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Summary Competent speakers of a language are ordinarily said to know the language (or to speak, or have, the language). Should the idea that they know the language be taken seriously? And if it should, what account should be given of the form of knowledge they would then be taken to possess? Is it a form of propositional knowledge? Or is it form of practical knowledge, or some other form of knowledge? Moreover, if we think that speakers really do have knowledge of their language, we might wonder what precisely they know, and how they come to know it. 
Key works Chomsky 1976 Includes discussion of various philosophical proposals about the nature of knowledge of language. Chomsky 1986 Development of Chomsky's views about the nature, and content, of knowledge of language. Schiffer 1993 An account of how a minimal form of knowledge of language might figure in an account of the actual-language relation. Devitt 2006 Extended argument that knowledge of language figures less centrally in theoretical linguistics than others, including Chomsky, have thought. Dummett 1993 Develops an account of knowledge of language as a specific form of practical knowledge. Campbell 1982 Argues that understanding a language is a matter of possessing a form of propositional knowledge. Soames 1984 Develops a novel account of the relation between facts about speaker psychology and facts about language. Pettit 2002 Argues that understanding a language is not a matter of possession of propositional knowledge. Longworth 2008 Argues that understanding a language is not a matter of possession of propositional knowledge or a form of acquaintance.
Introductions Hornsby & Longworth 2006
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  1. Mark Addis (2013). Linguistic Competence and Expertise. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (2):327-336.
    Questions about the relationship between linguistic competence and expertise will be examined in the paper. Harry Collins and others distinguish between ubiquitous and esoteric expertise. Collins places considerable weight on the argument that ordinary linguistic competence and related phenomena exhibit a high degree of expertise. His position and ones which share close affinities are methodologically problematic. These difficulties matter because there is continued and systematic disagreement over appropriate methodologies for the empirical study of expertise. Against Collins, it will be argued (...)
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  2. Rama Kant Agnihotri & H. K. Dewan (eds.) (2010). Knowledge, Language and Learning. Macmillan Publishers India.
    Issues in the construction of knowledge -- Language, mind and cognition -- Aspects of language -- Curricular areas.
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  3. Jens Allwood (2012). Cognition, Communication, and Readiness for Language. Pragmatics and Cognition 20 (2):334-355.
    This review article discusses some problems and needs for clarification that are connected with the use of the concepts culture, language, tool, and communication in Daniel Everett's recently published book, Language: The Cultural Tool . It also discusses whether the idea of biological readiness and preparedness for language (rather than grammar) can really be disposed of as a result of Everett's very convincing arguments against a specific genetic predisposition for the syntactic component of a grammar. Finally, it calls into question (...)
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  4. G. E. M. Anscombe (1985). Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):103-109.
  5. Louise M. Antony (2003). Rabbit-Pots and Supernovas : On the Relevance of Psychological Data to Linguistic Theory. In Alex Barber (ed.), Epistemology of Language. Oxford University Press.
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  6. Louise M. Antony (1997). Meaning and Semantic Knowledge: Louise M. Antony. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 71 (1):177–207.
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  7. Michael A. Arbib (2005). From Monkey-Like Action Recognition to Human Language: An Evolutionary Framework for Neurolinguistics. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):105-124.
    The article analyzes the neural and functional grounding of language skills as well as their emergence in hominid evolution, hypothesizing stages leading from abilities known to exist in monkeys and apes and presumed to exist in our hominid ancestors right through to modern spoken and signed languages. The starting point is the observation that both premotor area F5 in monkeys and Broca's area in humans contain a “mirror system” active for both execution and observation of manual actions, and that F5 (...)
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  8. Ronald Arbini (1973). On Explanations of Linguistic Competence. Philosophia 3 (1):59-83.
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  9. Ronald Arbini (1969). Comments on Linguistic Competence and Language Acquisition. Synthese 19 (3-4):410 - 424.
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  10. Nicholas M. Asher (1988). Semantic Competence, Linguistic Understanding, and a Theory of Concepts. Philosophical Studies 53 (January):1-36.
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  11. Gordon P. Baker (2005). Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning. Blackwell Pub..
    v. 1, pt. 1. The essays -- v. 1, pt. 2. Exigesis, 1-184.
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  12. Gordon P. Baker (1980/1985). Wittgenstein, Meaning and Understanding: Essays on the Philosophical Investigations. University of Chicago Press.
