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  1. Kent Bach, [To Appear in Journal of Linguistics 42.2].
    Paul Grice warned that ‘the nature of conventional implicature needs to be examined before any free use of it, for explanatory purposes, can be indulged in’ (1978/1989: 46). Christopher Potts heeds this warning, brilliantly and boldly. Starting with a definition drawn from Grice’s few brief remarks on the subject, he distinguishes conventional implicature from other phenomena with which it might be confused, identifies a variety of common but little-studied kinds of expressions that give rise to it, and develops a formal, (...)
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  2. D. E. Bradshaw (1998). Meaning, Cognition, and the Philosophy of Thought. Journal of Philosophical Research 23:51-80.
    Michael Dummett has claimed that analytic philosophy is distinguished from other schools in its belief that a comprehensive philosophical account of thought can only be attained by developing a philosophical account of language. Dummett himself argues persuasively for the priority-of-Ianguage thesis. This, in effect, metaphilosophical position is of special importance for his more straightforwardly philosophical views, for he holds that philosophical investigations of the concepts of objectivity and reality grow directly out of the philosophy of thought. But I argue that (...)
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  3. Erica Cosentino & Francesco Ferretti (2014). Communication as Navigation: A New Role for Consciousness in Language. Topoi 33 (1):263-274.
    Classical cognitive science has been characterized by an association with the computational theory of mind. Although this association has produced highly significant results, it has also limited the scope of scientific psychology. In this paper, we analyse the limits of the specific kind of computational model represented by the Chomskian-Fodorian tradition in the study of mind and language. In our opinion, the adhesion to the principle of formality imposed by this specific computational model has motivated the exclusion of consciousness in (...)
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  4. Pauline Jacobson (2002). The (Dis)Organization of the Grammar: 25 Years. [REVIEW] Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (5-6):601-626.
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  5. Pauline Jacobson (1999). Towards a Variable-Free Semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy 22 (2):117-185.
    The Montagovian hypothesis of direct model-theoretic interpretation of syntactic surface structures is supported by an account of the semantics of binding that makes no use of variables, syntactic indices, or assignment functions & shows that the interpretation of a large portion of so-called variable-binding phenomena can dispense with the level of logical form without incurring equivalent complexity elsewhere in the system. Variable-free semantics hypothesizes local interpretation of each surface constituent; binding is formalized as a type-shifting operation on expressions that denote (...)
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  6. Kent Johnson, Externalist Thoughts and the Scope of Linguistics.
    A common assumption in metaphysics and the philosophy of language is that the general structure of language displays the general metaphysical structure of the things we talk about. But expressions can easily be imperfect representations of what they are about. After clarifying this general point, I make a case study of a recent attempt to semantically analyze the nature of knowledge-how. This attempt fails because there appears to be no plausible bridge from the linguistic structure of knowledge-how reports to knowledge-how (...)
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  7. Max M. Louwerse, Rick Dale, Ellen G. Bard & Patrick Jeuniaux (2012). Behavior Matching in Multimodal Communication is Synchronized. Cognitive Science 36 (8):1404-1426.
    A variety of theoretical frameworks predict the resemblance of behaviors between two people engaged in communication, in the form of coordination, mimicry, or alignment. However, little is known about the time course of the behavior matching, even though there is evidence that dyads synchronize oscillatory motions (e.g., postural sway). This study examined the temporal structure of nonoscillatory actions—language, facial, and gestural behaviors—produced during a route communication task. The focus was the temporal relationship between matching behaviors in the interlocutors (e.g., facial (...)
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  8. O. Magidor (2012). The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics * by Peter Ludlow. Analysis 72 (4):844-846.
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  9. Barbara H. Partee (1977). Possible Worlds Semantics and Linguistic Theory. The Monist 60 (3):303-326.
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Competence and Performance
  1. 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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  2. Jay F. Rosenberg (1988). About Competence and Performance. Philosophical Papers 17 (1):33-49.
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  3. Michael L. Schwalbe (1988). Role Taking Reconsidered: Linking Competence and Performance to Social Structure. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 18 (4):411–436.
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Linguistic Intuitions
  1. Kent Bach (2002). Seemingly Semantic Intuitions. In Joseph K. Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth - Investigations in Philosophical Semantics. Seven Bridges Press. 21--33.
