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All Topic Reviews
A Theory of Feelings Anger and Forgiveness Philosophizing Madness from Nietzsche to Derrida"My Madness Saved Me"10 Good Questions about Life and Death12 Modern Philosophers50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a GodA Cabinet of Philosophical CuriositiesA Case for IronyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to Buddhist PhilosophyA Companion to FoucaultA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to HumeA Companion to KantA Companion to Phenomenology and ExistentialismA Companion to PragmatismA Companion to the Philosophy of ActionA Companion to the Philosophy of BiologyA Companion to the Philosophy of LiteratureA Conceptual History of PsychologyA Critical Overview of Biological FunctionsA Critique of Naturalistic Philosophies of MindA Cursing Brain?A Decent LifeA Delicate BalanceA Farewell to AlmsA Fragile LifeA Frightening LoveA Future for PresentismA Guide to the Good LifeA History of PsychiatryA History of the MindA Life Worth LivingA Manual of Experimental PhilosophyA Map of the MindA Metaphysics of PsychopathologyA Mind So RareA Minimal LibertarianismA Natural History of Human MoralityA Natural History of Human ThinkingA Natural History of VisionA Parliament of MindsA Philosopher Looks at The Sense of HumorA Philosophical DiseaseA Philosophy for the Science of Well-BeingA Philosophy of BoredomA Philosophy of Cinematic ArtA Philosophy of CultureA Philosophy of EmptinessA Philosophy of FearA Philosophy of PainA Physicalist ManifestoA Place for ConsciousnessA Question of TrustA Research Agenda for DSM-VA Revolution of the MindA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Stroll With William JamesA Tapestry of ValuesA Tear is an Intellectual ThingA Theory of FreedomA Theory of Jerks and Other Philosophical MisadventuresA Thousand MachinesA Universe of ConsciousnessA Very Bad WizardA Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the CurtainA Virtue EpistemologyA World Full of GodsA World Without ValuesAbout FaceAbout the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the SelfAction and ResponsibilityAction in ContextAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionAction, Contemplation, and HappinessAction, Emotion and WillAdam SmithAdaptive DynamicsAddictionAddictionAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction and Self-ControlAddiction Is a ChoiceAdvances in Identity Theory and ResearchAftermathAfterwarAgainst AdaptationAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HappinessAgainst HealthAgainst MarriageAgency and ActionAgency and AnswerabilityAgency and EmbodimentAgency and ResponsibilityAgency, Freedom, and Moral ResponsibilityAl-JununAlain BadiouAlain BadiouAlasdair MacIntyreAlien Landscapes?Altered EgosAmbivalenceAmbivalenceAn Anthology of Psychiatric EthicsAn Ethics for TodayAn Intellectual History of CannibalismAn Interpretation of DesireAn Introduction to EthicsAn Introduction to Kant's Moral Philosophy An Introduction to Philosophy of EducationAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of PsychologyAn Introductory Philosophy of MedicineAn Odd Kind of FameAnalytic FreudAnalytic Philosophy in AmericaAncient AngerAncient Models of MindAncient Philosophy of the SelfAngerAnimal LessonsAnimal MindsAnimals Like UsAnnihilationAnother PlanetAnswers for AristotleAnti-ExternalismAnti-Individualism and KnowledgeAntigone’s ClaimAntipsychiatryAre We Hardwired?Are Women Human?Arguing about DisabilityArguing About Human NatureAristotle and the Philosophy of FriendshipAristotle on Practical WisdomAristotle's ChildrenAristotle's Ethics and Moral ResponsibilityAristotle's WayAristotle, Emotions, and EducationArt & MoralityArt After Conceptual ArtArt in Three DimensionsArt, Self and KnowledgeArtificial ConsciousnessArtificial HappinessAspects of PsychologismAsylum to ActionAt the Existentialist CaféAtonement and ForgivenessAttention is Cognitive UnisonAutobiography as PhilosophyAutonomyAutonomy and Mental DisorderAutonomy and the Challenges to LiberalismBabies by DesignBackslidingBadiouBadiou's DeleuzeBadiou, Balibar, Ranciere: Rethinking EmancipationBare Facts And Naked TruthsBasic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free WillBattlestar Galactica and PhilosophyBe Like the FoxBeautyBecoming a SubjectBecoming HumanBefore ConsciousnessBehavingBehavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic EraBeing AmoralBeing HumanBeing Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory Being No OneBeing Realistic about ReasonsBeing ReducedBeing YourselfBelief's Own EthicsBending Over BackwardsBerlin Childhood around 1900Bernard WilliamsBertrand RussellBest ExplanationsBetter than BothBetter Than WellBetween Two WorldsBeyond HealthBeyond Hegel and NietzscheBeyond KuhnBeyond LossBeyond MelancholyBeyond Moral JudgmentBeyond PostmodernismBeyond ReductionBeyond SchizophreniaBeyond the DSM StoryBioethicsBioethics and the BrainBioethics in the ClinicBiological Complexity and Integrative PluralismBiology Is TechnologyBiosBipolar ExpeditionsBlackwell Companion to the Philosophy of EducationBlindsight & The Nature of ConsciousnessBlues - Philosophy for EveryoneBlushBob Dylan and PhilosophyBody ConsciousnessBody Image And Body SchemaBody ImagesBody LanguageBody MattersBody WorkBody-Subjects and Disordered MindsBoundBoundaries of the MindBoyleBrain Evolution and CognitionBrain FictionBrain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive ScienceBrain-WiseBrainchildrenBrains, Buddhas, and BelievingBrainstormingBrave New WorldsBreakdown of WillBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and FaithBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBritain on the CouchBritish Idealism and the Concept of the SelfBrute RationalityBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBut Is It Art?Camus and SartreCan Animals Be Persons?Cartesian LinguisticsCartographies of the MindCarving Nature at Its JointsCase Studies in Biomedical Research EthicsCassandra's DaughterCategories We Live ByCato's TearsCausation and CounterfactualsCauses, Laws, and Free WillChanging Conceptions of the Child from the Renaissance to Post-ModernityChanging the SubjectChaosophyCharacter and Moral Psychology Character as Moral FictionCharles DarwinCharles S. Peirce's PhenomenologyCherishmentChildhood and the Philosophy of EducationChildrenChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingChoices and ConflictChoosing Not to ChooseChristmas - Philosophy for EveryoneCinema, Philosophy, BergmanCinematic MythmakingCity and Soul in Plato's RepublicClassifying MadnessClear and Queer ThinkingClinical EthicsClinical Psychiatry in Imperial GermanyCodependent ForevermoreCoffee - Philosophy for EveryoneCognition and the BrainCognition of Value in Aristotle's EthicsCognition Through Understanding: Self-Knowledge, Interlocution, Reasoning, ReflectionCognitive BiologyCognitive FictionsCognitive Neuroscience of EmotionCognitive Systems and the Extended MindCognitive Systems and the Extended Mind Cognitive Theories of Mental IllnessCoherence in Thought and ActionCollected Papers, Volume 1Collected Papers, Volume 2College SexComedy IncarnateCommitmentCommunicative Action and Rational ChoiceCompassionate Moral RealismCompetence, Condemnation, and CommitmentConcealment And ExposureConcepts and Causes in the Philosophy of DiseaseConceptual Analysis and Philosophical NaturalismConceptual Art and PaintingConceptual Issues in Evolutionary BiologyConfessionsConfucianismConnected, or What It Means to Live in the Network SocietyConquest of AbundanceConscience and ConvenienceConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousness ConsciousnessConsciousness and Fundamental RealityConsciousness and Its Place in NatureConsciousness and LanguageConsciousness and Mental LifeConsciousness and MindConsciousness and the NovelConsciousness and the SelfConsciousness EmergingConsciousness EvolvingConsciousness ExplainedConsciousness in ActionConsciousness RecoveredConsciousness RevisitedConsciousness, Color, and ContentConsole and ClassifyConstructing the WorldConstructive AnalysisContemporary Debates In Applied EthicsContemporary Debates in Moral TheoryContemporary Debates in Philosophy of BiologyContemporary Debates in Philosophy of MindContemporary Debates in Political PhilosophyContemporary Debates in Social PhilosophyContemporary Perspectives on Natural LawContested Knowledge: Social Theory TodayContesting PsychiatryContext and the AttitudesContinental Philosophy of ScienceControlControlling Our DestiniesConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCopernicus, Darwin and FreudCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating ConsilienceCreating HysteriaCreating Mental IllnessCreating Scientific ConceptsCreating the American JunkieCreation, Rationality and AutonomyCreatures Like Us?Crime and CulpabilityCrime, Punishment, and Mental IllnessCrimes of ReasonCritical New Perspectives on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderCritical PsychiatryCritical PsychologyCritical ResistanceCritical Thinking About PsychologyCritical VisionsCross and KhoraCruel CompassionCTRL [SPACE]Cultural Psychology of the SelfCultural Theory: An IntroductionCulture and Psychiatric DiagnosisCulture and Subjective Well-BeingCulture of DeathCultures of NeurastheniaCurious EmotionsCurrent Controversies in Experimental PhilosophyCurrent Controversies in Values and ScienceCustom and Reason in HumeCustomers and Patrons of the Mad-TradeCutting God in Half - And Putting the Pieces Together AgainCylons in AmericaDamaged IdentitiesDamasio's Error and Descartes' TruthDangerous EmotionsDaniel DennettDaniel DennettDark AgesDarwin and DesignDarwin's Dangerous IdeaDarwin's LegacyDarwin, God and the Meaning of LifeDarwinian PsychiatryDarwinian ReductionismDarwinizing CultureDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeathDeathDeath and CharacterDeath and CompassionDeath and the AfterlifeDebating DesignDebating HumanismDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecomposing the WillDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeconstruction and DemocracyDeeper Than DarwinDeeper than ReasonDefending Science - within ReasonDefining Psychopathology in the 21st CenturyDegrees of BeliefDeleuze and the Concepts of CinemaDelusion and Self-DeceptionDelusions and BeliefsDelusions and Other Irrational BeliefsDelusions and the Madness of the MassesDementiaDemons, Dreamers, and MadmenDennett and Ricoeur on the Narrative SelfDennett’s PhilosophyDepression Is a ChoiceDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepthDerrida, Deleuze, PsychoanalysisDescartesDescartes and the Passionate MindDescartes' CogitoDescartes's Changing MindDescartes's Concept of MindDescribing Inner Experience?Descriptions and PrescriptionsDesembodied Spirits and Deanimated Bodies Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Desire and AffectDesire, Love, and IdentityDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDeveloping the VirtuesDiagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersDialectics of the SelfDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital SoulDimensional Models of Personality DisordersDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDisjunctivismDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDispatches from the Freud WarsDisrupted LivesDistractionDisturbed ConsciousnessDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDo Apes Read Minds?Do Fish Feel Pain?Do We Still Need Doctors?Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?Does the Woman Exist?Doing PhilosophyDoing without ConceptsDon't be FooledDon't Believe Everything You ThinkDonald DavidsonDonald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the MentalDoubting Darwin?Down GirlDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV-TR CasebookDworkin and His CriticsDying to KnowDynamics in ActionDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEccentricsEducational MetamorphosesEffective IntentionsElbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth WantingEmbodied Minds in ActionEmbodied RhetoricsEmbodied Selves and Divided MindsEmbryos under the MicroscopeEmergencies in Mental Health PracticeEmerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in BionanotechnologyEmotionEmotion and ConsciousnessEmotion and PsycheEmotion ExperienceEmotion RegulationEmotion, Evolution, And RationalityEmotional IntelligenceEmotional ReasonEmotional ReasonEmotional TruthEmotions in Humans and ArtifactsEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions, Value, and AgencyEmpathyEmpathy and AgencyEmpathy and Moral DevelopmentEmpathy and MoralityEmpathy in the Context of PhilosophyEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEnactivist InterventionsEnchanted LoomsEngaging BuddhismEngineering the Human GermlineEnjoymentEnvyEpicureanismEpistemic LuckEpistemologyEpistemology and EmotionsEpistemology and the Psychology of Human JudgmentEros and the GoodErotic MoralityEssays in Social NeuroscienceEssays in the Metaphysics of Mind Essays on Derek Parfit's On What MattersEssays on Free Will and Moral ResponsibilityEssays on Nonconceptual ContentEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssays on Reference, Language, and MindEssays on the Concept of Mind in Early-Modern PhilosophyEssential Sources in the Scientific Study of ConsciousnessEsssential Philosophy of PsychiatryEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindEthical Conflicts in PsychologyEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthical Issues in Human CloningEthical TheoryEthicsEthicsEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics Beyond the LimitsEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in PracticeEthics in Psychiatric ResearchEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEuropean Review of Philosophy. Vol. 5Everyday IrrationalityEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolutionEvolution and the Human MindEvolution's RainbowEvolutionary Origins of MoralityEvolutionary PsychologyExamined LifeExamined LivesExistential AmericaExistentialismExistentialism and Romantic LoveExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and NaturalismExperiments in EthicsExplaining ConsciousnessExplaining the BrainExplaining the Computational MindExplanatory PluralismExploding the Gene MythExploring HappinessExploring the SelfExpression and the InnerExpressions of JudgmentExtraordinary Science and PsychiatryFaces of IntentionFact and ValueFact and Value in EmotionFacts and ValuesFacts, Values, and NormsFads and Fallacies in the Social SciencesFaith and Wisdom in ScienceFatherhoodFear of KnowledgeFearless SpeechFeeling Pain and Being in PainFeelings and EmotionsFeelings of BeingFellow CreaturesFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminism and Philosophy of ScienceFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist Interpretations of Rene DescartesFeminist TheoryField Notes from ElsewhereFinding Consciousness in the BrainFingerprints of GodFlesh in the Age of ReasonFolk Psychological NarrativesFolk Psychology Re-AssessedForces of HabitForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and RetributionFoucault 2.0Foucault and PhilosophyFoucault NowFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics of PowerFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFour Views on Free WillFrank Ramsey (1903-1930)Free WillFree WillFree WillFree WillFree Will and Action ExplanationFree Will and LuckFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will as an Open Scientific ProblemFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free WillFreedomFreedom and DeterminismFreedom And NeurobiologyFreedom and ResponsibiltyFreedom and ValueFreedom EvolvesFreedom RegainedFreedom vs. InterventionFreedom, Fame, Lying, and BetrayalFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud's AnswerFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFriedrich NietzscheFrom Chance to ChoiceFrom Clinic to ClassroomFrom Complexity to LifeFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the HumanitiesFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Passions to EmotionsFrom Philosophy to PsychotherapyFrom Valuing to ValueFrontiers of ConsciousnessFrontiers of JusticeFurnishing the MindGalileo in PittsburghGenderGender and Mental HealthGender in the MirrorGender TroubleGenesGenes, Women, EqualityGenetic Nature/CultureGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetic SecretsGenocide's AftermathGenomes and What to Make of ThemGerman Idealism and the JewGerman PhilosophyGetting HookedGilles DeleuzeGlobal PhilosophyGluttonyGod and Phenomenal ConsciousnessGoffman's LegacyGoing Amiss in Experimental ResearchGoodness & AdviceGrassroots SpiritualityGrave MattersGrave MattersGreedGreek Models of Mind and SelfGut ReactionsHabilitation, Health, and AgencyHabits of MindHallucinationHandbook of BioethicsHandbook of EmotionsHappinessHappinessHappinessHappinessHappiness and EducationHappiness and the Good LifeHappiness Is OverratedHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHard LuckHarmful ThoughtsHaving the World in ViewHealing PsychiatryHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHealth, Illness and DiseaseHealth, Science, and Ordinary LanguageHegelHeidegger and a Metaphysics of FeelingHeidegger, Metaphysics and the Univocity of BeingHellenistic PhilosophyHermann von Helmholtz's MechanismHermeneutics As PoliticsHeterophobiaHeterosyncraciesHeuristics and BiasesHeuristics and the LawHidden ResourcesHidden SelvesHiding from HumanityHigh Art LiteHistorical OntologyHistory of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyHistory, Historicity And ScienceHobbesHomosexualitiesHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisHot ThoughtHow Can I Be Trusted?How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?How Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains?How Do We Know Who We Are?How Emotions WorkHow Emotions WorkHow History Made the MindHow Images ThinkHow is Nature Possible?How Propaganda WorksHow Science WorksHow Scientific Practices MatterHow Scientists Explain DiseaseHow The Body Shapes The MindHow the Body Shapes the Way We ThinkHow the Mind Explains BehaviorHow the Mind Uses the BrainHow to Be a StoicHow to Make Opportunity EqualHow to Solve the Mind-Body Problemhow to stop timeHow to Think More About SexHow We HopeHow We ReasonHuman CloningHuman Development, Language and the Future of MankindHuman EnhancementHuman Evolution, Reproduction, and MoralityHuman GoodnessHuman Identity and BioethicsHuman NatureHuman NatureHuman Nature and the Limits of ScienceHuman-Built WorldHumanismHumanism, What's That?HumanityHumans, Animals, MachinesHumeHumeHumeHume on Motivation and VirtueHume's True ScepticismHume’s Moral Philosophy and Contemporary PsychologyHusserlHystoriesI Am Dynamite!I of the VortexI Was WrongIdeas that MatterIdentifying the MindIdentity and Agency in Cultural WorldsIgnorance and ImaginationIllnessIllnessImagination and Its PathologiesImagination and the Meaningful BrainImagining NumbersImmortal RemainsImproving Nature?In Defense of an Evolutionary Concept of HealthIn Defense of SentimentalityIn Love With LifeIn Praise of Athletic BeautyIn Praise of DesireIn Praise of Natural PhilosophyIn Praise of the WhipIn Pursuit of HappinessIn Search of HappinessIn the Name of GodIn the Name of IdentityIn the Space of ReasonsIn the SwarmIn Two MindsInclusive EthicsIncompatibilism's AllureIndividual Differences in Conscious ExperienceInfinity and PerspectiveInformation ArtsInformed Consent in Medical ResearchIngmar Bergman, Cinematic PhilosopherInhuman ThoughtsInner PresenceInsanityIntegrating Psychotherapy and PharmacotherapyIntegrity and the Fragile SelfIntelligent VirtueIntentionIntentionality, Deliberation and AutonomyIntentions and IntentionalityIntentions and IntentionalityInterpreting MindsInterpreting NietzscheIntroducing Greek PhilosophyIntrospection and ConsciousnessIntrospection VindicatedIntuition, Imagination, and Philosophical MethodologyIntuitionismInvestigating the Psychological WorldIrrationalityIrrationalityIs Academic Feminism Dead?Is It Me or My Meds?Is Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Is Oedipus Online?Is Science Neurotic?Is Science Value Free?Is the Visual World a Grand Illusion?Is There a Duty to Die?Issues in Philosophical CounselingJacques LacanJacques RancièreJacques RanciereJean-Paul SartreJohn McDowellJohn SearleJohn Searle's Ideas About Social RealityJohn Stuart MillJohn Stuart Mill and the Writing of CharacterJoint AttentionJokesJonathan EdwardsJudging and UnderstandingJustice for ChildrenJustice in RobesJustice, Luck, and KnowledgeKantKant and MiltonKant and the Fate of AutonomyKant and the Limits of AutonomyKant and the Role of Pleasure in Moral ActionKant on Freedom, Law, and HappinessKant on Moral AutonomyKant's Anatomy of EvilKant's Anatomy of the Intelligent MindKant's Theory of VirtueKarl JaspersKarl PopperKarl Popper, Science and EnlightenmentKey Concepts in PhilosophyKierkegaardKierkegaard as PhenomenologistKierkegaard's Concept of DespairKierkegaard's MuseKinds of MindsKinds, Things, and StuffKnowing EmotionsKnowing, Knowledge and BeliefsKnowledge MonopoliesKnowledge, Belief, and CharacterKnowledge, Possibility, and ConsciousnessLacanLack of CharacterLack of CharacterLanguageLanguage in ContextLanguage, Consciousness, CultureLanguage, Culture, and MindLanguage, Vision, and MusicLaw and the BrainLaw, Liberty, and PsychiatryLaws, Mind, and Free WillLeaving YouLectures on the History of Political PhilosophyLevelling the Playing FieldLiberal Education in a Knowledge SocietyLiberatory PsychiatryLife and ActionLife at the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, 1857-1997Life Is Not a Game of PerfectLife of the MindLife's FormLife's ValuesLife, Death, & MeaningLife, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of UtilityLife, Sex, and IdeasLight in the Dark RoomLike a Splinter in Your MindLiving and Dying WellLiving NarrativeLiving Outside Mental IllnessLiving with DarwinLiving With One’s PastLockeLocke LockeLogic and the Art of Memory Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and LiteratureLooking for SpinozaLooking for The StrangerLost in DialogueLost SoulsLOT 2LoveLoveLove's ConfusionsLove's VisionLove, Friendship, and the SelfLove, Sex & TragedyLuckyLudwig WittgensteinLustLyingMachine ConsciousnessMad for FoucaultMad TravelersMade with WordsMadness And Death In PhilosophyMadness and DemocracyMadness at HomeMadness Is CivilizationMaking Natural KnowledgeMaking Sense of EvolutionMaking Sense of Freedom and ResponsibilityMaking the DSM-5Making the Social