The logic instinct

Stephen Crain*, Drew Khlentzos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


We present a series of arguments for logical nativism, focusing mainly on the meaning of disjunction in human languages. We propose that all human languages are logical in the sense that the meaning of linguistic expressions corresponding to disjunction (e.g. English or, Chinese huozhe, Japanese ka) conform to the meaning of the logical operator in classical logic, inclusive- or. It is highly implausible, we argue, that children acquire the (logical) meaning of disjunction by observing how adults use disjunction. Findings from studies of child language acquisition and from cross-linguistic research invite the conclusion that children do not learn to be logical - it comes naturally to them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-65
Number of pages36
JournalMind and Language
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'The logic instinct'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this