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PSYC 5563 The Logical Problem of Language Acquisition (Fall/Spring: 3 )


Course Description

If not confronted with overwhelming evidence to the contrary, scientists would have long ago unanimously concluded that languages are unlearnable. In fact, some scientists have endorsed that claim. The scientific literature on language-learning is replete with mathematical paradoxes (Quine's Paradox, Baker's Paradox, Fodor's Paradox) that would appear to prove that this or that puzzle confronted by any would-be language learner is unsolvable even in principle, whether by human, animal, or machine. In this course, we try to make sense of language learning. Why do these paradoxes arise? How might children—who do indeed learn languages!—meet the challenges of language acquisition? How have computer scientists who build language-learning machines tried to address the same challenges?


Instructor(s): Joshua Hartshorne

Prerequisites: None

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Last Updated: 01-Feb-16