Leda Cosmides and John Tooby have some advice for moral philosophers and deontic logicians trying to understand deontic notions like ought: give up trying to provide a univocal, domain-general treatment. The domain-specific character of human cognition means that such a research program is probably fruitless and probably pointless. It is probably fruitless, since a univocal account of the meaning of "ought" will not capture the multiple inferential patterns of deontic reasoning exhibited in different contexts (and similarly for lots of (...) other words like "obligation," "entitlement," etc. - but let’s stick with "ought"). And it is probably pointless, because even if a domain general logic can be developed, it will "fail to capture major distinctions the human mind makes when reasoning deontically" (ms 5). As a result, it is "not likely to be widely understood and adopted" so it will "not succeed in guiding ethical decisions beyond an esoteric circle of specialists" (ms 5). (shrink)
We share with Anderson & Lebiere (A&L) (and with Newell before them) the goal of developing a domain-general framework for modeling cognition, and we take seriously the issue of evaluation criteria. We advocate a more focused approach than the one reflected in Newell's criteria, based on analysis of failures as well as successes of models brought into close contact with experimental data. A&L attribute the shortcomings of our parallel-distributed processing framework to a failure to acknowledge a symbolic level of (...) thought. Our framework does acknowledge a symbolic level, contrary to their claim. What we deny is that the symbolic level is the level at which the principles of cognitive processing should be formulated. Models cast at a symbolic level are sometimes useful as high-level approximations of the underlying mechanisms of thought. The adequacy of this approximation will continue to increase as symbolic modelers continue to incorporate principles of parallel distributed processing. (shrink)
Although we agree that ritualized behavior is a mystery that calls out for an explanation, we do not think that the proposed domain-specific two-component system offers an empirically well-justified and theoretically parsimonious description of the phenomena. Instead, we believe that the deployment of domain-general mechanisms based on choice of actions could also explain the essential features of ritualized behavior. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Prominent evolutionary psychologists have argued that our innate psychological endowment consists of numerous domainspecific cognitive resources, rather than a few domaingeneral ones. In the light of some conceptual clarification, we examine the central inprinciple arguments that evolutionary psychologists mount against domaingeneral cognition. We conclude (a) that the fundamental logic of Darwinism, as advanced within evolutionary psychology, does not entail that the innate mind consists exclusively, or even massively, of domainspecific features, and (b) that a mixed innate cognitive economy of domainspecific (...) and domaingeneral resources remains a genuine conceptual possibility. However, an examination of evolutionary psychology's 'grain problem' reveals that there is no way of establishing a principled and robust distinction between domainspecific and domaingeneral features. Nevertheless, we show that evolutionary psychologists can and do live with this grain problem without their whole enterprise being undermined. (shrink)
The social exchange theory of reasoning, which is championed by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, falls under the general rubric evolutionary psychology and asserts that human reasoning is governed by content-dependent, domain-specific, evolutionarily-derived algorithms. According to Cosmides and Tooby, the presumptive existence of what they call cheater-detection algorithms disconfirms the claim that we reason via general-purpose mechanisms or via inductively acquired principles. We contend that the Cosmides/Tooby arguments in favor of domain-specific algorithms or evolutionarily-derived mechanisms fail and that the notion (...) of a social exchange rule, which is central to their theory, is not correctly characterized. As a consequence, whether or not their conclusion is true cannot be established on the basis of the arguments they have presented. (shrink)
According to Kanazawa (Psychol Rev 111:512â523, 2004), general intelligence, which he considers as a synonym of abstract thinking, evolved specifically to allow our ancestors to deal with evolutionary novel problems while conferring no advantage in solving evolutionary familiar ones. We present a study whereby the results contradict Kanazawaâs hypothesis by demonstrating that performance on an evolutionary novel problem (an abstract reasoning task) predicts performance on an evolutionary familiar problem (a social reasoning task).
