In a remarkable early paper, Wilfrid Sellars warned us that if we cease to recognize rules, we may well find ourselves walking on four feet; and it is obvious that within human communities, the phenomenon of rules is ubiquitous. Yet from the viewpoint of the sciences, rules cannot be easily accounted for. Sellars himself, during his later years, managed to put a lot of flesh on the normative bones from which he assembled the remarkable skeleton of the early paper; and (...) his followers too. However, what they say is somewhat divergent; and therefore my aim in this paper is to concentrate on the very concept of rule and analyse it in the context of the question what it is about us humans that makes us special. (shrink)
A language is a system of signs used for communication, and linguists are tasked with, among other things, uncovering the syntax and semantics of such systems. In this paper I explore to what extent pictures fit this characterization of a language and hence would fall within the domain of linguistics. I conclude that at the very least there are well-defined systems of depiction for which we can give a precise semantics, in a familiar possible worlds framework, although pictorial propositions are (...) not derived via the linguistically familiar lexicon and recursive composition rules, but via geometric projection. I then show how sequences of pictures, like sequences of utterances, can be used to form coherent discourses. I explore in some detail extensions of the formal discourse semantics of Segmented Discourse Representation Theory to deal with comics, i.e. storytelling through picture sequences. I focus specifically on the representation of events in comics, and the integration of both symbolic and iconic elements. (shrink)
This text is a short introduction to logic that was primarily used for accompanying an introductory course in Logic for Linguists held at the New University of Lisbon (UNL) in fall 2010. The main idea of this course was to give students the formal background and skills in order to later assess literature in logic, semantics, and related fields and perhaps even use logic on their own for the purpose of doing truth-conditional semantics. This course in logic does not replace (...) a proper introduction to semantics and is not intended as such, although parts of Chapter 1 and 4 could be used to supplement an introductory course in semantics. In contrast to other introductions it has a certain focus on ‘writing things down correctly.’ Proofs of metatheorems are omitted, though. -/- This is work in progress. Please send suggestions and corrigenda to [email protected]. Have fun! (shrink)
Linguistic intuitions are a central source of evidence across a variety of linguistic domains. They have also long been a source of controversy. This chapter aims to illuminate the etiology and evidential status of at least some linguistic intuitions by relating them to error signals of the sort posited by accounts of on-line monitoring of speech production and comprehension. The suggestion is framed as a novel reply to Michael Devitt’s claim that linguistic intuitions are theory-laden “central systems” responses, rather than (...) endorsed outputs of a modularized language faculty (the “Voice of Competence”). Along the way, it is argued that linguistic intuitions may not constitute a natural kind with a common etiology; and that, for a range of cases, the process by which intuitions used in linguistics are generated amounts to little more than comprehension. (shrink)
Two connected questions that arise for anyone interested in inner speech are whether we tell ourselves something that we have already thought; and, if so, why we would tell ourselves something that we have already thought. In this contribution I focus on the first question, which is about the nature and the production of inner speech. While it is usually assumed that the content of what we tell ourselves is exactly the content of a non-linguistic thought, I argue that there (...) can be a lot of transformation in the process of converting a thought into words. Thus, the content of what we tell ourselves, being intrinsically linguistic, is different from the content of the thought our speech transmits. Fleshing out this kind of approach implies dealing with complicated questions which we lack enough knowledge about: the nature of non-linguistic thinking, and how speech (inner and overt) is produced; i.e. how the speaker goes from format a (format of thought) to format b (language). I show that these are pressing issues for any other position, but also suggest ways in which we could tackle such complicated issues. (shrink)
Kaplan (1990; 2011) argues that there are no unspoken words. Hawthorne and Lepore (2011) put forward examples that purport to show that there can be such words. Here, I argue that Kaplan is correct, if we grant him a minor variation. While Hawthorne and Lepore might be right that there can be unspoken words, I will argue that they fail to show that there can be uninstantiated words.
