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Faculty Disputes

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Abstract:

Abstract: 

Jerry Fodor, among others, has maintained that Chomsky's language faculty hypothesis is an epistemological proposal, i.e. the faculty comprises propositional structures known (cognized) by the speaker/hearer. Fodor contrasts this notion of a faculty with an architectural (directly causally efficacious) notion of a module. The paper offers an independent characterisation of the language faculty as an abstractly specified non‐propositional structure of the mind/brain that mediates between sound and meaning—a function in intension that maps to a pair of structures that determine sound‐meaning convergence. This conception will be elaborated and defended against a number of likely complaints deriving from Fodor's faculty/module distinction and other positions which seek to credit knowledge of language with an empirical or theoretical significance. A recent explicit argument from Fodor that Chomsky must share his conception will be diagnosed and the common appeal to implicit knowledge as a foundation for linguistic competence will be rejected.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0268-1064.2004.00270.x

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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