Ignorance of Language

Paperback | May 1, 2008

byMichael Devitt

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The Chomskian revolution in linguistics gave rise to a new orthodoxy about mind and language. Michael Devitt throws down a provocative challenge to that orthodoxy. What is linguistics about? What role should linguistic intuitions play in constructing grammars? What is innate about language? Isthere a 'language faculty'? These questions are crucial to our developing understanding of ourselves; Michael Devitt offers refreshingly original answers. He argues that linguistics is about linguistic reality and is not part of psychology; that linguistic rules are not represented in the mind; thatspeakers are largely ignorant of their language; that speakers' intuitions do not reflect information supplied by the language faculty and are not the main evidence for grammars; that the rules of 'Universal Grammar' are largely, if not entirely, innate structure rules of thought; indeed, that thereis little or nothing to the language faculty. Devitt's controversial theses will prove highly stimulating to anyone working on language and the mind

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The Chomskian revolution in linguistics gave rise to a new orthodoxy about mind and language. Michael Devitt throws down a provocative challenge to that orthodoxy. What is linguistics about? What role should linguistic intuitions play in constructing grammars? What is innate about language? Isthere a 'language faculty'? These questions...

Michael Devitt is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He taught at the University of Sydney from 1971 until 1987 and the University of Maryland from 1988 to 1999. His main research interests are in the philosophy of language and mind, and in issues of realism. He is the au...

other books by Michael Devitt

Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.79 inPublished:May 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199250979

ISBN - 13:9780199250974

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Table of Contents

I. Linguistics is not Psychology1. Introduction2. A grammar as a theory of linguistic realityII. Positions on Psychological Reality3. Some possible positions on psychological reality4. Some actual postions on psychological realityIII. 'Philosophical' Arguments for the Representational Thesis5. The Rejection of Behaviourism6. Folk Psychology7. IntuitionsIV. The Relation of Language to Thought8. Thought before language9. A case for the psychological reality of language10. Thought and the language facultyV. Language Use and Acquisition11. Language use12. Language acquisition

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition A wealth of careful distinctions and detailed arguments...an example of how serious philosophy of a very technical area may be conducted with thoroughness, lucidity, and elegance.'John Collins, Mind Journal