Davidson versus Chomsky: Om Fellesspråket
- Side: 148-159
- Publisert på Idunn: 2011-07-04
Davidson versus Chomsky: On shared language
Davidson and Chomsky, though differing on much in the study of language, are united in the view that the traditional notion of a shared language, such as English or Norwegian, has no part to play in a scientific or philosophical understanding of linguistic competence and communication. Davidson accepts Chomskys ideas about our linguistic ability as underpinned by dedicated and possibly hard-wired aspects of the mind/brain, but does not see this as relevant to a constitutive account of meaning and communication; Chomsky sees Davidsons philosophy of language, like all others based on semantic notions, as doomed to obscurity. Against this background I subject Davidsons argument from malapropisms for the view that there are no such things as languages to critical scrutiny. I conclude that it fails to show that communication does not rest on shared languages, but only that we speak a lot more such languages than we are ordinarily inclined to suppose. This consequence, of interest in its own right, also seems absurd. In the context of a Chomsky-Davidson debate, in which one is sceptical of the traditional concept of a language, this provides a corresponding lift for Chomskys overall perspective on language and the study thereof.