We consider the domain of applicability of general relativity (GR), as a classical theory of gravity, by considering its applications to a variety of settings of physical interest as well as its relationship with real observations. We argue that, as it stands, GR is deficient whether it is treated as a microscopic or a macroscopic theory of gravity. We briefly discuss some recent attempts at removing this shortcoming through the construction of a macroscopic theory of gravity. We point out that (...) such macroscopic extensions of GR are likely to be nonunique and involve non-Riemannian geometrical frameworks. (shrink)
Normals display selective deficits in morphology and syntax under adverse processing conditions. Digit loads do not impair processing of passives and object relatives but do impair processing of grammatical morphemes. Perceptual degradation and temporal compression selectively impair several aspects of grammar, including passives and object relatives. Hence we replicate Caplan & Waters's specific findings but reach opposite conclusions, based on wider evidence.
Commentaries on our target article raise further questions about the validity of an undifferentiated central executive that supplies resources to all verbal tasks. Working memory tasks are more likely to measure divided attention capacities and the efficiency of performing tasks within specific domains than a shared resource pool. In our response to the commentaries, we review and further expand upon empirical findings that relate performance on working memory tasks to sentence processing, concluding that our view that the two are not (...) strongly related remains viable in light of the material presented in the commentaries. We suggest that a productive research enterprise would be to develop the concept of working memory as a pool of resources in relation to specific tasks. (shrink)
A multimodal person representation contains information about what a person looks like and what a person sounds like. However, little is known about how children form these face-voice mappings. Here, we explored the possibility that two cognitive tools that guide word learning, a one-to-one mapping bias and fast mapping, also guide children’s learning about faces and voices. We taught 4- and 5-year-olds mappings between three individual faces and voices, then presented them with new faces and voices. In Experiment 1, we (...) found that children rapidly learned face-voice mappings from just a few exposures, and furthermore spontaneously mapped novel faces to novel voices using a one-to-one mapping bias (that each face can produce only one voice). In Experiment 2, we found that children’s face-voice representations are abstract, generalizing to novel tokens of a person. In Experiment 3, we found that children retained in memory the face-voice mappings that they had generated via inference (i.e., they showed evidence of fast mapping), and used these newly formed representations to generate further mappings between new faces and voices. These findings suggest that preschoolers’ rapid learning about faces and voices may be aided by biases that are similar to those that support word learning. (shrink)
Analogical cognition refers to the ability to detect, process, and learn from relational similarities. The study of analogical and similarity cognition is widely considered one of the ‘success stories’ of cognitive science, exhibiting convergence across many disciplines on foundational questions. Given the centrality of analogy to mind and knowledge, it would benefit philosophers investigating topics in epistemology and the philosophies of mind and language to become familiar with empirical models of analogical cognition. The goal of this essay is to describe (...) recent empirical work on analogical cognition as well as model applications to philosophical topics. Topics to be discussed include the epistemological distinction between implicit knowledge and explicit knowledge, the debate between empiricists and nativists, the frame problem, expertise, creativity and autism, cognitive architecture, and relational knowledge. Particular attention is given to Dedre Gentner and colleague’s structure-mapping theory – the most developed and widely accepted model of analogical cognition. (shrink)
We argue that there is no general theory of explanation that spans the sciences, mathematics, and ethics, etc. More specifically, there is no good reason to believe that substantive and domain-invariant constraints on explanatory information exist. Using Nickel (Noûs 44(2):305–328, 2010 ) as an exemplar of the contrary, generalist position, we first show that Nickel’s arguments rest on several ambiguities, and then show that even when these ambiguities are charitably corrected, Nickel’s defense of general theories of explanation is inadequate along (...) several different dimensions. Specifically, we argue that Nickel’s argument has three fatal flaws. First, he has not provided any compelling illustrations of domain-invariant constraints on explanation. Second, in order to fend off the most vehement skeptics of domain-invariant theories of explanation, Nickel must beg all of the important questions. Third, Nickel’s examples of explanations from different domains with common explanatory structure rely on incorrect formulations of the explanations under consideration, circular justifications, and/or a mischaracterization of the position Nickel intends to critique. Given that the best and most elaborate defense of the generalist position fails in so many ways, we conclude that the standard practice in philosophy (and in philosophy of science in particular), which is to develop theories of explanation that are tailored to specific domains, still is justified. For those who want to buy into a more ambitious project: beware of the costs! (shrink)