This book argues that the verbal aspect of the Greek Perfect is complex, involving not one but two aspects, where the perfective applies to events and the imperfective applies to states. These two aspects are connected to specific morphemes in the Perfect tense-form. This study analyses Perfect tense-forms in discursive text by focusing on the Pauline Corpus. The method is grounded in grammaticalisation studies and informed by morphology, comparative linguistics, and historical linguistics. The argument is further supported by a corpus-based (...) study showing both the Greek Perfect tense-form use in letters over an 800-year period and adverb collocations of the Perfect tense-form. The adverb collocations establish when a Perfect is used for an event or for a state. This study challenges other verbal aspect studies that find only one verbal aspect to explain the Greek Perfect. This study situates the Pauline Perfect tense-form usage within a spectrum of other letter writers, and finds that within the Pauline Corpus the Perfects within supplemental clauses are more likely to use active lexemes than other letter writers. This study also finds that most of the Perfects used in letters are supplemental to the mainline and are often backgrounded rather than foregrounded. (shrink)
Together with the volume “Inquiries in philosophical pragmatics: Linguistic and theoretical issues,” this book collects selected contributions to the conference Pragmasophia II held in Lisbon in 2018. This first volume intends to contribute to the dialogue between philosophers and linguists, trying to broaden the boundaries of this discipline defined by the crucial notions of context and verbal action. To this purpose, the contributions are collected in an order that reflects the core and the frontiers of pragmatics, the former constituted by (...) the classical and more philosophical topics as quantifiers, semantic intentions and semantics, and common knowledge, and the latter exploring areas such as the relationship between pragmatics and other fields, such as argumentation and discourse analysis. Between these two poles of theoretical developments, we can find new theoretical challenges to some basic pragmatic problems, such as pure indexicals, deferred reference, polysemy, explicatures and indirect reports. (shrink)
It has been a common assumption that words are substances that instantiate or have properties. In this paper, I question the assumption that our ontology of words requires posting substances by outlining a bundle theory of words, wherein words are bundles of various sorts of properties (such as semantic, phonetic, orthographic, and grammatical properties). I argue that this view can better account for certain phenomena than substance theories, is ontologically more parsimonious, and coheres with claims in linguistics.
ABSTRACT This paper is concerned with the ontological status of linguistic types. According to a widely held view, linguistic types are abstract objects that are instantiated or represented by tokens. The same types might be tokened by both speech, signing and text. This view has implications for how we consider what it is to know a language since knowledge of language is typically taken to be knowledge of linguistic types. We argue below that linguistic types are not abstract objects but (...) action-types and that these action-types are individuated by the capacities that they manifest. The picture that results from this view is that to know a language is to have the capacities required to perform these action-types. (shrink)
ABSTRACT The idea that two words can be instances of the same word is a central intuition in our conception of language. This fact underlies many of the claims that we make about how we communicate, and how we understand each other. Given this, irrespective of what we think words are, it is common to think that any putative ontology of words, must be able to explain this feature of language. That is, we need to provide criteria of identity for (...) word-types which allow us to individuate words such that it can be the case that two particular word-instances are instances of the same word-type. One solution, recently further developed by Irmak, holds that words are individuated by their history. In this paper, I argue that this view either fails to account for our intuitions about word identity, or is too vague to be a plausible answer to the problem of word individuation. (shrink)
