Explanation and Reality in Linguistics

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):203-231 (2008)
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Abstract

This paper defends Some anti-Chomskian themes in Ignorance of Language (Devitt 2006a) from, the criticisms of John Collins (2007, 2008a) and Georges Rey (2008). It argues that there is a linguistic reality external to the mind and that it is theoretically interesting to study it. If there is this reality, we have good reason to think that grammars are more or less true of it. So, the truth of the grammar of a language entails that its rules govern linguistic reality, giving a rich picture of this reality. In contrast, the truth of the grammar does not entail that its rules govern the psychological reality of speakers competent in the language and it alone gives a relatively impoverished picture of that reality. For, all we learn about that reality from the grammar is that it “respects” the rules of the grammar

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Michael Devitt
CUNY Graduate Center

Citations of this work

Semantic polysemy and psycholinguistics.Michael Devitt - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (1):134-157.
References.John Bengson & Marc A. Moffett - 2011 - In Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 361-386.
Linguistic Intuitions Revisited.Michael Devitt - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):833-865.
Languages and Other Abstract Structures.Ryan Mark Nefdt - 2018 - In Christina Behme & Martin Neef (eds.), Essays on Linguistic Realism. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 139-184.

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