Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 443–460 | Cite as

Linguistic intuition and calibration

Research Article


Linguists, particularly in the generative tradition, commonly rely upon intuitions about sentences as a key source of evidence for their theories. While widespread, this methodology has also been controversial. In this paper, I develop a positive account of linguistic intuition, and defend its role in linguistic inquiry. Intuitions qualify as evidence as form of linguistic behavior, which, since it is partially caused by linguistic competence (the object of investigation), can be used to study this competence. I defend this view by meeting two challenges. First, that intuitions are collected through methodologically unsound practices, and second, that intuition cannot distinguish between the contributions of competence and performance systems.


Philosophy of linguistics Linguistic intuition Linguistic methodology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySt. Lawrence UniversityCantonUSA

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