Intuitions in linguistics

Authors
Michael Devitt
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
Linguists take the intuitive judgments of speakers to be good evidence for a grammar. Why? The Chomskian answer is that they are derived by a rational process from a representation of linguistic rules in the language faculty. The paper takes a different view. It argues for a naturalistic and non-Cartesian view of intuitions in general. They are empirical central-processor responses to phenomena differing from other such responses only in being immediate and fairly unreflective. Applying this to linguistic intuitions yields an explanation of their evidential role without any appeal to the representation of rules. Introduction The evidence for linguistic theories A tension in the linguists' view of intuitions Intuitions in general Linguistic intuitions Comparison of the modest explanation with the standard Cartesian explanation A nonstandard Cartesian explanation of the role of intuitions? Must linguistics explain intuitions? Conclusion
Keywords Cartesianism  Intuition  Language  Linguistics  Phenomena
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axl017
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References found in this work BETA

Rules and Representations.Noam A. Chomsky - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (127):1-61.
On Quantifier Domain Restriction.Jason Stanley & Zoltan Gendler Szabó - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (2-3):219-261.
On Quantifier Domain Restriction.Jason Stanley & Zoltán Gendler Szabó - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (2-3):219--61.
Rules and Representations.Noam Chomsky - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (1):1.
The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.

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Citations of this work BETA

Experimental Semantics.Michael Devitt - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):418 - 435.
If Folk Intuitions Vary, Then What?Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):618-635.
Why Intuition?Jennifer Ellen Nado - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):15-41.

View all 21 citations / Add more citations

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