WorldMaking TruthMale Female EmailMan, Beast, and ZombieMandated Reporting of Suspected Child AbuseManiaManic Depression and CreativityMapping the Edges and the In-betweenMapping the Future of BiologyMarcus AureliusMaster PassionsMatters of the MindMe++Meaning and Moral OrderMeaning and Value in a Secular AgeMeaning in LifeMeaning in Life and Why It MattersMeaning, Basic Self-Knowledge, and MindMeanings of ArtMeasuring HappinessMeasuring PsychopathologyMedia MadnessMedical Enhancement and PosthumanityMedical NihilismMedical ReasoningMedicine and Philosophy in Classical AntiquityMedicine of the PersonMedicine, Mental Health, Religion, Science and Well-BeingMeditations on Self-Discipline and FailureMelancholy And the Care of the SoulMelancholy and the Otherness of GodMementoMemory and NarrativeMental ActionsMental CausationMental Causation and OntologyMental HealthMental Health At The CrossroadsMental Health Policy in BritainMerit, Meaning, and Human BondageMerleau-PontyMerleau-Ponty and the Possibilities of PhilosophyMetacognition and Theory of MindMetacreationMetaethical SubjectivismMetaethicsMetal and FleshMetaphors of MemoryMetapoliticsMethods in MindMichel FoucaultMidlifeMill's UtilitarianismMindMindMindMind and ConsciousnessMind and CosmosMind and MechanismMind GamesMind in a Physical WorldMind in Everyday Life and Cognitive ScienceMind in LifeMind the BodyMind TimeMind's LandscapeMind, Brain and the Elusive SoulMind, Brain, and Free WillMind, Reason and ImaginationMinding MindsMindreadersMindreading AnimalsMinds and PersonsMinds, Brains, and LawMinds, Ethics, and ConditionalsMindshapingMindsightMindworldsMirror, MirrorMixed FeelingsMockingbird YearsModels of the SelfModern Social ImaginariesModern Theories of JusticeModernity and SubjectivityModernity and TechnologyMoody Minds DistemperedMoral BrainsMoral DimensionsMoral FailureMoral ImaginationMoral LiteracyMoral MachinesMoral ParticularismMoral PsychologyMoral Psychology and Human AgencyMoral Psychology, Volume 1Moral Psychology, Volume 2Moral Psychology, Volume 3Moral Psychology: Volume IVMoral RepairMoral Responsibility and Alternative PossibilitiesMoral TribesMoral Value and Human DiversityMorality and Self-InterestMorality in a Natural WorldMorality, Moral Luck and ResponsibilityMotherhoodMotive and RightnessMoving Beyond Prozac, DSM, and the New PsychiatryMultiple Analogies in Science and PhilosophyMultiple Identities & False MemoriesMusic, Madness, and the Unworking of LanguageMy Brain Made Me Do ItMy Double UnveiledMy WayNarrativeNarrative and IdentityNarrative MedicineNarrative PsychiatryNarrative Theory and the Cognitive SciencesNatural Ethical FactsNatural Kinds and Conceptual ChangeNatural MindsNatural-Born CybogsNaturalism and the First-Person PerspectiveNaturalism and the Human ConditionNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalized BioethicsNaturalizing the MindNatureNature and NarrativeNear Death ExperienceNeither Bad nor MadNeither Victim nor SurvivorNeuro-Philosophy and the Healthy MindNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNeuroexistentialismNeurological Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience Neurophilosophy at WorkNeurophilosophy of Free WillNeuropoliticsNeuropsychoanalysis in PracticeNeuroscience and PhilosophyNew Essays on the Explanation of ActionNew Philosophy for a New MediaNew Versions of VictimsNew Waves in Philosophy of ActionNietzscheNietzsche and Buddhist PhilosophyNietzsche and PsychotherapyNietzsche and Suffered Social HistoriesNietzsche on Ethics and PoliticsNietzsche's TherapyNietzsche, Culture and EducationNietzsche: The Man and His PhilosophyNihil UnboundNihilismNoir AnxietyNormative EthicsNormativityNorms of NatureNotebooks 1951-1959Notes Toward a Performative Theory of AssemblyNothing So AbsurdOblivionOn AnxietyOn ApologyOn Being AuthenticOn Being AuthenticOn BeliefOn BetrayalOn BullshitOn DelusionOn DesireOn EmotionsOn HashishOn Human NatureOn Human RightsOn Loving Our EnemiesOn Nature and LanguageOn PersonalityOn ReflectionOn Romantic LoveOn the EmotionsOn the Freud WatchOn the Government of the LivingOn the Human ConditionOn the InternetOn the Meaning of LifeOn the Philosophy of LawOn the Pragmatics of CommunicationOn the Punitive SocietyOn TruthOn Virtue EthicsOn What MattersOn What We Owe to Each OtherOne Hundred DaysOnflowOnly a Promise of HappinessOntology of ConsciousnessOpen MindedOpen Your EyesOrgans without BodiesOther MindsOur Last Great IllusionOur Own MindsOur Posthuman FutureOur StoriesOut of Its MindOut of Our HeadsOxford Guide to the MindOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Studies in Experimental PhilosophyOxford Studies in Normative EthicsOxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 7Oxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPanic DisorderPanpsychismPanpsychism in the WestPartialityPassionate EnginesPassionate EnginesPathologies of BeliefPathologies of ReasonPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perceiving the WorldPerception & CognitionPerception and Basic BeliefsPerception, Hallucination, and IllusionPerceptual ExperiencePerfecting VirtuePerplexities of ConsciousnessPersistencePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal IdentityPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonal Identity and Fractured SelvesPersonhood and Health CarePersonsPersons and BodiesPersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPersons, Souls and DeathPerspectives on ImitationPerspectives on PragmatismPessimismPhenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal KnowledgePhenomenal ConsciousnessPhenomenal IntentionalityPhenomenologyPhenomenology and ExistentialismPhenomenology and Philosophy of MindPhenomenology of IllnessPhilosophersPhilosophers on MusicPhilosophers without GodsPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical DevicesPhilosophical Foundations of NeurosciencePhilosophical History and the Problem of ConsciousnessPhilosophical Issues in PharmaceuticsPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in Psychiatry IIPhilosophical MethodologyPhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophical Myths of the FallPhilosophical Perspectives on DepictionPhilosophical Perspectives on Technology and PsychiatryPhilosophical PracticePhilosophical Reflections on DisabilityPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophizing the EverydayPhilosophy and HappinessPhilosophy and LivingPhilosophy and PsychiatryPhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy and Science FictionPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the Interpretation of Pop CulturePhilosophy and the Moving ImagePhilosophy and the NeurosciencesPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy As FictionPhilosophy BitesPhilosophy Bites BackPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for LifePhilosophy in a New CenturyPhilosophy in an Age of SciencePhilosophy in Children's LiteraturePhilosophy in the Roman EmpirePhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of Action from Suarez to AnscombePhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BodyPhilosophy of Film and Motion PicturesPhilosophy of LovePhilosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePhilosophy of Love, Sex, and Marriage: An IntroductionPhilosophy of MedicinePhilosophy of MindPhilosophy of Mind and CognitionPhilosophy of Personal Identity and Multiple PersonalityPhilosophy of PsychologyPhilosophy of Public HealthPhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of Sex and LovePhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhilosophy of the Social SciencesPhilosophy on TapPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy the Day after TomorrowPhilosophy Within Its Proper BoundsPhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy, Neuroscience and ConsciousnessPhilosophy, Politics, DemocracyPhotography and PhilosophyPhysical RealizationPhysicalism and Its DiscontentsPhysicalism and Mental CausationPhysicalism, or Something Near EnoughPhysician-Assisted DyingPillar of SaltPin-up GrrrlsPlanning, Time, and Self-GovernancePlant MindsPlatoPlatoPlato, Not Prozac!Platonic Ethics, Old and NewPleasurePluralistic CasuistryPolarities of ExperiencesPolitical EmotionsPopper, Objectivity and the Growth of KnowledgePornPorn StudiesPornographyPornography, Sex, and FeminismPortrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young ManPositive NihilismPost-TruthPostcolonial DisordersPostpsychiatryPosttraumatic Stress DisorderPower and the SelfPower SplitPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical ConflictsPractical Identity and Narrative AgencyPractical PhilosophyPractical RulesPractical Tortoise RaisingPractically ProfoundPracticing Feminist Ethics in PsychologyPragmatic BioethicsPragmatismPragmatism, Old And NewPraise and BlamePredicative MindsPreferences and Well-BeingPrescriptions for the MindPresocraticsPrimary and Secondary QualitiesPrimates and PhilosophersPrimitive ColorsPrivacyPrivileged AccessProblems in MindProblems of RationalityProzac As a Way of LifeProzac BacklashProzac on the CouchPsyche and EthosPsyche and SomaPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric Cultures ComparedPsychiatric Diagnosis and ClassificationPsychiatric EthicsPsychiatric HegemonyPsychiatric PowerPsychiatric SlaveryPsychiatry and Philosophy of SciencePsychiatry and ReligionPsychiatry as a Human SciencePsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry in SocietyPsychiatry in the New MilleniumPsychiatry in the Scientific ImagePsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsycho-Physical Dualism TodayPsychoanalysis and Narrative MedicinePsychoanalysis and the Philosophy of SciencePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and PhilosophyPsychology and the Question of AgencyPsychology's Interpretive TurnPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPublic PhilosophyPunishmentPure ImmanencePurple HazePursuing MeaningQuality of Life and Human DifferenceQueer PhilosophyQuestions for FreudQuestions for FreudQuine and Davidson on Language, Thought and RealityRaceRace in Contemporary MedicineRadiant CoolRadical AlterityRadical ExternalismRadical HopeRational and Social AgencyRational CausationRational Choice in an Uncertain WorldRationality + Consciousness = Free WillRationality and FreedomRationality and the Reflective MindRationality in ActionRawls, Dewey, and ConstructivismRe-creating MedicineRe-EmergenceRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReading AutobiographyReading Bernard WilliamsReading SartreReadings in the Philosophy of TechnologyReal MaterialismReal Natures and Familiar ObjectsReal ScienceRealism in ActionReason & EmancipationReason in ActionReason in PhilosophyReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReasoning About Rational AgentsReasoning in Biological DiscoveriesReasons from WithinReasons without RationalismReclaiming CognitionReclaiming the SoulReconceiving SchizophreniaReconstructing Reason and RepresentationReconstructing the Cognitive WorldRecreative 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Cartesian LinguisticsReview - Cartesian Linguistics
A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought
by Noam Chomsky
Cambridge University Press, 2008
Review by Christina Behme
Sep 1st 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 36)

