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The Philosophy of Universal Grammar$
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Wolfram Hinzen and Michelle Sheehan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654833.001.0001

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Biolinguistic variation

Biolinguistic variation

(p.262) 8 Biolinguistic variation
The Philosophy of Universal Grammar

Wolfram Hinzen

Michelle Sheehan

Oxford University Press

In Chapter 8, we look at biolinguistic variation within our own species, tracing the effects of language disorders on thought, depending on whether changes in the linguistic genotype are involved or not. We devote particular attention to Formal Thought Disorder in schizophrenia, for which the Un-Cartesian hypothesis makes an obvious prediction: grammar should disintegrate in this condition as well, along with the fragmentation of thought that we observe there. This, we conclude there, turns out to be a real possibility: looking at grammar with Un-Cartesian eyes, therefore, may throw light, not only on thought, but on mental health as well. That language in its normal use is a condition for mental health seems a natural suggestion: a sane thinker is also a speaker. Yet language has barely looked at as playing this role, which reflects its status in philosophy and psychiatry today.

Keywords:   schizophrenia, developmental and acquired language disorders, thought disorder, thought without language, grammatical meaning in the brain

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