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Simon Beck [28]Sigrid Beck [17]Sarah R. Beck [14]S. Beck [9]
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Profile: Simon Beck (University of the Western Cape)
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Profile: Sandra Beck
  1. 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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  2.  44
    Simon Beck (2015). The Extreme Claim, Psychological Continuity and the Person Life View. South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (3):314-322.
    Marya Schechtman has raised a series of worries for the Psychological Continuity Theory of personal identity (PCT) stemming out of what Derek Parfit called the ‘Extreme Claim’. This is roughly the claim that theories like it are unable to explain the importance we attach to personal identity. In her recent Staying Alive (2014), she presents further arguments related to this and sets out a new narrative theory, the Person Life View (PLV), which she sees as solving the problems as well (...)
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  3.  77
    Simon Beck (2014). Transplant Thought-Experiments: Two Costly Mistakes in Discounting Them. South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):189-199.
    ‘Transplant’ thought-experiments, in which the cerebrum is moved from one body to another, have featured in a number of recent discussions in the personal identity literature. Once taken as offering confirmation of some form of psychological continuity theory of identity, arguments from Marya Schechtman and Kathleen Wilkes have contended that this is not the case. Any such apparent support is due to a lack of detail in their description or a reliance on predictions that we are in no position to (...)
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  4. Patrick Lenta & Simon Beck (2006). A Sporting Dilemma and its Jurisprudence. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 33 (2):125-143.
    Our purpose in this article is to draw attention to a connection that obtains between two dilemmas from two separate spheres: sports and the law. It is our contention that umpires in the game of cricket may face a dilemma that is similar to a dilemma confronted by legal decision makers and that comparing the nature of the dilemmas, and the arguments advanced to solve them, will serve to advance our understanding of both the law and games.
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  5.  10
    Simon Beck (2016). Technological Fictions and Personal Identity: On Ricoeur, Schechtman and Analytic Thought Experiments. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 47 (2):117-132.
    Paul Ricoeur and Marya Schechtman express grave doubts about the acceptability and informativeness of the thought-experiments employed by analytic philosophers (notably Derek Parfit) in the debate about personal identity, and for what appear to be related reasons. I consider their reasoning and argue that their reasons fail to justify their doubts. I go on to argue that, from this discussion of possible problems concerning select thought-experiments, something positive can be learned about personal identity.
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  6. 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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  7.  20
    Simon Beck (1993). Counterfactuals and the Law. South African Journal of Philosophy 12 (3).
    This article is concerned with the place counterfactual reasoning occupies in South African law, and how philosophy might be able to help the law. I point out some of the more important and unavoidable uses of counterfactual reasoning in our law. Following this I make some suggestions as to how philosophy, and especially informal logic, can be of help to the law. Finally, I make some suggestions as to how the law in turn can help philosophy.
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  8.  33
    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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  9. 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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  10.  6
    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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  11. 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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  12. Simon Beck (1989). Parfit and the Russians (Personal Identity and Moral Concepts). Analysis 49 (4):205-209.
  13. Simon Beck (2001). Let's Exist Again (Like We Did Last Summer). South African Journal of Philosophy 20 (2):159-170.
  14. 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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  15. 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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  16.  4
    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.
  17. 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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  18. 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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  19.  15
    Sigrid Beck & Hotze Rullmann (1999). A Flexible Approach to Exhaustivity in Questions. Natural Language Semantics 7 (3):249-298.
    A semantics for interrogatives is presented which is based on Karttunen's theory, but in a flexible manner incorporates both weak and strong exhaustivity. The paper starts out by considering degree questions, which often require an answer picking out the maximal degree from a certain set. However, in some cases, depending on the semantic properties of the question predicate, reference to the minimal degree is required, or neither specifying the maximum nor the minimum is sufficient. What is needed is an operation (...)
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  20.  23
    Simon Beck & Stephen de Wijze (2015). Interrogating the ‘Ticking Bomb Scenario’: Reassessing the Thought Experiment. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (1):53-70.
    The aim of this paper is to re-evaluate the manner in which the Ticking Bomb Scenario (TBS), a thought experiment in philosophical enquiry, has been used in the discussion of the justifiability or otherwise of forward-looking interrogational torture (FLIT). The paper argues that criticisms commonly raised against the thought experiment are often inappropriate or irrelevant. A great many criticisms misunderstand the way in which thought experiments in general, and the TBS in particular, are supposed to work in philosophical (and for (...)
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  21.  13
    S. Beck (1998). Back to the Self and the Future. South African Journal of Philosophy 17 (3):211-225.
    The thought-experiment presented by Bernard Williams in 'The self and the future' continues to draw the attention of writers in the debate about personal identity. While few of them agree on what implications it has for the debate, almost all agree that those implications are significant ones. Some have even claimed that it has consequences not only for personal identity, but also concerning the viability of thought-experiment as a method. This paper surveys what these consequences might be at both levels (...)