Cartesian Linguistics was originally published with the purpose of deepening "our understanding of the nature of language and the mental processes and structures that underlies its use and acquisition"  (Chomsky, 1966, p. ix). When I heard that a third edition (2009) had followed so shortly after the second (2002) I wondered about several things. First, would it finally address the long standing criticisms (e.g. Miel, 1969; Lakoff, 1969; Aarsleff, 1970, 1971; Percival, 1972; Gipper&Schmitter, 1979) regarding the accuracy of tracing the history of Chomsky's linguistic theorizing to alleged Cartesian antecedents? Second, would it eliminate the 'polemic elements' that "elevate 'Cartesian' approaches to the study of language and ...depreciate [all other approaches]" (Aarsleff, 1971, p. 570)? And third, would it be more than just another virtually unchanged reprint of Chomsky's 40+ year old work? Clearly, these questions have been answered, albeit rather differently from what I had hoped for. In this review I will focus on these three points and have little to say about the content of Cartesian Linguistics. This unusual approach is justified by the facts that (i) the main work, which is reprinted here virtually unchanged, has been reviewed extensively (e.g., Lakoff, 1969; Aarsleff, 1970; Percival, 1972, Bracken, 1982, 1984; Barsky, 1997; Sharbani, 2003) so it is pointless to add yet another descriptive review and (ii) much of the original content has undergone thorough theoretical reformulations (e.g., Chomsky 1980, 1986, 1995, 2002, 2005). Therefore, I want to focus on what has not been said about the Cartesian connection before and on what is new in the third edition (McGilvray's introduction).


