Experiments in syntax and philosophy: the method of choice?
Samuel Schindler, Karen Brøcker
February 2019
 

Within Chomskyan syntax, linguistic intuitions have traditionally been gathered informally from small samples of linguists. Since the mid-1990s, however, several linguists have called for more `scientific’ methods, including the use of larger sample sizes of ordinary speakers and the use of statistics. In the first part of this chapter, we discuss whether such an “experimental approach” to obtaining syntactical intuitions is really methodologically superior to the informal approach, as sometimes claimed. We think the answer is: not always and not in all respects. In the second part, we turn our attention to another academic field in which intuitions arguably play an evidential role, namely philosophy. Also here, critics have demanded that intuitions be harvested more systematically and have even appealed to experimental syntax in order to support their cause. However, given our assessment, experimental methods in syntax can be a model for the promotion of experimental methods in philosophy only under certain conditions.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004482
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Linguistic intuitions, evidence, and expertise (OUP)
keywords: syntactic intuitions, acceptability judgements, experiments, gradience, experimental philosophy, syntax
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