Know a Language. In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oup Oxford.
Sonia Ragir & Patricia J. Brooks (2006). Language and Life History: Not a New Perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):296-297.
A. R. Maryanski (1997). The Origin of Speech and its Implication for the Optimal Size of Human Groups. Critical Review 11 (2):233-249.
Emmanuel Gilissen (2005). Imitation Systems, Monkey Vocalization, and the Human Language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):133-134.
Amanda Seed & Michael Tomasello (2010). Primate Cognition. Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):407-419.
Emmanuel Gilissen (2004). Aspects of Human Language: Where Motherese? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):514-514.
Robert M. Seyfarth (2005). Continuities in Vocal Communication Argue Against a Gestural Origin of Language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):144-145.
Added to index2010-08-10
Total downloads12 ( #181,438 of 1,696,445 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #241,811 of 1,696,445 )
How can I increase my downloads?