Towards an Account of the Present Paradigm Conflict in the Development of Linguistics
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This thesis provides an account of the present linguistic paradigm conflict and its implications for the development of linguistics. In the light of Kuhn’s and Laudan’s respective theories of scientific progress, this thesis reflects upon the recent past, the present and the future of the linguistic field. The application of Kuhn’s theory to the current state of affairs in linguistics as described by Scholz, Pelletier, and Pullum suggests that the linguistic field is constituted upon three paradigms: Essentialism, Emergentism, and Externalism. These conflicting paradigms can be traced back to distinctive scientific traditions associated with Chosmky, Sapir, and Bloomfield, respectively. From the base of these past developments and the present situation, the future possibilities of linguistics can be inventoried: (1) linguistics may remain a prescientificdiscipline, (2) the linguistic paradigm conflict may persist, (3) the respective paradigms may be reconciled, or (4) a scientific revolution may take place. None of these scenarios can be precluded on the grounds of philosophical reflection. In reference to Kuhn’s and Laudan’s respective theories, it can, however, be argued that the linguistic field might be moved forward by promoting and evaluating debates between adherents of different paradigms.