Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

On language and evolution: Why neo-adaptationism fails

Eric Reulanda1

a1 Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, 3512 BL, Utrecht, The Netherlands. eric.reuland@let.uu.nl

Abstract

I identify a number of problematic aspects of Christiansen & Chater's (C&C's) contribution. These include their suggestion that subjacency and binding reflect non-domain-specific mechanisms; that proto-language is a “cultural product”; and that non-adaptationism requires overly rich innate structures, and is incompatible with acceptable evolutionary processes. It shows that a fully UG (Universal Grammar)-free version of the authors' neo-adaptationism would be incoherent.

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    Language as shaped by the brain Morten H. Christiansen and Nick Chater Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, and Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM 87501 christiansen@cornell.edu http://www.psych.cornell.edu/people/Faculty/mhc27.html; Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom n.chater@ucl.ac.uk http://www.psychol.ucl.ac.uk/people/profiles/chater_nick.htm
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