Book

The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

Peter Ludlow

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199258536
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725432 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199258536.001.0001
The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

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This work explores some of the many interesting philosophical issues that arise in the conduct of generative linguistics. There are three basic themes that are woven throughout the work. The first theme is that generative linguistics at its best is concerned with understanding and explanation, and not just with observation and data gathering. Generative linguistics is interested in underlying mechanisms that give rise to language related phenomena, and this interest will often trump the goal of accumulating more data. The second theme is the Ψ-language hypothesis. It is the hypothesis that the underlying mechanisms posited by generative linguists are fundamentally psychological mechanisms and that generative linguistics is a branch of cognitive psychology, but that it doesn't follow that cognitive psychology must therefore be interested in psychological states individuated narrowly. It is consistent with the Ψ-language hypothesis that psychological states are individuated in part by the embedding environment. The third theme is the principle of methodological minimalism. It is the thesis that best theory criteria like simplicity and formal rigor all really come down to one thing: seek methods that help linguists to do their jobs effectively and with the minimal of cognitive labor.

Keywords: linguistics; Ψ-language; Chomsky; generative linguistics; cognitive science; generative grammar; language; minimalism; explanation

Book.  256 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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Table of Contents

Linguistic Preliminaries in The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

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The Ontology of Generative Linguistics in The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

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Data, Intuitions, Judgments in The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

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A Role for Normative Rule Governance? in The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

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Worries about Rules and Representations in The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

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Referential Semantics for Narrow Ψ‐Languages in The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

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Best Theory Criteria and Methodological Minimalism in The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

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