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Ignorance of Language$
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Michael Devitt

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199250960.001.0001

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Intuitions

Intuitions

Chapter:
(p.95) 7 Intuitions
Source:
Ignorance of Language
Author(s):

Michael Devitt (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199250960.003.0007

This chapter starts by arguing against the received view that the intuitive judgments of speakers are the main evidence for a grammar. Still, they are evidence and an explanation for this is required. The Chomskian explanation involves the Representational Thesis (RT): that intuitions are derived by a rational process from a representation of linguistic rules in the language faculty, a representation that constitutes the speaker’s linguistic competence. The chapter argues for a different view of intuitions in general, and hence of linguistic intuitions: they do not reflect information supplied by represented or even unrepresented rules in the language faculty. Rather, they are empirical central-processor responses to linguistic phenomena differing from other such responses only in being fairly immediate and unreflective.

Keywords:   Representational Thesis, RT, linguistic competence, intuitive judgments, intuitions, evidence, grammar, language faculty, unrepresented rules, central processor

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