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Theory, data, and the epistemology of syntax

  • Syntactic theory has tended to vacillate between implausible methodological extremes. Some linguists hold that our theories are accountable solely for the corpus of attested utterances; others assume our subject matter is unobservable intuitive feelings about sentences. Both extremes should be rejected. The subject matter of syntax is neither past utterance production nor the functioning of inaccessible mental machinery; it is normative - a system of tacitly grasped constraints defining correctness of structure. There are interesting parallels between syntactic and moral systems, modulo the key difference that linguistic systems are diverse whereas morality is universal. The appropriate epistemology for justifying formulations of normative systems is familiar in philosophy: it is known as the method of reflective equilibrium.

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Metadaten
Author:Geoffrey K. PullumGND
URN:urn:nbn:de:bsz:mh39-100215
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110518214-016
ISBN:978-3-11-051821-4
Parent Title (German):Grammatische Variation. Empirische Zugänge und theoretische Modellierung
Series (Serial Number):Jahrbuch / Institut für Deutsche Sprache (- 2016 -)
Publisher:de Gruyter
Place of publication:Berlin [u.a.]
Editor:Marek Konopka, Angelika Wöllstein
Document Type:Part of a Book
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2017
Date of Publication (online):2020/08/16
Publicationstate:Zweitveröffentlichung
Reviewstate:(Verlags)-Lektorat
GND Keyword:Epistemische Logik; Methodologie; Normativität; Sprachvariante; Syntax
First Page:283
Last Page:298
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Linguistics-Classification:Sprachphilosophie
Linguistics-Classification:Syntax
Licence (German):Es gilt das UrhG