Idealization in cognitive and generative linguistics


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The aim of this presentation is to compare processes of idealization and concretization in cognitive and generative linguistics.
According to idealization theory developed by Leszek Nowak (1977) each science uses methods of idealization in order to construct scientific models. The application of idealization theory presented here reveals steps of idealization (and respectively – concretization) in two linguistic approaches.

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Idealization in cognitive and generative linguistics

  1. 1. Idealizationin cognitive and generative linguistics<br />Barbara Konat<br />Institute of Philosophy<br />Adam Mickiewicz University<br />PhiLang2011<br />Second International Conference <br />on Philosophy of Language and Linguistics <br />University of Lodz (Poland), 12-14 May 2011<br />
  2. 2. Agenda<br />1) Whyphilosophy?<br />2) Philosophicalasummptionsaccording to Carnap, Popper and Kuhn<br />3) IdealizationTheory<br />Language and ontologicalperspective<br />Structure of science<br />4) Conclusions -ontology of GG and CL<br />5) Futurestudy<br />6) Possibleapplications<br />2<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  3. 3. Objectives<br />This presentation adopts metascientificperspective (philosophy of science). <br />The aim of a presentation is to reconstruct internal structure of linguistic research. <br />First step: ontologicalassumptions.<br />3<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  4. 4. Why can’t we just eliminate philosophical assumptions from thescience?<br />ViennaCircle<br />Rudolf Carnap Pseudoproblems of philosophy(1928):rejection of metaphysics<br />verificationism<br />K. R. Popper: Theories are nets cast to catch what we call 'the world‘<br />The interaction between philosophical base and empirical work<br />4<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  5. 5. Kuhn - paradigm<br />Mature science:<br />Keytheories<br />Instruments<br />Values<br />Metaphysicalassumptions<br />5<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  6. 6. IdealizationTheory – L. Nowak<br />If not to offer any workablecriteria of essentiality, what is the purpose of the method of idealization? <br />Simplyto reconstruct the way science works. <br />Nowak 1992<br />6<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  7. 7. IdealizationTheory – L. Nowak<br />According to the idealizational methodology, there are three main stages of scientific conduct:<br />I. pre-theoretical stage: postulation of essentialist hypotheses putting forwardpossible images of the essential structures of considered magnitudes;<br />II. theoretical stage: postulation of a body of idealizational hypotheses whichsubsequently undergo the process of concretization;<br />III. empirical testing of the theory.<br />Nowak 1992<br />7<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  8. 8. What will this reality consist of?<br />1) Language<br />2) Ontologicalperspective:<br />A) Stratificationprinciples<br />i. Classification principles <br />ii. Ordering principles <br />B) Ontological relations principles<br />i. Positive<br />Ii. Negative<br />Nowak 1976<br />8<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  9. 9. Ontological perspective- Language<br />Both natural languages and thoseadopted from previous traditionscreatecertainontological types<br />Nowak 1976<br />9<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  10. 10. Ontological perspectivecont. Stratificationprinciples<br />i. Classification principles: variables L are significant for variables Z<br />ii. Ordering principles: variables K are less significant than variables Y for variables Z<br />Nowak 1976<br />10<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  11. 11. Ontological perspectivecont. Ontological relations<br />i. Positive: variables L are in relation Qwith variables Z<br /> ii. Negative: variables L are not in relation D with variables Z<br />Nowak 1976<br />11<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  12. 12. Ontological<br />perspective<br />Accumulatedtheoreticalknowledge<br />Complextheory 1 <br />of domainy<br />Complextheory 2<br />of domainy<br />Complextheory 3 <br />ofdomainy<br />Simple theoryof variable Z<br />Empirical data<br />modification (correction) of explanations------> generatingexplanations<br />Nowak 1977<br />12<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  13. 13. Ontologicalassumptionsin GG and CL - similarities<br />Historicallgs GG CL<br />mind<br />mind<br />LM<br />language<br />language<br />language<br />13<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  14. 