Journal Article

Revisited Linguistic Intuitions

Steven Gross and Jennifer Culbertson

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 62, issue 3, pages 639-656
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Revisited Linguistic Intuitions

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Michael Devitt ([2006a], [2006b]) argues that, insofar as linguists possess better theories about language than non-linguists, their linguistic intuitions are more reliable. (Culbertson and Gross [2009]) presented empirical evidence contrary to this claim. Devitt ([2010]) replies that, in part because we overemphasize the distinction between acceptability and grammaticality, we misunderstand linguists’ claims, fall into inconsistency, and fail to see how our empirical results can be squared with his position. We reply in this note. Inter alia we argue that Devitt's focus on grammaticality intuitions, rather than acceptability intuitions, distances his discussion from actual linguistic practice. We close by questioning a demand that drives his discussion—viz., that, for linguistic intuitions to supply evidence for linguistic theorizing, a better account of why they are evidence is required.


2Acceptability and Grammaticality

3 Our Prima Facie Inconsistency

4Our Experimental Results

5Explaining why Intuitions are Evidence

Journal Article.  7613 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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