In this paper I offer an account of the meaning of must and can within the framework of possible worlds semantics. The paper consists of two parts: the first argues for a relative concept of modality underlying modal words like must and can in natural language. I give preliminary definitions of the meaning of these words which are formulated in terms of logical consequence and compatibility, respectively. The second part discusses one kind of insufficiency in the meaning definitions given in (...) the first part, which arise from the ex falso quodlibet paradox of logical consequence. In stepwise fashion, I make an attempt to avoid most of the consequences of this paradox for the meaning definitions of must and can. (shrink)
Theoretical models and correlational research suggest that anger and disgust play different roles in moral judgment. Anger is theorized to underlie reactions to crimes against persons, such as battery and unfairness, and disgust is theorized to underlie reactions to crimes against nature, such as sexual transgressions and cannibalism. To date, however, it has not been shown that induction of these two emotions has divergent effects. In this experiment we show divergent effects of anger and disgust. We use sounds to elicit (...) anger and disgust, and participants are then asked to consider moral vignettes. As compared to disgust and control condition, anger increases severity of judgments about crimes against persons, and disgust increases severity of judgments about crimes against nature, but not conversely. (shrink)
A wide variety of ontologies relevant to the biological and medical domains are available through the OBO Foundry portal, and their number is growing rapidly. Integration of these ontologies, while requiring considerable effort, is extremely desirable. However, heterogeneities in format and style pose serious obstacles to such integration. In particular, inconsistencies in naming conventions can impair the readability and navigability of ontology class hierarchies, and hinder their alignment and integration. While other sources of diversity are tremendously complex and challenging, agreeing (...) a set of common naming conventions is an achievable goal, particularly if those conventions are based on lessons drawn from pooled practical experience and surveys of community opinion. We summarize a review of existing naming conventions and highlight certain disadvantages with respect to general applicability in the biological domain. We also present the results of a survey carried out to establish which naming conventions are currently employed by OBO Foundry ontologies and to determine what their special requirements regarding the naming of entities might be. Lastly, we propose an initial set of typographic, syntactic and semantic conventions for labelling classes in OBO Foundry ontologies. Adherence to common naming conventions is more than just a matter of aesthetics. Such conventions provide guidance to ontology creators, help developers avoid flaws and inaccuracies when editing, and especially when interlinking, ontologies. Common naming conventions will also assist consumers of ontologies to more readily understand what meanings were intended by the authors of ontologies used in annotating bodies of data. (shrink)
Situation semantics was developed as an alternative to possible worlds semantics. In situation semantics, linguistic expressions are evaluated with respect to partial, rather than complete, worlds. There is no consensus about what situations are, just as there is no consensus about what possible worlds or events are. According to some, situations are structured entities consisting of relations and individuals standing in those relations. According to others, situations are particulars. In spite of unresolved foundational issues, the partiality provided by situation semantics (...) has led to some genuinely new approaches to a variety of phenomena in natural language semantics. In the way of illustration, this article includes relatively detailed overviews of a few selected areas where situation semantics has been successful: implicit quantifier domain restrictions, donkey pronouns, and exhaustive interpretations. It moreover addresses the question of how Davidsonian event semantics can be embedded in a semantics based on situations. Other areas where a situation semantics perspective has led to progress include attitude ascriptions, questions, tense, aspect, nominalizations, implicit arguments, point of view, counterfactual conditionals, and discourse relations. (shrink)
The last section made it clear that an analysis which at first seems to fail is viable after all. It is viable if we let it depend on a partition function to be provided by the context of conversation. This analysis leaves certain traits of the partition function open. I have tried to show that this should be so. Specifying these traits as Pollock does leads to wrong predictions. And leaving them open endows counterfactuals with just the right amount of (...) variability and vagueness. (shrink)
What are facts, situations, or events? When Situation Semantics was born in the eighties, I objected because I could not swallow the idea that situations might be chunks of information. For me, they had to be particulars like sticks or bricks. I could not imagine otherwise. The first manuscript of “An Investigation of the Lumps of Thought” that I submitted to Linguistics and Philosophy had a footnote where I distanced myself from all those who took possible situations to be units (...) of information. In that context and at that time, this meant Jon Barwise and John Perry. (shrink)
Ontology is a burgeoning field, involving researchers from the computer science, philosophy, data and software engineering, logic, linguistics, and terminology domains. Many ontology-related terms with precise meanings in one of these domains have different meanings in others. Our purpose here is to initiate a path towards disambiguation of such terms. We draw primarily on the literature of biomedical informatics, not least because the problems caused by unclear or ambiguous use of terms have been there most thoroughly addressed. We advance a (...) proposal resting on a distinction of three levels too often run together in biomedical ontology research: 1. the level of reality; 2. the level of cognitive representations of this reality; 3. the level of textual and graphical artifacts. We propose a reference terminology for ontology research and development that is designed to serve as common hub into which the several competing disciplinary terminologies can be mapped. We then justify our terminological choices through a critical treatment of the ‘concept orientation’ in biomedical terminology research. (shrink)
I will assume (without explicitly argue for it here) that the verb’s external argument is not an argument of the verb root itself, but is introduced by a separate head in a neo-Davidsonian way. The content argument can be saturated by DPs denoting the kinds of things that can be believed or reported.