The contributions to this special issue on cognitive development collectively propose ways in which learning involves developing constraints that shape subsequent learning. A learning system must be constrained to learn efficiently, but some of these constraints are themselves learnable. To know how something will behave, a learner must know what kind of thing it is. Although this has led previous researchers to argue for domain-specific constraints that are tied to different kinds/domains, an exciting possibility is that kinds/domains themselves can be (...) learned. General cognitive constraints, when combined with rich inputs, can establish domains, rather than these domains necessarily preexisting prior to learning. Knowledge is structured and richly differentiated, but its “skeleton” must not always be preestablished. Instead, the skeleton may be adapted to fit patterns of co-occurrence, task requirements, and goals. Finally, we argue that for models of development to demonstrate genuine cognitive novelty, it will be helpful for them to move beyond highly preprocessed and symbolic encodings that limit flexibility. We consider two physical models that learn to make tone discriminations. They are mechanistic models that preserve rich spatial, perceptual, dynamic, and concrete information, allowing them to form surprising new classes of hypotheses and encodings. (shrink)
Domain constraint, the requirement that analogues be selected from "the same category," inheres in the popular saying "you can't compare apples and oranges" and the textbook principle "the greater the number of shared properties, the stronger the argument from analogy." I identify roles of domains in biological, linguistic, and legal analogy, supporting the account of law with a computer word search of judicial decisions. I argue that the category treatments within these disciplines cannot be exported to general informal logic, where (...) the relevance of properties, not their number, must be the logically prior criterion for evaluating analogical arguments. (shrink)
Abstract -/- Quantifier domain restriction (QDR) and two versions of nominal restriction (NR) are implemented as restrictions that depend on a previously introduced interpreter and interpretation time in a two-dimensional semantic framework on the basis of simple type theory and categorial grammar. Against Stanley (2002) it is argued that a suitable version of QDR can deal with superlatives like tallest. However, it is shown that NR is needed to account for utterances when the speaker intends to convey different restrictions for (...) multiple uses of the same quantifying determiner. We argue that NR generally fares better with such examples but also observe that examples like Every sailor waves at every sailor might be pragmatically anomalous. An account of contextual domain restriction is proposed that (i) excludes these anomalous readings (but it is shown how they could be included), (ii) makes it possible to express different contextual domain restrictions as long-range dependencies on an interpreter and an interpretation time, and (iii) additionally models restrictions based on locative constructions as general mereological constraints introduced by shifting the index. (shrink)
National <.lt> domain name disputes in Lithuania are the ones which courts must decide without having any specific legal regulation. In such cases courts shall apply analogy of law, customs and general principals of law. Last but not least, the courts must address international legal practice as regards the domain name disputes, i.e. take into account the famous ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy adopted in 1999 and mostly applied by the panels of WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre while (...) dealing with disputes on generic top level domain names <.com>, <.net>, <.org>, also analyse the practice of ADR cases of Czech Arbitration Court which has the jurisdiction over <.eu> domain name disputes. This article deals with the case-law of Lithuanian courts in <.lt> domain name disputes and analysis the trends of Lithuanian internet law as regards the protection of the owners of intellectual property in Lithuania. The special attention is given to the phenomenon of cybersquatting in Lithuania and the lack of effective means to fight such unfair practices on the net. (shrink)
Poverty of the Stimulus Arguments have convinced many linguists and philosophers of language that a domain specific language acquisition device (LAD) is necessary to account for language learning. Here we review empirical evidence that casts doubt on the necessity of this domain specific device. We suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the early stages of language acquisition. Many seemingly innate language-related abilities have to be learned over the course of several months. Further, the language input contains rich (...) stochastic information that can be accessed by domain-general learning mechanisms. Computer simulation has shown how mechanisms that are not domain specific can exploit the information contained in language. We conclude that (i) Poverty of the Stimulus Arguments need to be conceptually clarified and (ii) more empirical research needs to be carried out before we can rule out that data driven general purpose mechanisms can account for language learning. (shrink)