According to mainstream linguistic phonetics, speech can be modeled as a string of discrete sound segments or “phones” drawn from a universal phonetic inventory. Recent work has argued that a mature phonetics should refrain from theorizing about speech and speech processing using sound segments, and that the phone concept should be eliminated from linguistic theory. The paper lays out the tenets of the phone methodology and evaluates its prospects in light of the eliminativist arguments. I claim that the eliminativist arguments (...) fail to show that the phone concept should be eliminated from linguistic theory. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that while truth-conditional semantics in generative linguistics provides lots of good semantic explanations, truth-conditions do not play an important role in these explanations. That is, the fact that expressions have the particular truthconditional contents they have does not even partly explain facts about semantic phenomena. Rather, explanations of semantic phenomena appeal to extra-truth-conditional properties attributed to expressions via their lexical entries. Focusing on recent truth-conditional work on gradable adjectives and degree modifiers by Kennedy and McNally, (...) I show that the best explanations of semantic anomaly and entailment for these expressions are non-truth-conditional—they do not depend on the fact that these expressions have the truth-conditional contents they have. I then provide reasons for thinking that the point generalizes beyond gradable adjectives and degree modifiers to other expressions, and beyond anomaly and entailment to other semantic phenomena. Truth-conditional content, generally, is extrasemantic. (shrink)
By creating certain marks on paper, or by making certain sounds-breathing past a moving tongue-or by articulation of hands and bodies, language users can give expression to their mental lives. With language we command, assert, query, emote, insult, and inspire. Language has meaning. This fact can be quite mystifying, yet a science of linguistic meaning-semantics-has emerged at the intersection of a variety of disciplines: philosophy, linguistics, computer science, and psychology. Semantics is the study of meaning. But what exactly is "meaning"? (...) What is the exact target of semantic theory? Much of the early work in natural language semantics was accompanied by extensive reflection on the aims of semantic theory, and the form a theory must take to meet those aims. But this meta-theoretical reflection has not kept pace with recent theoretical innovations. This volume re-addresses these questions concerning the foundations of natural language semantics in light of the current state-of-the-art in semantic theorising. (shrink)
This is a review article of a recently published guide to the philosophy of language, Przewodnik po filozofii języka, Wydawnictwo WAM, Kraków 2016). The article presents this publication against a background of other monographs and guides devoted to the topic of the contemporary philosophy of language which have been published in English. It aims at highlighting the main issues discussed by this philosophy, as well as its relation to linguistics.
У статті розглянуто проблемні питання дериваційних відношень, напрямів морфонологічних трансформацій, складні процеси, пов’язані з використанням варіантних формантів та з утвердженням національної ідентичності в словотвірній морфонології девербативів і відповідність їх словотвірним нормам української літературної мови, окреслено концептуальні засади морфонологічного аналізу девербативів, проаналізовано ефективні й специфічні методи й прийоми дослідження віддієслівних іменників у словотвірно-морфонологічному аспекті та визначено найбільш дієві методики аналізу морфонологічних явищ.
The main goal of the paper is to present a putative role of consciousness in language capacity. The paper contrasts the two approaches characteristic for cognitive semiotics and cognitive science. Language is treated as a mental phenomenon and a cognitive faculty. The analysis of language activity is based on the Chalmers’ distinction between the two forms of consciousness: phenomenal and psychological. The approach is seen as an alternative to phenomenological analyses typical for cognitive semiotics. Further, a cognitive model of the (...) language faculty is described. The model is implemented in SNePS/GLAIR architecture and based on GATN grammar and semantic networks as a representation formalism. The model - reflecting traditionally distinguished linguistic structures - consists of phonological, syntactic, and semantic modules. I claim that the most important role in the phenomenon of language is played by psychological consciousness. Phenomenal consciousness accompanies various stages of language functioning, but is not indispensable in explanations of the language faculty. (shrink)