    From ethics to epistemology to metaphysics, it is common for philosophers to appeal to “intuitions” about cases to identify counterexamples to one view and to find support for another. It would be interesting to examine the evidential status of such intuitions, snap judgments, gut reactions, or whatever you want to call them, but in this paper I will not be talking about moral, epistemological, or metaphysical intuitions. I’ll be focusing on semantic ones. In fact, I’ll be focusing on semantic intuitions (...)
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  2. Stephen W. Ball (1991). Linguistic Intuitions and Varieties of Ethical Naturalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (1):1-38.
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  3. Joseph K. Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & David Shier (eds.) (2002). Meaning and Truth - Investigations in Philosophical Semantics. Seven Bridges Press.
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  4. Herman Cappelen & Douglas G. Winblad (1999). &Quot;reference" Externalized and the Role of Intuitions in Semantic Theory. American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):337-50.
  5. Jennifer Culbertson & Steven Gross (2011). Revisited Linguistic Intuitions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):639 - 656.
    Michael Devitt ([2006a], [2006b]) argues that, insofar as linguists possess better theories about language than non-linguists, their linguistic intuitions are more reliable. (Culbertson and Gross [2009]) presented empirical evidence contrary to this claim. Devitt ([2010]) replies that, in part because we overemphasize the distinction between acceptability and grammaticality, we misunderstand linguists' claims, fall into inconsistency, and fail to see how our empirical results can be squared with his position. We reply in this note. Inter alia we argue that Devitt's focus (...)
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  6. Jennifer Culbertson & Steven Gross (2009). Are Linguists Better Subjects? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):721-736.
    Who are the best subjects for judgment tasks intended to test grammatical hypotheses? Michael Devitt ( [2006a] , [2006b] ) argues, on the basis of a hypothesis concerning the psychology of such judgments, that linguists themselves are. We present empirical evidence suggesting that the relevant divide is not between linguists and non-linguists, but between subjects with and without minimally sufficient task-specific knowledge. In particular, we show that subjects with at least some minimal exposure to or knowledge of such tasks tend (...)
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  7. Michael Devitt (2010). Linguistic Intuitions Revisited. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):833 - 865.
    Why are linguistic intuitions good evidence for a grammar? In 'Intuitions in Linguistics' ([2006a]) and Ignorance of Language ([2006b]), I looked critically at some Chomskian answers and proposed another one. In this article, I respond to Fitzgerald's 'Linguistic Intuitions' ([2010]), a sweeping critique of my position, and to Culbertson and Gross' 'Are Linguists Better Subjects?' ([2009]), a criticism of one consequence of the position. In rejecting these criticisms, I emphasize that the issue over linguistic intuitions concerns only metalinguistic ones. And (...)
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  8. Michael Devitt (2006). Intuitions in Linguistics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):481-513.
    Linguists take the intuitive judgments of speakers to be good evidence for a grammar. Why? The Chomskian answer is that they are derived by a rational process from a representation of linguistic rules in the language faculty. The paper takes a different view. It argues for a naturalistic and non-Cartesian view of intuitions in general. They are empirical central-processor responses to phenomena differing from other such responses only in being immediate and fairly unreflective. Applying this to linguistic intuitions yields an (...)
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  9. Janice Dowell, J. L. (forthcoming). The Metaethical Insignificance of Moral Twin Earth. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford.
  10. Robert Fiengo (2003). Linguistic Intuitions. Philosophical Forum 34 (3-4):253–266.
  11. Gareth Fitzgerald (2009). Linguistic Intuitions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):45.
    This paper defends an orthodox model of the linguistic intuitions which form a central source of evidence for generative grammars. According to this orthodox conception, linguistic intuitions are the upshot of a system of grammatical competence as it interacts with performance systems for perceiving and articulating language. So conceived, probing speakers’ linguistic intuitions allows us to investigate the competence–performance distinction empirically, so as to determine the grammars that speakers are competent in. This model has been attacked by Michael Devitt in (...)
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  12. Gareth Fitzgerald (2009). Linguistic Intuitions (British Journal for the Philosophy of Science). British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):123-160.
