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The relation between language and theory of mind in development and evolution

By Bertram F. Malle


Considering the close relation between language and theory of mind in development and their tight connection in social behavior, it is no big leap to claim that the two capacities have been related in evolution as well. But what is the exact relation between them? This paper attempts to clear a path toward an answer. I consider several possible relations between the two faculties, bring conceptual arguments and empirical evidence to bear on them, and end up arguing for a version of co-evolution. To model this co-evolution, we must distinguish between different stages or levels of language and theory of mind, which fueled each other’s evolution in a protracted escalation process

Topics: Philosophy of Language, Evolutionary Psychology, Pragmatics, Social Psychology
Publisher: John Benjamins
Year: 2002
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