Proxytypes and linguistic nativism

Synthese 153 (1):69-104 (2006)
Abstract
Prinz (Perceptual the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis, MIT Press, 2002) presents a new species of concept empiricism, under which concepts are off-line long-term memory networks of representations that are ‘copies’ of perceptual representations – proxytypes. An apparent obstacle to any such empiricism is the prevailing nativism of generative linguistics. The paper critically assesses Prinz’s attempt to overcome this obstacle. The paper argues that, prima facie, proxytypes are as incapable of accounting for the structure of the linguistic mind as are the more traditional species of empiricism. This position is then confirmed by looking in detail at two suggestions (one derived from recent connectionist research) from Prinz of how certain aspects of syntactic structure might be accommodated by the proxytype theory. It is shown that the suggestions fail to come to terms with both the data and theory of contemporary linguistics.
Keywords Concept  Empiricism  Logic  Network  Proxy  Representation  Type  Prinz, Jesse
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-005-4063-6
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On the Input Problem for Massive Modularity.John M. Collins - 2004 - Minds and Machines 15 (1):1-22.

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