Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Language first, then shared intentionality, then a beneficent spiral

Derek Bickerton a1
a1 Department of Linguistics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822


Tomasello et al. give a good account of how shared intentionality develops in children, but a much weaker one of how it might have evolved. They are unduly hasty in dismissing the emergence of language as a triggering factor. An alternative account is suggested in which language provided the spark, but thereafter language and shared intentionality coevolved.