Dissident Heart wrote:
In relation to tlpounds point, I think (ERS) might make sense in this context, vaguely, if we accept that there is a finite amount of matter and an infinite amount of time. If that is the case, then eventually every possible combination of atoms, molecules, cells, personalities, cultures, planets, nebulae...and words...would be repeated. The Extreme Nativist would not have to make the case that words are innate...only that we have been uttering them for an eternity.
Sorry, DH, but it still sounds like gobbledygook to me. I can understand the value of a thought experiment in which one considers having to endlessly repeat one's life. It might lead a person to be more thoughtful about the choices he or she is making. But that's as far as it goes.
And, in point of fact, from an Extreme Nativist point of view, you would have to make the case the words were innate. If we have been uttering them for an eternity, then it follows we must have known them for an eternity. If that wouldn't qualify as innate knowledge, then I don't know what would. (Incidentally, I understand you aren't necessarily arguing for the Extreme Nativist position, just offering a suggestion of how it might play out in a certain context.)