About this topic
Summary Competent speakers of a language are ordinarily said to know the language (or to speak, or have, the language). Should the idea that they know the language be taken seriously? And if it should, what account should be given of the form of knowledge they would then be taken to possess? Is it a form of propositional knowledge? Or is it form of practical knowledge, or some other form of knowledge? Moreover, if we think that speakers really do have knowledge of their language, we might wonder what precisely they know, and how they come to know it. 
Key works Chomsky 1976 Includes discussion of various philosophical proposals about the nature of knowledge of language. Chomsky 1986 Development of Chomsky's views about the nature, and content, of knowledge of language. Schiffer 1993 An account of how a minimal form of knowledge of language might figure in an account of the actual-language relation. Devitt 2006 Extended argument that knowledge of language figures less centrally in theoretical linguistics than others, including Chomsky, have thought. Dummett 1993 Develops an account of knowledge of language as a specific form of practical knowledge. Campbell 1982 Argues that understanding a language is a matter of possessing a form of propositional knowledge. Soames 1984 Develops a novel account of the relation between facts about speaker psychology and facts about language. Pettit 2002 Argues that understanding a language is not a matter of possession of propositional knowledge. Longworth 2008 Argues that understanding a language is not a matter of possession of propositional knowledge or a form of acquaintance.
Introductions Hornsby & Longworth 2005
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  1. Language of the Qur'an as an Allegorical Language in Mulla Sadra's View.Gholamreza A'awani & Nasir Muhammedi - unknown - Kheradnameh Sadra Quarterly 54.
    In this paper, the writers argue that, when speaking of God, otherworldly affairs, the Hereafter, and, in general, non-material issues, the Qur'an adopts an allegorical language. They also emphasize that allegorical language is the only means by which one can discuss these issues and understand the Qur'anic verses and metaphorical expressions. The perception of this language requires understanding the ontology of the world and attaining the knowledge of the spirit and reality of meaning and its allegory in different worlds. Through (...)
  2. Consciousness and the Acquisition of Language.G. A. - 1975 - Review of Metaphysics 28 (4):760-761.
  3. "Making Sense" by Geoffrey Sampson. [REVIEW]Barbara Abbott - 1980 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4:437.
  4. Linguistic Competence and Expertise.Mark Addis - 2013 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (2):327-336.
    Questions about the relationship between linguistic competence and expertise will be examined in the paper. Harry Collins and others distinguish between ubiquitous and esoteric expertise. Collins places considerable weight on the argument that ordinary linguistic competence and related phenomena exhibit a high degree of expertise. His position and ones which share close affinities are methodologically problematic. These difficulties matter because there is continued and systematic disagreement over appropriate methodologies for the empirical study of expertise. Against Collins, it will be argued (...)
  5. Knowledge, Language and Learning.Rama Kant Agnihotri & H. K. Dewan (eds.) - 2010 - Macmillan Publishers India.
    Issues in the construction of knowledge -- Language, mind and cognition -- Aspects of language -- Curricular areas.
  6. Meaning and Knowledge.Timo Airaksinen - 1981 - Dialectics and Humanism 8 (1):113-122.
  7. Flected Bodies: On the Relationship Between Body and Language.Emmanuel Alloa - 2014 - Eidos: Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad Del Norte 21:200-220.
    Although in the modern age there were plenty of attempts to overcome the mind-body dualism, its philosophical theories of language reintroduced it in a subtle but not less effective way.In this article several theorems to think on the materiality of the sign are discussed, and, from Kierkegaard to the post-Saussurean structuralism, the prominent role of thinking the materialization as something necessary but arbitrary in its modality is shown. The body of language under this understanding is not only that which can (...)
  8. Cognition, Communication, and Readiness for Language.Jens Allwood - 2012 - Pragmatics and Cognition 20 (2):334-355.
    This review article discusses some problems and needs for clarification that are connected with the use of the concepts culture, language, tool, and communication in Daniel Everett's recently published book, Language: The Cultural Tool . It also discusses whether the idea of biological readiness and preparedness for language (rather than grammar) can really be disposed of as a result of Everett's very convincing arguments against a specific genetic predisposition for the syntactic component of a grammar. Finally, it calls into question (...)
  9. Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1985 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):103-109.
  10. Rabbit-Pots and Supernovas : On the Relevance of Psychological Data to Linguistic Theory.Louise M. Antony - 2003 - In Alex Barber (ed.), Epistemology of Language. Oxford University Press.
  11. Meaning and Semantic Knowledge: Louise M. Antony.Louise M. Antony - 1997 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 71 (1):177–207.
