CRL Talks

Talks are every Tuesday at 4:00pm in CSB 280.

Join us in the CRL lab for happy half-hour at 3:30pm in CSB 215.

April 23, 2019

The Aboutness of Language: A Critique of Berwick and Chomsky

Michael Arbib

Adjunct Professor of Psychology, UCSD
University Professor Emeritus, USC

Alas, the book Why Only Us: Language and Evolution by Berwick and Chomsky (2015) is marred by unwarranted assumptions, faulty logic and snide rhetoric -- and its answer to "Why Only Us" reduces to "Because we had a mutation that no one else had," which is hardly satisfying.

I offer an alternative framework based on the key notion of Aboutness: Language evolved for communication about the actual and imagined worlds. Since I have talked to CRL on this before, I will mention comparative neuroprimatology only briefly, to note that the brains and behaviors of great apes and monkeys provide clues to "why us?" (Arbib et al., 2018). The "only" is a separate issue.

 

References:

Arbib, M. A., Aboitiz, F., Burkart, J., Corballis, M., Coudé, G., Hecht, E., . . . Wilson, B. (2018). The Comparative Neuroprimatology 2018 (CNP-2018) Road Map for Research on How the Brain Got Language. Interaction Studies, 19(1-2), 370-387.

Berwick, R. C., & Chomsky, N. (2015). Why Only Us: Language and Evolution. Cambridge, M.A.: The MIT Press.

Spring Quarter 2019

April 2

Two ways of looking at fingerspelled borrowings in American Sign Language

Ryan Lepic

University of Chicago

April 9

A Bayesian framework for unifying data cleaning, source separation and imaging of electroencephalographic signals

Alejandro Ojeda

UCSD

April 16

Similarity as a tool for understanding the word production system

Bonnie Nozari

Johns Hopkins University

April 23

The Aboutness of Language: A Critique of Berwick and Chomsky

Michael Arbib

Adjunct Professor of Psychology, UCSD
University Professor Emeritus, USC

April 30

Jenny Saffran

May 7

David Corina

May 14

Zed Sevcikova

May 21

Arthur Semenuks

May 28

Robert Hawkins

June 4

Till Poppels

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