Michael Devitt

in Ignorance of Language

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199250967
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603945 | DOI:

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This chapter starts by arguing against the received view that the intuitive judgments of speakers are the main evidence for a grammar. Still, they are evidence and an explanation for this is required. The Chomskian explanation involves the Representational Thesis (RT): that intuitions are derived by a rational process from a representation of linguistic rules in the language faculty, a representation that constitutes the speaker’s linguistic competence. The chapter argues for a different view of intuitions in general, and hence of linguistic intuitions: they do not reflect information supplied by represented or even unrepresented rules in the language faculty. Rather, they are empirical central-processor responses to linguistic phenomena differing from other such responses only in being fairly immediate and unreflective.

Keywords: Representational Thesis; RT; linguistic competence; intuitive judgments; intuitions; evidence; grammar; language faculty; unrepresented rules; central processor

Chapter.  13587 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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