  12. Half A Century Of Generative Linguistics – What Has The Paradigm Given To Social Science?Mihailo Antovic - 2007 - Facta Universitatis 5 (1):31-46.
    This paper aims to join marking the fiftieth anniversary of generative linguistics by focusing on some principal contributions the field has given to science in general. In the first part of the paper, I discuss the issue of 'modern linguistics', as it is widely taught in local universities, and examine the importance of the generative school in this notion of modernity. In the second part, I analyze the fundamental conceptions and epistemological framework of this school in the study of language, (...)
  13. From Monkey-Like Action Recognition to Human Language: An Evolutionary Framework for Neurolinguistics.Michael A. Arbib - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):105-124.
    The article analyzes the neural and functional grounding of language skills as well as their emergence in hominid evolution, hypothesizing stages leading from abilities known to exist in monkeys and apes and presumed to exist in our hominid ancestors right through to modern spoken and signed languages. The starting point is the observation that both premotor area F5 in monkeys and Broca's area in humans contain a “mirror system” active for both execution and observation of manual actions, and that F5 (...)
  14. On Explanations of Linguistic Competence.Ronald Arbini - 1973 - Philosophia 3 (1):59-83.
  15. Comments on Linguistic Competence and Language Acquisition.Ronald Arbini - 1969 - Synthese 19 (3-4):410 - 424.
  16. Against Ostrich Nominalism: A Reply to Michael Devitt.D. M. Armstrong - 1980 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61.
    In my reply to michael devitt, It is argued, First, That quine fails to appreciate the force of plato's "one over many" argument for universals. It is argued, Second, That quine's failure springs in part at least from his doctrine of ontological commitment: from the view that predicates need not be treated with ontological seriousness. Finally, An attempt is made to blunt the force of devitt's contention that realists cannot give a coherent explanation of the way that universals stand to (...)
  17. Semantic Competence, Linguistic Understanding, and a Theory of Concepts.Nicholas M. Asher - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 53 (January):1-36.
  18. A Language for Mathematical Knowledge Management.Jeremy Avigad, Steven Kieffer & Harvey Friedman - manuscript -
    We argue that the language of Zermelo Fraenkel set theory with definitions and partial functions provides the most promising bedrock semantics for communicating and sharing mathematical knowledge. We then describe a syntactic sugaring of that language that provides a way of writing remarkably readable assertions without straying far from the set-theoretic semantics. We illustrate with some examples of formalized textbook definitions from elementary set theory and point-set topology. We also present statistics concerning the complexity of these definitions, under various complexity (...)
  19. An Investigation Into the Meaning of Liturgical Language.Anthony Dean Arthur Bailey - unknown -
    Over the past number of years, the study of language has been engaged in increasingly by a wide variety of academic disciplines and fields. Perhaps this bears witness to the growing appreciation of the pivotal role that language plays in our formation as individual persons, as peoples and as cultures.
  20. Wittgenstein, Meaning and Understanding: Essays on the Philosophical Investigations.Gordon P. Baker - 1980 - University of Chicago Press.
  21. Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning.Gordon P. Baker - 1980 - Blackwell.
  22. Anti-Realism and Speaker Knowledge.Dorit Bar-On - 1996 - Synthese 106 (2):139 - 166.
    Dummettian anti-realism repudiates the realist's notion of verification-transcendent truth. Perhaps the most crucial element in the Dummettian attack on realist truth is the critique of so-called realist semantics, which assigns verification-transcendent truth-conditions as the meanings of (some) sentences. The Dummettian critique charges that realist semantics cannot serve as an adequate theory of meaning for a natural language, and that, consequently, the realist conception of truth must be rejected as well. In arguing for this, Dummett and his followers have appealed to (...)
  23. Sentence Realization Again.Alex Barber - 2008 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):233-240.
    Against criticism from Georges Rey I defend both my earlier account of sentence realization and my objection to his own ‘folie-a-deux’ account. The latter has two components, one sceptical (sentences and other standard linguistic entities are rarely if ever realized [‘produced’, ‘tokened’, ‘uttered’]) and the other optimistic (this is a benign outcome since communication is unaffected by our being mistaken in assuming that they are realized). Both components are flawed, notwithstanding Rey’s defence. My non-sceptical account of sentence realization avoids the (...)
  24. Linguistic Structure and the Brain.Alex Barber - 2007 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (3):317-341.
    A popular interpretation of linguistic theories has it that they should describe the brain at a high level of abstraction. One way this has been understood is as the requirement that the theory’s derivational structure reflect (by being isomorphic to) relevant structural properties of the language user’s brain. An important criticisrn of this idea, made originally by Crispin Wright against Gareth Evans in the 1980s, still has purchase, notwithstanding attempts to reply to it, notably by Martin Davies and, indirectly, Christopher (...)
