Four Ways from Universal to Particular: How Chomsky's Language-Acquisition Faculty Is Not Selectionist

15 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2014 Last revised: 27 Oct 2014

Date Written: October 26, 2014

Abstract

Following the development of the selectionist theory of the immune system, there was an attempt to characterize many biological mechanisms as being "selectionist" as juxtaposed to "instructionist." But this broad definition would group Darwinian evolution, the immune system, embryonic development, and Chomsky's language-acquisition mechanism as all being "selectionist." Yet Chomsky's mechanism (and embryonic development) are significantly different from the selectionist mechanisms of biological evolution or the immune system. Surprisingly, there is a very abstract way using two dual mathematical logics to make the distinction between genuinely selectionist mechanisms and what are better called "generative" mechanisms. This note outlines that distinction.

Keywords: Chomsky language-acquisition faculty, selectionism, partition logic

Suggested Citation

Ellerman, David, Four Ways from Universal to Particular: How Chomsky's Language-Acquisition Faculty Is Not Selectionist (October 26, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2511343 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2511343

David Ellerman (Contact Author)

University of Ljubljana ( email )

School of Social Science
Ljubljana, CA
Slovenia

HOME PAGE: http://www.ellerman.org

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