Abstract: At the most basic level of linguistic theorizing there are disagreements about the nature of language itself, what a linguistic entity is like, and where to mark the boundaries of those entities. Any set of assumptions about the nature of language drives the structure, methods, and conclusions about linguistic phenomena. This book lays bare these assumptions by theorists of language (philosophers, linguists, psychologists, anthropologists) at various points in history. Although the range in this book is historically broad, it is not meant to be comprehensive. Instead, it reveals argumentative patterns that have implicitly shaped what we take to be possible explanations in linguistic theorizing.
Pt. I has the following sections: 1. Origin Stories, 2. The Idiosyncrasy of Human Linguistic Competence, 3. Empiricism and Rationalism in Linguistic Theory, 4. Realism and Idealism about Linguistic Entities, 5. Language, Dialectic, Idiolect, 6. Speech and Writing, 7. The Inherent Ambiguity of Human Language, 8. Codes and Ostensive Inference
Pt. II has the following sections: 1. Explanation in Linguistics, 2. Semantic Minimalism, 3. Idiolectal Error, 4. Reports, 5. What is (and can be) Meant by Sensitivity to Context