  13. Dorit Bar-On (1996). Anti-Realism and Speaker Knowledge. Synthese 106 (2):139 - 166.
    Dummettian anti-realism repudiates the realist's notion of verification-transcendent truth. Perhaps the most crucial element in the Dummettian attack on realist truth is the critique of so-called realist semantics, which assigns verification-transcendent truth-conditions as the meanings of (some) sentences. The Dummettian critique charges that realist semantics cannot serve as an adequate theory of meaning for a natural language, and that, consequently, the realist conception of truth must be rejected as well. In arguing for this, Dummett and his followers have appealed to (...)
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  14. Alex Barber (2007). Linguistic Structure and the Brain. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (3):317-341.
    A popular interpretation of linguistic theories has it that they should describe the brain at a high level of abstraction. One way this has been understood is as the requirement that the theory’s derivational structure reflect (by being isomorphic to) relevant structural properties of the language user’s brain. An important criticisrn of this idea, made originally by Crispin Wright against Gareth Evans in the 1980s, still has purchase, notwithstanding attempts to reply to it, notably by Martin Davies and, indirectly, Christopher (...)
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  15. Alex Barber (ed.) (2003). Epistemology of Language. Oxford University Press.
    What must linguistic knowledge be like if it is to explain our capacity to use language? All linguists and philosophers of language presuppose some answer to this critical question, but all too often the presupposition is tacit. In this collection of sixteen previously unpublished essays, a distinguished international line-up of philosophers and linguists address a variety of interconnected themes concerning our knowledge of language.
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  16. Alex Barber (2001). Idiolectal Error. Mind and Language 16 (3):263–283.
    A linguistic theory is correct exactly to the extent that it is the explicit statement of a body of knowledge possessed by a designated language-user. This popular psychological conception of the goal of linguistic theorizing is commonly paired with a preference for idiolectal over social languages, where it seems to be in the nature of idiolects that the beliefs one holds about one’s own are ipso facto correct. Unfortunately, it is also plausible that the correctness of a genuine belief cannot (...)
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  17. Edison Barrios (2012). Knowledge of Grammar and Concept Possession. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):577-606.
    This article deals with the cognitive relationship between a speaker and her internal grammar. In particular, it takes issue with the view that such a relationship is one of belief or knowledge (I call this view the ‘Propositional Attitude View’, or PAV). I first argue that PAV entails that all ordinary speakers (tacitly) possess technical concepts belonging to syntactic theory, and second, that most ordinary speakers do not in fact possess such concepts. Thus, it is concluded that speakers do not (...)
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  18. William P. Bechtel (1996). What Knowledge Must Be in the Head in Order to Acquire Language. In B. Velichkovsky & Duane M. Rumbaugh (eds.), Communicating Meaning: The Evolution and Development of Language. Hillsdale, Nj: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 45.
    Many studies of language, whether in philosophy, linguistics, or psychology, have focused on highly developed human languages. In their highly developed forms, such as are employed in scientific discourse, languages have a unique set of properties that have been the focus of much attention. For example, descriptive sentences in a language have the property of being "true" or "false," and words of a language have senses and referents. Sentences in a language are structured in accord with complex syntactic rules. Theorists (...)
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  19. Anna Bergqvist (2009). Semantic Particularism and Linguistic Competence. Logique et Analyse 52 (208):343-361.
    In this paper I examine a contemporary debate about the general notion of linguistic rules and the place of context in determining meaning, which has arisen in the wake of a challenge that the conceptual framework of moral particularism has brought to the table. My aim is to show that particularism in the theory of meaning yields an attractive model of linguistic competence that stands as a genuine alternative to other use-oriented but still generalist accounts that allow room for context-sensitivity (...)
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  20. Corine Besson (2010). Propositions, Dispositions and Logical Knolwedge. In M. Bonelli & A. Longo (eds.), Quid Est Veritas? Essays in Honour of Jonathan Barnes. Bibliopolis.
    This paper considers the question of what knowing a logical rule consists in. I defend the view that knowing a logical rule is having propositional knowledge. Many philosophers reject this view and argue for the alternative view that knowing a logical rule is, at least at the fundamental level, having a disposition to infer according to it. To motivate this dispositionalist view, its defenders often appeal to Carroll’s regress argument in ‘What the Tortoise Said to Achilles’. I show that this (...)
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  21. V. P. Bhatta (1991). Epistemology, Logic, and Grammer in the Analysis of Sentence-Meaning. Eastern Book Linkers.
