More than Nature Needs: Language, Mind, and Evolution

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9780674724907: More than Nature Needs: Language, Mind, and Evolution

The human mind is an unlikely evolutionary adaptation. How did humans acquire cognitive capacities far more powerful than anything a hunting-and-gathering primate needed to survive? Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder with Darwin of evolutionary theory, saw humans as "divine exceptions" to natural selection. Darwin thought use of language might have shaped our sophisticated brains, but his hypothesis remained an intriguing guess--until now. Combining state-of-the-art research with forty years of writing and thinking about language evolution, Derek Bickerton convincingly resolves a crucial problem that both biology and the cognitive sciences have hitherto ignored or evaded.

What evolved first was neither language nor intelligence--merely normal animal communication plus displacement. That was enough to break restrictions on both thought and communication that bound all other animals. The brain self-organized to store and automatically process its new input, words. But words, which are inextricably linked to the concepts they represent, had to be accessible to consciousness. The inevitable consequence was a cognitive engine able to voluntarily merge both thoughts and words into meaningful combinations. Only in a third phase could language emerge, as humans began to tinker with a medium that, when used for communication, was adequate for speakers but suboptimal for hearers.

Starting from humankind's remotest past, More than Nature Needs transcends nativist thesis and empiricist antithesis by presenting a revolutionary synthesis--one that instead of merely repeating "nature and nurture" clichés shows specifically and in a principled manner how and why the synthesis came about.

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About the Author:

Derek Bickerton is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Hawaii.

Review:

Bickerton is the grand seigneur of the topic of language evolution among the linguists. He writes so bloody well that one turns green with envy. He is a mastermind of the field, period. (Eörs Szathmáry, Professor of Biology in the Department of Plant Taxonomy & Ecology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)

More than Nature Needs is terrific, provocative, controversial, up-to-date, and written with a refreshing take-no-prisoners attitude. Theories of the evolution of language are notoriously hard to test, but Bickerton's, which embeds a serious critique of contemporary linguistics, is well worthy of serious consideration. A top-notch effort by a leader in the field, in the middle of his ninth decade.
(Gary Marcus, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Language and Music at New York University)

Wide-ranging...A novel inquiry into the evolution of language...Deeply thought-provoking...Highly stimulating. (Stephen Levinson Science 2014-06-27)

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Descrizione libro Harvard University Press, 2014. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. In stock & ready to ship. Gift-quality. Ships with tracking the same or next business day from New Haven, CT. We fully guarantee to ship the exact same item as listed and work hard to maintain our excellent customer service. Codice libro della libreria 03261708

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Descrizione libro HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The human mind is an unlikely evolutionary adaptation. How did humans acquire cognitive capacities far more powerful than anything a hunting-and-gathering primate needed to survive? Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder with Darwin of evolutionary theory, saw humans as divine exceptions to natural selection. Darwin thought use of language might have shaped our sophisticated brains, but his hypothesis remained an intriguing guess--until now. Combining state-of-the-art research with forty years of writing and thinking about language evolution, Derek Bickerton convincingly resolves a crucial problem that both biology and the cognitive sciences have hitherto ignored or evaded.What evolved first was neither language nor intelligence--merely normal animal communication plus displacement. That was enough to break restrictions on both thought and communication that bound all other animals. The brain self-organized to store and automatically process its new input, words. But words, which are inextricably linked to the concepts they represent, had to be accessible to consciousness. The inevitable consequence was a cognitive engine able to voluntarily merge both thoughts and words into meaningful combinations. Only in a third phase could language emerge, as humans began to tinker with a medium that, when used for communication, was adequate for speakers but suboptimal for hearers.Starting from humankind s remotest past, More than Nature Needs transcends nativist thesis and empiricist antithesis by presenting a revolutionary synthesis--one that instead of merely repeating nature and nurture cliches shows specifically and in a principled manner how and why the synthesis came about. Codice libro della libreria AAU9780674724907

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Descrizione libro HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The human mind is an unlikely evolutionary adaptation. How did humans acquire cognitive capacities far more powerful than anything a hunting-and-gathering primate needed to survive? Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder with Darwin of evolutionary theory, saw humans as divine exceptions to natural selection. Darwin thought use of language might have shaped our sophisticated brains, but his hypothesis remained an intriguing guess--until now. Combining state-of-the-art research with forty years of writing and thinking about language evolution, Derek Bickerton convincingly resolves a crucial problem that both biology and the cognitive sciences have hitherto ignored or evaded.What evolved first was neither language nor intelligence--merely normal animal communication plus displacement. That was enough to break restrictions on both thought and communication that bound all other animals. The brain self-organized to store and automatically process its new input, words. But words, which are inextricably linked to the concepts they represent, had to be accessible to consciousness. The inevitable consequence was a cognitive engine able to voluntarily merge both thoughts and words into meaningful combinations. Only in a third phase could language emerge, as humans began to tinker with a medium that, when used for communication, was adequate for speakers but suboptimal for hearers.Starting from humankind s remotest past, More than Nature Needs transcends nativist thesis and empiricist antithesis by presenting a revolutionary synthesis--one that instead of merely repeating nature and nurture cliches shows specifically and in a principled manner how and why the synthesis came about. Codice libro della libreria AAU9780674724907

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Descrizione libro Harvard University Press, 2014. Condizione libro: New. How did humans acquire cognition more powerful than a hunting-gathering primate needed to survive? Combining research with forty years of writing about language evolution, the author resolves a crucial problem that both biology and cognitive science have ignored: how animal thinking escaped the prison of the here and now. Num Pages: 280 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: CFF; JMH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 236 x 163 x 33. Weight in Grams: 635. . 2014. Hardcover. . . . . . Codice libro della libreria V9780674724907

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Descrizione libro Harvard University Press. Condizione libro: New. How did humans acquire cognition more powerful than a hunting-gathering primate needed to survive? Combining research with forty years of writing about language evolution, the author resolves a crucial problem that both biology and cognitive science have ignored: how animal thinking escaped the prison of the here and now. Num Pages: 280 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: CFF; JMH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 236 x 163 x 33. Weight in Grams: 635. . 2014. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Codice libro della libreria V9780674724907

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