Alex C says the following in a reply of mine (here). The interested should look at the whole thread. I lift the comment here for discussion as I think it highlights an important point: that if you ignore what GG has wrought over the last 60 years then your work does not address the question: what is the structure of FL?
Maybe yes and maybe no is all that I am claiming, and all that the dialectic needs. You need to have a definite no to sustain your argument.
(I think ECP effects are a good example of something that might be a reflex of some structural property of the class of grammars-- so I think this is the easiest one for you to make your argument. If you can't do it for this, then you can't do it for any).
You mistake the dialectical lay of the land. You are defending a position that both you and I consider unassailable: viz. that it is logically possible that you are barking up the right tree. Of course it is. It is also logically possible that the Lochness Monster exists, that there is no human induced global warming, that the earth is flat, and many other wonderful possibilities. So my argument is not and never has been that it may not be possible that your methods will yield results relevant to FL. I had a much more modest claim, in fact two: (i) that as of yet it has NOT yielded any that address what I take to be the core phenomena pertinent to describing the basic architecture of FL and (ii) that there is little reason to think that they ever will lead in such directions. Let me comment on each.
Re (i), I think that here we are in agreement. I have asked you to pick out any of the effects discovered over the last 60 years and show how any of them could be explained in ways fundamentally different from those that GGers have pursued. You cite the ECP as possibly a tough nut for you to crack and as my best case. I don’t see it this way. I think all of the examples of effects that I have cited are interesting cases. And as I never like to take advantage of others (well, sometimes, but not always), that’s why I offered you a discussion of any of the others. But alas, till now, you have remained mum. I take this to mean that you have nothing on offer. You have claimed in past comments to have different fish to fry. I agree. And they are clearly not my fish or anything like my fish. Thus, the point stands: you have nothing on offer for the GG discoveries. From what I can tell, however, you do offer votive candles: you hold out the promissory HOPE that some day, one day, you will get around to these questions. You counsel patience and forbearance. I grant you both, but I don’t grant you my attention or interest. Call me when you get somewhere.
Re (ii), I have no reason to think that you will get anywhere. Why do I think this? Not because it is logically impossible that you will. But because you haven’t come close yet! You see, in empirical domains being logically coherent is a very low bar, and a position that even our illustrious flat earthers and climate deniers can hurdle with ease. What one wants is not only this, but some reason for thinking that this position should be taken seriously. A position that we should allot time to developing. This is a much higher hurdle. Here’s what it requires: a result or two bearing on the questions of interest. I think that I have been quite straightforward about what these questions of interest are. I’ve listed concrete cases galore. I’ve asked you to discuss just a handful to make your case that doing things your way gets us anywhere with these. To repeat, to date you’ve refused. Fine. So your position is logically coherent, but to date it is sterile (at least as regards what I (and GG) take to be the questions of interest). Note, this leaves little room for interesting “dialectic” as you put it. None actually. Or, the dialectic will look a lot like this. Entertaining? Yes, very. Productive? Not really.
There is a third reason that I can add to the two above: I believe that there are better ways of developing concrete models of real time learning than the ones you put on offer. I’ve cited examples of these also. People like Berwick, Wexler, Fodor, Yang, Lidz, Dresher, etc. are doing just that. Their work is responsive to the data that linguists have uncovered over the last 60 years. Their work is not merely logically coherent, it is even relevant! In short, there are better models on offer, ones that offer concrete reasons for optimism in that they address the questions of interest.
One last point: There is a kind of argument that seems to appeal to philosophers and mathematicians. It goes something like this: if you cannot show that a position is logically incoherent then it’s worth taking seriously. I never liked this argument, at least when advanced by philosophers (see here for a good example of this move). In the non-mathematical sciences, you need a lot more than this. To defend a line of research you need to demonstrate that it will get you somewhere with respect to the questions you are interested in. In lecture 2 (which I am in the middle of) Chomsky noted that programs are not true or false. But they can be premature or sterile. Part of the game is to show how the program you are recommending will lead towards answers to questions you are interested in. I believe that I have been very clear about what sorts of questions interest me and that emerge from the history of GG. These are questions that reflect the history of GG and its many discoveries. They suggest a research program that builds on (rather than ignores) these very non-trivial discoveries. I believe that any approach to the study of FL that does otherwise will get us nowhere. Indeed, failure to do this means that you don’t think much of these results regardless however much you deny this. Like in much else, it’s the walk not the talk that counts. So, as I keep saying, obviously raising the hackles of many, there can is no compromise on this. You need to choose!!. Either you take these results of the last 60 years to be directly relevant to current work, indeed the empirical foundations on which further work will build, or you don’t. If you don’t, then, from where I sit, there is little else for us to discuss. We are just doing different things. We may seem to be talking about the same things, but we aren’t. It’s logically possible that I am wrong about this. But I wouldn’t bet on it, and bets are what research is all about.