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  22. Claudia Bianchi & Nicla Vassallo (2005). Epistemological Contextualism: A Semantic Perspective. In B. Kokinov A. Dey (ed.), Modeling and Using Context. Springer. 41--54.
    According to epistemological contextualism, a sentence of the form "S knows that p" doesn't express a complete proposition. Different utterances of the sentence, in different contexts, can express different propositions: "know" is context-dependent. This paper deals with the semantic contextualist thesis grounding epistemological contextualism. We examine various kinds of linguistic context dependence, which could be relevant to epistemological contextualism: ambiguity, ellipsis, indexicality, vagueness of scalar predicates, dependence on standards of precision. We argue that only an accurate analysis of the different (...)
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  23. Dorrit Billman (1987). Language Learnability and Language Development. Mind and Language 2 (3):252-263.
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  24. Paul Bloom (2002). Mindreading, Communication and the Learning of Names for Things. Mind and Language 17 (1&2):37–54.
    There are two facts about word learning that everyone accepts. The first is that words really do have to be learned. There is controversy over how much conceptual structure and linguistic knowledge is innate, but nobody thinks that this is the case for the specific mappings between sounds (or signs) and meanings. This is because these mappings vary arbitrarily from culture to culture. No matter how intelligent a British baby is, for instance, she still has to learn, by attending to (...)
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  25. Steven E. Boër & George S. Pappas (1975). The Epistemology of Speaker-Meaning. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 53 (3):204 – 219.
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  26. Thomas Bonk (ed.) (2003). Language, Truth, and Knowledge: Contributions to the Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    This collection, with essays by Graham H. Bird, Jaakko Hintikka, Ilkka Niiniluoto, Jan Wolenski, will interest graduate students of the philosophy of language and logic, as well as professional philosophers, historians of analytic philosophy, and philosophically inclined logicians. Language, Truth and Knowledge brings together 11 new essays that offer a wealth of insights on a number of Carnap's concerns and ideas. The volume arose out of a symposium on Carnap's work at an international conference held in Vienna in 2001. The (...)
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  27. Emma Borg, Language: A Biological Model.
    Ruth Garrett Millikan is one of the most important thinkers in philosophy of mind and language of the current generation. Across a number of seminal books, and in the company of theorists such as Jerry Fodor and Fred Dretske, she has championed a wholly naturalistic, scientific understanding of content, whether of thought or words. Many think that naturalism about meaning has found its most defensible form in her distinctively “teleological” approach, and in Language: A Biological Model she continues the expansion (...)
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  28. Steffen Borge (2006). Defending the Martian Argument. Disputatio 1 (13):1 - 9.
    The Chomskian holds that the grammars that linguists produce are about human psycholinguistic structures, i.e. our mastery of a grammar, our linguistic competence. But if we encountered Martians whose psycholinguistic processes differed from ours, but who nevertheless produced sentences that are extensionally equivalent to the set of sentences in our English and shared our judgements on the grammaticality of various English sentences, then we would count them as being competent in English. A grammar of English is about what the Martians (...)
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  29. David Bostock (1994). Plato on Understanding Language. In Stephen Everson (ed.), Language. Cambridge University Press.
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  30. H. K. Bouma (2006). Radical Interpretation and High-Functioning Autistic Speakers: A Defense of Davidson on Thought and Language. Philosophical Psychology 19 (5):639-662.
    Donald Davidson argues in "Thought and Talk" that all speakers must be interpreters of other speakers: linguistic competence requires the possession of intentional concepts and the ability to attribute intentional states to other people. Kristin Andrews (in Philosophical Psychology, 15) has argued that empirical evidence about autism undermines this theoretical claim, for some individuals with autism lack the requisite "theory of mind" skills to be able to interpret, yet are competent speakers. In this paper, Davidson is defended on the grounds (...)
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  31. Pauli Brattico & Lassi Liikkanen (2009). Rethinking the Cartesian Theory of Linguistic Productivity. Philosophical Psychology 22 (3):251-279.
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  32. Waltraud Brennenstuhl (1982). Control and Ability: Towards a Biocybernetics of Language. J. Benjamins Pub. Co..
    This is the first of the two volumes the second volume being Thomas Ballmer s Biological Foundations of Linguistic Communication (P&B III:7) treating ...
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  33. Michael Brody (1987). On Chomsky's Knowledge of Language. Mind and Language 2 (2):165-177.
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  34. Lajos L. Brons (2012). Dharmakīrti, Davidson, and Knowing Reality. Comparative Philosophy 3 (1):30-57.
