Results from two self-paced reading experiments in English are reported in which subject- and object-extracted relative clauses (SRCs and ORCs, respectively) were presented in contexts that support both types of relative clauses (RCs). Object-extracted versions were read more slowly than subject-extracted versions across both experiments. These results are not consistent with a decay-based working memory account of dependency formation where the amount of decay is a function of the number of new discourse referents that intervene between the dependents (Gibson, 1998; (...) Warren & Gibson, 2002). Rather, these results support interference-based accounts and decay-based accounts where the amount of decay depends on the number of words or on the type of noun phrases that intervene between the dependents. In Experiment 2, presentation in supportive contexts was directly contrasted with presentation in null contexts. Whereas in the null context the extraction effect was only observed during the RC region, in a supportive context the extraction effect was numerically larger and persisted into the following region, thus showing that extraction effects are enhanced in supportive contexts. A sentence completion study demonstrated that the rate of SRCs versus ORCs was similar across null and supportive contexts (with most completions being subject-extractions), ruling out the possibility that an enhanced extraction effect in supportive contexts is due to ORCs being less expected in such contexts. However, the content of the RCs differed between contexts in the completions, such that the RCs produced in supportive contexts were more constrained, reflecting the lexical and semantic content of the preceding context. This effect, which we discuss in terms of expectations/lexico-syntactic priming, suggests that the enhancement of the extraction effect in supportive contexts is due to the facilitation of the subject-extracted condition. (shrink)
Absolute linguistic universals are often justified by cross-linguistic analysis: If all observed languages exhibit a property, the property is taken to be a likely universal, perhaps specified in the cognitive or linguistic systems of language learners and users. In many cases, these patterns are then taken to motivate linguistic theory. Here, we show that cross-linguistic analysis will very rarely be able to statistically justify absolute, inviolable patterns in language. We formalize two statistical methods—frequentist and Bayesian—and show that in both it (...) is possible to find strict linguistic universals, but that the numbers of independent languages necessary to do so is generally unachievable. This suggests that methods other than typological statistics are necessary to establish absolute properties of human language, and thus that many of the purported universals in linguistics have not received sufficient empirical justification. (shrink)
This essay offers a critical introduction to the intellectual issues involved in the Kitzmiller case relating to intelligent design, and to Steve Fuller’s involvement in it. It offers a brief appraisal of the intelligent design movement stemming from the work of Phillip E. Johnson, and of Steve Fuller’s case for intelligent design in a rather different sense.
(2003). Rethinking Kuhn's legacy without paradigms: some remarks on Steve Fuller's Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times. Social Epistemology: Vol. 17, No. 2-3, pp. 153-156. doi: 10.1080/0269172032000144108.
This essay examines the anti-producing human body in its limit case of public self-induced starvation, as figured in Franz Kafka's short story ‘A Hunger Artist’ and Steve McQueen's film Hunger. Both works represent the fasting body as hollowed out, a resistance to capitalist-spectator capture that spatialises itself as a smoothing, a relative reconfiguration of parts to whole through the evacuation of flows. In both works the human body becomes a local body without organs, paradoxically disarticulated from the more complex (...) assemblages that constitute it while recording potential circuits of disturbance or resonance predicated upon the porousness of bodily boundaries. (shrink)
In this discussion, Steve Fuller’s book Dissent over Descent is criticized mainly because he draws conclusions from wishful thinking and uses ancient and medieval scientists as well as theologians in his efforts to invalidate the theory of evolution. He is also criticized for drawing universal conclusions from a Eurocentric version of history. If science and technology studies is to regain its reputation, its representatives have to use relevant statements and argue more rationally.
