Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

What proper names, and their absence, do not demonstrate

Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy a1
a1 Department of Linguistics, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand [email protected]


Hurford claims that empty variables antedated proper names in linguistic (not merely logical) predicate-argument structure, and this had an effect on visual perception. But his evidence, drawn from proper names and the supposed inability of nonhumans to recognise individual conspecifics, is weak. So visual perception seems less relevant to the evolution of grammar than Hurford thinks.