|Summary||The philosophy of linguistics deals with philosophical issues arising in connection with the discipline of linguistics. It covers a wide variety of topics, including: (a) ontological issues, such as the nature of languages and of related entities (e.g. sentences and words), as well the proper characterization of the subject matter of the discipline; (b) epistemological issues, such as the nature and scope of a speaker's knowledge of her language; (c) methodological issues concerning the goals of theorization and the nature of linguistic explanation, the appropriate roles of abstraction and idealization, the import of the competence/performance distinction, and the kinds of data that may justify linguistic hypotheses.|
Chapter 1 of Chomsky 1965 contains a seminal discussion of methodological and epistemological issues, such as the competence-performance distinction, the connection between explanatory adequacy and language acquisition, the place of intuitions/judgments as a source of evidence and the nature and role of abstraction and idealization in theorization.
Chomsky 1980 has Chomsky's replies to criticisms posed by philosophers (among others), including worries about innateness and about the "psychological reality" of the posits of linguistic theory.
Chomsky 1986 is the locus classicus for the distinction between I-Language and E-Language, and it also presents a very influential (and controversial) characterization of linguistics as a "branch of cognitive psychology".
Katz 1980 is a sustained critique of the Chomskyan perspective, and offers an alternative, Platonic conception of linguistics as a non-empirical, formal discipline. Soames 1984 and Higginbotham 1983, respectively, seek to combine an empirical view of linguistic research with a Platonic ontology of its subject matter.
Katz 1985 is the first collection of papers to bear the title "Philosophy of Linguistics", and it features many of the early key works. George 1989 includes several influential papers dealing with the ontology and epistemology of linguistics—notably George 1989 and Peacocke 1989.
Devitt 2006 is an attack on several aspects of the Chomskyan conception, such as the "psychological" view of linguistics and what Devitt calls the "Cartesian view" of linguistic intuitions.
Ludlow 2011 is one of the most recent monograph-length treatments of the topics mentioned above, and also contains discussions of issues such as normativity and rule-following, simplicity and formalization, and the externalist-internalist debate in semantics and in syntax.
|Introductions||Scholz et al 2000, Ludlow 1998|
Material to categorize
Using PhilPapers from home?
Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.
Monitor this page
Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Choose how you want to monitor it:
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Darrell P. Rowbottom
Learn more about PhilPapers