'The definitive response to Pinker's book and Chomskyan nativism in general.'
Donald Carroll, The Languse List
'As an empiricist counterblast [to Pinker's The Language Instinct], written
at a popular, non-technical level, the book is an impressive tour de force.'
James R. Hurford, University of Edinburgh, Journal of Linguistics
'... a most interesting and instructive book which I recommend to all
linguists, whatever their persuasion.'
Ernst Pulgram, University of Michigan, Language
When it was first published in 1997, Geoffrey Sampson's Educating Eve was
described as the definitive response to Steven Pinker's The Language
Instinct and Noam Chomsky's nativism. In this revised and expanded new
edition, Sampson revisits his original arguments in the light of fresh
evidence that has emerged since the original publication.
Since Chomsky revolutionized the study of language in the 1960s, it has
increasingly come to be accepted that language and other knowledge
structures are hard-wired in our genes. According to that view, human
beings are born with a rich structure of cognition already in place. But
people do not realize how thin the evidence for that idea is.
The 'Language Instinct' Debate examines the various arguments for
instinctive knowledge, and finds that each one rests on false premisses or
embodies logical fallacies. The structures of language are shown to be
purely cultural creations.
With a new chapter entitled 'How People Really Speak' which uses corpus
data to analyse how language is used in spontaneous English conversation,
responses to critics, extensive revisions throughout, and a new foreword by
Paul M. Postal of New York University, this new edition will be an
essential purchase for students, academics, and general readers interested
in the debate about the 'language instinct'.