Monday, March 04, 2002

20th WCP: Chomsky and Knowledge of Language ABSTRACT: The linguistic theory of Chomsky has changed the long, traditional way of studying language. The nature of knowledge, which is closely tied to human knowledge in general, makes it a logical step for Chomsky to generalize his theory to the study of the relation between language and the world-in particular, the study of truth and reference. But his theory has been controversial and his proposal of "innate ideas" has been resisted by some empiricists who characterize him as rationalist. In our view, these empiricists make a mistake. In the present paper we attend to his position regarding linguistics as a science of mind/brain, which we believe is an important aspect of his theory that has not been paid enough attention or understood by his opponents. In turn, this will help to clarify some of the confusions around his theory. Finally we will discuss some of the debatable issues based on the outlines we draw.

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