The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics

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Peter Ludlow presents the first book on the philosophy of generative linguistics, including both Chomsky's government and binding theory and his minimalist program. Ludlow explains the motivation of the generative framework, describes its basic mechanisms, and then addresses some of the many interesting philosophical questions and puzzles that arise once we adopt the general theoretical approach. He focuses on what he takes to be the most basic philosophical issues about the ontology of linguistics, about the nature of data, about language/world relations, and about best theory criteria. These are of broad philosophical interest, from epistemology to ethics: Ludlow hopes to bring the philosophy of linguistics to a wider philosophical audience and show that we have many shared philosophical questions. Similarly, he aims to set out the philosophical issues in such a way as to engage readers from linguistics, and to encourage interaction between the two disciplines on foundational issues.