Linguistic Explanation and ‘Psychological Reality’

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):3-20 (2009)
Methodological questions concerning Chomsky’s generative approach to linguistics have been debated without consensus. The status of linguistics as psychology, the <span class='Hi'>psychological</span> <span class='Hi'>reality</span> of grammars, the character of tacit knowledge and the role of intuitions as data remain heatedly disputed today. I argue that the recalcitrance of these disputes is symptomatic of deep misunderstandings. I focus attention on Michael Devitt’s recent extended critique of Chomskyan linguistics and I suggest that his complaints are based on a failure to appreciate the special status of Chomsky’s computational formalisms found elsewhere in cognitive science. Devitt ascribes an intentional conception of representations that Chomsky repudiates and that is independently implausible. I argue that Devitt’s proposed “linguistic <span class='Hi'>reality</span>” as the proper subject matter of linguistics neglects the problems of tokens as opposed to types and he misses the force of Chomsky’s arguments against Behaviourism and nominalism. I suggest that Devitt’s case against intuitions as data misunderstands their standard role throughout perceptual psychology. Finally, of more general interest, I argue that Devitt’s position exemplifies compelling errors concerning mental representation seen throughout cognitive science and philosophy of mind.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI croatjphil2009912
 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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

54 ( #63,378 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #118,705 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.