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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

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Dear Babel, what do you mean "special evolutionary explanation"??
BLOGGER: Well, that was poor phrasing on my part. Let's make it "special linguistic explanation."


Thank you, a long time ago my friend Fernando Nottebhom,at Rockefeller pointed out to me, well and to rest of the world, about songbirds' remarkable-as in difficult to perceive- cognitive capacities, which sometimes seem to astound many. I thought you were surprised by the experiments' results and in passing waving to those that could invoke special evodevo circumstances for language.

Raymond Weitzman

The fact that Zebra Finches can discriminate and categorize vowel sounds is not that surprising. Chinchillas can too. But how do they learn to do it? What is the methodology that the investigators used to train them to discriminate and categorize. I haven't seen the full article yet, but my bet is that it is some variant of operant conditioning. If so, then phonological development doesn't require any special linguistic explanation either.
BLOGGER: Didn't I say that?

I feel confident that most sorting and categorizing of language ties directly to standard perceptual powers, but I would still like to see a test with apes.

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