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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

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Comments

Michael

Thanks for this great and comprehensive post. Im really looking forward to reading Tomasellos book as well as your discussion about it. If youre interested in linguistic apsects of the phenomenon of common ground, you should check out the work of Herbert H. Clark, especially his 1996 "Using Language", which is where I believe Tomasello takes his concept from.
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BLOGGER: Tomasello cites as his major intellectual sources Herbert Clark's 1996 notion of a common conceptual ground, Jerome Bruner's 1983 book (Child's Talk) for joint attention, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

JoseAngel

You say: "As Tomasello puts it at the very start, ''you simply cannot tell animals anything, even nonverbally.' They cannot imagine why you are doing whatever bizarre action is required to tell them something. Gesture, speech, writing... it’s all a mystery to them."
Surely that's too sweeping, isn't it -- as any dog owner will tell you. Not to mention the experiments with chimps and "protolanguage" you report elsewhere. I think the discussion could be more profitably carried out in terms of "more or less", a matter of degree, not "all-or-nothing". There are many kinds of situations where you can share relevant contextual assumptions with a dog, and communicate with him. And yes, even get him to listen to what you have got to speak. And that's something.
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BLOGGER: Dog owners say things to their dogs all the time, but whether the dog gets it is unlikely. You can train them to behave on command, but Tomasello is not talking about training. Tomasello has done extensive work with chimpanzees and his book is filled with detailed information about what they can and cannot do. In summary: they can request things, but not inform one another about anything.

JoseAngel

You say: "As Tomasello puts it at the very start, ''you simply cannot tell animals anything, even nonverbally.' They cannot imagine why you are doing whatever bizarre action is required to tell them something. Gesture, speech, writing... it’s all a mystery to them."
Surely that's too sweeping, isn't it -- as any dog owner will tell you. Not to mention the experiments with chimps and "protolanguage" you report elsewhere. I think the discussion could be more profitably carried out in terms of "more or less", a matter of degree, not "all-or-nothing". There are many kinds of situations where you can share relevant contextual assumptions with a dog, and communicate with him. And yes, even get him to listen to what you have got to speak. And that's something.

JoseAngel

Well, requesting things or actions through language is surely one kind of "telling" that some animals can understand. Mind, I agree with the essentials of your thesis about joint attention to a conceptualized situation, but I think that the ground between language and non-language is fuzzier than the post would seem to allow.
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BLOGGER: When I am taking my own stand, my position is that the difference between animal and human communications is that humans can include the speech triangle. Tomasello phrases it differently, and maybe a little ambiguously, but his point is pretty close to the one favored by me.

speech writing

Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! "This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here. Keep it up!"

Fina

thank you for the posting. really helps me a lot. wish i could have the book...

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