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Eliminating Empty Categories

A Radically Minimalist View on Their Ontology and Justification


Diego Gabriel Krivochen and Peter Kosta

This collaborative book has a twofold purpose. On the one hand, the authors present a new framework – Radical Minimalism. The development of such a framework, with a strong basis on mathematics and physics, was born out of the conviction that, if language is really a natural object, there is no a priori reason to study it in isolation from other natural systems. On the other hand, this work represents a significant simplification of the theory of displacement and so-called «empty categories» within the latest development of Chomsky’s Strong Minimalist Hypothesis, applying Occam’s razor and fulfilling Lakatos’ requirements for scientific evolution. Radical Minimalism thus accounts not only for the phenomena orthodox minimalism has explanations for, but also for empirical problems that have not yet been taken into consideration.


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My sincerest thanks go to Diego Krivochen who in the beginning of this book still somehow believed in invisible things in syntax but was wise enough to re- ject them after all in favor of a theory that accounts for phenomena in a very minimalist, even radical way, so that in the end we arrived somehow at what we wanted to demonstrate: without multiplying the entities we reduced the descrip- tive and explanatory apparatus. I would also like to thank all our friends and col- leagues who believed in us as much as we believe in Radical Minimalism, among all we thank Mike Putnam for having discussed some issues of this book. The woman whom I owe my deepest thank while and after writing the chapters of this book, is Erika: I would have never met you if a coincidence of traces hadn’t form an eternal chain of love and happiness. Peter Kosta I would like to thank those valuable colleagues that have fortunately become real friends and from whom I have learnt most of what I know: Peter Kosta, Katarzyna Miechowicz-Mathiasen and Mike Putnam. Long and fruitful conver- sations with them have made me (hopefully) both a better linguist and a better person. To Peter I also owe (among countless things) the possibility to be work- ing in Potsdam University, a privilege I will always be grateful for. He believed in me and my work on Radical Minimalism from the very beginning, and I sin- cerely hope to have...

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