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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« Darwinius masillae | Main | Humanized Mice »

Comments

marianasoffer

1.where did language come from?
As burroughs said: "language is a virus from outer space" and also as any other technology began.
2.how could it have possibly began?
The same way the wheel usage and invention began.(By the way where is the answer of how the wheel began..?)
3. When you say "... to refer to a stick?" is the same as the second question. Usage of language and langue began together.

uzza

Your stick example of the Grounding Problem is insurmountable for spoken, but non-existent for signed languages. The progression from shared action, symbolic play, iconic gesture, to signed words is well established, as is their gradual loss of iconicity with use. Once words need no longer be iconic, either visual gestures or their accompanying vocalizations can provide the form. Selection pressure would strongly favor communication via broadcast transmission of signals (speech) over one that requires direct line of sight contact. Both apes and humans tend to vocalize while they gesture, and it would be no trick to 'invent' a spoken word by dropping the manual component.

JoseAngel

How does your definition, "Language is a tool for governing perception by piloting attention", fit with the theory recently expounded by Bickerton in ADAM'S TONGUE? Do you intend to comment further on his notion that imagination, "de-localization" or "offline thinking" are the main characteristics of language and the trigger of its evolution? I for one would appreciate a spelling out of the differences between your position and his.
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BLOGGER: i will discuss this complicated issue in a full post.

María

I agree with JoseAngel, June 07, 2009 at 10:18. I am thinking of the gesture of pointing. Pointing is "a tool for governing perception by piloting attention".
Language is the tool for governing imagination (de-localization" or "offline thinking") by piloting attention. First, it is alien imagination that is governed; then (with inner speech), the subject governs and pilots his own imagination and attention. However, I am not underestimating the gesture of pointing. Pointing is a great achievement: wild chimpanzees do not point. (It would be extremely interesting to find out which was the first species to have both the gesture of pointing and its associate feature -the white of the eye-)

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