In this paper, we analyze the topic of conflict in reference to the evolution of language. Specifically, we examine two key elements involved in conflicting interactions, competition and cooperation, and show how they are involved in the evolution of linguistic skills. We discuss a model of language origins recently proposed by Tomasello (2008) according to which human language is an evolutionary product of the cognitive systems underlying cooperation among individuals in the social group. The core assumption of this model is that the aforementioned fact makes human language qualitatively different from ape communication, which is mainly individualistic because of the competitive nature of nonhuman primates. Our aim in this paper is to call such a model into question by pointing to an “altruism of knowledge” in apes by discussing some recent experimental data on chimpanzee vocal communication. This data allows us to shed light on the evolution of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie the origin of human communication and to develop a more gradualistic and continuistic model of language evolution. We conclude with some general consideration of the necessity to integrate the cooperative model of communication with a wider and more complex conception of human language and cognition.

Adornetti, I. (2015). Competition and cooperation in language evolution: a comparison between communication of apes and humans. In P.I. D’Errico F. (a cura di), Conflict and negotiation: Social research and machine intelligence (pp. 91-101). Springer [10.1007/978-3-319-14081-0_5].

Competition and cooperation in language evolution: a comparison between communication of apes and humans

ADORNETTI, INES
2015

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the topic of conflict in reference to the evolution of language. Specifically, we examine two key elements involved in conflicting interactions, competition and cooperation, and show how they are involved in the evolution of linguistic skills. We discuss a model of language origins recently proposed by Tomasello (2008) according to which human language is an evolutionary product of the cognitive systems underlying cooperation among individuals in the social group. The core assumption of this model is that the aforementioned fact makes human language qualitatively different from ape communication, which is mainly individualistic because of the competitive nature of nonhuman primates. Our aim in this paper is to call such a model into question by pointing to an “altruism of knowledge” in apes by discussing some recent experimental data on chimpanzee vocal communication. This data allows us to shed light on the evolution of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie the origin of human communication and to develop a more gradualistic and continuistic model of language evolution. We conclude with some general consideration of the necessity to integrate the cooperative model of communication with a wider and more complex conception of human language and cognition.
978-3-319-14080-3
Adornetti, I. (2015). Competition and cooperation in language evolution: a comparison between communication of apes and humans. In P.I. D’Errico F. (a cura di), Conflict and negotiation: Social research and machine intelligence (pp. 91-101). Springer [10.1007/978-3-319-14081-0_5].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11590/172776
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