Topoi 37 (2):255-263 (2018)

Abstract
Language evolution, intended as an open problem in the evolutionary research programme, will be here analyzed from the theoretical perspective advanced by the supporters of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Four factors and two associated concepts will be matched with a selection of critical examples concerning genus Homo evolution, relevant for the evolution of language, such as the evolution of hominin life-history traits, the enlargement of the social group, increased cooperation among individuals, behavioral change and innovations, heterochronic modifications leading to increased synaptic plasticity. A particular form of niche construction will be considered in a multilevel framework. It will be argued that the four points mentioned above prove to be fundamental explanatory tools to understand how language might have emerged as a result of a gene-culture coevolutionary dynamics.
Keywords Language evolution  Extended evolutionary synthesis  Gene-culture co-evolution  Reciprocal causation  Niche construction  Self-domestication hypothesis
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DOI 10.1007/s11245-016-9419-7
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The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes: Philosophical Papers.Imre Lakatos, John Worrall & Gregory Currie - 1979 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (4):381-402.

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