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Biosemiotics

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 61–82 | Cite as

Can Internalism and Externalism be Reconciled in a Biological Epistemology of Language?

  • Prakash MondalEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper is an attempt at exploring the possibility of reconciling the two interpretations of biolinguistics which have been recently projected by Koster (Biolinguistics 3(1):61–92, 2009). The two interpretations—trivial and nontrivial—can be roughly construed as non-internalist and internalist conceptions of biolinguistics respectively. The internalist approach boils down to a conception of language where language as a mental grammar in the form of I-language grows and functions like a biological organ. On the other hand, under such a construal consistent with Koster’s (Biolinguistics 3(1):61-92, 2009), the non-internalist version does not necessarily have to be externalist in nature; rather it is a matter of mutual reinforcement of biology and culture under the rubric of a co-evolutionary dynamics. Here it will be argued that the apparent dichotomy between these two conceptions of biolinguistics can perhaps be resolved if we have a richer synthesis that accounts for both internalism and non-internalism.

Keywords

Biolinguistics Internalism Non-internalism Theoretical synthesis 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of TechnologyDelhiIndia

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