    This paper defends an orthodox model of the linguistic intuitions which form a central source of evidence for generative grammars. According to this orthodox conception, linguistic intuitions are the upshot of a system of grammatical competence as it interacts with performance systems for perceiving and articulating language. So conceived, probing speakers’ linguistic intuitions allows us to investigate the competence–performance distinction empirically, so as to determine the grammars that speakers are competent in. This model has been attacked by Michael Devitt in (...)
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  13. Steven Gross & Jennifer Culbertson (2011). Revisited Linguistic Intuitions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):639-656.
    Michael Devitt ([2006a], [2006b]) argues that, insofar as linguists possess better theories about language than non-linguists, their linguistic intuitions are more reliable. ( Culbertson and Gross [2009] ) presented empirical evidence contrary to this claim. Devitt ([2010]) replies that, in part because we overemphasize the distinction between acceptability and grammaticality, we misunderstand linguists’ claims, fall into inconsistency, and fail to see how our empirical results can be squared with his position. We reply in this note. Inter alia we argue that (...)
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  14. Nat Hansen (2013). A Slugfest of Intuitions: Contextualism and Experimental Design. Synthese 190 (10):1771-1792.
    This paper considers ways that experimental design can affect judgments about informally presented context shifting experiments. Reasons are given to think that judgments about informal context shifting experiments are affected by an exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments and by experimenter bias. Exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments may produce experimental artifacts by obscuring important differences of degree between the phenomena being investigated. Experimenter bias is an effect generated when, for example, experimenters disclose (even unconsciously) their own beliefs (...)
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  15. Nat Hansen (2012). On an Alleged Truth/Falsity Asymmetry in Context Shifting Experiments. Philosophical Quarterly 62 (248):530-545.
    Keith DeRose has argued that context shifting experiments should be designed in a specific way in order to accommodate what he calls a ‘truth/falsity asymmetry’. I explain and critique DeRose's reasons for proposing this modification to contextualist methodology, drawing on recent experimental studies of DeRose's bank cases as well as experimental findings about the verification of affirmative and negative statements. While DeRose's arguments for his particular modification to contextualist methodology fail, the lesson of his proposal is that there is good (...)
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  16. Matthew C. Haug (ed.) (2013). Philosophical Methodology: The Armchair or the Laboratory? Routledge.
    What methodology should philosophers follow? Should they rely on methods that can be conducted from the armchair? Or should they leave the armchair and turn to the methods of the natural sciences, such as experiments in the laboratory? Or is this opposition itself a false one? Arguments about philosophical methodology are raging in the wake of a number of often conflicting currents, such as the growth of experimental philosophy, the resurgence of interest in metaphysical questions, and the use of formal (...)
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  17. Henry Jackman (2009). Semantic Intuitions, Conceptual Analysis, and Cross-Cultural Variation. Philosophical Studies 146 (2):159 - 177.
    While philosophers of language have traditionally relied upon their intuitions about cases when developing theories of reference, this methodology has recently been attacked on the grounds that intuitions about reference, far from being universal, show significant cultural variation, thus undermining their relevance for semantic theory. I’ll attempt to demonstrate that (1) such criticisms do not, in fact, undermine the traditional philosophical methodology, and (2) our underlying intuitions about the nature of reference may be more universal than the authors suppose.
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  18. Henry Jackman (2005). Intuitions and Semantic Theory. Metaphilosophy 36 (3):363-380.
    While engaged in the analysis of topics such as the nature of knowledge, meaning, or justice, analytic philosophers have traditionally relied extensively on their own intuitions about when the relevant terms can, and can't, be correctly applied. Consequently, if intuitions about possible cases turned out not to be a reliable tool for the proper analysis of philosophically central concepts, then a radical reworking of philosophy's (or at least analytic philosophy's) methodology would seem to be in order. It is thus not (...)
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  19. Guy Longworth (2007). Conflicting Grammatical Appearances. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 21 (3):403-426.
    I explore one apparent source of conflict between our naïve view of grammatical properties and the best available scientific view of grammatical properties. That source is the modal dependence of the range of naïve, or manifest, grammatical properties that is available to a speaker upon the configurations and operations of their internal systems—that is, upon scientific grammatical properties. Modal dependence underwrites the possibility of conflicting grammatical appearances. In response to that possibility, I outline a compatibilist strategy, according to which the (...)
