Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (18):431-457 (2006)

Authors
Barry C. Smith
School of Advanced Study, University of London
Abstract
In his latest book, Michael Devitt rejects Chomsky’s mentalist conception of linguistics. The case against Chomsky is based on two principal claims. First, that we can separate the study of linguistic competence from the study of its outputs: only the latter belongs to linguistic inquiry. Second, Chomsky’s account of a speaker’s competence as consisiting in the mental representation of rules of a grammar for his language is mistaken. I shall argue, fi rst, that Devitt fails to make a case for separating the study of outputs from the study of competence, and second, that Devitt mis-characterises Chomsky’s account of competence, and so his objections miss their target. Chomsky’s own views come close to a denial that speaker’s have knowledge of their language. But a satisfactory account of what speakers are able to do will need to ascribe them linguistic knowledge that they use to speak and understand. I shall explore a conception of speaker’s knowledge of language that confi rms Chomsky’s mentalist view of linguistics but which is immune to Devitt’s criticisms.
Keywords chomsky  knowledge of language
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ISBN(s) 1333-1108
DOI croatjphil2006634
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References found in this work BETA

Language and Mind.Noam Chomsky - 1968 - Cambridge University Press.
Semantic Theory and Tacit Knowledge.Gareth Evans - 2010 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Arguing About Language. Routledge.
Ignorance of Language.Michael Devitt - 2007 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (1):186-186.
Faculty Disputes.John Collins - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (5):503-33.
What We Know When We Know a Language.Barry C. Smith - 2006 - In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 941.

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Citations of this work BETA

Whither Experimental Semantics?Michael Devitt - 2012 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 27 (1):5-36.
Linguistic Intuitions Revisited.M. Devitt - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):833-865.
Linguistic Competence Without Knowledge of Language.John Collins - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (6):880–895.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

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