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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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To conclude these deliberations, I would like to return to the most important problem which has appeared several times on the pages of this book. Let me begin with a seemingly banal question: What is the purpose of language? If one asks this question at a Ph.D. seminar for candidates in linguistics, one will trigger consternation. At first, the participants will most likely consider the question a mockery. They will be certain that such questions should not be asked at their level, for the answer is too obvious. But if the professor does not fear their scoffing glances and insist on receiving an answer, he or she will eventually hear the throwaway remark communication. All the participants will breathe a sigh of relief – the nightmare is over. They all knew the answer from the very beginning; after all, is it not obvious?

I suppose that in academic reality, the scenario described above is adequate to almost all probable cases. The only exception would be a case in which among doctoral students there was a declared adherent of the minimalist program proclaimed by Noam Chomsky in 1990s. According to Chomsky, the answer to the question about the purpose of language is that it serves as an instrument for formulating thoughts (see: e.g. Chomsky 1999) and the basic task of linguistics is to prove the a priori assumed thesis and that this instrument may be describe with the attribute optimal.

The answer to the discussed question...

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