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Profile: Simon Beck (University of the Western Cape)
  1. Sigrid Beck & Kyle Johnson, Double Objects Again.
    (1) a. Satoshi sent Thilo the Schw¨abische W¨orterbuch. b. Satoshi sent the Schw¨abische W¨orterbuch to Thilo. Many have entertained the notion that there is a rule that relates sentences such as these. This is suggested by the fact that it is possible to learn that a newly coined verb licenses one of them and automatically know that it licenses the other. Marantz (1984) argues for the existence of such a rule in this way, noting that once one has learned of (...)
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  2. Sigrid Beck & Arnim von Stechow, Dog After Dog Revisited.
    The topic of this paper is the semantic analysis of the sentences in (1). (1a,b) contain the adverbial modifiers 'one after the other' and 'dog after dog', respectively, which add to the simple (1') information on how the overall event of the dogs entering the room is to be divided into subevents based on a division of the group of dogs into individual dogs. We call these adverbials pluractional adverbials, following e.g. Lasersohn's (1995) use of the term pluractionality for the (...)
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  3. Sarah R. Beck, Daniel P. Weisberg, Patrick Burns & Kevin J. Riggs (2014). Conditional Reasoning and Emotional Experience: A Review of the Development of Counterfactual Thinking. [REVIEW] Studia Logica 102 (4):673-689.
    What do human beings use conditional reasoning for? A psychological consequence of counterfactual conditional reasoning is emotional experience, in particular, regret and relief. Adults’ thoughts about what might have been influence their evaluations of reality. We discuss recent psychological experiments that chart the relationship between children’s ability to engage in conditional reasoning and their experience of counterfactual emotions. Relative to conditional reasoning, counterfactual emotions are late developing. This suggests that children need not only competence in conditional reasoning, but also to (...)
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  4. Dirk S. Paul, Nicole Soranzo & Stephan Beck (2014). Functional Interpretation of Non‐Coding Sequence Variation: Concepts and Challenges. Bioessays 36 (2):191-199.
  5. S. Beck (2013). Lucinda Driving Too Fast Again—The Scalar Properties of Ambiguous Than-Clauses. Journal of Semantics 30 (1):1-63.
    This paper presents a systematic empirical investigation of so-called Rullmann Ambiguities (The helicopter was flying less high than a plane can fly). It is shown that many examples constructed after this pattern are in fact unambiguous, and that some but not all examples which replace less with ordinary more/-er are ambiguous. An analysis is proposed which takes into account the inferential properties of the degree predicate in the than-clause plus the way contextual information can be integrated into its meaning. The (...)
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  6. Simon Beck (2013). Am I My Brother's Keeper? On Personal Identity and Responsibility. South African Journal of Philosophy 32 (1):1-9.
    The psychological continuity theory of personal identity has recently been accused of not meeting what is claimed to be a fundamental requirement on theories of identity - to explain personal moral responsibility. Although they often have much to say about responsibility, the charge is that they cannot say enough. I set out the background to the charge with a short discussion of Locke and the requirement to explain responsibility, then illustrate the accusation facing the theory with details from Marya Schechtman. (...)
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  7. Simon Beck (2013). The Misunderstandings of the Self-Understanding View. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 20 (1):33-42.
    There are two currently popular but quite different ways of answering the question of what constitutes personal identity: the one is usually called the psychological continuity theory (or Psychological View) and the other the narrative theory.1 Despite their differences, they do both claim to be providing an account—the correct account—of what makes someone the same person over time. Marya Schechtman has presented an important argument in this journal (Schechtman 2005) for a version of the narrative view (the ‘Self-Understanding View’) over (...)
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  8. Simon Beck (2013). Understanding Ourselves Better. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 20 (1):51-55.
    Marya Schechtman and Grant Gillett acknowledge that my case in ‘The misunderstandings of the Self-Understanding View’ (2013) has some merits, but neither is moved to change their position and accept that the Psychological View has more going for it (and the Self-Understanding View less) than Schechtman originally contended. Schechtman thinks her case could be better expressed, and then the deficiencies of the Psychological View will be manifest. That view is committed to Locke’s insight about the importance of phenomenological connections to (...)
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  9. Sarah R. Beck, Jackie Chappell, Ian A. Apperly & Nicola Cutting (2012). Tool Innovation May Be a Critical Limiting Step for the Establishment of a Rich Tool-Using Culture: A Perspective From Child Development. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (4):220-221.
    Recent data show that human children (up to 8 years old) perform poorly when required to innovate tools. Our tool-rich culture may be more reliant on social learning and more limited by domain-general constraints such as ill-structured problem solving than otherwise thought.
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  10. Sigrid Beck (2012). DegP Scope Revisited. Natural Language Semantics 20 (3):227-272.
