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. [email protected]


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.