[SydPhil] History and Philosophy of Linguistics reading group

Nick Riemer nick.riemer at sydney.edu.au
Sat Nov 24 14:26:42 AEDT 2012

History and Philosophy of Linguistics Reading group

Next meeting, the last for the year: Tuesday, November 27, 5.30-7pm, Woolley S361, followed by dinner locally

Reading: Rákosi, Csilla 2012 The fabulous engine: strengths and flaws of psycholinguistic experiments. Language Sciences 34: 682–701

In methodological debates in linguistics, the scientificness of linguistics is often felt to be unsatisfactory in comparison to the standards of the natural sciences. This inferiority complex is in most cases articulated as the requirement to turn linguistics into a mature empirical theory with the help of, for example, the elaboration and conduct of psycholinguistic experiments. This paper argues that the proposals which have been put forward to fulfil this requirement are based not on workable and generally applied norms of the natural sciences but on outmoded and untenable tenets of the standard view of the analytical philosophy of science. Therefore, a two-step strategy is suggested: metascientific reflection on the nature and limits of experiments as data sources in linguistics has to be based on the continuous comprehension and adjustment of the reflection on the research activities of linguists while working with experiments on the one hand, and insights gained by philosophers of science studying experiments in the natural sciences on the other. The feasibility of this strategy is supported by a case study on psycholinguistic experiments in metaphor research.

Reading downloadable from http://hplinguistics.pbworks.com

Enquiries: nick.riemer at sydney.edu.au

All welcome!

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