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Grammar and Glamour of Cooperation

Lectures on the Philosophy of Mind, Language and Action


Szymon Wrobel

This book is a collection of essays, weaving together cognitive psychology, psycho-linguistics, developmental psychology, modern philosophy and behavioural sciences. It raises the question: how does grammar relate to our remarkable ability to cooperate for future needs? The author investigates the interconnections between the mechanisms governing cooperation and reciprocal altruism on the one hand and the capacity to generate an infinite range of expressions from a finite set of syntactically structured elements on the other. Based on these premises, the specific character of cognitive explanations, possible architectures of mind, non-formal grammar and tacit knowledge are explored. Furthermore the author deals with the role of conceptual representations in explaining grammar, the modular structure of mind and the evolutionary origins of human language ability and moral authority.
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IV. Language and its Doppelgängers


The logician scrutinizes the conditions of truth that must be satisfied by the statements that shape science. He will not accept “ordinary” language because it is equivocal, uncertain, and vague, and he strives to forge an entirely symbolic language. But the subject of the linguist is precisely this “ordinary language,” which he takes as the datum and whose entire structure he explores.

Émile Benveniste110

Given a variety of descriptively adequate grammars for natural languages, we are interested in determining to what extent they are unique and to what extent there are deep underlying similarities among them that are attributable to the form of language as such. Real progress in linguistics consists in the discovery that certain features of given languages can be reduced to universal properties of language, and explained in terms of these deeper aspects of linguistic form. Thus the major endeavor of the linguist must be to enrich the theory of linguistic form by formulating more specific constraints and conditions on the notion “generative grammar.”

Noam Chomsky111

Noam Chomsky has never been particularly enthusiastic about the concept of language, considering it to be far too enigmatic. Thus, the initial distinction between language and grammar, and later on I-language (internal) and E-language (external). For a long time Chomsky has insisted that the primary object of interest for the study of the evolution and function of the language faculty is I-language, understood as the intrinsic system of representation of the ← 97 | 98...

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