The paper compares ontic structural realism in quantum physics with ontic structural realism about space–time. We contend that both quantum theory and general relativity theory support a common, contentful metaphysics of ontic structural realism. After recalling the main claim of ontic structural realism and its physical support, we point out that both in the domain of quantum theory and in the domain of general relativity theory, there are objects whose essential ways of being are certain relations so that these objects (...) do not possess an intrinsic identity. Nonetheless, the qualitative, physical nature of these relations is in the quantum case (entanglement) fundamentally different from the classical, metrical relations treated in general relativity theory. (shrink)
The evolution of human language, and the kind of thought the communication of which requires it, raises considerable explanatory challenges. These systems of representation constitute a radical discontinuity in the natural world. Even species closely related to our own appear incapable of either thought or talk with the recursive structure, generalized systematicity, and task-domain neutrality that characterize human talk and the thought it expresses. W. Tecumseh Fitch’s proposal (2004, in press) that human language is descended from a sexually selected, prosodic (...) proto-language that approximated its syntactic complexity, and later acquired semantics thanks to kin selection for its use as a means of pedagogical transmission, has the promise of meeting these explanatory challenges. However, Fitch’s theory raises two problems of its own: (1) according to Boyd and Richerson (1996, Proc. Br. Acad. 88: 77–93), circumstances in which pedagogy is adaptive are inevitably rare in nature, and (2) it is unlikely that our non-discursive precursors had generally systematic, task-domain neutral thoughts to communicate to their offspring. I propose solutions to these problems. Pedagogy would be favored in a population where complex rituals dominated diverse aspects of life. Prosodic proto-language could emerge as the medium of pedagogic transmission. As this medium was used to teach a greater variety of tasks, it would become increasingly general and domain neutral. The presence and importance of such a system of communication in hominid populations could then drive, via Baldwinian mechanisms, the evolution of a kind of ‘thinking for speaking’ (Slobin 1991, Pragmatics 1: 7–25) characterized by recursive structure, generalized systematicity, and task-domain neutrality. (shrink)
Atran proposes that humans have a unique, innate, domain-specific tendency to create taxonomies of biological kinds. We show that: (1) in ontogenesis, children develop a notion Atran claims to be innate; (2) what Atran claims is unique to biological kinds may be found in artifact kinds; and (3) although Atran proposes a domain-specific mental construct for biological rank, it can be explained in domain- general terms.
Science requires postformal capabilities to compare competing explanations and conceptualize how to coordinate or integrate them. With conflicts thus reconciled, science advances. The Model of Hierarchical Complexity facilitates the coordination of current arguments about intelligence. A cross-species measurement theory of comparative cognition is proposed. It has potential to overcome the lack of a general measurement theory for the science of comparative cognition, and the lack of domain-general mechanisms for evolutionary psychologists. The hierarchical complexity of concepts and debates as well (...) as the new theory are scored, and demonstrate the postformal hierarchical complexity of the proposed theory. (shrink)
Reasons are given for believing that it is premature to abandon the idea that domain-general models of concept learning can explain how human beings understand the biological world. Questions are raised about whether the evidence for domain specificity is convincing, and it is suggested that two constraints on domain-general concept learning models may be sufficient to account for the available data.
The hypothesis in the target paper is that the cognitive function of language lies in making possible the integration of different types of domain-specific information. The case for this hypothesis must consist, at least in part, of a constructive proposal as to what feature or features of natural language allows this integration to take place. This commentary suggests that the vital linguistic element is the relative pronoun and the possibility it affords of forming relative clauses.
Postulating a variety of mutually isolated thought domains for prelinguistic creatures is both unparsimonious and implausible, requiring unexplained parallel evolution of each separate module. Furthermore, the proposal that domain-general concepts are not accessible without prior exposure to phonetically realized human language utterances cannot be implemented by any concept-acquisition mechanism.
