Trust, digitality and the hunter-gatherer cradle of language




On Tuesday March 19, 6:30pm London time, Chris Knight will be speaking LIVE @UCLAnthropology in the Daryll Forde Room, 2nd Floor, Dept of Anthropology, UCL, 14 Taviton St, London WC1H 0BW (please use the Archaeology Institute entrance, Gordon Square). You can also join us on ZOOM (ID 384 186 2174 passcode Wawilak).

Chris writes: “For every complex problem there is a solution which is clear, simple and wrong. At one extreme is Chomsky’s theory that a single mutation was enough to generate language and everything else. At the other extreme is Pinker’s claim that language evolved like any other adaptation so no special explanation is needed. More compelling is the approach of Cedric Boeckx, endorsing Darwin that the human mind differs only ‘in degree not in kind’ from that of an ape. The qualitative leap stems from the digital format of language. This unprecedented formal property is in turn a result of the intense levels of trust established among egalitarian hunter-gatherer ancestors.”