This is the second of the two closely linked but self-contained volumes that comprise James Hurford's acclaimed exploration of the biological evolution of language. In the first book he looked at the evolutionary origins of meaning, ending as our distant ancestors were about to step over the brink to modern language. He now considers how that step might have been taken and the consequences it undoubtedly had. -/- The capacity for language lets human beings formulate and express an unlimited (...) range of propositions about real or fictitious worlds. It allows them to communicate these propositions, often overlaid with layers of nuance and irony, to other humans who can then interpret and respond to them. These processes take place at breakneck speed. Using a language means learning a vast number of arbitrary connections between forms and meanings and rules on how to manipulate them, both of which a normal human child can do in its first few years of life. James Hurford looks at how this miracle came about. -/- The book is divided into three parts. In the first the author surveys the syntactic structures evident in the communicative behaviour of animals, such as birds and whales, and discusses how vocabularies of learned symbols could have evolved and the effects this had on human thought. In the second he considers how far the evolution of grammar depended on biological or cultural factors. In the third and final part he describes the probable route by which the human language faculty and languages evolved from simple beginnings to their present complex state. (shrink)
This practical coursebook introduces all the basics of semantics in a simple, step-by-step fashion. Each unit includes short sections of explanation with examples, followed by stimulating practice exercises to complete in the book. Feedback and comment sections follow each exercise to enable students to monitor their progress. No previous background in semantics is assumed, as students begin by discovering the value and fascination of the subject and then move through all key topics in the field, including sense and reference, simple (...) logic, word meaning and interpersonal meaning. New study guides and exercises have been added to the end of each unit to help reinforce and test learning. A completely new unit on non-literal language and metaphor, plus updates throughout the text significantly expand the scope of the original edition to bring it up-to-date with modern teaching of semantics for introductory courses in linguistics as well as intermediate students. (shrink)
Human languages, such as French, Cantonese or American Sign Language, are socio- cultural entities. Knowledge of them (`competence') is acquired by exposure to the ap- propriate environment. Languages are maintained and transmitted by acts of speaking and writing; and this is also the means by which languages evolve. The utterances of one generation are processed by their children to form mental grammars, which in some sense summarize, or generalize over, the children's linguistic experiences. These grammars are the basis for the (...) production of a new avalanche of utterances to which the next generation in its turn is subjected. (This picture is simplified, of course, as generations overlap.) Languages inhabit two distinct and separate modes of existence, which have been called (by Chomsky, 1986) `E-Language' and `I-Language'. E-language is the external observable behaviour --- utterances and inscriptions and manifestations of their meanings. E-language is regarded by some as so chaotic and subject to the vicissitudes of everyday human life as to be a poor candidate for systematic study. (E-Language corresponds to what Chomsky, in earlier terminology, called `performance'.) Out of this blooming buzzing confusion the individual child distils an order internal to the mind; the child constructs a coherent systematic set of rules mapping meanings onto forms. This set of rules is the child's I-Language (where `I' is for `internal'). No two individuals' I-Languages have to be the same, although those of people living in the same community will overlap very significantly. But there will usually be at least some slight difference between the I-language features prevalent in one generation and those prevalent in the next. This is the stuff of language evolution, in the sense of the historical development of individual languages, such as Swedish, Navaho or Zulu. (shrink)
That language is shaped to fit the human brain is close to the Chomskyan position. The target article by Christiansen & Chater (C&C) assumes an entity, outside individual heads. What is the nature of this entity? Linguistic niche-construction and co-evolution of language and genes are possible, with some of what evolved being language-specific. Recent generative theory postulates much less than the old Universal Grammar (UG).