1. Nathan Salmon paper is entitled with a question: are general terms rigid? He asks this question in way of engaging the issue of the extension of the notion of rigidity beyond the domain of singular terms. While singular terms has been the province of most of the discussion of this rigidity since Naming and Necessity, it is well known that Kripke saw the notion extending to at least certain general terms such as terms for natural kinds. Scott Soames has (...) recently weighed in on this issue in the latter chapters of his book Beyond Rigidity. His conclusion is that although there are significant overlaps in the properties of singular and general terms, there is no direct extension of rigidity to the general terms, and that rigid designation is properly applied only to singular terms. Salmon disagrees. His view, based in part of views dating back to his book Reference and Essence, is that there is an extension to be had, one which allows the application of the standard Kripkean characterization of rigidity to be applied to both sorts of terms. Central to his thesis is a claim about the status of certain definite descriptions. In these remarks, I will try to outline the issues to which NS is reacting, and the proposal he posits in response. I will then consider in a more critical light his claim about definite descriptions, bringing to bear considerations of their grammar. (shrink)
Current approaches to formal representation in biomedicine are characterized by their focus on either the static or the dynamic aspects of biological reality. We here outline a theory that combines both perspectives and at the same time tackles the by no means trivial issue of their coherent integration. Our position is that a good ontology must be capable of accounting for reality both synchronically (as it exists at a time) and diachronically (as it unfolds through time), but that these are (...) two quite different tasks, whose simultaneous realization is by no means trivial. The paper is structured as follows. We begin by laying out the methodological and philosophical background of our approach. We then summarize the structure and elements of the Basic Formal Ontology on which it rests, in particular the SNAP ontology of objects and the SPAN ontology of processes. Finally, we apply the general framework to the specific domain of biomedicine. (shrink)
I discuss the ontological assumptions and implications of General Relativity. I maintain that General Relativity is a theory about gravitational fields, not about space-time. The latter is a more basic ontological category, that emerges from physical relations among all existents. I also argue that there are no physical singularities in space-time. Singular space-time models do not belong to the ontology of the world: they are not things but concepts, i.e. defective solutions of Einstein’s field equations. I briefly discuss the actual (...) implication of the so-called singularity theorems in General Relativity and some problems related to ontological assumptions of Quantum Gravity. (shrink)
This paper explores Simon Stevin’s l’Arithmétique of 1585, where we find a novel understanding of the concept of number. I will discuss the dynamics between his practice and philosophy of mathematics, and put it in the context of his general epistemological attitude. Subsequently, I will take a close look at his justificational concerns, and at how these are reflected in his inductive, a postiori and structuralist approach to investigating the numerical field. I will argue that Stevin’s renewed conceptualisation of (...) the notion of number is a sort of “existential closure” of the numerical domain, founded upon the practice of his predecessors and contemporaries. Accordingly, I want to make clear that l’Aritmetique have to be read not as an ontological analysis or exploration of the numerical field, but as an explication of a mathematical ethos. In this sense, this article also intends to make a specific contribution to the broader issue of the “ethics of geometry.”. (shrink)
Atran's account of cultural transmission can be further refined by considering constraints from early-developed, domain-specific intuitive ontological understanding. These suggest specific predictions about the cultural survival of “memes,” depending on the way they activate intuitive understanding. There is no general dynamic of cultural inheritance; only complex predictions for domain-specific competencies that cut across cultural domains.
* This work has been evolving for a while now. Some parts trace back to the few pages on the context-dependency of quantifiers in my dissertation. Reading Recanati’s paper on domains of discourse made me rethink some of my earlier conclusions without in the end actually changing them much. Other parts formed the material for several discussions in my seminar on context-dependency at MIT in the fall of 1995, which included several sessions exploring the issues raised in an early version (...) of Kratzer (1998). Connecting the choice function approach to indefinites with a general analysis of contextual domain restriction was an idea that I considered then without however working out any details. Conversations with Lisa Matthewson and studying her paper inspired me to tackle the problem again. Connections to questions about the context-dependency of conditional sentences (which are mentioned here briefly) also tickled my fancy, since I have been working on conditionals for a while now. Having the opportunity to present this material at the Vilem Mathesius Series (Prague, March 1998) provided the impetus to flesh out some of my vague thoughts. Major influences come from the work done in recent years at MIT by Lisa Matthewson (as already mentioned), Philippe Schlenker, Julie Legate, and Uli Sauerland. I thank Irene Heim, Lisa Matthewson, Orin Percus, Philippe Schlenker, and Jason Stanley for illuminating discussions about this material. At this point, I see this talk as a report on the state of the art, exploring an intriguing possible connection, but I do not claim substantial intellectual property rights. Mistakes are certainly mine, achievements are probably not. (shrink)
We develop a uniﬁed framework for dealing with constructibility and absoluteness in set theory, decidability of relations in eﬀective structures (like the natural numbers), and domain independence of queries in database theory. Our framework and results suggest that domain-independence and absoluteness might be the key notions in a general theory of constructibility, predicativity, and computability.