von Fintel and Gillies : 329–360, 2007) have proposed a dynamic strict conditional account of counterfactuals as an alternative to the standard variably strict account due to Stalnaker and Lewis. Von Fintel’s view is motivated largely by so-called reverse Sobel sequences, about which the standard view seems to make the wrong predictions. More recently Moss :561–586, 2012) has offered a pragmatic/epistemic explanation that purports to explain the data without requiring abandonment of the standard view. So far the small amount of (...) subsequent literature has focused primarily on the original class of cases motivating the strict conditional view. What is needed in the debate is an examination of the predictions of the dynamic strict conditional account for a broader range of data. I undertake this task here, presenting a slew of cases that are problematic for the strict conditional view but not for Moss’s view, and considering some possible responses. Ultimately I take my contribution to constitute a significant blow to the dynamic strict conditional view, though not a decisive verdict against it. (shrink)
One of the main motivations for having a compositional semantics is the account of the productivity of natural languages. Formal languages are often part of the account of productivity, i.e., of how beings with finite capaci- ties are able to produce and understand a potentially infinite number of sen- tences, by offering a model of this process. This account of productivity con- sists in the generation of proofs in a formal system, that is taken to represent the way speakers grasp (...) the meaning of an indefinite number of sentences. The informational basis is restricted to what is represented in the lexicon. This constraint is considered as a requirement for the account of productivity, or at least of an important feature of productivity, namely, that we can grasp auto- matically the meaning of a huge number of complex expressions, far beyond what can be memorized. However, empirical results in psycholinguistics, and especially particular patterns of ERP, show that the brain integrates informa- tion of different sources very fast, without any felt effort on the part of the speaker. This shows that formal procedures do not explain productivity. How- ever, formal models are still useful in the account of how we get at the seman- tic value of a complex expression, once we have the meanings of its parts, even if there is no formal explanation of how we get at those meanings. A practice-oriented view of modeling gives an adequate interpretation of this re- sult: formal compositional semantics may be a useful model for some ex- planatory purposes concerning natural languages, without being a good model for dealing with other explananda. (shrink)
Metasemantics is the metaphysics of semantic endowment: it asks how expressions become endowed with their semantic significance. Assuming that semantics is of the usual truth-conditional sort, metasemantics asks after the determinants of expressions’ distinctive contributions to truth-conditions. There are two widely divergent general approaches to the metasemantic project. Some theories – “productivist” ones such as causal theories or intention-based theories – emphasize conditions of production or employment of the items semantically endowed. Other metasemantic theories – “interpretationist” ones – emphasize conditions (...) of interpretive consumption or reception of such items. The book aims to articulate a set of considerations that favour metasemantic productivism over metasemantic interpretationism, to reconcile a general productivist metasemantic approach with contemporary truth-conditional semantics, and to apply the approach to more specialized case studies in the philosophy of language broadly construed. Finally, a major concern in contemporary philosophy of language after Quine is semantic indeterminacy, the worry that there is no fact of the matter as to the semantic significance of our words. The book articulates a distinctly metasemantic strategy to counter the worry. It is shown how the present approach delivers a more successful response to semantic indeterminacy than extant alternatives, a response that emphasizes the priority of reference over truth, which is both intuitively compelling and theoretically motivated. (shrink)
The key scholarly issue of contemporary Ukrainian research is not only a return to existing problems and figures but also a search for new figures and the filling of historical and biographical gaps. The present article is dedicated to the biography of Kyiv Theological Academy graduate Serhii Hrushevskyi (1830–1901), a figure who has rarely appeared in research previously. He was a talented teacher and gained credibility and respect among his contemporaries. More attention should be paid to his publications in periodicals, (...) the themes of which varied from pedagogy to linguistics. It is necessary to emphasize the importance of Hrushevskyi in the development of public education of the late 19th century. The education, hard work, and active social activity of Serhii Hrushevskyi had a positive impact on his son, renowned Ukrainian politician and statesman, historian Mykhailo Hrushevskyi (1866–1934), for whom his father was his first and major mentor. Love for “Ukrainians,” learning and writing, selfless work – is the legacy that Serhii Hrushevskyi passed on to Mykhailo, which was always at the core of his life and scholarly activity. The results of the article not only contain new biographical information about Hrushevskyi’s family, but also emphasize the significant role of the biographical component in modern scholarly research. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to mount a challenge to gesture-first hypotheses about the evolution of language by identifying constraints on the emergence of symbol use. Current debates focus on a range of pre-conditions for the emergence of language, including co-operation and related mentalising capacities, imitation and tool use, episodic memory, and vocal physiology, but little specifically on the ability to learn and understand symbols. It is argued here that such a focus raises new questions about the plausibility of (...) gesture-first hypotheses, and so about the evolution of language in general. After a brief review of the methodology used in the article, it is argued that existing uses of gesture in hominid communities may have prohibited the emergence of symbol use, rather than ‘bootstrapped’ symbolic capacities as is usually assumed, and that the vocal channel offers other advantages in both learning and using language. In this case, the vocal channel offers a more promising platform for the evolution of language than is often assumed. (shrink)
In appearance, Husserl’s writings seem not to have had any influence on linguistic research, nor does what the German philosopher wrote about language seem to be worth a place in the history of linguistics. The purpose of the paper is exactly to contrast this view, by reassessing both the position and the role of Husserl’s early masterpiece — the Logical Investigations — within the history of linguistics. To this end, I will focus mainly on the third (On the theory of (...) wholes and parts) and fourth (The distinction between independent and non-independent meanings) Investigations, paying special attention to Husserl’s mereology and to the idea of a general pure grammar. The paper tries to situate the third and fourth Logical Investigation within the general context of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century linguistics and furthermore attempts to show the historical and theoretical importance of the Logical Investigations for the birth and the development of one of the most important linguistic “schools” of the twentieth century, namely structural linguistics. (shrink)
The enactive approach to cognition distinctively emphasizes autonomy, adaptivity, agency, meaning, experience, and interaction. Taken together, these principles can provide the new sciences of language with a comprehensive philosophical framework: languaging as adaptive social sense-making. This is a refinement and advancement on Maturana’s idea of languaging as a manner of living. Overcoming limitations in Maturana’s initial formulation of languaging is one of three motivations for this paper. Another is to give a response to skeptics who challenge enactivism to connect “lower-level” (...) sense-making with “higher-order” sophisticated moves like those commonly ascribed to language. Our primary goal is to contribute a positive story developed from the enactive account of social cognition, participatory sense-making. This concept is put into play in two different philosophical models, which respectively chronicle the logical and ontogenetic development of languaging as a particular form of social agency. Languaging emerges from the interplay of coordination and exploration inherent in the primordial tensions of participatory sense-making between individual and interactive norms; it is a practice that transcends the self-other boundary and enables agents to regulate self and other as well as interaction couplings. Linguistic sense-makers are those who negotiate interactive and internalized ways of meta-regulating the moment-to-moment activities of living and cognizing. Sense-makers in enlanguaged environments incorporate sensitivities, roles, and powers into their unique yet intelligible linguistic bodies. We dissolve the problematic dichotomies of high/low, online/offline, and linguistic/nonlinguistic cognition, and we provide new boundary criteria for specifying languaging as a prevalent kind of human social sense-making. (shrink)
This chapter examines the “externalist” claim that semantics should include theorizing about representational relations among linguistic expressions and (purported) aspects of the world. After disentangling our main topic from other strands in the larger set of externalist-internalist debates, arguments both for and against this claim are discussed. It is argued, among other things, that the fortunes of this externalist claim are bound up with contentious issues concerning the semantics-pragmatics border.