Undoubtedly, Chomsky's methodology as a historian is questionable. First, as editor McGilvray explains in a footnote (p. 109f), Chomsky advocates what could be called the 'selective-history-approach' (SHA) : "One might say that I'm looking at history ... from the point of view of … an art lover who wants to look at the 17th century to find in it things that are of particular value and that obtain part of their value … because of the perspective with which he approaches them." (Chomsky, 1971). And, in case a critic might still complain that art-lovers frequently agree on which pieces by an artist are worth collecting, Chomsky added later what I would call the 'rewrite-history-approach' (RHA): "The first [question], the actual sequence of events, is not in itself very interesting in my opinion; it's a story of chance events and personal accidents, accidents of personal history.  The second question, namely, how it should have happened, is far more interesting and important, and that certainly has never been told or even investigated." (Chomsky, 1997, emphasis added). Combined SHA and RHA allow Chomsky to pick and choose what he considers of value in Descartes' (and other rationalist/romantic predecessors') writings and to transform other passages into 'what Descartes/Rationalists should have written'. This might seem to justify the artistic freedom Chomsky applies to history. However, since Chomsky advocates this approach to history as superior, he cannot complain if someone else (a behaviourist, say) uses the same method (choosing some suitable bits from Descartes and re-writing some other passages) in support of her claim that Descartes really was foreshadowing her view and using this as justification for calling her linguistics "Cartesian". In the process it becomes entirely irrelevant what Descartes said. He has been relegated to the sidelines of a battle that (were he still alive) he might watch in utter bewilderment. 