On Zermelo's view, any mathematical theory presupposes a non-empty domain, the elements of which enjoy equal status; furthermore, mathematical axioms must be chosen from among those propositions that reflect the equal status of domain elements. As for which propositions manage to do this, Zermelo's answer is, those that are ?symmetric?, meaning ?invariant under domain permutations?. We argue that symmetry constitutes Zermelo's conceptual analysis of ?general proposition?. Further, although others are commonly associated with the extension of Klein's Erlanger Programme to logic, (...) Zermelo's name has a place in that story. (shrink)
Next SectionWhilst there has been considerable debate about the fit between moral theory and moral reasoning in everyday life, the way in which moral problems are defined has rarely been questioned. This paper presents a qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with 15 general practitioners (GPs) in South Australia to argue that the way in which the bioethics literature defines an ethical dilemma captures only some of the range of lay views about the nature of ethical problems. The bioethics literature has (...) defined ethical dilemmas in terms of conflict and choice between values, beliefs and options for action. While some of the views of some of the GPs in this study about the nature of their ethical dilemmas certainly accorded with this definition, other explanations of the ethical nature of their problems revolved around the publicity associated with the issues they were discussing, concern about their relationships with patients, and anxiety about threats to their integrity and reputation. The variety of views about what makes a problem a moral problem indicates that the moral domain is perhaps wider and richer than mainstream bioethics would generally allow. (shrink)
In Carruthers’ formulation, cross-domain thinking requires translation of domain specific data into a common format, and linguistic LF thus plays the role of the common medium of exchange. Alternatively, I propose a process-oriented characterization, in which there is no common representation and cross-domain thinking is rather the process of establishing mappings across domains, as in the process of analogical reasoning.
Atran adds a synthesis of much of the literature on folk-biological classification to important new experimental data relevant to long-standing inferences about the structure of folk taxonomies. What we know about such systems is somewhat overstated, and key issues remain unresolved, especially concerning the centrality of “generic species,” the primacy of “general purpose” taxonomies, and domain specificity.
In recent years the concept of “user’s rights” has gained considerable currency in discussions of the limits of intellectual property in general, and of copyright in particular. Those arguing in favour of the public domain and increased limitations on copyright have increasingly sought to fight fire with fire – to place substantive user’s rights against the claims of intellectual property. User’s rights have in some jurisdictions received explicit Supreme Court imprimatur and they are expressly recognised in key charters of human (...) rights. Yet there is a residual uncertainty about the appropriateness of this language. Is it correct, as a general conceptual and normative matter, to speak of the broad liberties citizens have regarding access to ideas and information as rights? The few treatments dealing directly with this question have argued – often from a Hohfeldian footing – that ascriptions of user’s rights are inappropriate. Even commentators largely sympathetic to the public domain have found themselves drawn to this conclusion. In this paper, I vindicate the general applicability of rights language by arguing these deflationary accounts are mistaken – and are mistaken even in terms of the theories of rights they themselves deploy. (shrink)
In The Imaginary Domain, Drucilla Cornell argues that law would best help women by guaranteeing "minimum conditions for individuation" for all citizens (1995, 4). Cornell believes that, as a guiding idea for law and economic institutions, the liberal social contract has not so much denied women equal protection as a group as it has arbitrarily given a negative meaning to sexual difference—including but not limited to female embodiment. In Deleuzian terms, this contract is a generative Idea encoding a discourse in (...) which women's life possibilities are more general and less singular than those of other citizens.Cornell agrees with Rawls that a polity should be grounded on principles to which all individuals could .. (shrink)
Males traditionally predominate at upper achievement levels. One general view holds that this is due only to various social factors such as the and lack of female role models. Another view holds that it occurs partly because of innate ability differences, with more males being at upper ability levels. In the last few decades, women have become more achievement focused and competitive and have gained many more opportunities to achieve. The present study examined one intellectual domain, international chess, to quantify (...) its gender differences in achievement and to see if these have been diminishing with the societal changes. Chess is a good test domain because it is a meritocracy, it has objective performance measures, and longitudinal data of a whole population are available. Performance ratings overall and in the top 10, 50 and 100 players of each sex show large gender differences and little convergence over the past three decades, although a few females have become high achievers. The distribution of performance ratings on the January 2004 list shows a higher male mean and evidence for more male variation, just as with traits such as height. Career patterns of players first on the list between 1985 and 1989 show that top males and females entered the list at about the same age but females tend to play fewer games and have shorter careers. In this domain at least, the male predominance is large and has remained roughly constant despite societal changes. (shrink)
