Language, Science, and Structure: a journey into the philosophy of linguistics

New York: Oxford University Press (2023)
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What is a language? What do scientific grammars tell us about the structure of individual languages and human language in general? What kind of science is linguistics? These and other questions are the subject of Ryan M. Nefdt's Language, Science, and Structure. Linguistics presents a unique and challenging subject matter for the philosophy of science. As a special science, its formalisation and naturalisation inspired what many consider to be a scientific revolution in the study of mind and language. Yet radical internal theory change, multiple competing frameworks, and issues of modelling and realism have largely gone unaddressed in the field. Nefdt develops a structural realist perspective on the philosophy of linguistics which aims to confront the aforementioned topics in new ways while expanding the outlook toward new scientific connections and novel philosophical insights. On this view, languages are real patterns which emerge from complex biological systems. Nefdt's exploration of this novel view will be especially valuable to those working in formal and computational linguistics, cognitive science, and the philosophies of science, mathematics, and language.



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Ryan Mark Nefdt
University of Cape Town

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The Metaphysics of Puns.James Miller - 2024 - Synthese (5):1-17.

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