    The semantic literature takes degree operators like the comparative, but also measure phrases, the equative, the superlative and so on, to be quantifiers over degrees. This is well motivated by their semantic contribution, but leads one to expect far more scope interaction than is actually observed. This paper proposes an alternative-semantic analysis of certain degree constructions, in particular constructions with little and other negative antonyms. Restrictions on scope can then be explained as intervention effects.
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  11. Sigrid Beck (2012). Pluractional Comparisons. Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (1):57-110.
    This paper develops a semantic analysis of data like It is getting colder and colder. Their meaning is argued to arise from a combination of a comparative with pluractionality. The analysis is embedded in a general theory of plural predication and pluractionality. It supports a semantic theory involving a family of syntactic plural operators.
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  12. Daniel P. Weisberg & Sarah R. Beck (2012). The Development of Children's Regret and Relief. Cognition and Emotion 26 (5):820-835.
  13. Sarah R. Beck, Ian A. Apperly, Jackie Chappell, Carlie Guthrie & Nicola Cutting (2011). Making Tools Isn't Child's Play. Cognition 119 (2):301-306.
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  14. Sarah R. Beck, KevinJ Riggs & Patrick Burns (2011). Counterfactual Thinking. In Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Sarah R. Beck (eds.), Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation. Oxford University Press. 110.
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  15. Sigrid Beck (2011). Comparison Constructions. In Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. De Gruyter Mouton. 2--1341.
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  16. Simon Beck (2011). Causal Copersonality: In Defence of the Psychological Continuity Theory. South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):244-255.
    The view that an account of personal identity can be provided in terms of psychological continuity has come under fire from an interesting new angle in recent years. Critics from a variety of rival positions have argued that it cannot adequately explain what makes psychological states co-personal (i.e. the states of a single person). The suggestion is that there will inevitably be examples of states that it wrongly ascribes using only the causal connections available to it. In this paper, I (...)
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  17. Simon Beck (2011). Can Parables Work? Philosophy and Theology 23 (1):149-165.
    While theories about interpreting biblical and other parables have long realised the importance of readers’ responses to the topic, recent results in social psychology concerning systematic self-deception raise unforeseen problems. In this paper I first set out some of the problems these results pose for the authority of fictional thought-experiments in moral philosophy. I then consider the suggestion that biblical parables face the same problems and as a result cannot work as devices for moral or religious instruction in the way (...)
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  18. Sarah L. Gorniak, Kevin J. Riggs & Sarah R. Beck (2011). Relating Developments in Children's Counterfactual Thinking and Executive Functions. Thinking and Reasoning 15 (4):337-354.
    The performance of 93 children aged 3 and 4 years on a battery of different counterfactual tasks was assessed. Three measures: short causal chains, location change counterfactual conditionals, and false syllogisms—but not a fourth, long causal chains—were correlated, even after controlling for age and receptive vocabulary. Children's performance on our counterfactual thinking measure was predicted by receptive vocabulary ability and inhibitory control. The role that domain general executive functions may play in 3- to 4-year olds' counterfactual thinking development is discussed.
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  19. Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Sarah R. Beck (eds.) (2011). Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation. Oxford University Press.
    How are causal judgements such as 'The ice on the road caused the traffic accident' connected with counterfactual judgements such as 'If there had not been any ice on the road, the traffic accident would not have happened'? This volume throws new light on this question by uniting, for the first time, psychological and philosophical approaches to causation and counterfactuals. Traditionally, philosophers have primarily been interested in connections between causal and counterfactual claims on the level of meaning or truth-conditions. More (...)
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  20. Baccus Jr, M. W. Baldwin, M. T. Banich, D. M. Barch, Y. Bar-Haim, A. Baumert, K. E. Becerril, S. M. Beck, C. G. Beevers & O. Benga (2010). Adam, EK, 48 Anderson, RJ, 702 Ansari, TL, 241 Arnell, KM, 1431. Cognition and Emotion 24.
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  21. Simon Beck (2010). Morals, Metaphysics and the Method of Cases. South African Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):332-342.
    In this paper I discuss a set of problems concerning the method of cases as it is used in applied ethics and in the metaphysical debate about personal identity. These problems stem from research in social psychology concerning our access to the data with which the method operates. I argue that the issues facing ethics are more worrying than those facing metaphysics.
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  22. Adam C. Savine, Stefanie M. Beck, Bethany G. Edwards, Kimberly S. Chiew & Todd S. Braver (2010). Enhancement of Cognitive Control by Approach and Avoidance Motivational States. Cognition and Emotion 24 (2):338-356.
  23. S. Beck & S. Vasishth (2009). Multiple Focus. Journal of Semantics 26 (2):159-184.
    Next SectionThis paper presents the results of an experimental study on multiple focus configurations, that is, structures containing two nested focus-sensitive operators plus two foci supposed to associate with those operators. There has been controversial discussion in the semantic literature regarding whether or not an interpretation is acceptable that corresponds to this association. While the data are unclear, the issue is of considerable theoretical significance, as it distinguishes between the available theories of focus interpretation. Some theories (e.g. Rooth's 1992) predict (...)
