Journal Article

Linguistic Intuitions Revisited

Michael Devitt

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 61, issue 4, pages 833-865
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Linguistic Intuitions Revisited

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Why are linguistic intuitions good evidence for a grammar? In ‘Intuitions in Linguistics’ ([2006a]) and Ignorance of Language ([2006b]), I looked critically at some Chomskian answers and proposed another one. In this article, I respond to Fitzgerald’s ‘Linguistic Intuitions’ ([2010]), a sweeping critique of my position, and to Culbertson and Gross’ ‘Are Linguists Better Subjects?’ ([2009]), a criticism of one consequence of the position. In rejecting these criticisms, I emphasize that the issue over linguistic intuitions concerns only metalinguistic ones. And I argue that my critics, like many others, make too much of the distinction between grammaticality and acceptability intuitions.

1 Summary and Developments

1.1 Summary

1.2 ‘Intuitions’ in what sense?

1.3 Grammaticality versus acceptability

2 Fitzgerald

2.1 Do Chomskians subscribe to VoC?

2.2 The main case against VoC

2.3 Fitzgerald’s defense of VoC

2.4 Two additional criticisms of VoC

2.5 Fitzgerald’s criticisms of my alternative

2.6 Conclusion

3 Culbertson and Gross

3.1 Acceptability versus grammaticality

3.2 The experiment

Journal Article.  14237 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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