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  22.  15
    Sigrid Beck & Uli Sauerland (2000). Cumulation is Needed: A Reply to Winter (2000). [REVIEW] Natural Language Semantics 8 (4):349-371.
    Winter (2000) argues that so-called co-distributive or cumulative readings do not involve polyadic quantification (contra proposals by Krifka, Schwarzschild, Sternefeld, and others). Instead, he proposes that all such readings involve a hidden anaphoric dependency or a lexical mechanism. We show that Winter's proposal is insufficient for a number of cases of cumulative readings, and that Krifka's and Sternefeld's polyadic **-operator is needed in addition to dependent definites. Our arguments come from new observations concerning dependent plurals and clause-boundedness effects with cumulative (...)
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  23.  29
    Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Sarah R. Beck (eds.) (2011). Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation: Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. 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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  24.  51
    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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  25. 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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  26.  37
    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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  27.  61
    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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  28.  22
    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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  29.  9
    S. Beck (1987). In Defence of Self-Interest: A Response to Parfit. South African Journal of Philosophy 6 (4):119-124.
    Derek Parfit argues in Reasons and Persons that acting according to your present desires is more rational, or at least as rational, as acting in your long-term self-interest. To do this, he puts forward a case supporting a 'critical present-aim theory' of rationality opposed to the self-interest theory, and then argues against a number of possible replies. This article is a response to these arguments, concluding that Parfit's favouring of the present-aim theory is unfounded, and that self-interest is the better (...)
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  30.  31
    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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  31.  93
    Simon Beck (2003). Cognition, Persons, Identity. Alternation 10 (1):195-215.
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  32.  1
    Daniel P. Weisberg & Sarah R. Beck (2012). The Development of Children's Regret and Relief. Cognition and Emotion 26 (5):820-835.
  33.  4
    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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  34.  11
    Pauline Jacobson, Paycheck Pronouns, Bach-Peters Sentences, Inflectional Head, Thomas Ede Zimmermann, Free Choice Disjunction, Epistemic Possibility, Sigrid Beck & Uli Sauerland (2000). Lisa Green/Aspectual Be–Type Constructions and Coercion in African American English Yoad Winter/Distributivity and Dependency Instructions for Authors. Natural Language Semantics 8 (373).
  35.  9
    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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  36.  50
    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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  37.  22
    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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  38.  7
    Dirk S. Paul, Nicole Soranzo & Stephan Beck (2014). Functional Interpretation of Non‐Coding Sequence Variation: Concepts and Challenges. Bioessays 36 (2):191-199.
  39.  13
    Sarah R. Beck (2016). Why What Is Counterfactual Really Matters: A Response to Weisberg and Gopnik (). Cognitive Science 40 (1):253-256.
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  40.  9
    Sigrid Beck & Remus Gergel (2015). The Diachronic Semantics of English Again. Natural Language Semantics 23 (3):157-203.
    This paper explores the diachronic development of the English adverb again. A compositional semantic analysis of its grammar at various stages is provided. It is argued that this analysis must consist of a staging of first a lexical and then a structural change, in order to adequately model the sequence of individual developmental steps observed in the historical corpus data, and that it provides an insight into pathways of semantic change in general.
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  41.  15
    Sigrid Beck (1996). Quantified Structures as Barriers for LF Movement. Natural Language Semantics 4 (1):1-56.
    In this paper I argue for a restriction on certain types of LF movement, which I call ‘wh-related LF movement’. Evidence comes from a number of wh-in-situ constructions in German, such as the scope-marking construction and multiple questions. For semantic reasons, the in situ element in those constructions has to move at LF to either a position reserved for wh-phrases, or even higher up in the structure. The restriction (the Minimal Quantified Structure Constraint, MQSC) is that an intervening quantified expression (...)
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  42.  5
    S. Beck (1988). Lewis, Loar and the Logical Form of Attitude Ascriptions. South African Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):100-104.
    In this article, the attempts by David Lewis and Brian Loar to make perspicuous the logical form of sentences ascribing propositional attitudes to individuals are set out and criticized. Both work within the assumption of the truth of 'type' physicalism, and require that logically perspicuous attitude ascriptions be compatible with the demands of such a doctrine. It is argued that neither carry out this task successfully - Lewis's perspicuous ascriptions have counter-intuitive implications, while Loar's avoidance of these undermines type physicalism (...)
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  43.  48
    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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  44.  2
    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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  45.  37
    Sigrid Beck (2000). The Semantics of Different: Comparison Operator and Relational Adjective. [REVIEW] Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (2):101-139.
  46. 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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  47.  39
    Sigrid Beck (1997). On the Semantics of Comparative Conditionals. Linguistics and Philosophy 20 (3):229-271.
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  48.  19
    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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  49.  5
    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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  50.  42
    Simon Beck (1992). Should We Tolerate People Who Split? Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):1-17.
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