When we allow Descartes to speak on his own behalf it becomes dubious that Chomsky's work can be traced back to a coherent rationalist tradition of which Descartes was one important founder. On the one hand we find statements from Descartes that appear to support a very different judgment regarding his views of language acquisition:


When for example on hearing that the word "K-I-N-G" signifies supreme power, I commit this to my memory and then subsequently recall the meaning by means of my memory, it must be intellectual memory that makes this possible For there is no relationship between the four letters (K-I-N-G), which would enable me to derive the meaning from the letters. It is intellectual memory that enables me to recall what the letters stand for (CSM III, pp. 336-7)

Here Descartes' emphasis is on associationist learning of the sort usually associated with empiricism, not on innate knowledge (for several similar examples see Behme, 2009). Similarly, there is little indication that Descartes would support a domain-specific language faculty. For him minds are indivisible: "we cannot understand a mind except as being indivisible. For we cannot conceive of half a mind" (CSM II, p. 9). Furthermore, Descartes states that our knowledge depends only on a purely spiritual power which is "one single is one and the same power. ...According to its different functions... the same power is called either pure intellect or imagination or memory or sense perception" (CSM I, p.42, emphasis added). Finally, when we look closely at some of the passages cited by Chomsky, it becomes evident that Descartes focuses not only on creativity of language use but also on behaviorist criteria for testing whether or not an organism is intelligent. For example "men born deaf and dumb...usually invent their own signs to make themselves understood by those who being regularly in their company have the time to learn their language" (CSMK, III, p. 303; cited without reference on p. 60 of CL). Here, clearly, the emphasis seems to be on communication because the success criterion is "being understood" (for more similar examples see Behme, 2009).

On the other hand, the fundamental distinction between human and animal communication is brought out equally forcefully by John Locke

          Brutes abstract not. If it may be doubted whether beasts compound and enlarge their ideas that way to any degree; this, I think, I may be positive in,- that the power of abstracting is not at all in them; and that the having of general ideas is that which puts a perfect distinction betwixt man and brutes, and is an excellency which the faculties of brutes do by no means attain to. For it is evident we observe no footsteps in them of making use of general signs for universal ideas; from which we have reason to imagine that they have not the faculty of abstracting, or making general ideas, since they have no use of words, or any other general signs. (Locke, Book 2, Chapter XI, 10)

And in the writings of another empiricist we find a more succinct expression of the belief in language universals than in Descartes' writings:

         Among different languages, even where we suspect the least connexion or communication, it is found, that the words, expressive of ideas, the most compounded, do yet nearly correspond to each other: a certain proof that the simple ideas, comprehended in the compound ones were bound together by some universal principle, which had an equal influence on all mankind (Hume, 1777/1958, p. 22-3)

Obviously, from these few examples we cannot conclude that there was no specifically and uniquely rationalist linguistic tradition. However, they suggest that there was a much richer and more diverse tradition of linguistic thought in the Cartesian and Romantic period and that the divide between rationalists and empiricists was by no means as 'hard and fast' as suggested by Chomsky. Probably, then, renaming of Cartesian Linguistics into Chomskian Linguistics would be appropriate. This would allow keeping the familiar CL abbreviation, avoid further debates about issues that are only tangentially important to Chomsky's project and also meet a requirement that Chomsky applies to others when he cautions that we need to adhere to agreed upon conventional usage of terms because "description in [certain] terms is incorrect if these terms have anything like their technical meanings, and highly misleading otherwise" (p. 65). Last but not least it would give credit to whom credit is due: Noam Chomsky.

