Saturday, October 01, 2011

A Skeptic's Inspiration

Yesterday, I went to the Philosophy Club lecture on Noam Chomsky's Universal Grammar (UG) given by Dr. Mark LeTourneau. Last year in philosophy of language, we were not able to get the topic because of time. So Dr. Richard Greene organized the lecture because I expressed that I was very interested in it. I was a little disappointed, however, because it was only a brief overview. Don't get me wrong; I was very grateful. But I didn't learn anything new.

The best paper I have written in my college career so far was on Universal Grammar. Particularly, I argue that it is not science. I still disagree with this theory as science, but I also think it is inherently incorrect. I just get that gut feeling. So maybe it wasn't the lecture. Maybe the lecture was telling me that a lecture on Universal Grammar is not where I need to look for ideas/inspiration.

So I know Universal Grammar. Where I need to look is into scientific theories of language acquisition. There probably aren't many, considering Chomsky's theory has been around for 25 years. Is it just that technology is not yet advanced enough to perform experiments? Granted, we could devise experiments; they'd just be highly unethical. Soon psychology and neuroscience will make a breakthrough.

Who knows? Maybe science will prove Chomsky right. Until then, I'm off to studying linguistics, psychology, and philosophy in hopes with coming up with that "great idea."


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