A Border Dispute: The Place of Logic in Psychology by John Macnamara

By John Macnamara

A Border Dispute integrates the most recent paintings in common sense and semantics right into a conception of language studying and provides six labored examples of ways that idea revolutionizes cognitive psychology. Macnamara's thesis is determined opposed to the historical past of a clean research of the psychologism debate of the 19th-century, which resulted in the present standoff among common sense and psychology. The ebook offers psychologism throughout the writings of John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant, and its rejection by means of Gottlob Frege and Edmund Husserl. It then works out the final thesis that good judgment preferably provides a competence thought for a part of human reasoning and explains how logical instinct is grounded in houses of the brain. the following six chapters current examples that illustrate the relevance of common sense to psychology. those difficulties are all within the semantics of kid language (the studying of right names, own pronouns, sortals or universal nouns, quantifiers, and the truth-functional connectives) and mirror Macnamara's wealthy history in developmental psychology, quite baby language - a box, he issues out, that embraces all of cognition. Technical difficulties raised by way of yet now not incorporated within the examples on the whole a part of the textual content are handled in a separate bankruptcy. The ebook concludes by means of describing legislation in cognitive psychology, or the kind of technological know-how made attainable by way of Macnamara's new concept. A Bradford publication.

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Extra info for A Border Dispute: The Place of Logic in Psychology

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It is fair to say, however, that he has not been explicit enough in his recent writing to reverse the impression that universal grammar consists of knowledge­that.  The main task for linguists and psychologists of language alike is to establish the true theory of linguistic competence.  The relevant set is linguistic competence.  We will not concern ourselves with this claim.  In fact it may take generations on generations of linguists to sift intuition so that it leads to a correct characterization of competence.

It does not follow, of course, even if a logic characterizes an aspect of logical competence, that the competence is instantiated in any of its currently available forms, say, axiomatic or natural deduction.  What this means will gradually become clear.  The difference is substantial.  Just as linguistic intuition is a judgment about grammaticality, logical intuition applied to ordinary language is a judgment about truth conditions and speakers' intentions.  I borrow the point from Peter Geach, and it serves to illustrate how logical intuition serves as a check on theorizing.

We are under the constraint to keep logic error free.  It seems that access to logical principles is through logical intuition, so our theory must show how logic can guide and illuminate intuitions of a certain sort.  We must avoid that error and yet discover a theory that brings logic and psychology into a relationship close enough to explain how we can know the laws of logic and employ them in our reasoning without our attaining them by generalizing over empirical data.  It is from him that I borrow the notion, though it will be necessary to modify it to make it suit my purpose.

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