Thought and the Language Faculty

Michael Devitt

in Ignorance of Language

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199250967
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603945 | DOI:
Thought and the Language Faculty

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This chapter argues that the view that conceptual competence is part of linguistic competence is not undermined by the well-known dissociation of cognitive impairment and linguistic impairment. In light of the evidence from brain impairment and the proposal that the structure rules of thought are similar to those of the language, the chapter proposes that there is little or nothing to the language faculty. A critical view is taken of Chomsky’s apparently very different views of thought and its relation to language, and of some puzzling claims he makes against linguistic conventions and in favor of an interest in idiolects. These criticisms lead to the conclusion that the primary concern in linguistics should be with linguistic expressions that share meanings in idiolects. These views are developed by contrasting them with Rey’s antirealism about linguistic entities.

Keywords: conceptual competence; linguistic competence; brain impairment; thoughts; language faculty; Chomsky; linguistic conventions; idiolects; Rey; antirealism

Chapter.  15378 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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