    If we distinguish phenomenal effects from their noumenal causes, the former being our conceptual(ized) experiences, the latter their grounds or causes in reality ‘as it is’ independent of our experience, then two contradictory positions with regards to the relationship between these two can be distinguished: either phenomena are identical with their noumenal causes, or they are not. Davidson is among the most influential modern defenders of the former position, metaphysical non-dualism. Dharmakīrti’s strict distinction between ultimate and conventional reality, on the (...)
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  35. H. G. Callaway (1988). Semantic Competence and Truth-Conditional Semantics. Erkenntnis 28 (1):3 - 27.
    Davidson approaches the notions of meaning and interpretation with the aim of characterizing semantic competence in the syntactically characterized natural language. The objective is to provide a truth-theory for a language, generating T-sentences expressed in the semantic metalanguage, so that each sentence of the object language receives an appropriate interpretation. Proceeding within the constraints of referential semantics, I will argue for the viability of reconstructing the notion of linguistic meaning within the Tarskian theory of reference. However, the view proposed here (...)
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  36. Herman Cappelen & Ernest Lepore (2007). Language Turned on Itself: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Metalinguistic Discourse. OUP Oxford.
    Language Turned on Itself examines what happens when language becomes self-reflexive; when language is used to talk about language. Those who think, talk, and write about language are habitual users of various metalinguistic devices, but reliance on these devices begins early: kids are told, 'That's called a "rabbit"'. It's not implausible that a primitive capacity for the meta-linguistic kicks in at the beginning stages of language acquisition. But no matter when or how frequently these devices are invoked, one thing is (...)
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  37. Lawrence Richard Carleton (1984). Programs, Language Understanding, and Searle. Synthese 59 (May):219-30.
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  38. Samuel W. K. Chan, Dynamic Context Generation for Natural Language Understanding: A Multifaceted Knowledge Approach.
    ��We describe a comprehensive framework for text un- derstanding, based on the representation of context. It is designed to serve as a representation of semantics for the full range of in- terpretive and inferential needs of general natural language pro- cessing. Its most distinctive feature is its uniform representation of the various simple and independent linguistic sources that play a role in determining meaning: lexical associations, syntactic re- strictions, case-role expectations, and most importantly, contextual effects. Compositional syntactic structure from a (...)
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  39. N. Chomsky (1965). Persistent Topics in Linguistic Theory. Diogenes 13 (51):13-20.
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  40. Noam Chomsky (2010). Knowledge of Language as a Focus of Inquiry. In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Arguing About Language. Routledge.
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  41. Noam Chomsky (2003/1971). Problems of Knowledge and Freedom. New York,Distributed by W.W. Norton.
  42. Noam Chomsky (2002). On Nature and Language. Cambridge University Press.
    Featuring an essay by the author on the role of intellectuals in society and government, a fascinating volume sheds light on the relation between language, mind ...
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  43. Noam Chomsky (2000). New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind. Cambridge University Press.
    This book is an outstanding contribution to the philosophical study of language and mind, by one of the most influential thinkers of our time. In a series of penetrating essays, Chomsky cuts through the confusion and prejudice which has infected the study of language and mind, bringing new solutions to traditional philosophical puzzles and fresh perspectives on issues of general interest, ranging from the mind-body problem to the unification of science. Using a range of imaginative and deceptively simple linguistic analyses, (...)
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  44. Noam Chomsky (1993). A Minimalist Program for Linguistic Theory. In Kenneth Hale & Samuel Jay Keyser (eds.), The View From Building 20: Essays in Linguistics in Honor of Sylvain Bromberger. The Mit Press.
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  45. Noam Chomsky (1992). Language and Intepretation: Philosophical Reflections and Empirical Inquiry. In , New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind. Cambridge University Press. 46--74.
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  46. Noam Chomsky (1988). Language and Problems of Knowledge. The Mit Press.
    Language and Problems of Knowledge is sixteenth in the series Current Studies in Linguistics, edited by Jay Keyser.
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  47. Noam Chomsky (1986). Knowledge of Language. Prager.
  48. Noam Chomsky (1971/1972). Problems of Knowledge and Freedom: The Russell Lectures. Vintage Books.
  49. Andy Clark (2006). Language, Embodiment, and the Cognitive Niche. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (8):370-374.
  50. Andy Clark (1987). Meaning, Publicity and Epistemology. Theoria 53 (1):19-30.
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