By Michael Devitt
The Chomskian revolution in linguistics gave upward thrust to a brand new orthodoxy approximately brain and language. Michael Devitt throws down a provocative problem to that orthodoxy. what's linguistics approximately? What function should still linguistic intuitions play in developing grammars? what's innate approximately language? Is there a "language faculty?" those questions are an important to our constructing knowing of ourselves; Michael Devitt bargains refreshingly unique solutions.
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But believing that it is so does not, of course, make it so. In this 28 A similar assumption yields a similar conXation in some philosophers of language; hence Michael Dummett’s slogan, ‘‘a theory of meaning is a theory of understanding’’ (1975: 99). Grammar, Theory of Linguistic Reality 35 section I have produced evidence that it is not so: the grammars are about linguistic reality. 6 F O U R M E T H O D O LO G I C A L P O I N TS If this discussion is right, it has a great deal of methodological signiWcance.
But we might well not be. We may be simply interested in the rule-governed syntactic structures of the wVs, structures shared by the outputs of all these machines. So in our theorizing we abstract from these diVerences. Still with an eye to important features of grammar construction, we note, fourth, that although our theory is of the idealized output we can use it to make distinctions among the nonideal. Moves that are not chess moves, formulae that are not well-formed, and maneuvers that are not proper bee dances, can diVer in their degree of failure.
5) names one of my earlier arguments (Devitt and Sterelny 1989: 514) ‘‘The Martian Argument’’ and takes it ‘‘to question whether in principle [psycholinguistic] data are even relevant to the evaluation of linguistic theories’’ (p. 95). I doubt that I ever questioned this but I certainly do not question it now. One of the two advantages that Laurence claims for the Chomskian view of linguistics over its rivals is that it brings psycholinguistic data to bear on linguistic theory. The Chomskian view does not have this advantage over the view I am urging.