Pulvermüller assumes that words are represented as associations of two cell assemblies formed according to Hebb's coincidence rule. This seems to correspond to the linguistic notion that words consist of lexemes connected to lemmas. Standard examples from theoretical linguistics, however, show that lemmas and lexemes have properties that go beyond coincidence-based assemblies. In particular, they are inherently disposed toward combinatorial operations; push-down storage, modelled by decreasing reverberation in cell assemblies, cannot capture this. Hence, even if the language capacity has an (...) associationist characterization at some level, it cannot just be co-occurrence-based assembly formation. (shrink)
In this paper, I will outline a theory of gradation1 that builds upon quite a number of previous analyses, preserving as far as possible the concepts that have already been clarified, but modifying the structure of earlier proposals in crucial respects. The reason for adding a new theory to the ones already existing is twofold: (a) The new theory accounts for a number of relevant facts that have systematically been ignored by earlier analyses.(b) It relates these facts to those already (...) analysed in a way which does not merely give a descriptive account, but rather an explanation in terms of a few underlying conditions from which the whole range of facts follow in a natural way. A detailed discussion of the various analyses proposed so far would by far exceed the limits set for the present paper.2 1 will instead simply list, for the sake of preliminary orientation, the main points that the present theory shares with some or all of its predecessors, and those in which it differs from them. In accordance with other approaches, I will make the following assumptions:(i) The Positive of relative adjectives must be analysed in close connection with the Comparative, the Equative, and a number of related constructions. More specifically, the constructions in question are all based on a single lexical representation of the adjectives involved. (ii) The Positive of a relative adjective is interpreted with respect to a contextually determined class of comparison C. Within C, a standard, average, or norm N.c A. is defined with respect to the property A specified by the adjective in question, so that, e.g., John is tall is interpreted roughly as ‘John is taller than /V M ’. In the present paper, 1 will not be concerned with the question how Cand Ntr. .. are determined, but simply assume that N is available. (I will usually drop the index [C, A] of N.) (iii) Relative adjectives assign to an individual x a degree dA where d might be conceived as a class of individuals that are equivalent with respect to A. (This notion will be somewhat modified below.) Differing from all other approaches, I make the following assumptions:(iv) The lexical representation of a relational adjective is semantically a kind of three-place predicate that relates an individual x, a standard of comparison v, and a difference c. With respect to their semantic type, both v and c are degrees, and the degree assigned to x is composed of the values of v and c? One of the possible values of v is N. (v) Comparative and Equative constructions are related to each other in roughly the following way: the complement clause of the Comparative specifies the value of v, while that of the Equative specifies the value of c.4(vi) Relative adjectives belong to (at least) two classes, which I will call dimensional adjectives (tall, long, heavy etc.), and evaluative adjectives (clever, nice, good etc.). The degrees specified by D-adjectives are extents, the degrees specified by E-adjectives are grades.5(vii) There is a small number of conditions on semantic representations that determine, among others, the value the standard of comparison v can assume in specified configurations. To conclude this preliminary outline, I should emphasize that more important than the list of individual points relating the present theory to or distinguishing it from other proposals is the general structure of the theory, which is different from its predecessors. This will become clear as we proceed. (shrink)
In the recent debate on the semantic/pragmatic divide, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore (2005) on the one hand, and Fran¸cois Recanati (2004) on the other, occupy almost diametrically opposed positions as regards the role of semantics for communication, while largely agreeing on important features of pragmatics. According to Cappelen and Lepore (CL), semantic context sensitivity of natural language sentences is restricted to what is determined by a particular minimal set of canonically context sensitive expressions. If you try to go beyond (...) that set, as has often been done in recent semantic theories, to reach a position of moderate contextualism, your reasons will force you to the much more extreme position of radical contextualism. That is CL’s instability thesis. They argue for it by means of a number of examples intended to illustrate how you are off on a slippery slope if you admit any context sensitivity beyond the basic one. If radical contextualism is true, systematic semantics is not possible, since, according to CL, there cannot be any systematic theory of speech act content. The one exception is that whatever is said by the utterance of a sentence, its minimally context dependent content is part of it. Precisely this is denied by Recanati. Not only is this “minimal proposition” not part of speech act content. The minimal proposition plays no.. (shrink)
Within the realms of cognitive studies, spatial structure is one of the few domains where attempts to trace mental representations from the level of sensory input conditions through conceptual structure to their lexical and grammatical organization seem to be feasible and revealing. Presenting a linguist's approach to the meaning and use of spatial dimensional terms, the paper aims to demonstrate why and how the semantic analysis of these linguistic items has to be justified in terms of nonlinguistic conceptual structure formation, (...) which in turn has to be shown to derive from categorized perceptual input. Regarding framework and approach, the paper supplements ManfredBierwisch's recent article on Comparison in JS, 6: 1.57-93 and 2.101-146. As to substance, it is argued that the structure of conceptual knowledge of spatial objects can plausibly be modelled by means of object schemata which result from two interacting categorization grids called Primary Perceptual Space and Inherent Proportion Schema. Offering an analysis which draws on linguistic theorizing, the paper is meant as an invitation to psycholinguists and psychologists for discussion and cooperation. (shrink)
Manfred Frank and Niels Weidtmann (Eds.): Husserl und die Philosophie des Geistes Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s10743-011-9101-2 Authors Dan Zahavi, Center for Subjectivity Research, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark Journal Husserl Studies Online ISSN 1572-8501 Print ISSN 0167-9848.
This essay works to set up a debate between the German philosopher Manfred Frank and the French philosophers Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy. At stake in the debate is the concept of freedom. The essay begins by explaining Frank's subject-based concept of freedom and then it presents the perfectly opposed non-subjective ontological concept of freedom that Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy forward. In the end, in the interest of threading a way through this impasse, and following the cue of these three (...) philosophers, we turn to the early German Romantics Novalis and Friedrich Schlegel to help us reconceptualise freedom. Following their cue, I draw on the strengths of Frank and Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy while avoiding their dangerous extremes. (shrink)
Review of Manfred Kuehn's outstanding biography on Immanuel Kant. A critical point I raise concerns Kuehn's discussion of Kant's relation to Hume. Scholars are divided over the questions of (a) whether Hume was an actual inspiration for Kant’s Critical philosophy, (b) whether Kant’s defense really addresses Hume’s problem of causality, and, of course, (c) whether Kant’s arguments provide a satisfactory solution to the problem. Sometimes these questions are not clearly distinguished by interpreters, part of the reason Kant scholarship appears (...) so intractable to outsiders. While Kuehn’s answers to questions (a) and (b) appear to be ”Yes”, and while his reasons for the Yes to (a) are convincing, those for Yes to (b) are not; and (c) isn't addressed at all. (shrink)