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  1. Mark C. Baker (2005). The Innate Endowment for Language. In Peter Carruthers (ed.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. 156--174.
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  2. Robert Berwick & Noam Chomsky (2008). Poverty of the Stimulus' Revisited: Recent Challenges Reconsidered. In B. C. Love, K. McRae & V. M. Sloutsky (eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society. 383.
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  3. Robert W. Burch (1976). Why Grammar Cannot Be Innate. Southwestern Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):37-44.
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  4. John M. Collins (2003). Cowie on the Poverty of Stimulus. Synthese 136 (2):159-190.
    My paper defends the use of the poverty of stimulus argument (POSA) for linguistic nativism against Cowie's (1999) counter-claim that it leaves empiricism untouched. I first present the linguistic POSA as arising from a reflection on the generality of the child's initial state in comparison with the specific complexity of its final state. I then show that Cowie misconstrues the POSA as a direct argument about the character of the pld. In this light, I first argue that the data Cowie (...)
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  5. Stephen Crain, Children's Command of Negation.
    Poverty -of-stimulus arguments have taken new ground recently, augmented by experimental findings from th e study of child language. In this paper, we briefly review two variants of the poverty-of-stimulus argument that have received empirical support from studies of child language; then we examine a third argument of this kind in more detail. The case under discussion involves the structural notion of c-command as it pertains to children’s interpretation of disjunction in the scope of negation.
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  6. Valentina Cuccio & Marco Carapezza (2013). Is Displacement Possible Without Language? Evidence From Preverbal Infants and Chimpanzees. Philosophical Psychology 28 (3):369-386.
    Is displacement possible without language? This question was addressed in a recent work by Liszkowski and colleagues . The authors carried out an experiment to demonstrate that 12-month-old prelinguistic infants can communicate about absent entities by using pointing gestures, while chimpanzees cannot. The main hypothesis of their study is that displacement does not depend on language but is, however, exclusively human and instead depends on species-specific social-cognitive human skills. Against this hypothesis, we will argue that a symbolic representation is needed (...)
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  7. Stavroula N. Glezakos (2003). The Cognitive Value of Language. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
    The central question that I address in this dissertation is: how should we explain our connection with the language that we use? I show that the way that one answers the question depends upon the characterization that one gives of the nature of language. ;I argue that philosophers of language who theorize about words as in-the-world entities with a history have largely failed to explain how we use such words. To fill in this gap, I offer a positive account of (...)
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  8. Alison Holm & Barbara Dodd (1996). The Effect of First Written Language on the Acquisition of English Literacy. Cognition 59 (2):119-147.
    The relationship between first and second language literacy was examined by identifying the skills and processes developed in the first language that were transferred to the second language. The performance of 40 university students from The People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Australia were compared on a series of tasks that assessed phonological awareness and reading and spelling skills in English. The results indicated that the Hong Kong students (with non-alphabetic first language literacy) had limited phonological awareness compared (...)
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  9. Mika Kiikeri & Tomi Kokkonen (2007). Biological Notions of Innateness and Explanation of Language Acquisition. In Johannes Persson & Petri Ylikoski (eds.), Rethinking Explanation. Springer. 177--192.
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  10. Wendy Lee (1998). The Foundation Walls That Are Carried by the House: A Critique of the Poverty of Stimulus Thesis and a Wittgensteinian—Dennettian Alternative. Journal of Mind and Behavior 19 (2):177-194.
    A bedrock assumption made by cognitivist philosophers such as Noam Chomsky, and, more recently, Jerry Fodor and Steven Pinker is that the contexts within which children acquire a language inevitably exhibit a irremediable poverty of whatever stimuli are necessary to condition such acquisition and development. They argue that given this poverty, the basic rudiments of language must be innate; the task of the cognitivist is to theorize universal grammars, languages of thought, or language instincts to account for it. My argument, (...)
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  11. John Mikhail (2007). Universal Moral Grammar: Theory, Evidence, and the Future. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):143 –152.
    Scientists from various disciplines have begun to focus attention on the psychology and biology of human morality. One research program that has recently gained attention is universal moral grammar (UMG). UMG seeks to describe the nature and origin of moral knowledge by using concepts and models similar to those used in Chomsky's program in linguistics. This approach is thought to provide a fruitful perspective from which to investigate moral competence from computational, ontogenetic, behavioral, physiological and phylogenetic perspectives. In this article, (...)
