- Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
- The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism
- The Contributors
- List of Abbreviations and Symbols
- Some Roots of Minimalism in Generative Grammar
- Features in Minimalist Syntax
- Merge and Bare Phrase Structure
- Structure and Order: Asymmetric Merge
- The Copy Theory
- A-Bar Dependencies
- Head Movement and the Minimalist Program
- Derivational Cycles
- Anti-Locality: Too-Close Relations in Grammar
- No Derivation Without Representation
- Last Resort with Move and Agree in Derivations and Representations
- Syntax and Interpretation Systems: How is Their Labour Divided?
- Minimalist Construal: Two Approaches to A and B
- A Minimalist Approach to Argument Structure
- Minimalist Semantics
- Minimal Semantic Instructions
- Language and Thought
- Minimalism and Language Acquisition
- A Minimalist Program for Phonology
- Minimizing Language Evolution: The Minimalist Program and The Evolutionary Shaping of Language
- Computational Perspectives on Minimalism
Abstract and Keywords
This article explores the relation between language and thought. The term ‘thought’ is an abstraction. It has its uses: for many philosophical purposes one may simply want to abstract from the linguistic forms that structure propositions, and concentrate on their content alone. But that should not confuse us into believing in an ontology of such entities as ‘thoughts’ – quite apart from the fact that, if we posit such entities, our account of them will not be generative and be unconstrained empirically. Where the content of forms of thought that have a systematic semantics corresponds to a so-called grammatical meaning – meaning derived from the apparatus of Merge, phasing, and categorization – minimalist inquiry is a way of investigating thought, with syntax–semantic alignment as a relevant heuristic idea. Having the computational system of language in this sense equates with having a ‘language of thought’, with externalization being a derivative affair, as independent arguments suggest. Thus, a somewhat radical ‘Whorfian’ perspective on the relation of language and thought is developed, but, it is a Whorfianism without the linguistic-relativity bit.
Wolfram Hinzen obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Bern (Switzerland) in 1996. After postdoctoral years in Stuttgart and New York, he became an Assistant Professor at the University of Regensburg in 1999 and switched to the Universiteit van Amsterdam in 2003. Since 2006 he has held a chair in philosophy of language at the University of Durham. His research is on the foundations of language and the origins of a systematic form of semantics. He is the author of Mind Design and Minimal Syntax (2006) and An Essay on Names and Truth (2007), both published by Oxford University Press.
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