The Minimalist Program and the Origin of Language: A View From Paleoanthropology.

Authors:
Ian Tattersall
Ian Tattersall
Columbia University Medical Center
United States

Front Psychol 2019 2;10:677. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, United States.

In arguing that articulate language is underpinned by an algorithmically simple neural operation, the Minimalist Program (MP) retrodicts that language emerged in a short-term event. Because spoken language leaves no physical traces, its ancient use must be inferred from archeological proxies. These strongly suggest that modern symbolic human behavior patterns - and, by extension, cognition - emerged both abruptly and late in time (subsequent to the appearance of as an anatomical entity some 200 thousand years kyr ago). Because the evidence is compelling that language is an integral component of modern symbolic thought, the archeological evidence clearly supports the basic tenet of the MP. But the associated proposition, that language was externalized in an independent event that followed its initial appearance as a conduit to internal thought, is much more debatable.

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Source
https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00677
Publisher Site
http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00677DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6454856PMC
April 2019
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