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Structural Realism and Generative Grammar

Nefdt, Ryan M. (2020) Structural Realism and Generative Grammar. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Linguistics as a science has rapidly changed during the course of a relatively short period. The mathematical foundations of the science, however, present a different story below the surface. In this paper, I argue that due to the former, the seismic shifts in theory over the past 80 years opens linguistics up to the problem of pessimistic meta-induction or radical theory change. I further argue that, due to the latter, one current solution to this problem in the philosophy of science, namely structural realism (Ladyman 1998, French 2006), should be viewed as especially enticing for linguists, as their field is a largely structural enterprise. I discuss particular historical instances of theory change in generative syntax before investigating two views on the nature of structural properties and eventually proposing an approach in terms of invariance (Johnson 2015) as a grounding for structural realism in the history and philosophy of linguistics.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Nefdt, Ryan M.ryan.nefdt@uct.ac.za0000-0002-2118-9960
Keywords: philosophy of linguistics, structural realism, generative grammar, syntax, structural properties
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr Ryan M. Nefdt
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2020 00:35
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2020 00:35
Item ID: 18359
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18359

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