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  12. Reinhard Muskens, Categorial Grammar and Lexical-Functional Grammar.
    This paper introduces λ-grammar, a form of categorial grammar that has much in common with LFG. Like other forms of categorial grammar, λ-grammars are multi-dimensional and their components are combined in a strictly parallel fashion. Grammatical representations are combined with the help of linear combinators, closed pure λ-terms in which each abstractor binds exactly one variable. Mathematically this is equivalent to employing linear logic, in use in LFG for semantic composition, but the method seems more practicable.
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  13. Geoffrey K. Pullum (2002). Empirical Assessment of Stimulus Poverty Arguments. Linguistic Review.
  14. William Ramsey & Stephen P. Stich (1990). Connectionism and Three Levels of Nativism. Synthese 82 (2):177-205.
    Along with the increasing popularity of connectionist language models has come a number of provocative suggestions about the challenge these models present to Chomsky's arguments for nativism. The aim of this paper is to assess these claims. We begin by reconstructing Chomsky's argument from the poverty of the stimulus and arguing that it is best understood as three related arguments, with increasingly strong conclusions. Next, we provide a brief introduction to connectionism and give a quick survey of recent efforts to (...)
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  15. Heather K. J. Van der Lely, Stuart Rosen & Alan Adlard (2004). Grammatical Language Impairment and the Specificity of Cognitive Domains: Relations Between Auditory and Language Abilities. Cognition 94 (2):167-183.
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Linguistic Innateness, Misc
  1. Noam Chomsky (1995). Language and Nature. Mind 104 (413):1-61.
  2. Stephen Crain & Drew Khlentzos (2010). The Logic Instinct. Mind and Language 25 (1):30-65.
    We present a series of arguments for logical nativism, focusing mainly on the meaning of disjunction in human languages. We propose that all human languages are logical in the sense that the meaning of linguistic expressions corresponding to disjunction (e.g. English or , Chinese huozhe, Japanese ka ) conform to the meaning of the logical operator in classical logic, inclusive- or . It is highly implausible, we argue, that children acquire the (logical) meaning of disjunction by observing how adults use (...)
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  3. Johan De Smedt (2009). Cognitive Modularity in the Light of the Language Faculty. Logique Et Analyse 208:373-387.
    Ever since Chomsky, language has become the paradigmatic example of an innate capacity. Infants of only a few months old are aware of the phonetic structure of their mother tongue, such as stress-patterns and phonemes. They can already discriminate words from non-words and acquire a feel for the grammatical structure months before they voice their first word. Language reliably develops not only in the face of poor linguistic input, but even without it. In recent years, several scholars have extended this (...)
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  4. Simon Fitzpatrick (forthcoming). Nativism, Empiricism, and Ockham’s Razor. Erkenntnis:1-28.
    This paper discusses the role that appeals to theoretical simplicity (or parsimony) have played in the debate between nativists and empiricists in cognitive science. Both sides have been keen to make use of such appeals in defence of their respective positions about the structure and ontogeny of the human mind. Focusing on the standard simplicity argument employed by empiricist-minded philosophers and cognitive scientists—what I call “the argument for minimal innateness”—I identify various problems with such arguments—in particular, the apparent arbitrariness of (...)
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  5. Glen Hoffmann (2009). Nativism. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):303-315.
    The nativist view of language holds that the principal foundation of linguistic competence is an innate faculty of linguistic cognition. In this paper, close scrutiny is given to nativism’s fundamental commitments in the area of metaphysics. In the course of this exploration it is argued that any minimally defensible variety of nativism is, for better or worse, committed to two theses: linguistic competence is grounded in a faculty of linguistic cognition that is (i) embodied and (ii) whose operating rules are (...)
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  6. Barry C. Smith (2006). What I Know When I Know a Language. In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press.
    EVERY speaker of a language knows a bewildering variety of linguistic facts, and will come to know many more. It is knowledge that connects sound and meaning. Questions about the nature of this knowledge cannot be separated from fundamental questions about the nature of language. The conception of language we should adopt depends on the part it plays in explaining our knowledge of language. This chapter explores options in accounting for language, and our knowledge of language, and defends the view (...)
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Poverty of the Stimulus
  1. Robert C. Berwick, Paul Pietroski, Beracah Yankama & Noam Chomsky (2011). Poverty of the Stimulus Revisited. Cognitive Science 35 (7):1207-1242.
