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The innate endowment for language

In Peter Carruthers (ed.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. pp. 156--174 (2005)

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  1. Nativism, Empiricism, and Ockham’s Razor.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (5):895-922.
    This paper discusses the role that appeals to theoretical simplicity have played in the debate between nativists and empiricists in cognitive science. Both sides have been keen to make use of such appeals in defence of their respective positions about the structure and ontogeny of the human mind. Focusing on the standard simplicity argument employed by empiricist-minded philosophers and cognitive scientists—what I call “the argument for minimal innateness”—I identify various problems with such arguments—in particular, the apparent arbitrariness of the relevant (...)
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  • Language Learning in Infancy: Does the Empirical Evidence Support a Domain Specific Language Acquisition Device?Christina Behme & Helene Deacon - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (5):641 – 671.
    Poverty of the Stimulus Arguments have convinced many linguists and philosophers of language that a domain specific language acquisition device (LAD) is necessary to account for language learning. Here we review empirical evidence that casts doubt on the necessity of this domain specific device. We suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the early stages of language acquisition. Many seemingly innate language-related abilities have to be learned over the course of several months. Further, the language input contains rich (...)
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  • Conventions and Their Role in Language.M. J. Cain - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (1):137-158.
    Two of the most fundamental questions about language are these: what are languages?; and, what is it to know a given language? Many philosophers who have reflected on these questions have presented answers that attribute a central role to conventions. In one of its boldest forms such a view runs as follows. Languages are either social entities constituted by networks of social conventions or abstract objects where when a particular community speaks a given language they do so in virtue of (...)
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