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  24. Simon Beck (2009). Martha Nussbaum and the Foundations of Ethics: Identity, Morality and Thought-Experiments. South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):261-270.
    Martha Nussbaum has argued in support of the view (supposedly that of Aristotle) that we can, through thought-experiments involving personal identity, find an objective foundation for moral thought without having to appeal to any authority independent of morality. I compare the thought-experiment from Plato’s Philebus that she presents as an example to other thought-experiments involving identity in the literature and argue that this reveals a tension between the sources of authority which Nussbaum invokes for her thought-experiment. I also argue that (...)
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  25. Stephen Beck & Elena María Rodríguez‐Falcón (2009). Student Learning on Non‐Traditional Modules on Traditional Courses. Nexus 1:34-54.
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  26. Sabine Beck, Andreas van de Loo & Stella Reiter-Theil (2008). A “Little Bit Illegal”? Withholding and Withdrawing of Mechanical Ventilation in the Eyes of German Intensive Care Physicians. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 11 (1):7-16.
    Research questions and backgroundThis study explores a highly controversial issue of medical care in Germany: the decision to withhold or withdraw mechanical ventilation in critically ill patients. It analyzes difficulties in making these decisions and the physicians’ uncertainty in understanding the German terminology of Sterbehilfe, which is used in the context of treatment limitation. Used in everyday language, the word Sterbehilfe carries connotations such as helping the patient in the dying process or helping the patient to enter the dying process. (...)
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  27. Sigrid Beck, Luka Crnic & Thilo Götz (2008). Ruin and Restitution. Natural Language Semantics 16 (2):111-114.
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  28. Simon Beck (2008). Going Narrative: Schechtman and the Russians. South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):69-79.
    Marya Schechtman's The Constitution of Selves presented an impressive attempt to persuade those working on personal identity to give up mainstream positions and take on a narrative view instead. More recently, she has presented new arguments with a closely related aim. She attempts to convince us to give up the view of identity as a matter of psychological continuity, using Derek Parfit's story of the “Nineteenth Century Russian” as a central example in making the case against Parfit's own view, and (...)
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  29. Simon Beck (2008). Intuitionism, Constructive Interpretation, and Cricket. Philosophical Papers 37 (2):319-331.
    This paper is a re-reading of Colin Radford's paper 'The Umpire's Dilemma', published in Analysis in 1985. It argues that Radford's dilemma has been unjustly ignored and has interesting (and problematic) implications for both intuitionism and Ronald Dworkin's constructive interpretationist jurisprudence.
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  30. Jörg Niewöhner, Christoph Kehl & Stefan Beck (eds.) (2008). Wie Geht Kultur Unter Die Haut?: Emergente Praxen an der Schnittstelle von Medizin, Lebens- Und Sozialwissenschaft. Transcript.
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  31. S. Beck & A. von Stechow (2007). Pluractional Adverbials. Journal of Semantics 24 (3):215-254.
    This paper investigates the semantics of adverbials like ‘page by page’ and ‘stone upon stone’. An analysis is developed in which sentences containing such adverbials have a pluractional semantics; that is, pluralization affects simultaneously the event- and the individual-argument slot of a predicate. Sternefeld's (1998) system of plural operators is used and extended for this purpose. The adverbial constrains the relation that is pluralized and makes visible a higher plural operator. In the case of ‘page by page’-type adverbials, this is (...)
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  32. Stefan Beck (2007). Medicalizing Culture(s) or Culturalizing Medicine(S). In Regula Valérie Burri & Joseph Dumit (eds.), Biomedicine as Culture: Instrumental Practices, Technoscientific Knowledge, and New Modes of Life. Routledge.
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  33. Kevin J. Riggs & Sarah R. Beck (2007). Thinking Developmentally About Counterfactual Possibilities. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (5-6):463-463.
    Byrne implies that working memory development underpins children's ability to represent counterfactuals as possibilities at 3 to 4 years of age. Recent findings suggest that (1) developments in the ability to consider alternatives to reality in children of this age are underpinned by improvements in inhibitory control, not working memory, and (2) children do not develop an understanding of counterfactuals as possibilities until mid-childhood.
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  34. Deane-Peter Baker, Simon Beck & David Spurrett (2006). Editorial: New Developments at the SAJP. South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):89-90.
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  35. Sigrid Beck (2006). Focus on Again. Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (3):277 - 314.
    This paper examines the effect that focus has on repetitive versus restitutive again. It is argued that a pragmatic explanation of the effect is the right strategy. The explanation builds largely on a standard focus semantics. To this we add an anaphoric analysis of again’s presupposition and a detailed analysis of the alternatives triggered when focus falls on again.
