The brain’s re-entrant connectivity turns lexical language into grammatical language.

This paper is part of a series of papers in a book called Machine consciousness edited by Owen Holland (2003). Steels proposes a theory of language evolution diametrically opposed to that of Chomsky. Language evolved as part of communication with others. He then proposes that the inner voice, our inner dialogue, followed. Steels emphasises that language processing is unconscious in nature. So, it is not clear how the fundamentally conscious activity of inner speech might have emerged from an unconscious language process. But the idea that re-entrant connectivity (backpropagation in AI terms) is responsible for generating grammar out of what was just lexical language is ingenious.

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