ABSTRACT. It has been 40 years since Quine has offered his critique of Chomskian Linguistics in his “Methodological Reflections on Current Linguistic Theory.” The general consensus is that Quine’s methodological arguments have failed and been adequately answered by Chomsky. In this paper I will review Quine’s arguments and Chomsky’s replies and demonstrate that Chomsky has not adequately answered Quine’s criticisms. I will then argue that Devitt’s methodological approach offers a third way which acknowledges Quine’s criticisms but is not devastating to generative grammar.

Keywords: fitting and guiding; rules; processing rules; structure rules; competence and performance

How to cite: King, David (2019). “Quine and Chomsky: Rules and Dispositions,” Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 18: 64–76.

Received 6 December 2017 • Received in revised form 25 January 2018
Accepted 26 January 2018 • Available online 18 February 2018


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Ph.D., Trinity College Dublin

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