Species evolve, very slowly, through selection of genes which give rise to phenotypes well adapted to their environments. The cultures, including the languages, of human communities evolve, much faster, maintaining at least a minimum level of adaptedness to the external, non- cultural environment. In the phylogenetic evolution of species, the transmission of information across generations is via copying of molecules, and innovation is by mutation and sexual recombination. In cultural evolution, the transmission of information across generations is by learning, and (...) innovation is by sporadic invention or borrowing from other cultures. This much is the foundational bedrock of evolutionary theory. But things get more complicated; there can be gene-culture co-evolution. Prior to the rise of culture, the physical environment is the only force shaping biological evolution from outside the organism, and cultures themselves are clearly constrained by the evolved biological characteristics of their members. But cultures become part of the external environment, and influence the course of biological evolution. For example, altruistic cultures with developed medical knowledge reduce the cost to the individual of carrying genes disposing to certain pathologies (such as diabetes); and such genes become more widespread in the populations maintaining such cultures. Assortative mating can affect biological evolution, and particular cultures may influence the factors which are sorted for in mating. (For a careful discussion of the effects of cultural evolution on natural selection, see Cavalli-Sforza and Bodmer, 1971:774- 804). This paper examines mechanisms involved in the co-evolution of a biological trait, the critical period for language acquisition, and a property of human cultures, the size of their languages. A gene/culture interaction will be shown that can be described as a kind of symbiosis, but perhaps more aptly as an `arms race'. In this introduction, we will sketch the basic mechanics of the interaction in very broad terms; the rest of the paper will explain and justify the details. The implications of our model for second language acquisition are given toward the end of the paper. (shrink)
It is necessary to distinguish among representations caused directly by perception, representations of past perceptions in long-term memory, the representations underlying linguis- tic utterances, and the surface phonological and grammatical structures of sentences. The target article dealt essentially with predicate-argument structure at the first of these levels of representation. Discussion of the commentaries mainly involves distinguishing among various applications of the term “predicate”; clarifying the assumed relationship between classical FOPL and language; clarifying the status of unique individuals as conceived by (...) humans; and addressing the issues of motion-perception, binding between object-percepts and predicate-percepts, and target-driven versus stimulus-driven attention. (shrink)
Neural correlates exist for a basic component of logical formulae, PREDICATE(x). Vision and audition research in primates and humans shows two independent neural pathways; one locates objects in body-centered space, the other attributes properties, such as colour, to objects. In vision these are the dorsal and ventral pathways. In audition, similarly separable “where” and “what” pathways exist. PREDICATE(x) is a schematic representation of the brain's integration of the two processes of delivery by the senses of the location of an arbitrary (...) referent object, mapped in parietal cortex, and analysis of the properties of the referent by perceptual subsystems. The brain computes actions using a few “deictic” variables pointing to objects. Parallels exist between such nonlinguistic variables and linguistic deictic devices. Indexicality and reference have linguistic and nonlinguistic (e.g., visual) versions, sharing the concept of attention. The individual variables of logical formulae are interpreted as corresponding to these mental variables. In computing action, the deictic variables are linked with “semantic” information about the objects, corresponding to logical predicates. Mental scene descriptions are necessary for practical tasks of primates, and preexist language phylogenetically. The type of scene descriptions used by nonhuman primates would be reused for more complex cognitive, ultimately linguistic, purposes. The provision by the brain's sensory/perceptual systems of about four variables for temporary assignment to objects, and the separate processes of perceptual categorization of the objects so identified, constitute a pre-adaptive platform on which an early system for the linguistic description of scenes developed. Key Words: argument; attention; deictic; dorsal; logic; neural; object; predicate; reference; ventral. (shrink)
Barsalou's move to a perceptual basis for cognition is welcome. His scheme contrasts with classical logical schemes in many ways, including its implications for the status of individuals. Barsalou deals mainly with perceived individuals, omitting discussion of cognized individuals. It is argued that the individuality of cognized individuals is an abstraction, which conforms in its manner of formation to other cognitive abstractions which Barsalou discusses, such as truth and disjunction.
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.