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  20. Genoveva Marti (2009). Against Semantic Multi-Culturalism. Analysis 69 (1):42-48.
    E. Machery, R. Mallon, S. Nichols and S. Stich, have argued that there is empirical evidence against Kripke’s claim that names are not descriptive. Their argument is based on an experiment that compares the intuitions about proper name use of a group of English speakers in Hong Kong with those of a group of non-Chinese American students. The results of the experiment suggest that in some cultures speakers use names descriptively. I argue that such a conclusion is incorrect, for the (...)
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  21. Jeffrey Maynes (2012). Linguistic Intuition and Calibration. Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (5):443-460.
    Linguists, particularly in the generative tradition, commonly rely upon intuitions about sentences as a key source of evidence for their theories. While widespread, this methodology has also been controversial. In this paper, I develop a positive account of linguistic intuition, and defend its role in linguistic inquiry. Intuitions qualify as evidence as form of linguistic behavior, which, since it is partially caused by linguistic competence (the object of investigation), can be used to study this competence. I defend this view by (...)
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  22. Jeffrey Maynes & Steven Gross (2013). Linguistic Intuitions. Philosophy Compass 8 (8):714-730.
    Linguists often advert to what are sometimes called linguistic intuitions. These intuitions and the uses to which they are put give rise to a variety of philosophically interesting questions: What are linguistic intuitions – for example, what kind of attitude or mental state is involved? Why do they have evidential force and how might this force be underwritten by their causal etiology? What light might their causal etiology shed on questions of cognitive architecture – for example, as a case study (...)
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  23. Georges Rey (2006). Conventions, Intuitions and Linguistic Inexistents. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):549-569.
    Elsewhere I have argued that standard theories of linguistic competence are committed to taking seriously talk of “representations of” standard linguistic entities (“SLEs”), such as NPs, VPs, morphemes, phonemes, syntactic and phonetic features. However, it is very doubtful there are tokens of these “things” in space and time. Moreover, even if were, their existence would be completely inessential to the needs of either communication or serious linguistic theory. Their existence is an illusion: an extremely stable perceptual state we regularly enter (...)
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  24. Michael D. Root (1976). Speaker Intuitions. Philosophical Studies 29 (4):221 - 234.
    I compare the tasks that Noam Chomsky and W. V. Quine assign the grammarian and point out that in many cases where Chomsky sees a question of fact Quine sees only a question of convenience. I argue that these differences are attributable, at least in part, to a difference in view concerning the data. Chomsky relies mostly on a speaker's reports of his linguistic intuitions. Quine finds this source methodologically moot. I develop a series of arguments that draw on Quine's (...)
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  25. Max Seeger (2010). Experimental Philosophy and the Twin Earth Intuition. Grazer Philosophische Studien 80:237-244.
    Jonathan Weinberg (2007) has argued that we should not appeal to intuition as evidence because it cannot be externally corroborated. This paper argues for the normative claim that Weinberg’s demand for external corroboration is misguided. The idea is that Weinberg goes wrong in treating philosophical appeal to intuition analogous to the appeal to evidence in the sciences. Traditional practice is defended against Weinberg’s critique with the argument that some intuitions are true simply in virtue of being intuited by the majority (...)
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  26. Barry C. Smith (ed.) (2006). The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press.
    Ernie Lepore and Barry Smith present the definitive reference work for this diverse and fertile field of philosophy. A superb international team contribute forty brand-new essays covering topics from the nature of language to meaning, truth, and reference, and the interfaces of philosophy of language with linguistics, psychology, logic, epistemology, and metaphysics. It will be an essential resource for anyone working in the central areas of philosophy, for linguists interested in syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, and for psychologists and cognitive scientists (...)
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  27. 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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  28. Barry C. Smith (2006). Why We Still Need Knowledge of Language. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (18):431-457.
    In his latest book, Michael Devitt rejects Chomsky’s mentalist conception of linguistics. The case against Chomsky is based on two principal claims. First, that we can separate the study of linguistic competence from the study of its outputs: only the latter belongs to linguistic inquiry. Second, Chomsky’s account of a speaker’s competence as consisiting in the mental representation of rules of a grammar for his language is mistaken. I shall argue, fi rst, that Devitt fails to make a case for (...)
