Volume 19, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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In this paper, we complement proximate or ‘how’ explanations for the origins of language, broadening our perspective to include fitness-consequences explanations, i.e. ultimate, or ‘why’ explanations. We identify the as a fundamental prerequisite for the development of a language-like system of symbolic communication. The platform of trust is a social niche in which cheap but honest communication with non-kin is possible, because messages tend to be trusted as a default. We briefly consider the place of the platform of trust on the road map as laid out in the Mirror System Hypothesis. We then turn to recent research on turn-taking in primates, which has been proposed as a precursor of the cooperative structuring of conversation in humans. We suggest, instead, that human turn-taking, in its full richness that makes it an interesting explanatory target, may only appear in a communicative system that is already founded on a community-wide, cooperative platform of trust.


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