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Linguistics and the explanatory economy





I present a novel, collaborative, methodology for linguistics: what I call the ‘explanatory economy’. According to this picture, multiple models/theories are evaluated based on the extent to which they complement one another with respect to data coverage. I show how this model can resolve a long-standing worry about the methodology of generative linguistics: that by creating too much distance between data and theory, the empirical credentials of this research program are tarnished. I provide justifications of such methodologically central distinctions as the competence/performance and core/periphery distinction, and then show how we can understand the push for simplicity in the history of generative grammar in this light.


Dupre. (2021). Linguistics and the explanatory economy. Synthese, 177 - 219.

Acceptance Date Jun 20, 2019
Publication Date Nov 1, 2021
Journal Synthese
Print ISSN 0039-7857
Publisher Springer Verlag
Pages 177 - 219
Publisher URL