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ERIC Number: ED548932
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 369
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-5209-3
Meaningful Intuitions: The Evidential Role of Intuitions in the Study of Language
Maynes, Jeffrey
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Johns Hopkins University
Philosophical theories are often repudiated, or taken to be repudiated, by identifying counter-examples. These counter-examples are typically based upon our natural response to a real or hypothetical scenario, also called our intuition about the scenario. This methodology of appealing to intuition has been the focus of recent debates about philosophical methodology. In this essay, I examine the arguments typically classified as "appeals to intuition" and argue that this seemingly unitary category is actually disjoint. To develop this claim, I examine the role that intuition plays in two areas in the study of language. First, I look to linguistics and the generative program introduced by Noam Chomsky. Linguists typically rely extensively on their own intuitions about sentences to evaluate linguistic hypotheses, a controversial practice for both methodological and philosophical reasons. I defend the use of intuition based on a pair of arguments. First, on analogy with vision judgments, linguistic intuitions are consequences of the object of study, which is understood as a psychological competence. Second, linguistic intuitions can be calibrated, that is, other sources of evidence provide the means to empirically verify the reliability of the intuitions. In addition to intuitions in linguistics, I also look at the role of intuitions in arguments for externalist theories of reference, particularly in the work of Kripke and Putnam. Their arguments are typically understood as relying heavily on intuition, but I argue that this is a mistake. Their supposed appeals to intuition are actually better understood as theoretical judgments for which intuition could be evidence, but which could be based on other, non-intuitive evidence. The use of intuition in Kripke and Putnam's project, however, is defensible on the grounds that our intuitions are partially constitutive of ordinary language, which is the object of study. This gives intuition a role to play in these arguments, even if one weaker than the role it is traditionally ascribed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A