14. Subjectmatter of GG and CL<br />14<br />RESEARCH<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  15. 15. Ontology of relations in GG and CL<br />Generativism<br />Semantics and syntax are autonomous and do not influence each other therefore can be explored independently.<br />Language faculty is autonomous from other faculties of human mind. (Hauser, Chomsky, Fitch 2002)<br />Cognitivism<br />(Generalization commitment)Semantic, syntax and pragmatics are not clearly delimited modules. Semantic influences syntax. They have to be researched together. (Lakoff 1991)<br />(Cognitive commitment)Cognitive skills interact with language. Linguistics research have to be in accord with psychology, neurology and other cognitive disciplines. (Lakoff 1991)<br />15<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  16. 16. Ongoingstudy…<br />Work still in progress<br />Second and third step in the scientific conduct<br />Idealizationinmethods of CL and GG<br />Casestudy: definitedescriptions<br />16<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  17. 17. Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />17<br />Imagine: thereis no friction…<br />A body moving on a level surface will continue in the same direction at constant speed unless disturbed.<br />
  18. 18. Galileo and Chomsky – idealization(Nowak 1976)<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />18<br />Imagine: ideal speaker/listener..<br />Linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker/listener, in a completely homogeneous speech-community, who knows his language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in applying his knowledge of the language in actual performance’ (Chomsky, N. 1965. Aspects of the theory of syntax.)<br />
  19. 19. Darwin islandecology- pseudoidealization<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />19<br />Instead of creating ideal objects, let us look at the special subset of data , in which situation analogous to idealization takes place: some factors are of such a small value, that we can behave as if they weren’t there. <br />GALAPAGOS ISLANDS -> NATURAL SELECTION<br />
  20. 20. Lakoff’sislandecology<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />20<br />Instead of creating ideal objects, let us look at the special subset of data , in which situation analogous to idealization takes place: some factors are of such a small value, that we can behave as if they weren’t there. <br />IRREGULARIETIES AND METHAPHORS<br />
  21. 21. Third step: casestudy, PLM<br />Prof. Yishai Tobin: Will explanations of given linguistic fact A propounded by GG and CL stay in accord with reconstructionproposedhere?<br />dr. KatarzynaMiechowicz- Mathiasen: Definite descriptions<br />GG: focus on grammaticalrules<br />CL: e.g. proximizationtheory: focus on communicativeintentions<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />21<br />
  22. 22. Possibleapplications<br />Operationalization of crucial notions inCL<br />Formulating more falsifiable hypotheses in CL<br />Areas of possible integration between CL and GG <br />22<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  23. 23. Thankyou<br />23<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />
  24. 24. References<br />Carnap, R. (1928). Pseudoproblems in Philosophy.<br />Chomsky, N. (1982). Zagadnienia teorii składni. Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Zakład Narodowy Imienia Ossolińskich.<br />Evans, V., & Green, M. (2006). Cognitive Linguistics. An Introduction.Edynburg: Edinburgh University Press.<br />Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., & Hyams, N. (2007). An Introduction to Language. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth.<br />Grucza, F. (1983). Zagadnienia metalingwistyki. Warszawa: PWN.<br />Harder, P. (2010). Meaning in Mind and Society. Berlin/NowyJork: Walter de Gruyter.<br />Lakoff, G. (1991). Cognitive versus generative linguistics: how commitments influence results. Language & Communication, 11 (1-2), strony 53-62.<br />Muszyński, Z. (2006). Założenia filozoficzne w koncepcjach językoznawczych. W P. Stalmaszczyk, Metodologie językoznawstwa. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego.<br />Nowak, L. (1973). Filozoficzne podstawy teorii naukowej. Studia Filozoficzne (3).<br />Nowak, L. (1977). Wstęp do idealizacyjnej teorii nauki. Warszawa: PWN.<br />Nowak, l. (2000). „Darwin’stheory of natural selection”. Idealization X: Therichness of idealization. Eds: Nowak, L., Nowakowa, I., Amsterdam/Atlanta:Rodopi<br />24<br />Barbara Konat - PhilLang 2011<br />