There is evidence for increase, followed by decline, in synaptic numbers during development. Dendrites do not function in isolation. A constructive neuronal process may underpin a selectionist cognitive process. The environment shapes both ontogeny and phylogeny. Phylogenetic natural selection and neural selection are compatible. Natural selection can yield both constructivist and selectionist solution to adaptuive problems.
This paper examines the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the light of the early Confucian thinker Mencius, arguing in essence that Mencian theories of moral development and self-cultivation can help us to recover the moral significance of Twain's novel. Although 'ethical criticisms' of Huckleberry Finn share a long history, I argue that most interpretations have failed to appreciate the moral significance of Jim, either by focusing on the moral arc of Huck in isolation or by casting Jim in one-dimensional terms (...) simply as a symbol or example of human dignity. By invoking the Mencian ideas of 'moral power' ( de ), human goodness, and the virtues of sympathy and humaneness, this study attempts to bring into relief the many ways that Jim, particularly in his role as an exemplar, functions as an active force in the moral life of Huck. It is hoped that this revised Mencian reading of Huckleberry Finn can restore the moral center of the novel and contribute to the growing discussion on the virtues in moral education. (shrink)
Hurford's discussion also vindicates the classical empiricist program in semantics. The idea that PREDICATE(x) is the logical form of the sensory representations encoded via the dorsal and ventral streams validates empiricists' insistence on the psychological primacy of sense data, which have the same form. In addition to knowing the logical form of our primitive representations, however, we need accounts of (1) their contents and (2) how more complex thoughts are derived from them. Ideally, our semantic vocabulary would both reflect (...) the psychological “primitiveness” of these representations and make clear how more complex representations derive from them. (shrink)
To be honest, I have almost nothing critical to say about Jim’s presentation (and this is quite unusual for a cranky analytic philosopher like me!). What Jim has said is all very sensible, and his examples are very well chosen, etc. So, instead of making critical remarks, I will try to expand a little on one of the themes Jim briefly touched upon in his talk: the contextuality of probability.
Conrad’s Lord Jim presents not only a paradigmatic case of weakness of will, but an equally paradigmatic case of the enormous difficulties that attend fitting weakness of will into our other moral attitudes, particularly those relating to moral worth and moral shame. Conrad’s general conception of character and morality is deeply Aristotelian in many respects, somewhat Kantian in others. The essay traces out the intuitive strengths and philosophical difficulties that both an Aristotelian and a Kantian conception will have before the (...) problem of weakness of will, and argues that the ambiguity in Conrad’s treatment of Jim’s case is the reflection of the clash between these two equally compelling, incompatible conceptions of the self and moral worth. (shrink)
Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man is a modern myth. Like many ancient myths it seems to have the structure of a rite of passage analysed by van Gennep into three stages: separation, marginal existence and reintegration. Separation is precipitated by a traumatic event and the marginal state is characterized by extraordinary experiences and feats. However, Jarmusch's tale does not quite fit the ancient initiation pattern since the last stage, reintegration, is at least prima facie missing. This already undermines the social function (...) of initiation and warps the significance of the myth. The modern town of ?Machine?, where the marginal existence of Blake is sealed, looms in the background of the story of his final journey to the world of spirits whence he had come. But Blake cannot quite embrace the story in which he plays the protagonist. The story is cobbled together by the Native American called ?Nobody.? Blake sceptically resigns himself to his fate. Why does Blake do this? Jarmusch manipulates the generic structure of the initiation tale in order to say something culturally significant about the possibility of living a meaningful life in a world dominated by the machine. In other words, he tells a modern myth. What does his tale say? (shrink)
The late Jim Harris' theory of the science of law, and his theoretical work on human rights and property, have been a challenge and stimulus to legal scholars for the past twenty-five years. This collection of essays, originally conceived as a festschrift and now offered to the memory of a greatly admired scholar, assesses Harris' contribution across many fields of law and legal philosophy. The chapters are written by some of the foremost specialists writing today, and reflect the wide range (...) of Harris's work, and the depth of his influence on legal studies. They include contributions on topics as diverse as the nature of law and legal reasoning, rival theories of property rights and their impact on practical questions before the courts; the nature of precedent in legal argument; and the evolving concept of human rights and its place in legal discourse. -/- With a foreword by the Honourable Justice Edwin Cameron, this volume celebrates the life and work of Jim Harris. (shrink)
This book comprises essays in law and legal theory celebrating the life and work of Jim Harris. The topics addressed reflect the wide range of Harris's work, and the depth of his influence on legal studies. They include the nature of law and legal reasoning, rival theories of property rights and their impact on practical questions before the courts; the nature of precedent in legal argument; and the evolving concept of human rights and its place in legal discourse.
