Show Less
Restricted access

50 Years of Language Experiments with Great Apes

Igor Hanzel

The book approaches the language experiments with great apes performed in the last 50 years from the point of view of logical semantics, speech act theory, and philosophy of the social sciences based on the linguistic turn in philosophy. The author reconstructs the experiments with the great apes Washoe, Chantek, Lana, Sherman, Austin, Kanzi, Sarah and Sheba who were taught various kinds of languages, including the language of mathematics. From the point of view of the philosophy of science these experiments are interpreted as being part of the social sciences. The book proposes new mathematical experiments that are based on modern semantical reconstruction of the language of mathematics. The author shows that modern scientific research into great apes has shifted from natural science to social science.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

8. The Results of Language Experiments with Great Apes and the Turn to Social Science

Extract

8. The Results of Language Experiments with Great Apes and the Turn to Social Science

The above given characterizations of results of language experiments with great apes were based on the employment of a semantic analysis of language expressions combined with a classification of illocutionary acts by means of the theory of speech acts. I summarize these results in Table 4.42

Table 4 Overview of performances of great apes in the respective language projects

←83 | 84→

Based on such an overview of the results of language experiments with great apes performed in the last 50 years, it is possible to explain a peculiar feature of these experiments. While two of the three language projects – namely, the AGSL and the YL projects – were directly inspired by the S-R reinforcement theory, leading experimenters to use the method of operant conditioning, this theory and this method were in the course of these projects abandoned. In addition, the YL project was due to its results viewed by its authors as displaying the character of narrative ethnography.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.