Talking about Causing Events


Authors
Alexis Wellwood
University of Southern California
Rachel Dudley
École Normale Supérieure
1 more
Abstract
Questions about the nature of the relationship between language and extralinguistic cognition are old, but only recently has a new view emerged that allows for the systematic investigation of claims about linguistic structure, based on how it is understood or utilized outside of the language system. Our paper represents a case study for this interaction in the domain of event semantics. We adopt a transparency thesis about the relationship between linguistic structure and extralinguistic cognition, investigating whether different lexico-syntactic structures can differentially recruit the visual causal percept. A prominent analysis of causative verbs like move suggests reference to two distinct events and a causal relationship between them, whereas non-causative verbs like push do not so refer. In our study, we present English speakers with simple scenes that either do or do not support the perception of a causal link, and manipulate a one-sentence instruction for the evaluation of the scene. Preliminary results suggest that competent speakers of English are more likely to judge causative constructions than non-causative constructions as true of a scene where causal features are present in the scene. Implications for a new approach to the investigation of linguistic meanings and future directions are discussed.
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DOI 10.4148/1944-3676.1092
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References found in this work BETA

The Logical Form of Action Sentences.Donald Davidson - 1967 - In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), The Logic of Decision and Action. University of Pittsburgh Press.
Perceptual Causality and Animacy.Brian J. Scholl & Patrice D. Tremoulet - 2000 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (8):299-309.
The Perception of Causality.A. Michotte, T. R. Miles & Elaine Miles - 1964 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 15 (59):254-259.
Events and Semantic Architecture.Paul M. Pietroski - 2004 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Lexical Flexibility, Natural Language, and Ontology.Christopher A. Vogel - 2016 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 16 (1):1-44.

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