Monday, February 8, 2010

Biolinguistics, Cooperation, the Importance of Theory of Mind for Language - and Dinosaurs

Some interesting links:
  • The journal "Biolinguistics" now has a blog (here). On it they want to post "a variety of material pertaining to the field of biolinguistics." As of now there isn't very much content other than some information on conferences but I'll stay tuned.

  • On a related note, Julia Fischer of the Cognitive Ethology Laboratory at the German Primate Center in Göttingen, Germany has written a short review of Michael Tomasello's book "Why We Cooperate." I've written a short summary of the slim volume myself, but I seem to have msiplaced the document... Anyway, this review is by somebody who really knows the stuff and is quite enlightening.

  • Also, over at Babel's Dawn there is an interesting discussion of a paper by David Leavens and Tim Racine (abstract here) that questions whether it is really justified to attribute sophisticated psychological processes to preverbal infants in the way Michael Tomasello and many others do. Instead, they argue that learning and growing up in a human community play a much more important part that is normally acknowledged (first part here, second part here). Edmund Blair Bolles thinks that the argument has some merit but remains sceptical. In the comment section of his first post, the authors themselves weigh in.

  • Lastly, and not really relatedly, I really like this cartoon:
  • hat tip: Richard Beck