The search for Minimal Search
Diego Krivochen
May 2021

In this paper we examine Minimal Search, an operation that is at the core of current Minimalist inquiry. We argue that, given Minimalist assumptions about structure building consisting of set-formation, it is not possible to define Minimal Search as a search algorithm, which would partly explain the lack of explicit formal characterisations of this operation in the literature. Furthermore, some problematic configurations for Minimal Search (namely, {XP, YP} and {X, Y}) are argued to be an artefact of these set-theoretic commitments. However, if set-formation is given up as the core operation in syntax in favour of directed graphs, Minimal Search can be straightforwardly characterised as a search algorithm that applies unambiguously. Its usefulness for syntactic analysis may thus go beyond the role it plays in Minimalism.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005817
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Ms. Comments welcome. v.4, corrections throughout the paper and updated references.
keywords: set theory; graph theory; minimal search; phrase structure, syntax
previous versions: v4 [April 2021]
v3 [March 2021]
v2 [March 2021]
v1 [March 2021]
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