Contradiction and plausible inference in linguistics: Preliminaries to an investigation of the argumentation structure of linguistic theories (I-II)
This paper, Part I of which was published Ibid. vol.100(2004) No. 2, pp.129-146, discusses the methodology of scientific inquiry and is a preliminary study written for a research project entitled 'The empirical bases of theories of cognitive semantics'. It consists of two major parts. The first section of Part I exposes the problem by drawing the reader's attention to the relevance of the metatheories which linguistic theories implicitly presuppose. In the second section, some of the literature on plausible inference is briefly summarised, with special emphasis on the relationship between deduction and plausible inference, as well as on how inconsistency and plausibility are interconnected. Part II is a case study containing a methodological analysis of W. U. Wurzel's theory of affricates. Employing the concepts and methodological background assumptions introduced, the authors point out the internal contradictions of that theory and consider the possibility of resolving those contradictions by the use of plausible inferences. In the final section, general conclusions are drawn that go beyond the particular case study and concern basic mechanisms of theory construction in linguistics.
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