ANALYTICAL INDICANT THEORY
What is Analytical Indicant Theory?
Analytical Indicant Theory (AIT) is the culmination of a combined research project conceived and developed by the philosopher Jon Neivens and the linguist Jud Evans.
AIT represents a fundamental shift in the way we should think about the relation between that syntactic and logical structure of natural language, and links this to a specifically linguistic notion of ontological commitment. Its starting point is a fundamental re-analysis of the function of ‘be,’ which, in all of its various conjugations never functions as a ‘verb of existence.’ Moreover, AIT has identified the that syntactic function which can account for the various semantic interpretations existence, identity, predication, or generic inclusion - usually placed upon it. The priorities of AIT are directed toward one particular aspect of language - the interpretation of the function of grammatical structure in relation to the stating of the existence of an entity in terms of the modes or states of its existence. Nevertheless, although AIT asserts that the structure which underlies the use of ‘is’ is basic to all language, this does not imply an ‘innate structure’ in the Chomskyan sense.
For much of the century just passed, philosophy has been divided into ‘Anglo-American’ and ‘Continental’ schools, with the latter largely centred upon the influence of Martin Heidegger. Whilst AIT concedes that aspects of Heidegger’s thinking may be of some use to questions of epistemology, the very basis of the AIT approach represents a fundamental rejection of the notion of ‘Being’ upon which his phenomenological approach is founded. Whilst other philosophers, most notably Willard Quine, have examined the question of the ontological structure of language with far greater perspicuity, the fact remains that the role of the ‘be’ conjugation remains seriously under-examined, even where it looks to be fundamental to propositional structure. But in general, in philosophy as in linguistics, it is assumed that far more is known about the workings of the ‘be’ conjugation and its equivalents in other languages than proves actually to be the case.
We plan to revise and add to this material in due course, but in the meantime we welcome comments and feedback of any kind, either by e-mailing Jon Neivens or Jud Evans, or via The AIT Discussion List at Yahoo.
We also have more material posted at our other AIT Website.
Meanwhile, if you want to find out more about us, take a look at:Site Last Updated: 27th July, 2002
© Jon Neivens and Jud Evans, 1999 - 2002.