This chapter argues that language use does not provide persuasive evidence for the Representational Thesis (RT) view of linguistic competence, and that RT is implausible. RT is not supported by the apparently popular “only-theory-in-town” abduction, nor it is supported by the psychology of skills in general, an appropriate place to look because linguistic competence appears to be procedural (implicit) knowledge acquired by implicit learning. The chapter also argues for some tentative proposals: that language processing is not governed by the unrepresented structure rules of the language; that language processing does not involve metalinguistic representations of the syntactic and semantic properties of linguistic expressions, but rather is a fairly brute-causal associationist process; and that if the Language-of-Thought Hypothesis (LOTH) is false, then the rules of a language are not, in a robust way, psychologically real in a speaker.
Keywords: language use, language processing, Representational Thesis, RT, linguistic competence, only-theory-in-town, procedural knowledge, implicit learning, brute-causal associationist process, Language-of-Thought Hypothesis
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.