Darwin-L Message Log 6:81 (February 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<6:81>From margaret@ling.edinburgh.ac.uk  Tue Feb 15 09:37:35 1994

From: Margaret Winters <margaret@ling.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 94 15:00:34 GMT
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: invisible hand

For anyone who is interested in R. Keller's adaptation/interpretation
of the invisible hand explanation for language change, there is (for
those who do not read German easily and/or don't want to read a full
book on the subject) a paper by him in English in a volume edited by
Thomas Ballmer called _Linguistic Dynamics: discourses, procedures
and evolution_ (Berlin: deGruyter, 1985).  The paper is a good summary of
the theoretical issues in the full book, but does not do any linguistic
case studies.

Forgive me if I ask a question that may have been answered in the last
week or so (I was busy being snow-bound in NY for a couple of days and
read the Darwin-L items rather quickly to catch up when I got back --
actually only two days later than planned), but has there been much
thinking about invisible hand explanations in other historical areas,
other than economics and linguistics, that is.  Keller's book has
stirred some interest among historical linguists; I heard two papers
about it (W. Wurzel and A. Bittner, both of eastern Berlin) at the
historical linguistics conference in Los Angeles in August.  Consensus
seems to be that there are interesting ideas there to be tested
on a great deal of data before any real judgment is made about the
value of the theory to language change.

				Margaret Winters

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