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Labels, cognomes, and cyclic computation: an ethological perspective

Murphy, E; (2015) Labels, cognomes, and cyclic computation: an ethological perspective. Frontiers in Psychology , 6 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00715. Green open access

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Abstract

For the past two decades, it has widely been assumed by linguists that there is a single computational operation, Merge, which is unique to language, distinguishing it from other cognitive domains. The intention of this paper is to progress the discussion of language evolution in two ways: (i) survey what the ethological record reveals about the uniqueness of the human computational system, and (ii) explore how syntactic theories account for what ethology may determine to be human-specific. It is shown that the operation Label, not Merge, constitutes the evolutionary novelty which distinguishes human language from non-human computational systems; a proposal lending weight to a Weak Continuity Hypothesis and leading to the formation of what is termed Computational Ethology. Some directions for future ethological research are suggested.

Type: Article
Title: Labels, cognomes, and cyclic computation: an ethological perspective
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00715
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00715
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 Murphy. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472140
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