Lambda Abstraction as a Factor in Human Uniqueness


  • İsa Kerem Bayırlı Orcid


There appear to be some qualitative differences between the conceptual repertoire of humans and that of other animals. We propose that the mental operation of Lambda Abstraction may shed some light on this distinction. More specifically, we claim that humans and only humans make use of mental representations constructed with the rule of Lambda Abstraction, which enables them to entertain concepts that can be used for entities that are not necessarily within their domain of experience. In addition to defining new types of concepts, Lambda Abstraction has played a crucial role in unlocking the potential for semantically consequential Internal Merge and quantification. This paper highlights the fact that research on language evolution should focus more on the transformative cognitive consequences of the interface between syntax and thought systems.