"We have all been critical of Chomsky’s ideas, to a lesser or greater extent, but we cannot ignore them, especially because they are the basis of the new research field of Biolinguistics which has been developed in parallel with Biosemiotics. By a strange coincidence, the journals that bear their names, Biolinguistics and Biosemiotics, have even started regular publication together, in 2008.Now Barbieri has compiled a file with the ensuing discussion, and asked me to post it here. You can download the the file here.
The crucial point is that both fields regard language as a natural phenomenon and claim a scientific approach to its study. Two different philosophies can remain entrenched forever into antagonistic positions, but two scientific disciplines are bound to look for dialogue, testing, confrontation and, ideally, for a synthesis of their ideas. Such a process, however, requires not only individual contributions but also collective discussions, and that is precisely the purpose of this collective letter.
I am sending in attachment the draft of a paper [here, C.E.] that proposes a synthesis of the two fields and I invite each of you to express your opinion. If you want to comment on the paper I shall be grateful, of course, but you can also ignore it and just express your ideas on the issue in question. The purpose of this consultation is to get a realistic picture of the feelings that exist today in Biosemiotics in respect to Biolinguistics, and I hope therefore that you will accept to comment on this point. Many thanks in advance for your attention and for your contribution."
Barbieri kindly mailed me a version of his revised manuscipt, "On the Origin of Language - A synthesis of Biolinguistics and Biosemiotics", of February 11, 2010, that you can download here. Noam Chomsky and members of the Biosemiotic community are acknowledge.