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The Philosophy of Universal Grammar$
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Wolfram Hinzen and Michelle Sheehan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654833.001.0001

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Language and speciation

Language and speciation

(p.238) 7 Language and speciation
The Philosophy of Universal Grammar

Wolfram Hinzen

Michelle Sheehan

Oxford University Press

Chapters 7 and 8 form a unity in concerning biological aspects of language. In Chapter 7, we look at variation in the linguistic genotype, and the shifts in our mental phenotypes that such variation systematically entails within the genus Homo. Comparison of these cognitive types lends support to our ‘Un-Cartesian’ contention: that grammar is the fundamental organizational principle behind a cognitive phenotype that is unique to our species, and defines it. This changes our perspective on a theory of Universal Grammar: it is clear that any such theory informs the theory of the speciation of modern Homo sapiens, and of its unique mental phenotype.

Keywords:   Speciation, genus Homo, Aurignacian revolution, linguistic genotype, out of Africa

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