Genuine Explanation and the Strong Minimalist Thesis

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4 Scopus citations


The goal of theoretical inquiry is explanation: Why this, and not that? In the study of language, search for explanatory theory proceeds at two levels: for individual languages (a generative grammar in the broad sense) and for the general faculty of language fl (ug), the latter apparently a true species property, common to humans and without significant analogue in the animal world. ug must meet several conditions: learnability, evolvability, coverage. These conditions appear to conflict, and are far more severe than had earlier been supposed. A solution to the conundrum would be satisfaction of smt for ug combined with recourse to language-independent principles of computational efficiency, with diversity sequestered in components of language subject to simple algorithmic search. For the first time, hopes for such an outcome seem to be on the horizon, with significant implications if the hopes can be realized. I will outline some current work on these topics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-365
Number of pages19
JournalCognitive Semantics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • AI
  • explanation
  • I-language
  • language faculty
  • Merge
  • Strong Minimalist Thesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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