Computational Phenotypes: Towards an Evolutionary Developmental Biolinguistics

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OUP Oxford, 2013 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 239 pages
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This book confronts the hotly debated claim that language is a species specific trait of humans. It also considers the notion that disentangling the evolutionary history of language is one of science's hardest problems. Building on the recent conceptual breakthroughs of the EvoDevo paradigm, Balari and Lorenzo argue that language is not so exceptional after all. It is, rather, just the human version of a fairly common and conservative organic system which they call the Central Computational Complex. The authors also propose that interspecies variation of this organ is restricted to (i) accessible memory resources, and (ii) patterns of external connectivity, both being the result of perturbations on the system underlying its development. The book, written accessibly for both biologists and linguists, offers a fresh perspective on language as a naturally evolved phenomenon.
 

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Contents

The Pains of Being OweniansChomskyansCartesians at Heart
1
2 My Beloved Monster
26
3 The Dead End of Communication
42
4 On True Homologues
64
5 Computational Homology
89
6 Introducing Computational Evo Devo
108
7 Other Minds
134
8 Conclusions
161
On Complexity Issues
173
References
185
Index of Authors
219
General Index
226
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About the author (2013)


Sergio Balari is a Professor of Linguistics at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and Guillermo Lorenzo is Professor of Linguistics at Universidad de Oviedo. They are members of an interuniversity team currently working on the developmental basis and evolutionary origins of language, with funds provided by the Spanish Government and FEDER. Sergio Balari is also a member of the Centre de Linguistica Teorica (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona). They have coauthored several articles in leading journals such as Biolinguistics, Biological Theory and International Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

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