A Precis of 'Language, Biology, and Cognition: A Critical Perspective' (2020)
Prakash Mondal
February 2021

This book examines the relationship between human language and biology in order to determine whether the biological foundations of language can offer deep insights into the nature and form of language and linguistic cognition. Challenging the assumption in biolinguistics and neurolinguistics that natural language and linguistic cognition can be reconciled with neurobiology, the book argues that reducing representation to cognitive systems and cognitive systems to neural populations is reductive, leading to inferences about the cognitive basis of linguistic performance based on assuming (false) dependencies. Instead, the book emphasizes that biological implementations of cognitive rather than the biological structures themselves, are the driver behind linguistic structures. In particular, this book contends that the biological roots of language are useful only for an understanding of the emergence of linguistic capacity as a whole, but ultimately irrelevant to understanding the character of language. Thus, the book offers an antidote to the current thinking embracing ‘biologism’ in linguistic sciences.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005347
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Springer Nature (2020)
keywords: language; cognition; cognitive structures; neural mechanisms; (neuro)biology; biological descriptions; levels of description; the logical character of linguistic structures; semantics; syntax
previous versions: v3 [November 2020]
v2 [November 2020]
v1 [August 2020]
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