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  29. Justin Sytsma & Jonathan Livengood (2011). A New Perspective Concerning Experiments on Semantic Intuitions. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):315-332.
    Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [2004; forthcoming] use experimental methods to raise a spectre of doubt about reliance on intuitions in developing theories of reference which are then deployed in philosophical arguments outside the philosophy of language. Machery et al. ran a cross-cultural survey asking Western and East Asian participants about a famous case from the philosophical literature on reference (Kripke's G del example). They interpret their results as indicating that there is significant variation in participants' intuitions about semantic reference (...)
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  30. Mark Textor (2009). Devitt on the Epistemic Authority of Linguistic Intuitions. Erkenntnis 71 (3):395 - 405.
    Michael Devitt has argued that a satisfactory explanation of the authority of linguistic intuitions need not assume that they are derived from tacit knowledge of principles of grammar. Devitt’s Modest Explanation is based on a controversial construal of linguistic intuitions as meta-linguistic central-processor judgements. I will argue that there are non-judgemental responses to linguistic strings, linguistic seemings, which are evidence for linguistic theories. Devitt cannot account for their epistemic authority. This spoils his ‘modest explanation’. Devitt’s opponent, the Voice of Competence (...)
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Prescriptivism and Descriptivism
  1. Marcin Miłkowski (2013). On the Social Nature of Linguistic Prescriptions. Psychology of Language and Communication 17 (2):175-187.
    The paper proposes an empirical method to investigate linguistic prescriptions as inherent corrective behaviors. The behaviors in question may but need not necessarily be supported by any explicit knowledge of rules. It is possible to gain insight into them, for example by extracting information about corrections from revision histories of texts (or by analyzing speech corpora where users correct themselves or one another). One easily available source of such information is the revision history of Wikipedia. As is shown, the most (...)
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  2. Paul Saka (2011). Quotation and Conceptions of Language. Dialectica 65 (2):205-220.
    This paper discusses empty quotation (‘’ is an empty string) and lexical quotation (his praise was, quote, fulsome, unquote), it challenges the minimal theory of quotation (‘ “x” ’ quotes ‘x’) and it defends the identity theory of quotation. In the process it illuminates disciplinary differences between the science of language and the philosophy of language. First, most philosophers assume, without argument, that language includes writing, whereas linguists have reason to identify language with speech (plus sign language). Second, philosophers tend (...)
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Psychological Reality in Linguistics
  1. 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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  2. Noam Chomsky (2005). Language and Mind : Current Thoughts on Ancient Problems. In Anjum P. Saleemi, Ocke-Schwen Bohn & Albert Gjedde (eds.), In Search of a Language for the Mind-Brain: Can the Multiple Perspectives Be Unified? Aarhus University Press ;.
  3. Noam Chomsky (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. The Mit Press.
    Chomsky proposes a reformulation of the theory of transformational generative grammar that takes recent developments in the descriptive analysis of particular ...
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  4. Noam Chomsky & Jerrold J. Katz (1974). What the Linguist is Talking About. Journal of Philosophy 71 (12):347-367.
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  5. Michael Devitt (2008). Explanation and Reality in Linguistics. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):203-231.
    This paper defends Some anti-Chomskian themes in Ignorance of Language (Devitt 2006a) from, the criticisms of John Collins (2007, 2008a) and Georges Rey (2008). It argues that there is a linguistic reality external to the mind and that it is theoretically interesting to study it. If there is this reality, we have good reason to think that grammars are more or less true of it. So, the truth of the grammar of a language entails that its rules govern linguistic reality, (...)
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  6. Michael Devitt (2006). Intuitions in Linguistics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):481-513.
    Linguists take the intuitive judgments of speakers to be good evidence for a grammar. Why? The Chomskian answer is that they are derived by a rational process from a representation of linguistic rules in the language faculty. The paper takes a different view. It argues for a naturalistic and non-Cartesian view of intuitions in general. They are empirical central-processor responses to phenomena differing from other such responses only in being immediate and fairly unreflective. Applying this to linguistic intuitions yields an (...)
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