    A central goal of modern generative grammar has been to discover invariant properties of human languages that reflect “the innate schematism of mind that is applied to the data of experience” and that “might reasonably be attributed to the organism itself as its contribution to the task of the acquisition of knowledge” (Chomsky, 1971). Candidates for such invariances include the structure dependence of grammatical rules, and in particular, certain constraints on question formation. Various “poverty of stimulus” (POS) arguments suggest that (...)
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  2. Johan De Smedt (2009). Cognitive Modularity in the Light of the Language Faculty. Logique Et Analyse 208:373-387.
    Ever since Chomsky, language has become the paradigmatic example of an innate capacity. Infants of only a few months old are aware of the phonetic structure of their mother tongue, such as stress-patterns and phonemes. They can already discriminate words from non-words and acquire a feel for the grammatical structure months before they voice their first word. Language reliably develops not only in the face of poor linguistic input, but even without it. In recent years, several scholars have extended this (...)
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  3. David Ellerman, Four Ways From Universal to Particular: How Chomsky's Language-Acquisition Faculty is Not Selectionist.
    Following the development of the selectionist theory of the immune system, there was an attempt to characterize many biological mechanisms as being "selectionist" as juxtaposed to "instructionist." But this broad definition would group Darwinian evolution, the immune system, embryonic development, and Chomsky's language-acquisition mechanism as all being "selectionist." Yet Chomsky's mechanism (and embryonic development) are significantly different from the selectionist mechanisms of biological evolution or the immune system. Surprisingly, there is a very abstract way using two dual mathematical logics to (...)
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  4. J. Johnson, M. L. Juge & J. L. Moxley (eds.) (1996). Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting: General Session and Parasession on the Role of Learnability in Grammatical Theory. Berkeley, California: Berkeley Linguistics Society.
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  5. Muhammad Ali Khalidi (2009). Should We Eliminate the Innate? Reply to Griffiths and Machery. Philosophical Psychology 22 (4):505 – 519.
    Griffiths and Machery (2008) have argued that innateness is a folk notion that obstructs inquiry and has no place in contemporary science. They support their view by criticizing the canalization account of innateness (Ariew, 1999, 2006). In response, I argue that the criticisms they raise for the canalization account can be avoided by another recent account of innateness, the triggering account, which provides an analysis of the concept as it applies to cognitive capacities (Khalidi, 2002, 2007; Stich, 1975). I also (...)
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  6. Muhammad Ali Khalidi (2007). Innate Cognitive Capacities. Mind and Language 22 (1):92-115.
    This paper attempts to articulate a dispositional account of innateness that applies to cognitive capacities. After criticizing an alternative account of innateness proposed by Cowie (1999) and Samuels (2002), the dispositional account of innateness is explicated and defended against a number of objections. The dispositional account states that an innate cognitive capacity (output) is one that has a tendency to be triggered as a result of impoverished environmental conditions (input). Hence, the challenge is to demonstrate how the input can be (...)
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  7. Muhammad Ali Khalidi (2002). Nature and Nurture in Cognition. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2):251-272.
    This paper advocates a dispositional account of innate cognitive capacities, which has an illustrious history from Plato to Chomsky. The ?triggering model? of innateness, first made explicit by Stich ([1975]), explicates the notion in terms of the relative informational content of the stimulus (input) and the competence (output). The advantage of this model of innateness is that it does not make a problematic reference to normal conditions and avoids relativizing innate traits to specific populations, as biological models of innateness are (...)
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  8. Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis (2001). The Poverty of the Stimulus Argument. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (2):217-276.
    Noam Chomsky's Poverty of the Stimulus Argument is one of the most famous and controversial arguments in the study of language and the mind. Though widely endorsed by linguists, the argument has met with much resistance in philosophy. Unfortunately, philosophical critics have often failed to fully appreciate the power of the argument. In this paper, we provide a systematic presentation of the Poverty of the Stimulus Argument, clarifying its structure, content, and evidential base. We defend the argument against a variety (...)
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  9. Joel W. Lidz & S. Waxman (2004). Reaffirming the Poverty of the Stimulus Argument: A Reply to the Replies. Cognition 93 (2):157-165.
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  10. Geoffrey K. Pullum (1996). Learnability, Hyperlearning, and the Poverty of the Stimulus. In J. Johnson, M. L. Juge & J. L. Moxley (eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting: General Session and Parasession on the Role of Learnability in Grammatical Theory. Berkeley, California: Berkeley Linguistics Society. 498-513.
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