The foundations of linguistics : mathematics, models, and structures
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The philosophy of linguistics is a rich philosophical domain which encompasses various disciplines. One of the aims of this thesis is to unite theoretical linguistics, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of science (particularly mathematics and modelling) and the ontology of language. Each part of the research presented here targets separate but related goals with the unified aim of bringing greater clarity to the foundations of linguistics from a philosophical perspective. Part I is devoted to the methodology of linguistics in terms of scientific modelling. I argue against both the Conceptualist and Platonist (as well as Pluralist) interpretations of linguistic theory by means of three grades of mathematical involvement for linguistic grammars. Part II explores the specific models of syntactic and semantics by an analogy with the harder sciences. In Part III, I develop a novel account of linguistic ontology and in the process comment on the type-token distinction, the role and connection with mathematics and the nature of linguistic objects. In this research, I offer a structural realist interpretation of linguistic methodology with a nuanced structuralist picture for its ontology. This proposal is informed by historical and current work in theoretical linguistics as well as philosophical views on ontology, scientific modelling and mathematics.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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