  25. Epistemology of Language.Alex Barber (ed.) - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    What must linguistic knowledge be like if it is to explain our capacity to use language? All linguists and philosophers of language presuppose some answer to this critical question, but all too often the presupposition is tacit. In this collection of sixteen previously unpublished essays, a distinguished international line-up of philosophers and linguists address a variety of interconnected themes concerning our knowledge of language.
  26. Idiolectal Error.Alex Barber - 2001 - Mind and Language 16 (3):263–283.
    A linguistic theory is correct exactly to the extent that it is the explicit statement of a body of knowledge possessed by a designated language-user. This popular psychological conception of the goal of linguistic theorizing is commonly paired with a preference for idiolectal over social languages, where it seems to be in the nature of idiolects that the beliefs one holds about one’s own are ipso facto correct. Unfortunately, it is also plausible that the correctness of a genuine belief cannot (...)
  27. Tacit-Knowledge of Linguistic Theories.Alexander Barber - 1997 - Dissertation, Mcgill University (Canada)
    What is the best way to understand 'applies to' when it is said of a linguistic theory that it applies to a particular language-user? We can answer by saying that a linguistic theory is applicable to an individual language-user just in case that individual tacitly-knows the theory. But this is an uninformative answer until we are told how to understand 'tacit-knowledge'. The end goal of this thesis is to defend the claim that we should take tacit-knowledge to be, simply, knowledge. (...)
  28. Knowledge of Grammar and Concept Possession.Edison Barrios - 2012 - 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 (...)
  29. Linguistic Knowledge and Cognitive Integration.Edison Barrios - 2012 - Critica 44 (130):35-67.
    Según la Propositional Attitude View (PAV), un hablante es competente en su idioma en virtud de poseer actitudes proposicionales cuyo contenido es su gramática interna. En este artículo desarrollo una objeción a PAV, llamada �el reto de la integración�, originalmente propuesto por Stich (1978) y Evans (1981), y que está constituido por dos premisas: (1) las actitudes proposicionales se caracterizan por su integración inferencial, y (2) los estados que contienen información gramatical no están inferencialmente integrados. En este artículo considero y (...)
  30. What Knowledge Must Be in the Head in Order to Acquire Language.William P. Bechtel - 1996 - In B. Velichkovsky & Duane M. Rumbaugh (eds.), Communicating Meaning: The Evolution and Development of Language. Hillsdale, Nj: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 45.
    Many studies of language, whether in philosophy, linguistics, or psychology, have focused on highly developed human languages. In their highly developed forms, such as are employed in scientific discourse, languages have a unique set of properties that have been the focus of much attention. For example, descriptive sentences in a language have the property of being "true" or "false," and words of a language have senses and referents. Sentences in a language are structured in accord with complex syntactic rules. Theorists (...)
  31. The Origins of Meaning. [REVIEW]T. Bejarano - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (1).
  32. On Nature and Language.Adriana Belletti & Luigi Rizzi (eds.) - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
    In On Nature and Language Noam Chomsky develops his thinking on the relation between language, mind and brain, integrating current research in linguistics into the burgeoning field of neuroscience. This 2002 volume begins with a lucid introduction by the editors Adriana Belletti and Luigi Rizzi. This is followed by some of Chomsky's writings on these themes, together with a penetrating interview in which Chomsky provides the clearest and most elegant introduction to current theory available. It should make his Minimalist Program (...)
  33. Experimental Analysis of the Language Faculty: Old Problems and New Perspectives.Antonio Benitez-Burraco - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):117-131.
  34. Semantic Particularism and Linguistic Competence.Anna Bergqvist - 2009 - Logique Et Analyse 52 (208):343-361.
    In this paper I examine a contemporary debate about the general notion of linguistic rules and the place of context in determining meaning, which has arisen in the wake of a challenge that the conceptual framework of moral particularism has brought to the table. My aim is to show that particularism in the theory of meaning yields an attractive model of linguistic competence that stands as a genuine alternative to other use-oriented but still generalist accounts that allow room for context-sensitivity (...)
  35. Journal Philosophique.Claude Bertrand - 2008 - Presses Philosophiques.
  36. Propositions, Dispositions and Logical Knowledge.Corine Besson - 2010 - In M. Bonelli & A. Longo (eds.), Quid Est Veritas? Essays in Honour of Jonathan Barnes. Bibliopolis.
