Internalism as Methodology

  • Terje Lohndal University of Maryland
  • Hiroki Narita Harvard University
Keywords: externalism, internalism, sociolinguistics


This paper scrutinizes the recent proposal made by Lassiter (2008) that the dichotomy between Chomskyan internalism and Dummett-type externalism is misguided and should be overcome by an approach that incorporates sociolinguistic concepts such as speakers’ dispositions to defer. We argue that Lassiter’s arguments are flawed and based on a serious misunder-standing of the internalist approach to the study of natural language, failing to appreciate its methodological nature and conclude that Lassiter’s socio-linguistic approach is just another instance of externalist attempts with little hope of scientific achievement.