     Undoubtedly, there is more to Cartesian Linguistics than the historic aspect. Even if it is neither a good history book nor an accurate depiction of a singular Cartesian or even rationalist linguistic research strategy it still could be a valuable contribution. This much has been suggested: "[Chomsky] was just providing a source book for transformational linguists to see how their work manifested important philosophical currents ... Judged as spade work in a neglected (indeed, rejected) area of language philosophy in order to inform current practice, it's very fine indeed, even thrilling" (Harris, 1998). Can we confirm Harris' claim? Obviously, Harris refers to the 1966 edition; what has been an informative 'even thrilling' source book then may not be of equal value 43 years later. Is Cartesian Linguistics like wine getting better over the years or is it more like bread becoming stale, maybe even moldy? In other words, can and should it still 'inform current practice'?

Editor McGilvray resolutely attempts to steer us to the wine rack by providing a 52-page introduction (massive, considering that CL itself is only 50 pages short). Unfortunately, this introduction re-introduces the polemics of earlier editions with a vengeance. Beginning with the definitions of the competing linguistic research strategies we find the battle lines drawn: "Those who Chomsky thinks can plausibly deal with the issues that linguistic creativity poses for the mind he calls "rationalists"; those who cannot, he calls empiricists" (p. 1). According to McGilvray this divide separates the 'good guys' from the 'bad guys' not only in regard to a correct understanding of the nature of language but extends to the areas of language acquisition, language evolution, determinism/free will, externalism/internalism and even politics, education and arts. For the purpose of this review I will focus on only two out of these: computational models of language acquisition and language evolution. This choice is motivated by the newly emerging biolinguitsic enterprise (Di Sciullo & Boeckx, in press) and recent publications in Cartesian biolinguistics (Boeckx, 2009, in press).

McGilvray is anything but tentative when he describes the success of the 'rationalist-romantics' (RR)   and the failure of the empiricist research programs. RR researchers are innatist, internalist, and nativist  and this combination allows them to account for 'everyday linguistic creativity' which is acquired by children at an early age (four years according to McGilvray, p. 7). Innate concepts alone can account for the uniform acquisition of language across human populations in spite of poverty of stimulus facts, or so McGilvray claims. On this account the child does not learn language but accesses what is innately available to her: "...the mind's concepts and the way of putting them together in language and thought are largely innate" (p.6), "the only way to explain the early appearance of creativity is to assume innateness of both concepts and combinatorial principles" (p. 7). "Innateness provides a basis for understanding one another even at a young age" (Ibid.) and again "concepts and language are somehow implicit in some kind of natural 'mechanism' of the human body-mind, under (partial) control of the genome and the course of development it controls" (p. 18f). McGilvray asserts that Chomsky's beautiful theory is simple, objective, descriptively and explanatorily adequate. It accommodates the science of language to biology and makes steady progress. What else could one ask for? Maybe an example or two for exactly what the progress is would have been helpful. But, seemingly, this is not a reasonable request. Instead of boring the reader with such trivialities McGilvray moves to his demonstration that "empiricists seem to have added little [to the study of language since Locke] ... like Locke's efforts, theirs generally fail to meet the conditions of adequacy of a naturalistic theory" (p. 20, original emphasis). McGilvray claims that this failure is not merely contingent but necessary because the models used by connectionists (the only empiricists he considers) are inadequate: "[Connectionists'] claim that the mind is made up of 'neural nets' is innocuous; it is their claim about the initial state of the net (undifferentiated, approximating Locke's 'blank slate') and their view about how this net gets its 'content' (by training, learning) that place them firmly in the empiricist camp" (p. 110). Obviously, the 'blank slate' view is indeed problematic but McGilvray does not provide any examples of connectionists and/or empiricists who hold such an extreme view. My survey of recent literature found no evidence for such positions. It revealed, instead, that several researchers have explicitly or implicitly rejected completely unconstrained 'blank slate' views of language acquisition (e.g., Hare & Elman, 1995; Elman et al., 1996; Redington & Chater, 1998; MacWhinney, 2000; McDermott, 2001; Zolan et al, 2005; Edelman & Waterfall, 2007; Christiansen & Chater, 2008; Chater & Christiansen, 2009*).

