Professor Ian Roberts FBA
Dr Theresa Biberauer, University of Cambridge
Sixty years ago, the young Noam Chomsky put forward a new theory of language which radically altered our understanding of language and cognition. At the time, Chomsky’s theory was seen as a paradigm example of the promise of the application of formal, computational methods originating in the formal sciences to understanding central and, in the case of language, unique, aspects of human cognition. This was in many ways the beginning of modern cognitive science. Chomsky’s ideas had a major impact well beyond linguistics: in psychology, philosophy and computer science. He also founded, virtually single-handed, the fields of computational linguistics and psycholinguistics.
This conference assesses the situation in modern linguistics and cognitive science six decades on. A range of speakers with widely differing views on the present and future of linguistics and cognitive science consider how the implications of Chomsky's conception of the human language faculty for language acquisition, language typology, processing, linguistic theory and philosophy of mind appear today, and how these fields are likely to develop in the foreseeable future.