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Problems of Methodology and Philosophy in Linguistics


Ireneusz Bobrowski

The book is not only dedicated to linguists, but also to readers who are not familiar with notations developed in linguistics. The first part of the study presents philosophical justifications for linguistic settlements. These are based on the phenomenological reduction of Edmund Husserl, Karl R. Popper’s falsificationism, the moderate rationalism of science of Izydora Dąmbska and Andrzej Bogusławski’s lack of the nomological explanation in linguistics. The second part presents a re-examination of the solutions proposed in the field of linguistics, some new philosophical explanations and a discussion of the truth of linguistic propositions.
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The Absence of a Nomothetic Explanation and the Multitude of Models


Before we consider the issue of explanation itself, let us take another look at the construct built by linguists. Naturally, we can call it by different names. It can be labeled as grammar or as an abstract linguistic system. But if we decide to use the latter term, we must keep in mind the fact that the linguistic system possessed by the user of a given language is not the same as the linguistic system constructed by linguists on the basis of their intuition about the system’s products.

In other words, one cannot equate the two terms, even though they are habitually called by the same name. Unfortunately, many linguists do not accept this stipulation and actually equate both terms. Therefore, it is better to use different names for different beings – if we call the first one a linguistic system, then the second one should be described as the model of a linguistic system. It is, of course, merely a terminological operation, and yet it allows us to avoid certain simplifications that, in consequence, lead to passing incorrect or unsolvable judgments on the territory of rational linguistics.

Regrettably, as it has been already said, the awareness of the necessity of such a distinction is not common among linguists. On the contrary – they tend to believe that the constructs that they assume are no more and no less than the linguistic system in the first sense of this term. Such a stand is unjustified and,...

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