Hartry Field has suggested that we should adopt at least a methodological deflationism: "[W]e should assume full-fledged deflationism as a working hypothesis. That way, if full-fledged deflationism should turn out to be inadequate, we will at least have a clearer sense than we now have of just where it is that inflationist assumptions... are needed". I argue here that we do not need to be methodological deflationists. More precisely, I argue that we have no need for a disquotational truth-predicate; that (...) the word 'true', in ordinary language, is not a disquotational truth-predicate; and that it is not at all clear that it is even possible to introduce a disquotational truth-predicate into ordinary language. If so, then we have no clear sense how it is even possible to be a methodological deflationist. My goal here is not to convince a committed deflationist to abandon his or her position. My goal, rather, is to argue, contrary to what many seem to think, that reflection on the apparently trivial character of T-sentences should not incline us to deflationism. (shrink)
This paper explores the trade-off between cognitive effort and cognitive effects during immediate metaphor comprehension. We specifically evaluate the fundamental claim of relevance theory that metaphor understanding, like all utterance interpretation, is constrained by the presumption of optimal relevance (Sperber and Wilson, 1995, p. 270): the ostensive stimulus is relevant enough for it to be worth the addressee's effort to process it, and the ostensive stimulus is the most relevant one compatible with the communicator's abilities and preferences. One important implication (...) of optimal relevance is that listeners follow a path of least effort and stop processing at the first interpretation that satisfies their expectation of relevance. They do this by trying to minimize cognitive effort while maximizing cognitive effects. Some relevance theory scholars suggest that metaphors should require additional cognitive effort to be understood, and that in return they yield more cognitive effects than does literal speech. Others claim that metaphors may be understood quickly, as soon as people infer enough effects for the speaker's utterance to meet their expectation of optimal relevance. Our analysis of the experimental evidence suggests that there is no systematic relationship between cognitive effort and cognitive effects in metaphor comprehension. We conclude that relevance theory need not make any general predictions about the effort needed to comprehend metaphors. Nevertheless, relevance theory is consistent with many of the findings in psycholinguistics on metaphor understanding, and can account for aspects of metaphor understanding that no other theory can explain. (shrink)
Cognitive theories of metaphor understanding are typically described in terms of the mappings between different kinds of abstract, schematic, disembodied knowledge. My claim in this paper is that part of our ability to make sense of metaphorical language, both individual utterances and extended narratives, resides in the automatic construction of a simulation whereby we imagine performing the bodily actions referred to in the language. Thus, understanding metaphorical expressions like ‘grasp a concept’ or ‘get over’ an emotion involve simulating what it (...) must be like to engage in these specific activities, even though these actions are, strictly speaking, impossible to physically perform. This process of building a simulation, one that is fundamentally embodied in being constrained by past and present bodily experiences, has specific consequences for how verbal metaphors are understood, and how cognitive scientists, more generally, characterize the nature of metaphorical language and thought. (shrink)
Mandler's target article claims that infants' capacity to abstract certain kinds of information from perceptual ldisplays occurs through a special mechanism of 'perceptual meaning analysis', which generates abstract, 'image-schemas' that are analogical representations summarizing spatial relations and movement in space. Under this view, perceptual processes give input to forming conceptual representations, but higher-order concepts are disembodied, symbolic representations that are stripped of their embodied roots. My alternative argument is that bodily experience has an enduring role in early conceptual development, and (...) throughout the lifespan, with image-schemas being continually tied to ongoing perceptual and kinesthetic actions. Many global and abstract concepts may be created in the moment given specific task demands and retain deep connections to embodied actions and experiences. (shrink)
What role do speakers'/authors' communicative intentions play in language interpretation? Cognitive scientists generally assume that listeners'/readers' recognitions of speakers'/authors' intentions is a crucial aspect of utterance interpretation. Various philosophers, literary theorists and anthropologists criticize this intentional view and assert that speakers'/authors' intentions do not provide either the starting point for linguistic interpretation or constrain how texts should be understood. Until now, cognitive scientists have not seriously responded to the current challenges regarding intentions in communication. My purpose in this article is (...) to provide just such a response. I briefly describe some of the empirical evidence in cognitive science on the importance of intentions in communication. I then discuss some of the criticisms of the intentional view that have arisen in the humanities and social sciences. Following this, I offer a partial resolution to the intentionalist controversy that recognizes the differing views on the idea of linguistic interpretation. I specifically suggest a way of thinking about linguistic interpretation in terms of the time-course of understanding that provides a metric for evaluating the role of intentions in communication. This time-course perspective on linguistic understanding provides for the plurality of ideas that now exist both in cognitive science and in postmodern philosophical thought. (shrink)
Language serves many purposes in our individual lives and our varied interpersonal interactions. Daniel Everett's claim that language primarily emerges from an “interactional instinct“ and not a classic “language instinct“ gives proper weight to the importance of coordinated communication in meeting our adaptive needs. Yet the argument that language is a “cultural tool“, motivated by an underlying “instinct“, does not adequately explain the complex, yet complementary nature of both linguistic regularities and variations in everyday speech. Our alternative suggestion is that (...) language use, and coordinated communication more generally, is an emergent product of human self-organization processes. Both broad regularities and specific variations in linguistic structure and behavior can be accounted for by self-organizational processes that operate without explicit internal rules, blueprints, or mental representations. A major implication of this view is that both linguistic patterns and behaviors, within and across speakers, emerge from the dynamical interactions of brain, body, and world, which gives rise to highly context-sensitive and varied linguistic performances. (shrink)
(2005). George R. Lucas, Jr. & W. Rick Rubel's (Eds) Ethics and the Military Profession: The Moral Foundations of Leadership and Case Studies in Military Ethics. Journal of Military Ethics: Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 214-219. doi: 10.1080/15027570500197453.
Henry Johnstone's philosophical development was guided by a persistent need to reform the concept of validity -either by reinterpreting it or by finding a substitute for it. This project lead Johnstone into interesting confrontations with the concept of rhetoric and especiaUy with the work of Chaim Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca. The project culminated in a failed attempt to develop a formal ethics of rhetoric and argumentation, but this attempt was itself not consistent with some of Johnstone's other characterizations ofan ethics of (...) argument ation. A virtue ethics would be truer to the Johnstonian philosophical project than a formal ethics of argument. Resume. (shrink)
Given the pragmatic tum recently taken by argumentation studies, we owe renewed attention to Henry Johnstone's views on the primacy of process over product. In particular, Johnstone's decidedly non-cooperative model is a refreshing alternative to the current dialogic theories of arguing, one which opens the way for specifically rhetorical lines of inquiry.