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The Philosophy of ScienceA Companion$
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Anouk Baberousse, Denis Bonnay, and Mikael Cozic

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190690649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190690649.001.0001

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Philosophy of Linguistics

Philosophy of Linguistics

(p.654) 17 Philosophy of Linguistics
The Philosophy of Science

Paul Égré

Oxford University Press

This chapter is an enquiry into the goals and methods of linguistics, with the aim of understanding both the specifics of the discipline and the relationships between linguists’ take on the methodology of their field and general principles of philosophy of science. The first part highlights linguistics as an inquiry into language, as opposed to languages. The second part describes the shift from structural linguistics to generative grammar as a paradigm shift, involving major changes in both what is studied and how it is studied. The next section focuses on the empirical import of contemporary linguistics, discussing standards of explanation and prediction, as well as confirmation and refutation of linguistic hypotheses. The last part introduces linguistic universals, what they are and how they may be identified and explained, thus making explicit the connection with the goal of understanding not only the variety of languages but the faculty of language.

Keywords:   linguistics, syntax, semantics, phonology, linguistic universals, Chomsky, generative grammar

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