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Word, Niche and Super-Niche: How Language Makes Minds Matter More

Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
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How does language (spoken or written) impact thought? One useful way to approach this important but elusive question may be to consider language itself as a cognition-enhancing animal-built structure. To take this perspective is to view language as a kind of self-constructed cognitive niche. These self-constructed cognitive niches play, I suggest, three distinct but deeply interlocking roles in human thought and reason. Working together, these three interlocking routines radically transform the human mind, and mark a genuine discontinuity in the space of animal minds.

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