Authors
Ryan Mark Nefdt
University of Cape Town
Abstract
Linguistics as a science has rapidly changed during the course of a relatively short period. The mathematical foundations of the science, however, present a different story below the surface. In this paper, I argue that due to the former, the seismic shifts in theory over the past 80 years opens linguistics up to the problem of pessimistic meta-induction or radical theory change. I further argue that, due to the latter, one current solution to this problem in the philosophy of science, namely structural realism, should be viewed as especially enticing for linguists, as their field is a largely structural enterprise. I discuss particular historical instances of theory change in generative syntax before investigating two views on the nature of structural properties and eventually proposing an approach in terms of invariance as a grounding for structural realism in the history and philosophy of linguistics.
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References found in this work BETA

Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Noam Chomsky - 1965 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
What is Structural Realism?James Ladyman - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.

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