In their paper on Universal Grammar, language acquisition, and neurobiology, Eubank and Gregg (1995) attack current attempts to specify the neurobiological correlates of language acquisition. While these authors address a large variety of topics, they make two major assertions that call for brief discussion.
First, they believe that some neurobiological accounts of language acquisition must be rejected because the authors of these accounts “give no evidence of knowing what it is that needs to be explained” (p. 53). Eubank and Gregg argue that only a language acquisition theory rooted in Government and Binding theory can be the basis of a neurobiological account of language acquisition. Government and Binding theory must be chosen because, according to these authors, it is the only welldeveloped theory of linguistic competence. To put it in a nutshell, “It is [language] acquisition theory that sets the problems for neurobiology to solve” (p. 53), and acquisition theory must conform to the Government and Binding approach. This master-and-slave view of the relationship between linguistics and biology is hard to accept, especially if one considers what Eubank and Gregg have to say about the master: Like most generative linguists, they do not hesitate to emphasize that the only well-developed linguistic theory is "not complete, of course, not yet correct in all or even most of its details, and perhaps not even in some of its fundamentals" (p. 51). It is inadequate to postulate that such a potentially insufficient construct must necessarily form the basis of biological research. This strategy may be unproductive, especially if theory-internal assumptions turn out to be wrong.