A Marxist Philosophy of Language by Jean-Jacques Lecercle

By Jean-Jacques Lecercle

The aim of this ebook is to provide an actual intending to the formulation. English is the language of imperialism. knowing that assertion consists of a critique of the dominant perspectives of language, either within the box of linguistics (the e-book has a bankruptcy criticising Chomsky's examine programme) and of the philosophy of language (the publication has a bankruptcy assessing Habermas's philosophy of communicative action). The ebook goals at developing a Marxist philosophy of language, embodying a view of language as a social, historic, fabric and political phenomenon. on account that there hasn't ever been a powerful culture of pondering language in Marxism, the e-book offers an outline of the query of Marxism in language (from Stalin's pamphlet to Volosinov ebook, taking in an essay by means of Pasolini), and it seeks to build a few ideas for a Marxist philosophy of language. The booklet belongs to the culture of Marxist critique of dominant ideologies. it's going to be relatively necessary to people who, within the fields of language learn, literature and communique reviews, have determined that language isn't only an software of communique.

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Belong to “universal grammar”’: this fixity is doubtful, since the construction has a history and, given that the detail of the 13 Chomsky 1987, p. 421. Critique of Linguistics • 29 phenomena is more complex than Chomsky allows, this universal grammar is threatened with assuming a Byzantine complexity and hence lacking credibility. There are three troubling things about this text. It multiples the use of hedges (‘appear to hold’, ‘so it seems’), which actually signal generalisations that are not justified by the facts.

This study does not simply explain the mechanism of visual sensations; it will also explain the role played by the brain in transforming these sensations into perceptions. And everyone will acknowledge that flies, moles, raptors, and human beings do not see in the same way. I note in passing that scientific studies of sight do not (or do not any longer) feel the need to resort to the philosophical concept of innatism. If Chomsky still has recourse to it, it is because language – unlike sight – possesses no single organ.

In so doing, it places the bar very high: innate grammar does not only concern very general and highly abstract phenomena, but extremely precise grammatical rules, like those governing reciprocal pronouns. If it can be shown that these rules do not really cover French – a language which is nevertheless typologically close to English – the Chomskyan monad will have the same complexity as its Leibnizian cousin and will require some transcendence to become philosophically credible. For, even if the detail of the linguistic phenomena – what differentiates French from English – is attributed to local parameters rather than universal principles, either these parameters are innate, and the human brain contains in its innermost recesses the totality of human languages, past, present and future; or they are not only triggered by experience, but determined by it – that is, acquired by the speaker.

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