According to Jim Pryor’s dogmatism, when you have an experience with content p, you often have prima facie justification to believe p that does not rest on your independent justification to believe any proposition. Although dogmatism has an intuitive appeal and seems to have an antisceptical bite, it has been targeted by different objections. This paper principally aims to answer the objections by Roger White according to which dogmatism is inconsistent with the Bayesian account of how evidence affects our credences. (...) If this were true, the rational acceptability of dogmatism would be seriously questionable. I respond that these objections don’t get off the ground because they assume that our experiences and our introspective beliefs that we have experiences have the same evidential force, whereas the dogmatist is uncommitted to this assumption. I also consider the question whether dogmatism has an antisceptical bite. I suggest that the answer turns on whether or not the Bayesian can determine the priors of hypotheses and conjectures on the grounds of their extra-empirical virtues. If the Bayesian can do so, the thesis that dogmatism has an antisceptical bite is probably false. (shrink)
(Author’s reply at “Author-Meets-Critics” session (on Paul Redding, Analytic Philosophy and the Return of Hegelian Thought) at the Annual Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Vancouver, April 10, 2009. Robert Brandom’s “critic’s” contribution is available as “Hegel and Analytic Philosophy” from his website http://www.pitt.edu/~brandom/.).
In the contemporary expanding literature on transmission failure and its connections with issues such as the Closure principle, the nature of perceptual warrant, Moore’s proof of an external world and the effectiveness of Humean scepticism, it has often been assumed that there is just one kind of it: the one made familiar by the writings of Crispin Wright and Martin Davies. Although it might be thought that one kind of failure is more than enough, Davies has recently challenged this view: (...) apparently, there are more ways in heaven and earth that warrant can fail to transmit across valid inference from one (set of) belief(s) to another, than have been dreamt of in philosophy so far. More specifically, Davies thinks that a second kind of transmission failure has to be countenanced. He connects each kind of failure of transmission of warrant with two different kinds of epistemic project, respectively, and with the exploration of whether the current dispute between conservatives such as Wright, and liberals such as Jim Pryor, on the nature of perceptual warrant, would have a bearing on them. I point out why Davies’s second kind of transmission failure is indeed no such thing. I then move on to canvass another kind of transmission failure, different from the one studied by both Wright and Davies, and dependent on an alternative conception of the structure of empirical warrants, which I dub “moderatism”. I then consider how this alternative notion of transmission failure fares with respect to Moore’s proof, its relationship with Wright’s kind of transmission failure and with the Closure principle. In closing, I defend it from criticisms that can be elicited from Pryor’s recent work. (shrink)
“Moorean Dogmatist” responses to external world skepticism endorse courses of reasoning that many people find objectionable. This paper seeks to locate this dissatisfaction in considerations about epistemic responsibility. I sketch a theory of immediate warrant and show how it can be combined with plausible “inferential internalist” demands arising from considerations of epistemic responsibility. The resulting view endorses immediate perceptual warrant but forbids the sort of reasoning that “Moorean Dogmatism” would allow. A surprising result is that Dogmatism’s commitment to immediate epistemic (...) warrant isn’t enough to avoid certain standard arguments for skepticism about the external world. (shrink)
The interventionist account of causal explanation, in the version presented by Jim Woodward (2003), has been recently claimed capable of buttressing the widely felt—though poorly understood—hunch that high-level, relatively abstract explanations, of the sort provided by sciences like biology, psychology and economics, are in some cases explanatorily optimal. It is the aim of this paper to show that this is mistaken. Due to a lack of effective constraints on the causal variables at the heart of the interventionist causal-explanatory scheme, as (...) presently formulated it is either unable to prefer high-level explanations to low, or systematically overshoots, recommending explanations at so high of a level as to be virtually vacuous. (shrink)
