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Evaluating Cartesian Linguistics

From Historical Antecedents to Computational Modeling


Christina Behme

This book evaluates Noam Chomsky’s contributions to linguistics and focuses on the historical justification for Cartesian Linguistics, the evolution of Chomsky’s theorizing, empirical language acquisition work, and computational modeling of language learning. Chomsky claims that his view is situated within a rationalist Cartesian tradition and that only rationalists can account for all aspects of language. The work challenges both claims. Chomsky projects his own convictions onto Cartesians and his recent work has not lived up to early promises. The Minimalist Program has failed to produce scientific results, and empirical work in developmental psychology and computational modeling further challenge Chomsky’s rationalist dogma.
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Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche NationalbibliothekThe Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataBehme, Christina, 1963-Evaluating Cartesian linguistics : from historical antecedents to computational modeling / Christina Behme. — Peter Lang Edition. pages cm. — (Potsdam linguistic investigations : Vol./Bd. 12) Includes bibliographical references.ISBN 978-3-631-64551-21. Cartesian linguistics. 2. Creativity (Linguistics) 3. Generative grammar. 4. Chomsky, Noam. Cartesian linguistics. I. Title.P37.5.C37B44 2014401—dc23


ISSN 1862-524XISBN 978-3-631-64551-2 (Print)E-ISBN 978-3-653-03710-4 (E-Book)DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-03710-4

© Peter Lang GmbHInternationaler Verlag der WissenschaftenFrankfurt am Main 2014All rights reserved.Peter Lang Edition is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH.

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