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It is an organ, it is new, but it is not a new organ. : Conceptualizing language from a homological perspective
Balari, Sergio (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Departament de Filologia Catalana)
Lorenzo González, Guillermo (Universidad de Oviedo. Departamento de Filología Española)

Date: 2015
Abstract: It is a widely shared opinion among specialists that language is an evolutionary innovation, or that it contains some key evolutionary innovations. However, such claims are not based on a correspondingly consensual concept of "evolutionary innovation," but are rather expressed on atheoretical grounds. This fact has thus far acted as an obstacle for the collaborative effort upon which the task of disentangling the evolution of this human capacity should be built. In this paper, we suggest a formal approach to the issue, based on Wagner's recent theory of homologies and novelties. Within this new framework, we conclude that language is the human instantiation (thus an "homolog") of a character widely represented in the nervous system of animals, which incorporates a number of interdependent innovative states that allows us conceptualizing it as a "variational modality" of this ancient organ.
Rights: Aquest document està subjecte a una llicència d'ús Creative Commons. Es permet la reproducció total o parcial, la distribució, la comunicació pública de l'obra i la creació d'obres derivades, fins i tot amb finalitats comercials, sempre i quan es reconegui l'autoria de l'obra original. Creative Commons
Language: Anglès
Document: article ; recerca ; publishedVersion
Subject: Language ; Brain ; Computation ; Homology ; Novelty
Published in: Frontiers in ecology and evolution, Vol. 3, article 58 (2015) , ISSN 2296-701X

DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2015.00058


18 p, 1.4 MB

The record appears in these collections:
Research literature > UAB research groups literature > Research Centres and Groups (research output) > Arts and Humanities > Center of Theoretical Linguistics (CLT)
Articles > Research articles
Articles > Published articles

 Record created 2015-06-16, last modified 2021-02-06



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