Synthese 111 (1):17-51 (1997)
Arguments from the Logical Problem of Language Acquisition suggest that since linguistic experience provides few negative data that would falsify overgeneral grammatical hypotheses, innate knowledge of the principles of Universal Grammar must constrain learners hypothesis formulation. Although this argument indicates a need for domain-specific constraints, it does not support their innateness. Learning from mostly positive data proceeds unproblematically in virtually all domains. Since not every domain can plausibly be accorded its own special faculty, the probative value of the argument in the linguistic case is dubious. In ignoring the holistic and probablistic nature of theory construction, the argument underestimates the extent to which positive data can supply negative evidence and hence overestimates the intractability of language learning in the absence of a dedicated faculty. While nativism about language remains compelling, the alleged Logical Problem contributes nothing to its plausibility and the emphasis on the Problem in the recent acquisition literature has been a mistake.
|Keywords||Acquisition Grammar Innate Language Learning Metaphysics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Nature, Nurture, and Universal Grammar.Stephen Crain & Paul M. Pietroski - 2001 - Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (2):139-186.
Rules and Similarity Processes in Artificial Grammar and Natural Second Language Learning: What is the “Default”?Peter Robinson - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (1):32-33.
Language Acquisition Meets Language Evolution.Nick Chater & Morten H. Christiansen - 2010 - Cognitive Science 34 (7):1131-1157.
The Logical Problem of Language Acquisition: A Probabilistic Perspective.Anne S. Hsu & Nick Chater - 2010 - Cognitive Science 34 (6):972-1016.
Learning to Think: A Response to the Language of Thought Argument for Innateness.Christopher D. Viger - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (3):313-25.
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.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads168 ( #26,424 of 2,153,861 )
Recent downloads (6 months)14 ( #36,275 of 2,153,861 )
How can I increase my downloads?