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  36. Sigrid Beck (2006). Intervention Effects Follow From Focus Interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 14 (1):1-56.
    The paper provides a semantic analysis of intervention effects in wh-questions. The interpretation component of the grammar derives uninterpretability, hence ungrammaticality, of the intervention data. In the system of compositional interpretation that I suggest, wh-phrases play the same role as focused phrases, introducing alternatives into the computation. Unlike focus, wh-phrases make no ordinary semantic contribution. An intervention effect occurs whenever a focus-sensitive operator other than the question operator tries to evaluate a constituent containing a wh-phrase. It is argued that this (...)
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  37. Simon Beck (2006). Fiction and Fictions: On Ricoeur on the Route to the Self. South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):329-335.
    In reaching his narrative view of the self in Oneself as Another, Paul Ricoeur argues that, while literature offers revealing insights into the nature of the self, the sort of fictions involving brain transplants, fission, and so on, that philosophers often take seriously do not (and cannot). My paper is a response to Ricoeur's charge, contending that the arguments Ricoeur rejects are not flawed in the way he suggests, and that his own arguments are sometimes guilty of the very charges (...)
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  38. Simon Beck (2006). These Bizarre Fictions: Thought-Experiments, Our Psychology and Our Selves. Philosophical Papers 35 (1):29-54.
    Philosophers have traditionally used thought-experiments in their endeavours to find a satisfactory account of the self and personal identity. Yet there are considerations from empirical psychology as well as related ones from philosophy itself that appear to completely undermine the method of thought-experiment. This paper focuses on both sets of considerations and attempts a defence of the method.
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  39. Patrick Lenta & Simon Beck (2006). A Sporting Dilemma and its Jurisprudence. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 33 (2):125-143.
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  40. S. Beck (2005). There and Back Again: A Semantic Analysis. Journal of Semantics 22 (1):3-51.
    This paper presents a cross-linguistic survey of the interpretations that decomposition adverbs like again permit. The survey distinguishes two different types of predicates that are combined with again: lexical accomplishments like ‘open the door’, on the one hand, and combinations of a motion verb with a directional Prepositional Phrase (PP) on the other (for example, ‘walk to the summit’). There is systematic cross-linguistic variation with the latter type of predicate: a language only permits a restitutive reading of again with such (...)
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  41. Sabine Beck (2004). Costantino Esposito, Heidegger - Storia e Fenomenologia del possibile. Heidegger Studies 20:163-168.
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  42. Simon Beck (2004). Our Identity, Responsibility and Biology. Philosophical Papers:3-14.
    Eric Olson argues in The Human Animal that thought-experiments involving body-swapping do not in the end offer any support to psychological continuity theories, nor do they pose any threat to his Biological View. I argue that he is mistaken in at least the second claim.
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  43. Simon Beck (2003). Cognition, Persons, Identity. Alternation 10 (1):195-215.
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  44. S. Beck (2002). Pluralities of Questions. Journal of Semantics 19 (2):105-157.
    This paper proposes a novel semantic analysis of the quantificational variability data discovered by Berman (1991). We suggest that the adverb of quantification in those data quantifies over semantic questions. Its domain is a division of the original question into subquestions, where a legitimate division into subquestions is one in which each member contributes towards the answer to the original question, and together the answers to all subquestions provide the complete answer to the original question. Thus the question itself is (...)
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  45. Sabine Beck (2001). Mittelalter «en vogue». Ein Gedicht Rilkes mit Heidegger gelesen. Quaestio 1 (1):361-378.
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  46. Sigrid Beck (2001). Reciprocals Are Definites. Natural Language Semantics 9 (1):69-138.
    This paper proposes that elementary reciprocal sentences have four semantic readings: a strongly reciprocal interpretation, a weakly reciprocal interpretation, a situation-based weakly reciprocal reading, and a collective reading. Interpretational possibilities of reciprocal sentences that have been discussed in the literature are identified as one of these four. A compositional semantic analysis of all of these readings is provided in which the reciprocal expression is uniformly represented as 'the other ones among them' (recasting Heim, Lasnik and May 1991a, b). A reciprocal (...)
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  47. Simon Beck (2001). Let's Exist Again (Like We Did Last Summer). South African Journal of Philosophy 20 (2):159-170.
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  48. E. E. Abola, A. Bairoch, W. C. Barker, S. Beck, H. da BensonBerman, G. Cameron, C. Cantor, S. Doubet & T. J. P. Hubbard (2000). Quality Control in Databanks for Molecular Biology. Bioessays 22 (11):1024-1034.
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  49. Sigrid Beck (2000). The Semantics of Different: Comparison Operator and Relational Adjective. [REVIEW] Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (2):101-139.
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