David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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As a new field, cognitivism began with the total rejection of the old, traditional views of language acquisition and of learning ─ individual and collective alike. Chomsky was one of the pioneers in this respect, yet he clouds issues by excessive claims for his originality and by not allowing the beginner in the art of the acquisition of language the use of learning by making hypotheses and testing them, though he acknowledges that researchers, himself included, do use this method. The most important novelty of Chomsky's work is his idealization of the field by postulating the existence of the ideal speaker-hearer and his suggestion that the hidden structure of sentences is revealed by studying together all sentences that are logically equivalent to each other. This is progress, but his tests of equivalence are insufficient, as they all are within classical logic. This limitation rests on the greatest shortcoming of Chomsky's view, his idea that every sentence has one subject or subject-part, contrary to the claim of Frege and Russell that assertions involving relations (with two-place predicates) are structurally different from those involving properties (with one-place predicates). (See the Appendix below.).
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