The role of psychology in the philosophy of language
Does scientific psychology have a legitimate role to play in the philosophy of language? For example, is it methodologically permissible for philosophers of language to rely upon evidence from neurological development, experiments about processing, brain scans, clinical case histories, longitudinal studies, questionnaires, etc.? If so, why? These two questions are the focus of this survey. I address them in two stages. It may seem obvious that the science of psychology is relevant. I thus begin by introducing arguments against relevance, to motivate the discussion. I will urge that these arguments ultimately fail, and that the appearance of relevance should be taken at face value. Next, I introduce positive arguments for relevance, with examples. To foreshadow the main conclusion, the methods and results of contemporary cognitive psychology are relevant because there are non-obvious connections, both constitutive and contingent, between language and human psychology.
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