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An aggregator for (oAnth's) daily interests in humanities, arts, science, geography, economics, politics - academia, education - activism, advocacy - itec, free software, open source, open access, open knowledge - languages in use: mostly EN, FR, DE
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Rescooped by oAnth - "offene Ablage: nothing to hide" from World Englishes
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subrealism: the biological origin of linguistic diversity

subrealism: the biological origin of linguistic diversity | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it
Just as reading relies on neural mechanisms that pre-date the emergence of writing [17], so perhaps language has evolved to rely on pre-existing brain systems. However, there is more agreement about the origin of linguistic ...

Via Athanasios Karavasilis
oAnth - "offene Ablage: nothing to hide"'s insight:

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plosone - http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0048029

 

(Abstract) In contrast with animal communication systems, diversity is characteristic of almost every aspect of human language. Languages variously employ tones, clicks, or manual signs to signal differences in meaning; some languages lack the noun-verb distinction (e.g., Straits Salish), whereas others have a proliferation of fine-grained syntactic categories (e.g., Tzeltal); and some languages do without morphology (e.g., Mandarin), while others pack a whole sentence into a single word (e.g., Cayuga). A challenge for evolutionary biology is to reconcile the diversity of languages with the high degree of biological uniformity of their speakers. Here, we model processes of language change and geographical dispersion and find a consistent pressure for flexible learning, irrespective of the language being spoken. This pressure arises because flexible learners can best cope with the observed high rates of linguistic change associated with divergent cultural evolution following human migration. Thus, rather than genetic adaptations for specific aspects of language, such as recursion, the coevolution of genes and fast-changing linguistic structure provides the biological basis for linguistic diversity. Only biological adaptations for flexible learning combined with cultural evolution can explain how each child has the potential to learn any human language.

 

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http://subrealism.blogspot.de/2013/03/the-biological-origin-of-linguistic.html

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Rescooped by oAnth - "offene Ablage: nothing to hide" from Science and Global Education Trends
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New evidence suggests comet or asteroid impact was last straw for dinosaurs

New evidence suggests comet or asteroid impact was last straw for dinosaurs | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it
While many assume that a comet or asteroid impact killed off the dinosaurs, the actual dates of the impact and extinction are imprecise enough that some have questioned the connection.

Via Kathy Bosiak
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Rescooped by oAnth - "offene Ablage: nothing to hide" from Philosophie en France
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Un philosophe américain récupéré par les créationnistes

Un philosophe américain récupéré par les créationnistes | oAnth's day by day interests - via its scoop.it contacts | Scoop.it

Thomas Nagel est un philosophe respecté aux États-Unis, il est même membre de la très prestigieuse American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Il est devenu célèbre en 1974 pour son livreWhat is it like to be a bat (ce que c'est que d'être une chauve-souris), livre dans lequel il expliquait que la conscience ne saurait se réduire à la chimie du cerveau. Son dernier ouvrage en date, Mind and Cosmos, divise ses collègues, mais trouve un écho certain chez les créationnistes.

 

 

// added by oAnth:

 

source URL: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/10/aristotle-call-your-office

 

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Though Aristotle’s name comes up only a couple of times in the book, it is remarkable how Aristotelian (and even Scholastic) in spirit Nagel’s proposals are, not only in his general willingness to reconsider the immanent or “built in” teleology that was at the core of the Aristotelian-Scholastic conception of nature, but also in some of his more specific theses.

For example, Nagel argues that it is impossible to explain our rational capacities in terms of the consciousness we share with lower animals; that consciousness in turn cannot easily be explained in reductive terms of any sort, and certainly not via a specifically materialist form of reductionism; that even the origin of life from inorganic chemical processes has not been given a plausible naturalistic explanation; and that in each case we need to reconsider the possibility of a teleological account. In so arguing he has essentially recapitulated the traditional Aristotelian hierarchy of irreducibly rational, sensory, and vegetative forms of life (where “vegetative” has here a technical meaning, connoting those organic functions that operate below the distinctively animal kind).

Value, which Nagel insists is a real feature of the world rather than a projection of our subjective desires or sentiments, is, he says, a byproduct of teleology “even if teleology is separated from intention, and the result is not the goal of an agent who aims at it”—again, a standard Aristotelian thesis. (He rightly suggests that theists ought to be open to the idea of immanent teleology of the Aristotelian sort. He may not be aware that medieval theologians like Aquinas were committed to precisely that.)

Throughout the book Nagel emphasizes that for phenomena like life, consciousness, rationality, and value to arise in the later stages of the history of the universe, we have to suppose they were somehow “latent in the nature of things” from the beginning—thereby hinting at the Aristotelian notion of change as the actualization of built-in potentialities, and the Scholastic principle that whatever is in an effect must in some way be contained in its total cause.

More generally, Nagel’s emphasis on the implausibility of reducing certain higher-level features of a thing to features of its parts is reminiscent of the holistic Aristotelian conception of what a natural substance is; and his theme of the possibility of reviving the teleological notion of an “order that governs the natural world from within” echoes the Aristotelian-Scholastic notion of formal and final causes.

 

 

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Via dm
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