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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 23, Issue 1, 2013

Culture, Communication and Cognition

Marcin Rządeczka
Pages 151-159
DOI: 10.5840/du201323127

Evolutionary Biology and Some Contemporary Debates on the Question about the Origin of Language

Natural language is one of the most enigmatic and sophisticated human capabilities with regard to both its evolutionary history and the level of complexity. The diversity of positions and debates on this subject clearly demonstrates that it is not yet a part of a science but rather an amalgam of different issues capable of being analyzed philosophically. The scarcity of evidence, restrictions of the comparative method and continuous discussions on the adaptive status of language are only a handful of current issues. The main aim of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of crucial current approaches to the problem of the reconstruction of language evolution and pinpoint the most important methodological and philosophical arguments in the discussion. The paper also supports the view that only the multi-level approach to the problem, which encompasses both the genetic and cladistic levels, can offer a satisfactory explanation.

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