Article first published online: 20 OCT 2004
Mind & Language
Volume 19, Issue 5, pages 503–533, November 2004
How to Cite
Collins, J. (2004), Faculty Disputes. Mind & Language, 19: 503–533. doi: 10.1111/j.0268-1064.2004.00270.x
- Issue published online: 20 OCT 2004
- Article first published online: 20 OCT 2004
Abstract: Jerry Fodor, among others, has maintained that Chomsky's language faculty hypothesis is an epistemological proposal, i.e. the faculty comprises propositional structures known (cognized) by the speaker/hearer. Fodor contrasts this notion of a faculty with an architectural (directly causally efficacious) notion of a module. The paper offers an independent characterisation of the language faculty as an abstractly specified non-propositional structure of the mind/brain that mediates between sound and meaning—a function in intension that maps to a pair of structures that determine sound-meaning convergence. This conception will be elaborated and defended against a number of likely complaints deriving from Fodor's faculty/module distinction and other positions which seek to credit knowledge of language with an empirical or theoretical significance. A recent explicit argument from Fodor that Chomsky must share his conception will be diagnosed and the common appeal to implicit knowledge as a foundation for linguistic competence will be rejected.