Apes, Language, and the Human Mind

Apes, Language, and the Human Mind

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For more than twenty years, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh has been studying the linguistic and cognitive skills of a number of laboratory-reared primates. Recently, her work with Kanzi (a bonobo) has been acknowledged as having achieved a scientific breakthrough of stunning proportions: Kanzi has acquired linguistic and cognitive skills equal to those of a 2-1/2 year-old human child. Apes, Language and the Human Mind skillfully combines the exciting narrative regarding the Kanzi research with incisive critical analysis of the research's broader linguistic, psychological, and anthropological implications. Sure to be controversial, this exciting new volume offers a radical revision of the sciences of language and mind.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 254 pages
  • 161.5 x 242.8 x 20.3mm | 548.25g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 36 black and white photographs
  • 0195109864
  • 9780195109863
  • 2,020,569

Table of contents

Part I - Entry into Language ; Chapter 1: Bringing up Kanzi ; Kanzi: The ape who crossed the line ; Would a bonobo learn language? ; Mother and child ; Kanzi had been keeping a secret ; Morning exploits ; Travels in the forest ; Evening tours ; Living with Kanzi ; Cognitive accomplishments ; Syntax grasped ; Part II - Theoretical and Philosophical Implications ; Chapter 2: Philosophical Preconceptions ; The Cartesian revolution ; Praedicet ergo est ; Cartesian bifurcationism versus mechanist continuity ; Moderate bifurcationism ; Becoming a person ; The 'charm' of the theory of mind thesis ; The Cartesian view of the mental ; The ascent of Pan ; 'The constitutional uncertainty of the mental' ; Chapter 3: Rhetorical Inclinations ; "Sure, but does he really understand what we say?" ; Evaluating metalinguistic claims: Logical prerequisites ; The commonsense picture of communication ; Animal research and the Scarlet Letter factor ; The epistemological conception and its methodological legacy ; Methodological reductivism ; Methodological operationalism ; Metalanguage as cultural technique ; Chapter 4: Beyond Speciesism ; Apes have language: So what? ; Our shared heritage ; Primal man ; Wholistic intelligence ; Hierarchical intelligence ; Language and mind ; Linguistics and the innateness conundrum ; The problem posed by Kanzi and alternative resolutions ; The issue of intentionality ; Social constructionism ; The perspectival shift ; Quine's dilemma and Locke's puzzle ; Why Kanzi could not be ignored ; The malliability of the nervous system ; The achievement of meaning - with language ; The emergence of the social contract ; The new lens ; References ; Indexshow more

Review quote

'...The study of Kanzi's comprehension is fascinating, in part because it creates so many interesting questions about the extent of his synactic and cognitive abilities and their similarity to human abilities.' * Robert W. Mitchell, Trends in Cognitive Sciences Vol 3, No. 6 * '...the ape-language studies of Savage-Rumbaugh and others are, in their methods if not their conclusions, classically Cartesian. From them we have learned an extraordinary amount about the cognitive and communicative skills of apes immersed in human society.' * Robert Seyfarth, Nature *show more

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22 ratings
3.95 out of 5 stars
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4 68% (15)
3 18% (4)
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