Peter T. Daniels
2017-05-27 11:54:20 UTC
(The copyright date is 2016 but I haven't seen it or a notice of it before)
"[T]he Basic Property: each language provides an unbounded array of hierarchically structured
expressions that receive interpretations at two interfaces, sensorimotor for externalization and
conceptual-intentional for mental processes. ,,, [invoking Darwin and Aristotle]
"At the very least, THEN, each language incorporates a computational procedure satisfying the Basic Property."
--Noam Chomsky, *What Kind of Creatures Are We?* Columbia UP, 2016
("Language," of course, refers only to "I-language"; he isn't interested in what is actually said,
but only in UG, or Universal Grammar.)
The small book, or extended essay, will then go on in four chapters to integrate his views
into an overarching view of human nature (I assume). The first pages are a curious melange of
passives and gnomic statements, with as usual no acknowledgment that some of his assertions have
been controversial -- at least this time he cites an evolutionary anthropologist, Ian Tattersall,
to support the very late date for the development of language but seems still to insist on a "language
organ" in the brain that no neuroscientist has ever found a trace of.
But what gets me is the "then" in the quotation above. Is that not a complete begging of the question?