The Minimalist Program after 25 years

Norbert Hornstein

The Minimalist Program (MP) has been around for about 25 years, and anecdotal evidence suggests that conventional wisdom thinks it a failure. This review argues that MP has been a tremendous success and has more than met the very high goals it had set for itself. This does not imply that there is not more to be done. There is, a lot more. But the problems are those characteristic of successful and ongoing research programs. Why the perception of failure? It arises from a misunderstanding concerning the aims of the minimalist project and what, given these aims, it is reasonable to expect. Once we clear up the nature of MP’s goals, we will be better placed to judge (and appreciate) how far it has come.