Intuitions in linguistics

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):481-513 (2006)
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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

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Michael Devitt
CUNY Graduate Center

Citations of this work

Intuition.Joel Pust - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Experimental Semantics.Michael Devitt - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):418 - 435.
Philosophical Expertise.Jennifer Nado - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (9):631-641.
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.Herman Cappelen, Tamar Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

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