Another Biolinguistics History: From Aristotle to Darwin

  • Antonino Pennisi
  • Alessandra Falzone
Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 12)


This chapter reconstructs a possible alternative history of Chomskyan biolinguistics hinging on the embodiment of language, whose precursors are identified in Aristotle, Vico, Darwin and Broca. The recent re-reading of Aristotle, given by Franco Lo Piparo, is used to reconstruct a biolinguistics independent of the cerebrocentric hypothesis and, therefore, entirely focused on the primacy of linguistic articulation and of the relevant cognitive properties. Vico reconstructs the glottogonic dimension as the first truly linguistic evolutionary epistemology. Darwin’s position on language is critically discussed in great detail in its functionalist aspects, often influenced by Lamarckian residues. However, we emphasize the decisive importance of gradualism of structures and the populational thought as elements of an irreversible biolinguistics turn materializing in the birth of neuroscience with the discoveries of Broca’s aphasia.


Vocal Tract Human Language Nonhuman Animal Language Faculty Natural Speech 
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Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonino Pennisi
    • 1
  • Alessandra Falzone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

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