Chomsky is an evolutionary figure in linguistics. His greatest contribution lies in transformational generative grammar, which put an end to the leading position structuralism had held in language for more than 30 years. His naturalistic methodology has greatly influenced the research of both linguistics and psychology, and he is also considered to be the first to study language from the cognitive perspective. He insists on a naturalistic methodology; therefore, he was even considered by some to be a physicalist. However, this is not the case. On the contrary, TGG, as a critique of the behaviorist view of language, is intertwined with a critique of physicalism. On the one hand, he thinks the mind, like chemical elements and electrons, can be approached from a third-person perspective; on the other hand, he again admits there exists consciousness, which can be merely approached in terms of a first-person authority, which, therefore, is a fatal challenge to his core theory. Now there remains a new solution to this dilemma, that is, to admit that the mind is a special natural phenomenon with two means of existence: one is involved in physical aspects with the brain, and the other is concerned with something mental, with the former approached by a third-person perspective and the latter better researched via a first-person authority.
About the authors
Yanying Cui (b. 1977) is a PhD candidate at the School of Philosophy & Sociology, Shanxi University, and also a faculty member at the School of Foreign Languages, Taiyuan University of Science & Technology. Her research interests include theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics, language teaching methodology, and the philosophy of language. Her publications include “Can mind representation be reduced to physics?” (2018), “Speech accommodation theory and code switching” (2013), “Gender differences in complementing topics” (2012), and “Double spelling of stressed closed syllable and its etymology” (2012).
Yidong Wei (b. 1958) is a professor at the School of Philosophy & Sociology, Shanxi University. His research interests include the history of science, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of cognition, and the philosophy of mind. His publications include “How can the unification of consciousness be possible?” (2019a), “The adaptive knowledge representation and inference of artificial intelligence” (2019b), “Does phenomenological intentionality surpass naturalistic intentionality?” (2018), and “Adaptive representation of artificial intelligence” (2018).
This research is funded by the National Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science Foundation, with the project number 16AZX006. It is also part of the project funded by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press with the project number 2018121201.
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