Monday, August 22, 2005

Fitch, Hauser and Chomsky respond to the response.....   posted by Razib @ 8/22/2005 02:14:00 AM

I have posted on the "languages wars" I thought that I'd point out that Noam Chomsky, Marc Hauser W. T. Fitch have responded (full text) to Steven Pinker and Ray Jackendoff's paper which was written in response to their initial manifesto. Note that this is basically back-biting amongst the "innatist" camp as regards language. Though I think Pinker and Jackendoff have run ahead of the data as far as FOXP2 goes, I suspect their tack will be more fruitful. I am not necessarily one who believes that complex behaviors are necessarily straightforward adaptations or have strong fitness implications which can't be warped or distorted by social considerations (even if a given religious practice is functionally deleterious, if it makes you an outcaste when you dissent from the practice then your fitness drops). But, I am highly skeptical that language is such a trait, I simply do not believe that serendipity is the source of our competence at speech (or recursive capacity).

Related: The children of Universal Grammar. FOXP2.