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Without Good ReasonThe Rationality Debate in Philosophy and Cognitive Science$
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Edward Stein

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237730

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198237730.001.0001

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(p.37) 2 Competence
Without Good Reason

Edward Stein

Oxford University Press

A language is an abstract system that relates signals to meanings. Linguistics is the study of human languages. As characterized by contemporary linguists working in the paradigm of cognitive science, the central project of linguistics is to develop an account of the linguistic knowledge of humans. This chapter examines the notion of linguistic competence with an eye towards whether an analogous notion of competence can be developed in the realm of reasoning. Along the way, it considers related theses in contemporary linguistic theory and discusses the nature of human reasoning competence, along with linguistic nativism, linguistic universals, and the knowledge view of linguistic competence. The main point that is relevant to the rationality thesis is that more of an argument than just establishing the existence of reasoning competence and the various similarities between linguistics and reasoning is required to show that humans are rational. It is a mistake to assume that rationality is entailed by reasoning competence.

Keywords:   language, linguistics, linguistic competence, linguistic universals, knowledge, reasoning, linguistic theory, linguistic nativism, rationality, reasoning competence

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