David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Psychology 13 (3):325 – 353 (2000)
Noam Chomsky claims that we know the grammatical principles of our languages in pretty much the same sense that we know ordinary things about the world (e.g. facts), a view about linguistic knowledge that I term ''cognitivism''. In much recent philosophy of linguistics (including that sympathetic to Chomsky's general approach to language), cognitivism has been rejected in favour of an account of grammatical competence as some or other form of mental mechanism, describable at various levels of abstraction (''non-cognitivism''). I argue for cognitivism and against non-cognitivism. First, I show that the distinction between competence and performance in current linguistics is as clearly made as ever it was, in spite of recent interest in linguistic processing modules. Second, I use these facts about the practice of theoretical linguistics to refute various proposals for a non-cognitivist construal of grammatical competence, and to support cognitivism by reflecting on the inapplicability of a multi-level account of linguistic competence. Cognitivism is then defended against several objections centring around the problems of rational integration and conceptualization of grammatical knowledge. Finally, the conception of competence argued for in relation to linguistics is placed in the larger context of cognitive science research and its implications for philosophy of mind.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Cheng-Hung Tsai (2011). Linguistic Know-How: The Limits of Intellectualism. Theoria 77 (1):71-86.
John Collins (2007). Meta-Scientific Eliminativism: A Reconsideration of Chomsky's Review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4):625 - 658.
Similar books and articles
Gergo Somodi (2009). Ignorance Radicalized. Studia Philosophica Estonica 2 (2):140-156.
Jerrold J. Katz (1977). Propositional Structure and Illocutionary Force: A Study of the Contribution of Sentence Meaning to Speech Acts. Harvester.
Robert J. Matthews (2006). Could Competent Speakers Really Be Ignorant of Their Language? Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):457-467.
Alberto Voltolini (2001). Why the Computational Account of Rule-Following Cannot Rule Out the Grammatical Account. European Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):82-104.
Edison Barrios (2012). Knowledge of Grammar and Concept Possession. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):577-606.
Michael Blome-Tillmann (2009). Non-Cognitivism and the Grammar of Morality. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt3):279-309.
Gurpreet Rattan (2002). Tacit Knowledge of Grammar: A Reply to Knowles. Philosophical Psychology 15 (2):135 – 154.
Barry C. Smith (2006). Why We Still Need Knowledge of Language. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (18):431-457.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads38 ( #47,878 of 1,099,862 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #189,854 of 1,099,862 )
How can I increase my downloads?