    This paper considers the question of what knowing a logical rule consists in. I defend the view that knowing a logical rule is having propositional knowledge. Many philosophers reject this view and argue for the alternative view that knowing a logical rule is, at least at the fundamental level, having a disposition to infer according to it. To motivate this dispositionalist view, its defenders often appeal to Carroll’s regress argument in ‘What the Tortoise Said to Achilles’. I show that this (...)
  37. Language as Internal.Anne L. Bezuidenhout - 2006 - In Barry C. Smith (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 127--139.
    According to internalist conceptions of language, languages are properties of the mind/brains of individuals and supervene entirely on the internal states of these mind/brains. Hence, languages are primarily to be studied by the mind and/or brain sciences — psychology, neuroscience, and the cognitive sciences more generally. This is not to deny that other sciences may contribute to our understanding too. The internalist conception of language is most associated with Chomsky, who has argued for it in many of his writings. Chomsky (...)
  38. Epistemology, Logic, and Grammer in the Analysis of Sentence-Meaning.V. P. Bhatta - 1991 - Eastern Book Linkers.
  39. Knowledge and Language.S. Bhattacharya - 1977 - Indian Philosophical Quarterly 5 (1):81-90.
  40. Epistemological Contextualism: A Semantic Perspective.Claudia Bianchi & Nicla Vassallo - 2005 - In B. Kokinov A. Dey (ed.), Modeling and Using Context. Springer. pp. 41--54.
    According to epistemological contextualism, a sentence of the form "S knows that p" doesn't express a complete proposition. Different utterances of the sentence, in different contexts, can express different propositions: "know" is context-dependent. This paper deals with the semantic contextualist thesis grounding epistemological contextualism. We examine various kinds of linguistic context dependence, which could be relevant to epistemological contextualism: ambiguity, ellipsis, indexicality, vagueness of scalar predicates, dependence on standards of precision. We argue that only an accurate analysis of the different (...)
  41. Michael Devitt and Kim Sterelny: "Language and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language". [REVIEW]John Bigelow - 1989 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 67:95.
  42. Self-Knowledge and Resentment.Akeel Bilgrami - 2000 - Knowing Our Own Minds (October):207-243.
    Once this integrated position is fully in place, the book closes with a postscript on how one might fruitfully view the kind of self-knowledge that is pursued ...
  43. Language Learnability and Language Development.Dorrit Billman - 1987 - Mind and Language 2 (3):252-263.
  44. Language.R. Bishop & J. Phillips - 2006 - Theory, Culture and Society 23 (2-3):51-58.
    In this article we outline the ways in which questions of language have both revealed problems with conceptions of knowledge and suggested constructive ways of addressing those problems. Having examined the limitations of instrumental notions of language, we outline some alternatives, especially those developed from the middle of the 19th and throughout the 20th century. We locate forceful and influential philosophical interventions in the writings of Nietzsche and Heidegger and foundational revisions in the linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and his (...)
  45. Mindreading, Communication and the Learning of Names for Things.Paul Bloom - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (1&2):37–54.
    There are two facts about word learning that everyone accepts. The first is that words really do have to be learned. There is controversy over how much conceptual structure and linguistic knowledge is innate, but nobody thinks that this is the case for the specific mappings between sounds (or signs) and meanings. This is because these mappings vary arbitrarily from culture to culture. No matter how intelligent a British baby is, for instance, she still has to learn, by attending to (...)
  46. Self-Reflection in the Arts and Sciences.Alan Blum - 1984 - Humanities Press.
  47. Interpreting Images.Ben Blumson - 2014 - In Resemblance and Representation. Open Book Publishers. pp. 118-138.
    Just as it’s possible to understand novel sentences without having heard them before, it’s possible to understand novel pictures without having seen them before. But these possibilities are often supposed to have totally different explanations: whereas the ability to understand novel sentences is supposed to be explained by tacit knowledge of a compositional theory of meaning for their language, the ability to understand novel pictures is supposed to be explained differently. In this paper I argue against this disanalogy: insofar as (...)
  48. Social Constructivism of Language and Meaning.Chen Bo - 2015 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):87-113.
    To systematically answer two questions “how does language work?” and “where does linguistic meaning come from?” this paper argues for SocialConstructivism of Language and Meaning which consists of six theses: the primary function of language is communication rather than representation, so language is essentially a social phenomenon. Linguistic meaning originates in the causal interaction of humans with the world, and in the social interaction of people with people. Linguistic meaning consists in the correlation of language to the world established by (...)
  49. The Epistemology of Speaker-Meaning.Steven E. Boër & George S. Pappas - 1975 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 53 (3):204 – 219.
  50. Fragmentation and Wholeness.David Bohm - 1976 - Van Leer Jerusalem Foundation.
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