Knowledge of grammar as a propositional attitude

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)
DOI 10.1080/09515080050128150
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
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

View all 33 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
John M. Collins (2005). Faculty Disputes. Mind and Language 19 (5):503-33.
Cheng-Hung Tsai (2006). On the Epistemology of Language. Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (4):677-696.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

42 ( #80,232 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #289,836 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.