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The Linguistics Delusion

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Linguistics is a subject which came to the fore only in the 1960s. It is founded on a fallacy. Linguistics claims to be ‘the scientific study of language’, but language behaviour is too open-ended and creative to be treated by the methods of science. In consequence, linguistic theories systematically distort the nature of language, and present a misleading picture of our human nature. Geoffrey Sampson shows how various traditions of linguistics, and their accounts of different aspects of language, are all infected by the delusion of scientism. And he offers positive examples of how language can be studied insightfully, once the scientistic delusion is given up.

Published: Sep 14, 2017