Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

I. The Evolution of the Disposition for Cooperative Behaviour Versus Symbolic Communication. The Case of Peter Gärdenfors


Once we stop asking the stupid question “Can animals acquire language?” (the short but unhelpful answer is no!) and start asking the sensible question, “What kind(s) of neural substrate are both necessary and sufficient for protolinguistic behavior?,” we can open up whole new fields of research and start to get somewhere.

Derek Bickerton134

What is the glue that holds a society together? It isn’t the law or the constitution. These are just words on a piece of paper. It isn’t the officers of state. They are just people like you or me. Is it our sense of moral obligation? But there is honor of a sort even among thieves. Is it God? Some social contracts are so horrendous that even fundamentalists must sometimes entertain doubts. None of these answers fit the bill, because we asked the wrong question. A stable social contract doesn’t need any glue.

Ken Binmore135

This chapter endeavours to merely reconstruct Peter Gärdenfors’ views on the evolutionary roots of human symbolic activity136. Gärdenfors’ theory from the field of ← 115 | 116 → evolutionary social psychology is by far the most successful attempt to combine three groups of data – the knowledge of cognitive representations (ontogenesis of intelligence), the knowledge of social behaviour (comparative ethology) and knowledge of evolutionary biology. Until now these three fields have been evolving in relative isolation. By reconstructing the work of Peter Gärdenfors we ask if modern science has indeed integrated knowledge on the...

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.