To demonstrate the inadequacy of connectionist modeling McGilvray does provide at least one specific example. On page 23 he quotes from a personal letter Chomsky sent him: "Elman's famous paper - the most quoted in [cognitive science,]... - on learning nested dependencies. Two problems: (1) the method works just as well on crossing dependencies, so doesn't bear on why language near universally has nested but not crossing dependencies. (2) His program works up to depth two, but fails totally on depth three." However, no reference to the 'famous paper' could be found in McGilvray's bibliography. Further, a direct inquiry to Elman indicated that no such paper existed. Elman suggested 'most cited' might refer to his 1990 paper 'Finding structure in time' and he sent me references to a couple of papers he co-authored that deal with recursion. None of them dealt with crossing dependencies or 'total failure of models on depth three'. Undaunted, I contacted Chomsky and McGilvray to obtain information about the elusive paper. Chomsky replied immediately that he had made reference to this paper in a personal letter to his editor and that he would attempt to provide me with a reference. Later he sent me reference to four papers (Elman, 1990, 1991, 1993; Christiansen & Chater, 1999) and a book (Elman et al., 1996). None of these fully fits his description. Additionally, McGilvray provided reference to two different papers (Weckerly & Elman, 1992; Morris, Cottrell, & Elman, 2000), again not fully fitting the description. While I appreciate the assistance I wish the team had spend a fraction of this effort on checking this reference before the new edition of Cartesian Linguistics went in print. In the process they might have discovered that the far-reaching claims that are based on this one reference are unsupported. But making this discovery is left to the reader. McGilvray suggests that "with common sense concepts, and especially language, there is no reason to take empiricist speculations at all seriously" (p. 23). He never tells us what exactly these speculations amount to. Instead, he continues "No one finds children subjected to the training procedures for concepts or language explored by connectionists, for example" (Ibid.). When I confronted some computational and experimental language researchers with this claim they asked whose work was referenced. But no example supported McGilvray's 'for example' and, given the trouble I encountered with the alleged Elman reference, that might have been a good thing. Again, I easily found evidence suggesting that researchers are paying close attention to the conditions under which children acquire language (e.g., Morgan, & Demuth, 1996; Cartwright & Brent, 1997; Redington et al., 1998; Christiansen et al., 1998; Hausser, 1999; Lewis & Elman, 2001; Christiansen & Chater, 2001; Sagae et al., 2004; Botvinick & Plaut, 2004; Zolan et al., 2005; Perruchet & Pacton, 2006; Brodsky et al. 2007; Edelman & Waterfall, 2007; MacWhinney, 2008, Monaghan & Christiansen, 2008; Christiansen & MacDonald, 2009; Bod, 2009; Perruchet & Tilman, in press). There is a similar problem with McGilvray's assertions that "dogma, not reason drives the empiricist research strategy" (p. 23) and that "empiricist efforts like these make no contribution to sciences of the mind" (p. 24). What is upsetting to computational and experimental language researchers is not that their work is being critiqued but that the critique is seemingly not based on knowledge of their work but on the a priori assumption that "there is no reason to take empiricist speculations seriously at all" (p. 23).

     The situation regarding language evolution closely mirrors the foregoing. Again, we find McGilvray's enthusiastic support for the Chomskian hypothesis that "language could have come about as the result of a single mutation...[as] side result ... of a modification in some other system. It must, though, be 'saltational' - happen in a single jump - for otherwise we would have to suppose that language developed over millennia, and there is no evidence for that" (p.34). To understand why McGilvray calls this somewhat controversial account 'naturalistic' we need to remember that, like Chomsky, he denies that communication is an important function of language. It is from this perspective that he assumes that only Merge is in need of an evolutionary explanation (see also Chomsky, 2007; Berwick & Chomsky, forthcoming, for a defense of this view). When discussing language evolution, McGilvray does not refer to any competing accounts which may leave the reader with the impression that there are none. This is far from the truth. On the one hand, we find specific criticisms of the single jump saltational evolution hypothesis (e.g., Pinker & Bloom, 1990; Deacon, 1997; Studdert-Kennedy, 1998; Botha, 1999; Briscoe, 2003; MacWhinney, 2005, 2009; Arbib, 2005a; Lieberman, 2006; Deacon, 2007; Hurford & Dediu, 2007; Christiansen & Chater, 2008; Tomasello, 2008; Arbib 2008). On the other hand, the last decades have seen a wealth of work regarding language evolution resulting in numerous suggestions that are supported by extensive theorizing (Deacon, 1997; Dunbar, 1997; Knight et al., 2000; Botha, 2001, 2003; Wray, 2002; Givon & Molle, 2002; Christiansen & Kirby, 2003; Wildgen, 2004; Arbib, 2005b; Burling, 2005; Johannson, 2005; Tallerman, 2005; Lyon et al., 2007; Hurford & Dediu, 2007; Hurford, 2007; Tomasello, 2008), computational modeling (Briscoe, 1999; Christiansen et al., 2002; Zolan et al., 2005; Chater et al., 2009), comparative empirical research of different aspects of language components (Deacon, 2000, 2004; Arbib, 2005a; Arbib et al. 2008; Tomasello, 2008; Botha, 2009) and of language related brain evolution (e.g., Deacon, 1997; 2000; 2007; Lieberman, 2002, 2007; Aboitiz et al., 2006; Arbib, 2007). It is not for me to judge whether or not all these accounts of language evolution are correct. But it seems they deserve to be at least considered and, if found problematic, exposed to targeted criticism. Unfortunately, none of this is done in the introduction to Cartesian Linguistics.

Given the richness and diversity of the work completed by 'empiricists' that has been largely neglected by RR theorizers I think it is high time to close a chapter of linguistic warfare (Harris, 1993) and turn the page towards an inclusive collaboration in the exciting quest for a better understanding of the nature of human language. Those who believe that cooperation with 'the other side' is impossible may want to remember that 25 years ago only very few people believed that the Cold War would ever end but by now it has become a distant memory. It is my hope that the future of linguistic research will be equally 'peaceful'. When researching this review I encountered incredible helpfulness on both sides of the 'Cartesian divide' and consider this an encouraging sign that progress towards a critical dialogue can be made. Read on its own Cartesian Linguistics is too one-sided to make a substantial contribution to a more inclusive study of language and it can no longer inform current practices. But it could become an excellent course material for upper level/graduate seminars if it is used to motivate students to explore competing accounts and engage critically with them. Maybe surprisingly this would be quite Cartesian in spirit. Descartes was by no means the fanatical rationalist he is often caricatured as. In fact he was quite wary of those "who take no account of experience and think that truth will spring from their brains like Minerva from the head of Jupiter" (CSM I, p. 21). Cartesian science relied on sense experience (empiricism) and deduction (rationalism; for details on Cartesian Method see Flage & Bonnen, 1999) and it would be desirable to revive this part of Cartesian tradition.




* Here as below I have only selected a very small sample from the huge amount of available literature. My aim is not to give a comprehensive overview of all research conducted in the respective areas. I merely provide some representative samples showing that such research exists. In most cases, I confirmed with the researchers that I understand the results of their work correctly.




I would like to thank Noam Chomsky for responding extensively to my numerous inquiries. Further, I thank Michael Arbib, Paul Bloom, Rudolph Botha, Ted Briscoe, Nick Chater, Morten Christiansen, Terrence Deacon, Shimon Edelman, Jeff Elman, Daniel Flage, Randy Allen Harris, James Hurford, Philip Lieberman, Brian MacWhinney, Robert Martin, William Martin, Drew McDermott, James McGilvray, Gordon McOuat, Keith Percival, Pierre Perruchet, Michael Studdert-Kennedy, Michael Tomasello, and Thomas Vinci for generously providing assistance and/or clarifying issues regarding their research. This review would not have been possible without their contributions.




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