Ever since John Locke described a child's mind as like a blank slate philosophers have been debating the question of whether or not we have some kind of innate ability to learn language and a universal grammar that all languages share. Daniel Everett has extensive knowledge of the Piraha, an Amazonian people with a very unusual language (there are approximately 700 speakers of Piraha - listen to some of them here). In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast he discusses the wider conclusions that he believes can be drawn from the Piraha language.
Philosophy Bites is made in association with the Institute of Philosophy
This episode was recorded at Googleplex at Sci Foo 2010.