Word-learning likely involves a multiplicity of components, some domain-general, others domain-specific. Against the background of recent studies that suggest that word-learning is domain-specific, we investigated the associative component of word-learning. Seven- and 14-month-old infants viewed a pair of events in which a monkey or a truck moved back and forth, accompanied by a sung syllable or a tone, matched for pitch. Following habituation, infants were presented with displays in which the visual-auditory pairings were preserved or switched, and looked longer (...) at the “switch” events when exposure time was sufficient to learn the intermodal association. At 7 months, performance on speech and tones conditions was statistically identical; at 14 months, infants had begun to favor speech. Thus, the associative component of word-learning does not appear (in contrast to rule-learning, Marcus et al., 2007) to initially privilege speech. (shrink)
“Toy worlds” involving actions, such as the Blocks World and the Monkey and Bananas domain, are often used by researchers in the areas of commonsense reasoning and planning to illustrate and test their ideas. Many of the axioms found in descriptions of these toy worlds are expressions of generalpurpose knowledge, though they are often cast in a form only useful for solving one speciﬁc problem and are not faithful representations of general facts that can be used in other domains. Instead (...) of using such domain-speciﬁc axioms for each problem, we are building a general-purpose library of action descriptions which can be referred to in descriptions of many action domains. The library is being written in the modular action description language MAD, an extension of the action language ·. In this paper we present an initial version of some of our library modules, along with a new formalization of the Monkey and Bananas domain that uses the library. Most of the axioms in this formalization come from the library, with only a few domain-speciﬁc axioms needed. (shrink)
It is well-known that feature structures (Rounds and Kasper 1986) can be fruitfully viewed as forming a Scott domain (Moshier 1988). Once a linguistically motivated notion of set value in feature structures is countenanced, however, this is no longer possible inasmuch as unification of set values in general fails to yield a unique result. In Pollard and Moshier 1990 it was shown that, while falling short of forming a Scott domain, the set of feature structures possibly containing set (...) values satisfies the weaker condition of forming a 2/3 SFP domain when equipped with an appropriate notion of subsumption: that is, for any finite setS of feature structures, there is a finite setM of minimal upper bounds ofS such that any upper bound ofS is approximated by a member ofM. Unfortunately, the 2/3 SFP domains are not as pleasant to work with as Scott domains since they are not closed under all the familiar domain constructions; and the question has remained open whether the feature structure domain satisfies the added condition of profiniteness. (The profinite -algebraic domains with least elements are a subclass of the 2/3 SFP domains which enjoy the pleasant property of being the largest full subcategory of -algebraic domains that is closed under the usual domain constructions.) In this paper we resolve this question in the affirmative. (shrink)
Carruthers argues that natural language is the medium of non-domain-specific thought in humans. The general idea is that a certain type of thinking is conducted in natural language. It’ not exactly clear, however, what type of thinking this is. I suggest two different ways of interpreting Carruthers’ thesis on this point and argue that neither of them squares well with central-process modularism.
OBJECTIVES: To study and report the attitudes of patients and general practitioners (GPs) concerning the obligation of doctors to act for the good of their patients, and to provide a practical account of beneficence in general practice. DESIGN: Semi-structured interviews administered to GPs and patients. SETTING AND SAMPLE: Participants randomly recruited from an age and gender stratified list of GPs in a geographically defined region of South Australia. The sample comprised twenty-one general practitioners and seventeen patients recruited by participating GPs. (...) RESULTS: In practice, acting for the good of the patient not only accommodates the views of patients and GPs on expertise and knowing best, but also responds to the particular details of the clinical situation. Patients had a complex understanding of the expertise necessary for medical practice, describing a contextual domain in which they were expert, and which complemented the scientific expertise of their GPs. General practitioners identified multiple sources for their expertise, of which experience was the most significant. The role of the GP included responding to individual patients and particular clinical problems and ranged from the assumption of responsibility through to the proffering of medical advice. CONCLUSION: This study found that GPs acting for the good of their patients covered a variety of GP actions and patient preferences. Beneficence was not justified by presumed patient vulnerability or the inability of patients to understand medical problems, but furthered through a recognition of the different areas of expertise contributed by both parties to the consultation. (shrink)