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Department of Philosophy

Language, Evolution and Thought

Module Leader: Prof. Wolfram Hinzen


This module looks at language and thought in the context of evolution. Language and thought are both universal in our species and unique to it, although various varieties of communication and mental representation are found in other species as well. They thus have a biological basis, hence should be subject to naturalistic inquiry. Moreover, they - or at least one particular kind of thought - are probably intimately related. But how intimately exactly? And how can we investigate our mind naturalistically? What does it mean to investigate language as an object of nature? What do we learn from naturalistic inquiry into language about what human nature is like?

The first seminar will give an introduction and overview over the topics of the module. The next block of three seminars addresses the topic of the relation between language and thought. A final seminar is devoted to a review of the course and its materials, as well as the discussion of dissertation topics.

There may be guest lectures by relevant researchers from the region and abroad, as appropriate to the topics.

Students must enrol on duo for this module in the beginning of term, and obtain information on what they need to prepare for the first session.