Is speech special? This paper evaluates the evidence that speech perception is distinctive when compared with non-linguistic auditory perception. It addresses the phenomenology, contents, objects, and mechanisms involved in the perception of spoken language. According to the account it proposes, the capacity to perceive speech in a manner that enables understanding is an acquired perceptual skill. It involves learning to hear language-specific types of ethologically significant sounds. According to this account, the contents of perceptual experience when listening to familiar speech (...) are of a variety that is distinctive to hearing spoken utterances. However, perceiving speech involves neither novel perceptual objects nor a unique perceptual modality. Much of what makes speech special stems from our interest in it. (shrink)
Establishing and maintaining reference is a crucial part of discourse. In spoken languages, differential linguistic devices mark referents occurring in different referential contexts, that is, introduction, maintenance, and re-introduction contexts. Speakers using gestures as well as users of sign languages have also been shown to mark referents differentially depending on the referential context. This article investigates the modality-specific contribution of the visual modality in marking referential context by providing a direct comparison between sign language and co-speech gesture with speech in (...) elicited narratives. Across all forms of expression, we find that referents in subject position are referred to with more marking material in re-introduction contexts compared to maintenance contexts. Furthermore, we find that spatial modification is used as a modality-specific strategy in both DGS and German co-speech gesture, and that the configuration of referent locations in sign space and gesture space corresponds in an iconic and consistent way to the locations of referents in the narrated event. However, we find that spatial modification is used in different ways for marking re-introduction and maintenance contexts in DGS and German co-speech gesture. The findings are discussed in relation to the unique contribution of the visual modality to reference tracking in discourse when it is used in a unimodal system with full linguistic structure versus in a bimodal system that is a composite of speech and gesture. (shrink)
For humans, the ability to communicate and use language is instantiated not only in the vocal modality but also in the visual modality. The main examples of this are sign languages and gestures. Sign languages, the natural languages of Deaf communities, use systematic and conventionalized movements of the hands, face, and body for linguistic expression. Co-speech gestures, though non-linguistic, are produced in tight semantic and temporal integration with speech and constitute an integral part of language together with speech. The articles (...) in this issue explore and document how gestures and sign languages are similar or different and how communicative expression in the visual modality can change from being gestural to grammatical in nature through processes of conventionalization. As such, this issue contributes to our understanding of how the visual modality shapes language and the emergence of linguistic structure in newly developing systems. Studying the relationship between signs and gestures provides a new window onto the human ability to recruit multiple levels of representation in the service of using or creating conventionalized communicative systems. (shrink)
A generative grammar for a language L generates one or more syntactic structures for each sentence of L and interprets those structures both phonologically and semantically. A widely accepted assumption in generative linguistics dating from the mid-60s, the Generative Grammar Hypothesis , is that the ability of a speaker to understand sentences of her language requires her to have tacit knowledge of a generative grammar of it, and the task of linguistic semantics in those early days was taken to be (...) that of specifying the form that the semantic component of a generative grammar must take. Then in the 70s linguistic semantics took a curious turn. Without rejecting GGH, linguists turned away from the task of characterizing the semantic component of a generative grammar to pursue instead the Montague-inspired project of providing for natural languages the same kind of model-theoretic semantics that logicians devise for the artificial languages of formal systems of logic, and “formal semantics” continues to dominate semantics in linguistics. This essay argues that the sort of compositional meaning theory that would verify GGH would not only be quite different from the theories formal semanticists construct, but would be a more fundamental theory that supersedes those theories in that it would explain why they are true when they are true, but their truth wouldn’t explain its truth. Formal semantics has undoubtedly made important contributions to our understanding of such phenomena as anaphora and quantification, but semantics in linguistics is supposed to be the study of meaning. This means that the formal semanticist can’t be unconcerned that the kind of semantic theory for a natural language that interests her has no place in a theory of linguistic competence; for if GGH is correct, then the more fundamental semantic theory is the compositional meaning theory that is the semantic component of the internally represented generative grammar, and if that is so, then linguistic semantics has so far ignored what really ought to be its primary concern. (shrink)
