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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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(p.95) 7 Intuitions
Ignorance of Language

Michael Devitt (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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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