This book is concerned with the relationship between semantics and surface structure and in particular with the way in which each is mapped into the other. Jim Miller argues that semantic and syntactic structure require different representations and that semantic structure is far more complex than many analysts realise. He argues further that semantic structure should be based on notions of location and movement. The need for a semantic component of greater complexity is demonstrated by an examination of prepositions, (...) particles, adverbs and verb-prefixes, and is shown to accord with cross-language and historical facts. The volume goes on to consider the sort of rules that are required to map semantic structures onto syntax. Semantics and Syntax tackles fundamental issues and draws together many of the key concepts of traditional grammar and formal linguistics. The general framework for handling syntax, semantics and morphology that it outlines is perhaps a controversial one, but it will be recognized as challenging and original. (shrink)
A startling look at one of this century's most influential philosophers, the book chronicles every stage of Foucault's personal and professional odyssey, from his early interest in dreams to his final preoccupation with sexuality and the nature of personal identity.
Siblings compete for parental care and feeding, while parents must allocate scarce resources to those offspring most likely to survive and reproduce. This could cause offspring to evolve traits that advertise health, and thereby attract parental resources. For example, experimental evidence suggests that bright orange filaments covering the heads of North American coot chicks may have evolved for this fitness-advertising purpose. Could any human mental disorders be the equivalent of dull filaments in coot chicks—low-fitness extremes of mental abilities that evolved (...) as fitness indicators? One possibility is autism. Suppose that the ability of very young children to charm their parents evolved as a parentally selected fitness indicator. Young children would vary greatly in their ability to charm parents, that variation would correlate with underlying fitness, and autism could be the low-fitness extreme of this variation. This view explains many seemingly disparate facts about autism and leads to some surprising and testable predictions. (shrink)
"The idea that human history is approaching a singularity - that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both - has moved from the realm of science fiction to serious debate. Some singularity theorists predict that if the field of artificial intelligence continues to develop at its current dizzying rate, the singularity could come about in the middle of the present century. Murray Shanahan offers an introduction to the idea of the (...) singularity and considers the ramifications of such a potentially seismic event. Shanahan's aim is not to make predictions but rather to investigate a range of scenarios. Whether we believe that singularity is near or far, likely or impossible, apocalypse or utopia, the very idea raises crucial philosophical and pragmatic questions, forcing us to think seriously about what we want as a species. Shanahan describes technological advances in AI, both biologically inspired and engineered from scratch. Once human-level AI - theoretically possible, but difficult to accomplish - has been achieved, he explains, the transition to superintelligent AI could be very rapid. Shanahan considers what the existence of superintelligent machines could mean for such matters as personhood, responsibility, rights, and identity. Some superhuman AI agents might be created to benefit humankind; some might go rogue. The singularity presents both an existential threat to humanity and an existential opportunity for humanity to transcend its limitations. Shanahan makes it clear that we need to imagine both possibilities if we want to bring about the better outcome. (shrink)
This volume is a direct result of a conference held at Princeton University to honor George A. Miller, an extraordinary psychologist. A distinguished panel of speakers from various disciplines -- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence -- were challenged to respond to Dr. Miller's query: "What has happened to cognition? In other words, what has the past 30 years contributed to our understanding of the mind? Do we really know anything that wasn't already clear to William James?" Each (...) participant tried to stand back a little from his or her most recent work, but to address the general question from his or her particular standpoint. The chapters in the present volume derive from that occasion. (shrink)
Earlier in the pages of this journal (p 481), Wendler and Miller offered the "net risks test" as an alternative approach to the ethical analysis of benefits and harms in research. They have been vocal critics of the dominant view of benefit-harm analysis in research ethics, which encompasses core concepts of duty of care, clinical equipoise and component analysis. They had been challenged to come up with a viable alternative to component analysis which meets five criteria. The alternative must (...) (1) protect research subjects; (2) allow clinical research to proceed; (3) explain how physicians may offer trial enrolment to their patients; (4) address the challenges posed by research containing a mixture of interventions and (5) define ethical standards according to which the risks and potential benefits of research may be consistently evaluated. This response argues that the net risks test meets none of these criteria and concludes that it is not a viable alternative to component analysis. (shrink)
We are often warned against stepping onto ‘slippery slopes’ — dangerously slick slides leading down to where the really bad stuff lies. But, as Arthur Miller here explains, these warnings often exaggerate the risk of a slip.
My initial hope when I first saw Miller’s book was that here at least would be a work which satisfies the long standing need for a comprehensive introduction to contemporary metaethics which is accessible enough to be employed in advanced undergraduate courses and introductory graduate seminars. This hope was only partially realized, however, as Miller ends up oscillating between clear presentations of extant debates in the recent literature and his own extended attempts to determine where the truth of (...) the matter lies. The result is an interesting book that likely will appeal both to those looking for a classroom text in metaethics as well as to experts on the relevant issues. (shrink)
I present an original model in judgment aggregation theory that demonstrates the general impossibility of consistently describing decision-making purely at the group level. Only a type of unanimity rule can guarantee a group decision is consistent with supporting reasons, and even this possibility is limited to a small class of reasoning methods. The key innovation is that this result holds when individuals can reason in different ways, an allowance not previously considered in the literature. This generalizes judgment aggregation to subjective (...) decision situations, implying that the discursive dilemma persists without individual agreement on the logical constraints. Notably, the model mirrors the typical method of choosing political representatives, and thus suggests that no voting procedure other than unanimity rule can guarantee representation that reflects electorate opinion. Finally, I apply the results to a normative argument for unanimity rule in contract theory and juries, as well as to problems posed for deliberative democratic theory and the concept of representation. (shrink)
Paul Boghossian has argued, on grounds concerning the holistic nature of belief fixation, that there are principled reasons for thinking that 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism about content cannot hope to satisfy a condition of extensional accuracy. I discern three separable strands of argument in Boghossian's work—the circularity objection, the open-endedness objection, and the certification objection—and argue that each of these objections fails. My conclusion is that for all that Boghossian has shown, 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism have (...) to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
Sayre finds deep connections between collection and division, the two kinds of measure distinguished in the Statesman, the conceptions of Limit and Unlimited in the Philebus, and the Dyad that Aristotle reports was a key principle in the "unwritten teachings." The Stranger's dialectical account of statesmanship practices due measure; by "cutting down the middle," the Stranger shows how Forms — understood as Limits as, in turn, "numbers in the sense of measures" — "mark off a middle ground between [the] extremes (...) [implied by] the Unlimited" and, thus, preserve the mean. I suggest a number of critical reconfigurations of these seminal insights. (shrink)
In his “Theology and Falsification” Professor Antony Flew challenges the sophisticated religious believer to state under what conceivable occurrences he would concede that there really is no God Who loves mankind: ‘Just what would have to happen not merely to tempt but also, logically and rightly, to entitle us to say “God does not love us” or even “God does not exist”? I therefore put…the simple central questions, “What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you (...) a disproof of the love of, or of the existence of, God”?’. (shrink)
Clearly, Marx thought he was promoting democratic values. In the Manifesto, the immediate goal of socialism is summed up as “to win the battle of democracy.” Marx sees the reduction of individuality as one of the greatest injuries done by a system in which most people buy and sell their labor power on terms over which they have little control. As they supervised translations and re-issues of the Manifesto, Marx and Engels singled out just one point as a major topic (...) on which their view in 1848 had been superseded. The forms of government needed to be changed to give people more control over the state, a change in structure pioneered by the Paris Commune. (shrink)