Human language is not arbitrary. But how is its use constrained? Are there rules or general human dispositions that govern it? Rules and Dispositions in Language Use explains how correct language use is indeed governed by both rules and general human dispositions. It does so by bringing together themes from Ludwig Wittgenstein and Noam Chomsky, which for many years have been thought to be incompatible. -/- Opening with a fresh discussion of Saul Kripke's work on rule-following and meaning, the question (...) of what objectively correct language use could amount to is raised and answered. In its conclusion, the importance of human biological endowment for language use is discussed and compared with Wittgensteinian views on how rules govern language use. (shrink)
There are many differing ways to be a realist about language. This paper seeks to classify some of these and to examine the implications of each for the study of language. The principle of classification it adopts is that we may distinguish between realisms on the basis of what exactly it is that they take to be real. Examining in turn realisms that ascribe reality to the external world in general, to causal mechanisms, to innate capacities, to linguistic signs, to (...) social structures, to language systems, and to linguistic groups, the paper summarises the case for a particular critical realist ontology of language. In the process, it engages briefly with the work of Saussure, Chomsky, Halliday, and more recent explicitly realist thinkers such as Bhaskar, Pateman, Archer, Sealey and Carter. One implication is that language itself is not a phenomenon that separates us from a causally structured world, but rather a part of that world, a part with an identifiable causal structure of its own that is similar to that of other normative phenomena. (shrink)
Logic and linguistics have engaged in a many-faceted dialogue since the very beginnings of both disciplines in Antiquity. While participants may have had diverse views over the ages, arguably, the dialogue has always revolved around the relationship between human thought and natural language. While there are those who see these two domains as one and the same, or as a case of one-directional influence , we beg to differ. To us, the long historical tradition of authors such as Arnauld, Boole, (...) Turing, or Jespersen demonstrates the much richer perspectives on language and reasoning that are needed, including connections with intelligence and computability.Another major historical theme in the above dialogue are similarities or convergences between natural and artificial languages. It is clear that natural languages are not only semantically broader, but also much closer to human communication than artificial languages, and so linguistic grammars have long dealt with a larger set of problems than logical formalism. This specal issue of JoLLI consists six selected papers presented in the "Logic and Linguisics" Workshop in UNI-LOG 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, plus two papers by invited authors: Johan van Benthem, and Marcus Kracht and Uno Klein. It contains a number of samples of what is intriguing and promising work at the interfaces of logic and language. (shrink)
In their 2002 seminal paper Hauser, Chomsky and Fitch hypothesize that recursion is the only human-specific and language-specific mechanism of the faculty of language. While debate focused primarily on the meaning of recursion in the hypothesis and on the human-specific and syntax-specific character of recursion, the present work focuses on the claim that recursion is language-specific. We argue that there are recursive structures in the domain of motor intentionality by way of extending John R. Searle’s analysis of intentional action. We (...) then discuss evidence from cognitive science and neuroscience supporting the claim that motor-intentional recursion is language-independent and suggest some explanatory hypotheses: linguistic recursion is embodied in sensory-motor processing; linguistic and motor-intentional recursions are distinct and mutually independent mechanisms. Finally, we propose some reflections about the epistemic status of HCF as presenting an empirically falsifiable hypothesis, and on the possibility of testing recursion in different cognitive domains. (shrink)
An argument for Trivialism, the view that natural languages are logically inconsistent, is provided that does not rely on contentious empirical assumptions about natural language terms such as “and” or “or.” Further, the view is defended against an important objection recently mounted against it by Thomas Hofweber.
This article provides an original account of slurs and how they may be differentially used by in-group and out-group speakers. Slurs are first distinguished from other terms and their role in social interaction is discussed. A new distinction is introduced between three different uses of slurs : the paradigmatic derogatory use, non-paradigmatic derogatory use, and non-paradigmatic non-derogatory use. I then account for their literal meaning and explain how a family-resemblance conception of category membership can clarify our understanding of the various (...) natural-language uses of slurs, -. The focus is restricted primarily to race-based and sex-based slurs used in the context of English speakers, and the article concludes with desiderata to be met by any subsequent analyses of slurs. (shrink)
The paper intends to find the more probable age of proto-human, which in turn could help in finding the timeline of proto-language. In the hominid line of evolution, the rise of modern humans plays a significant role and its role is also owing to the fact of their uniqueness due to language. Different disciplines are put together to solve the mystery of language of human. In an attempt to understand how old, language could be, the paper makes an attempt to (...) find it by first locating the timeline of the proto-human, using the Minimalist program of Chomsky. The search goes with Cartesian discontinuity notion and uses paleoanthropology and genetics to find the age of proto-human. (shrink)
This review article discusses some problems and needs for clarification that are connected with the use of the concepts culture, language, tool, and communication in Daniel Everett’s recently published book, Language: The Cultural Tool. It also discusses whether the idea of biological readiness and preparedness for language can really be disposed of as a result of Everett’s very convincing arguments against a specific genetic predisposition for the syntactic component of a grammar. Finally, it calls into question whether Everett really is (...) true to his professed ideology of scientific ideographical pragmatism. (shrink)
Según la Propositional Attitude View (PAV), un hablante es competente en su idioma en virtud de poseer actitudes proposicionales cuyo contenido es su gramática interna. En este artículo desarrollo una objeción a PAV, llamada �el reto de la integración�, originalmente propuesto por Stich (1978) y Evans (1981), y que está constituido por dos premisas: (1) las actitudes proposicionales se caracterizan por su integración inferencial, y (2) los estados que contienen información gramatical no están inferencialmente integrados. En este artículo considero y (...) rechazo las respuestas a este argumento formuladas por Dwyer y Pietroski (1996), Higginbotham (1987) y Knowles (2000). (shrink)
Anthropologists, linguists, cultural historians, and literary scholars have long emphasized the value of examining writing as a material practice and have often invoked the list as a paradigmatic example thereof. This Focus section explores how lists can open up fresh possibilities for research in the history of science. Drawing on examples from the early modern period, the contributors argue that attention to practices of list making reveals important relations between mercantile, administrative, and scientific attempts to organize the contents of the (...) world. Early modern lists projected both spatial and temporal visions of nature: they inventoried objects in the process of exchange and collection; they projected possible trajectories for future endeavor; they publicized the social identities of scientific practitioners; and they became research tools that transformed understandings of the natural order. (shrink)
Human social coordination is often mediated by language. Through verbal dialogue, people direct each other’s attention to properties of their shared environment, they discuss how to jointly solve problems, share their introspections, and distribute roles and assignments. In this article, we propose a dynamical framework for the study of the coordinative role of language. Based on a review of a number of recent experimental studies, we argue that shared symbolic patterns emerge and stabilize through a process of local reciprocal linguistic (...) alignment. Such patterns in turn come to facilitate and refine social coordination by enabling the alignment, joint construction and navigation of conceptual models and actions. Implications of the framework are illustrated and discussed in relation to a case study where dyads of interlocutors interact verbally to reach joint decisions in a perceptual discrimination task. (shrink)
Philosophy of Linguistics investigates the foundational concepts and methods of linguistics, the scientific study of human language. This groundbreaking collection, the most thorough treatment of the philosophy of linguistics ever published, brings together philosophers, scientists and historians to map out both the foundational assumptions set during the second half of the last century and the unfolding shifts in perspective in which more functionalist perspectives are explored. The opening chapter lays out the philosophical background in preparation for the papers that follow, (...) which demonstrate the shift in the perspective of linguistics study through discussions of syntax, semantics, phonology and cognitive science more generally. The volume serves as a detailed introduction for those new to the field as well as a rich source of new insights and potential research agendas for those already engaged with the philosophy of linguistics. It provides a bridge between philosophy and current scientific findings, encourages multi-disciplinary dialogue, and covers theory and applications. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt at exploring the possibility of reconciling the two interpretations of biolinguistics which have been recently projected by Koster(Biolinguistics 3(1):61–92, 2009). The two interpretations—trivial and nontrivial—can be roughly construed as non-internalist and internalist conceptions of biolinguistics respectively. The internalist approach boils down to a conception of language where language as a mental grammar in the form of I-language grows and functions like a biological organ. On the other hand, under such a construal consistent with Koster’s (Biolinguistics (...) 3(1):61-92, 2009), the non-internalist version does not necessarily have to be externalist in nature; rather it is a matter of mutual reinforcement of biology and culture under the rubric of a co-evolutionary dynamics. Here it will be argued that the apparent dichotomy between these two conceptions of biolinguistics can perhaps be resolved if we have a richer synthesis that accounts for both internalism and non-internalism. (shrink)