At the last meeting, Tim Crane gave a talk in which he made play with a distinction between ‘believing in’ and ‘believing that’. And he claimed that this distinction could be put to serious philosophical work of interest to serious metaphysicians. My hunch at the time was that this distinction in fact can’t bear any real weight. But I can’t now reconstruct Tim’s own arguments sufficiently to give a fair evaluation of them. However, Tim did say that the distinction he (...) wanted to draw, and at least some of the work to which he wanted to put the distinction, was grounded in a paper on ‘Believing in Things’ by Zolt´ an Szab´ o. So in this talk, I’ll see what we can get out of that paper. And, as far as I can recall Tim’s paper, I think it is fair to say the following. If Szab´. (shrink)
Hurford’s Constraint (Hurford, Foundations of Language, 11, 409–411, 1974) states that a disjunction is infelicitous if its disjuncts stand in an entailment relation: #John was born in Paris or in France. Gazdar (Pragmatics, Academic Press, NY, 1979) observed that scalar implicatures can obviate the constraint. For instance, sentences of the form (A or B) or (Both Aand B) are felicitous due to the exclusivity implicature of the first disjunct: A or B implicates ‘not (A and B)’. Chierchia, Fox, (...) and Spector (Handbook of semantics, 2008) use the obviation of Hurford’s Constraint in these cases to argue for a theory of local implicature. I present evidence indicating that the constraint needs to be modified in two ways. First, implicatures can obviate Hurford’s Constraint only in earlier disjuncts, not later ones: #(Both A and B) or (A or B). Second, the constraint rules out not only disjuncts that stand in an entailment relation, but also disjuncts that are even mutually consistent: #John is from Russia or Asia. I propose to make sense of these facts by providing an incremental evaluation procedure which checks that each new disjunct to the right is inconsistent with the information to its left, before the disjunct can be strengthened by local implicature. (shrink)
As the_number of clinical trials continues to grow, there is an increasing need for education and training in the field. The clinical research climate is less forgiving of errors and oversights and therefore requires more knowledge of regulations and requirements. This brand new edition details new laws and regulations in protecting children participating in clinical trials and how a new focus on privacy of individual health information in the United States has changed how medical records are handled. Includes a manual (...) for investigators, research nurses and study coordinators with minimal experience or who are new to clinical research An easy-to-read and open text design using ‘sidebars’ of examples and information boxes related to the main text Includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Glossary Duke Clinical Research Institute is the world’s largest academic clinical research organisation and is well known and respected within the clinical research community. (shrink)
This paper provides a comparative analysis of the rules of conduct governing legal representatives in Australia, the United States of America and the United Kingdom as they apply to a range of ethical issues in mediation. The analysis has four main aims. First, it clarifies the position in Australia and the USA - the Australian and American mediation communities have not introduced separate codes for ?mediation advocates? as Mason recently suggested. But some provisions have been made for mediation practice. The (...) second aim is to tease out from these provisions learning points for policy makers and rule drafters. Amongst the points to consider is whether or not, and under what circumstances, mediators should be regarded as courts, or as third parties for the purpose of the rules. Third, the analysis provides some grounds for arguing that the current rules of conduct are appropriate for legal representatives in mediation. Fourth, it identifies challenges associated with proposals to introduce rules which require legal representatives to participate in mediation in good faith in a non-adversarial manner according to higher standards of honesty and candour. The article concludes by identifying a number of assumptions which permeate the literature on this topic. (shrink)