The second International Knowledge and Discourse Conference, held at the University of Hong Kong in June 2002, was the forum for the long-awaited debate between Bruno Latour and Steve Fuller. Bruno Latour counts beyond two. He places the blame for the emphasis in academia on the subject-object distinction on Kant. Latour wants academics to acknowledge that things act, and suggests we look at other traditions, e.g. the Chinese, for alternatives to the subject-object dichotomy. Steve Fuller concentrated on the (...) moral project of science, which is to draw a distinction between the human and the non-human and, to highlight the fact that, as the culmination of the sciences, social science has a particular responsibility to make this distinction. He accused Bruno Latour of evading the moral issue. The debate can be read as a reiteration of the postions of Bruno Latour and Steve Fuller on the question of heterogeneity at the theoretical level, but it did not address the topic at the practical or research level. (shrink)
Stuart Kauffman: Steve is extremely bright, inventive. He thoroughly understands paleontology; he thoroughly understands evolutionary biology. He has performed an enormous service in getting people to think about punctuated equilibrium, because you see the process of stasis/sudden change, which is a puzzle. It's the cessation of change for long periods of time. Since you always have mutations, why don't things continue changing? You either have to say that the particular form is highly adapted, optimal, and exists in a stable (...) environment, or you have to be very puzzled. Steve has been enormously important in that sense. (shrink)
Historian and philosopher of science Steve Fuller has long embraced his role as a public intellectual. As part of that mission, he testified in the 2005 Dover school board trials, arguing that intelligent design could legitimately claim scientific status. He has since written two books on the intelligent design controversy. Science, his latest effort, is part of The Art of Living series. It is ostensibly an exploration of what it means to “live scientifically,” but is more accurately described as (...) an argument for the necessary connection between science and theology. Fuller’s central argument should be no surprise to those familiar with his previous commentary on intelligent design. It is a two-pronged pragmatic argument. On the one hand, Darwinism is dispensable: most work in biology does not rely on Darwin’s theory of evolution (think molecular biology). On the other hand, religion is indispensable for scientific progress: without believing that the universe has been designed to be intelligible to humans, there is no motivation for scientists to attempt to comprehend it. However, in Science Fuller goes further than this. He also claims that a designer with intelligence resembling our own is the best explanation for the success of science. (shrink)
Stephen T. Casper and Steve Fuller’s commentaries on my paper “Completing Circle of the Social Sciences? William Beveridge and Social Biology at the London School of Economics during the 1930s” raises important questions about the historical entanglement of the political left, welfarism, biology, and social science. In this response, I clarify questions about my analysis of events at the London School of Economics in the early twentieth century and identify ways in which they are important in the present. I (...) suggest that there is much to be learned from the school’s failed experiment with social biology, not least when it comes to thinking about the historical contingency of relationships between progressive politics and biology. (shrink)
The Spring 1999 issue of CambridgeQuarterly (Volume 8, Number 2) adds to the growing body of academic inquiry into the goals of neonatal intensive care practices. Muraskas and colleagues thoughtfully presented the possibility of nontreatment for neonates born at or under 24 weeks gestation. Jain, Thomasma, and Ragas explained that quality of future life must not be ignored in clinical deliberation. And Hefferman and Heilig described once again the dilemmas nurses face when caring for potentially devastated neonates kept alive by (...) technology. These authors take brave steps by publicly questioning the trend of intensive medical support for most every American-born product of conception. But many questions addressing the goals of neonatal intensive care remain, and few authors have actually tried to distill these goals. (shrink)
Social Text , along with an explication of all the relatively minor errors and jokes planted in the article that would have been caught by the cognoscenti in physics. That alone has been sufficient to attract global media attention about the alleged lack of quality control in cultural studies scholarship. However, Sokal and Bricmont are out for bigger game. They want to trace these lapses from professionalism to a relativist philosophical sensibility, which in turn is held responsible for the dissipation (...) of the US academic left. Since I have dealt with the larger aspects of this thesis elsewhere (Fuller, 1999), I shall largely confine myself to the 'intermezzo' chapter four, where relativism is attacked directly on what are alleged to be philosophical grounds. (shrink)