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The Philosophy of Universal Grammar

Wolfram Hinzen and Michelle Sheehan


What is grammar? Why is it there? What difference, if any, does it make to the organization of meaning? This book seeks to give principled answers to these questions. Since grammar is universal in human populations, its topic is ‘universal’ grammar—or the grammatical as such. But while modern generative grammar stands in the tradition of ‘Cartesian linguistics’ as emerging in the seventeenth century, this book re-addresses the question of the grammatical in a broader historical frame, taking inspiration from Modistic and Ancient Indian philosopher-linguists to formulate a different and ‘Un-Car ... More

Keywords: Universal Grammar, Cartesian linguistics, Meaning, Reference, Language and thought, Biolinguistics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199654833
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654833.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Wolfram Hinzen, author
Department of Linguistics, Universitat de Barcelona

Michelle Sheehan, author
Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge