Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I for one would really like to see the HCF Hypothesis 3 proven wrong. That would be an interesting bit of happenstance. Perhaps we're so conditioned to believe that humans are the only ones lucky enough to indulge in linguistic behaviors that we're oblivious to what's actually going on in nature. Much like Jane Goodall's professor who was adamant that only humans solved problems with tools. So hence my inquiry about recursion. Are we sure birds lack it? I haven't studied this enough, so I don't know much of the facts, but I'd be happy to view them. On the other hand, I know it's probably difficult to deny that recursion obtains in language use (except maybe for the Piraha), but HCF did leave the door open to such a negation when claiming that that capacity may be a characteristic of other cognitive systems, such as navigation and social interpretation. Given this, might there not be minimally analogues of such a capability in other species? Other navigators or other beings that interact with others like themselves? I personally won't be so quick to write off birdsong to finite-state output, simply in deference to a theory, which is simply and only a theory. But maybe this is because I'd just be tickled to see it dashed in the name of science.
Posted by sarah a. goodman at 11:07 PM