Linguistic Intuitions, Evidence, and Expertise

October 25, 2017 - October 27, 2017
Centre for Science Studies, Department of Mathematics, Aarhus University

Nordre Ringgade 3

View the Call For Papers

Selected speakers:

John Collins
University of East Anglia
Michael Devitt
City University of New York
Steven Gross
Johns Hopkins University

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Linguists working within the generative framework traditionally use intuitive judgements about the well-formedness of utterances (also known as acceptability judgements) as evidence for theories of grammars. Usually, linguists use their own judgements or informally elicit judgements from their colleagues.

In recent years, however, this practice has been criticized for failing to uphold minimal scientific standards. As a result, new, experimental approaches have emerged that have urged the systematic gathering of data from non-linguists.

At this conference we want to bring together linguists and philosophers interested in the methodological foundations of linguistics. In particular, we want to better understand whether linguistic intuitions can legitimately be used as evidence for theories of grammar. How big is the risk of bias and distortion when linguists use their own intuitions? Can the evidential value of linguistic intuitions be improved by systematically studying the intuitions of non-linguists? Or are there good reasons to prefer the judgements of expert linguists? Although we solicit work concerning syntactic intuitions in particular, we also welcome work concerning other kinds of linguistic intuitions.

Confirmed speakers:

  • John Collins
  • Ewa Dabrowska
  • Michael Devitt
  • Sam Featherston
  • Edward (Ted) Gibson
  • Steven Gross
  • Frederick Newmeyer
  • Colin Phillips
  • Georges Rey
  • Carson Schütze
  • Jon Sprouse

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July 15, 2017, 9:00am CET

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