Bob Fiengo

As it happens, there was a very broad question that I was worried about when I was at MIT in the early seventies. I can’t remember how I would have phrased the question at that time, but I would now put it this way:

Can linguistics, given that its data are intuitions about sentences, be a science? I was then conceiving of linguistics as separable from other areas, including psycholinguistics, whose data are not restricted to intuitions. And I was then assuming that other sciences emphatically do not take human intuitions as data. Physics doesn’t. So I was worried about the scientific prospects for linguistics, as I narrowly conceived of it.

I am still not so clear on the answer to this.