Why GA?

From Generative Anthropology

The biggest question many have about generative anthropology is "why should I care?" Here are some reasons why you should be interested in GA:

Theories of language origin are important, even if "unfalsifiable."

Speculations on the origin of language may come off as "too armchair" for the empirically-minded; after all, GA is unfalsifiable. However, the concept of empirical falsifiability itself is based on a similar speculative account on the nature of human language. The following is an excerpt from Karl Popper's "Objective Knowledge":

Human language is essentially descriptive (and argumentative), and an unambiguous description is always realistic: it is of something—of some state of affairs which may be real or imaginary. Thus if the state of affairs is imaginary, then the description is simply false and its negation is a true description of reality, in Tarski's sense.[1]

In fact, the question of "what language is" seems to be one of the most important questions of all - how do we know what words mean, or what "meaning" even is? But possibly even more important than the "what" is the "why" and "how." While a theory of language origin cannot be falsified, it still can (and must) be plausible and rigorous.

Human language could not have been fundamentally propositional.

The most common belief among most philosophers and scientists alike (those who will even entertain the question) is that the sign emerged with the originary purpose of making propositional statements about reality.

To them, it seems obvious that language emerged so that I could make to a fellow proto-human the falsifiable statement that “the food is over the hill.” What they fail to realize is that had this been the originary purpose of language, we would have evolved like vervet monkeys, emitting different signals for the different objects of interest in our environment.[2]

Additionally, such an explanation would not account for why we would need a sign-system (language), where each sign's meaning is dependent on its syntactic relation to other signs. If the originary purpose of the sign matched the sign-users intentionality, there would be no reason for a sign-system consisting of more than one sign to develop, beyond the circular "to have a sign-system," which presupposes the availability of a sign-system in the first place.

Philosophy, the father of all disciplines, was built upon this flawed understanding of language.

Metaphysics aims to answer what it claims are the most fundamental questions of philosophy, but has produced little consensus after thousands of years. Generative anthropologists assert that is because, as Eric Gans has described, metaphysics is the assumption of the declarative as the primary linguistic form.

Generative Anthropology can serve as a basis for a new "human science."


  1. Popper, K. R. (1972). Objective knowledge. Oxford University Press.
  2. Gans, E. (2019). The origin of language. Spuyten Duyvil.