Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Enigmatic doctrine vs. undetached rabbit parts: language as the object of study for linguists and philosophers

Sofía Muñoz Valdivieso



This essay surveys some of the crucial issues about language over which generative linguists and analytic philosophers have been disagreeing over the past thirty years, given that they undertake the task of analyzing language with different assumptions and goals in mind. Chomsky has been criticized by philosophers on several fronts, and the topics here discussed, such as the concept of meaning, the psychological reality of mental representations, or the view of language as innate structures as opposed to a learning process are all different aspects of the one issue at the core of their debate: the need to recur to a system of mental representations in order to explain language facts. For generative linguists language is indeed a system of mental representations; for philosophers, however, a language is a sum of actual or potential speech events, and the notion of internalized mental representations is really an unnecessary burden on any language theory.


Lingüística generativa; Filosofía del lenguaje; Filosofía analítica; Chomsky, Noam; Quine, Willard Van Orman


Copyright (c) 1994 Sofía Muñoz Valdivieso

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