The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B has come out with a special issue devoted to the evolution of human cognition, especially language origins. The introductory essay appears to be available online to non-subscribers, so even if you don't have access to a science library you can check out that one. It takes an evolutionary psychology approach, so I am sympathetic although I lean toward a heretical skepticism about specialized modules. (Orthodox evolutionary psychology holds that we evolved a "large collection of computationally distinct 'modules.'" [p. 2093]) Naturally, therefore, I was happy to see this sentence, "… the 'massive modularity hypothesis' has long been the object of criticism and the articles in this theme issue represent the emerging alternative view of the evolved human mind."
The metaphor for the human mind in this alternative is the human hand. Instead of consisting of many specialized organs, the hand is a general purpose tool "capable of performing a wide and open-ended variety of technical and social functions." Frankly, it has long seemed obvious to me that the human mind is an open-ended, general-purpose tool and I have doubted the modularity view's ability to explain human history. Of course many things that seem obvious to me turn out to be wrong, but I need to have it shown to me that it's wrong. I'm not much moved by the a priori argument that modularity is the way the a computer has to handle the matter, so it must be the way the brain works.
The most important difference between my general approach and theirs is that they tend to assume that human cooperation is a result of our high intelligence, while I have come to believe the opposite. But if I only recommended papers that summarize my own opinions I would have very little to report. The August 5 issue of the Transactions is an important contribution to the study of human origins and I wanted to get out of my hammock long enough to urge giving it a peek. Click the link to the introduction to get an overview of what's happening these days