Nativism: In Defense of the Representational Interpretation

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):303-315 (2009)
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Linguistic competence, in general terms, involves the ability to learn, understand, and speak a language. The nativist view in the philosophy of linguistics holds that the principal foundation of linguistic competence is an innate faculty of linguistic cognition. In this paper, close scrutiny is given to nativism's fundamental commitments in the area of metaphysics. In the course of this exploration it is argued that any minimally defensible variety of nativism is, for better or worse, married to two theses: linguistic competence is grounded in a faculty of linguistic cognition that is (i) embodied and (ii) whose operating rules are represented in the brains of human language users
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