The adjectival passive construction that is traditionally called ‘Zustandspassiv’ (‘state passive’) in German seems to have the same syntactic and semantic properties as its English cousin, except that it is easier to identify. German state or adjectival passives select the auxiliary sein (‘be’), and are therefore clearly distinguished from verbal or ‘Vorgangs’- passives (‘process passives’), which use the auxiliary werden (‘get’, ‘become’). In spite of their appearance, German state passives do not form a homogenious class, however. There are two important (...) subclasses that behave differently with respect to the adverbial immer noch (‘still’), for example2. (shrink)
This paper pursues some of the consequences of the idea that there are (at least) two sources for distributive/cumulative interpretations in English. One source is lexical pluralization: All predicative stems are born as plurals, as Manfred Krifka and Fred Landman have argued. Lexical pluralization should be available in any language and should not depend on the particular make-up of its DPs. I suggest that the other source of cumulative/distributive interpretations in English is directly provided by plural DPs. DPs with plural (...) agreement features can ‘release’ those features to pluralize adjacent verbal projections. If there is a lexical source for distributive/cumulative interpretations, there should be instances of such interpretations with singular DPs. But there should also be cases of distributive/cumulative interpretations that require the presence of DPs with plural agreement morphology. (shrink)
The Bhagavadgita is one of the most renowned texts of Hinduism because it contains discussions of important issues such as liberation and the nature of action as well as the revelation of the Krishna as the highest god and creator of the universe. It is included in the ancient Indian Mahabharata epic at one of its most dramatic moments, that is, when the final battle is about to begin. In contrast to many other studies, this book deals with the relationship (...) between the Bhagavadgita and its epic contexts. On the basis of a thorough analysis of the text Angelika Malinar argues that its theology delineates not only new philosophical concepts and religious practices but also addresses the problem of righteous kingship and appropriate use of power. Malinar concludes by considering the Bhagavadgita's historical and cultural contexts and those features of the text that became paradigmatic in later Hindu religious traditions. (shrink)
They are expressives, too. There is a phonology. There is a syntax. There is a compositional semantics. There are interesting interactions to investigate. German, Greek, and Papago are known examples of discourse particle languages. Intonation has been said to have similar uses in other languages.
Unlike human beings, landscapes, cities and buildings cannot feel anything in the literal sense. They do not have nervous systems. Nevertheless, we attribute “Stimmungen” such as peacefulness and melancholy to them. On what basis? With what right? And why does it matter anyway? This paper attempts an answer to this bunch of questions. The first section clarifies the concept of “Stimmung,” by distinguishing its three major meanings, namely harmony, mood and atmosphere. Section two discusses various models of how “Stimmung” is (...) infused into our natural and artificial environment. Section three lists several ways of how we experience atmosphere, preparing the ground for the specifically aesthetic claim in section four: how, when we experience atmosphere aesthetically, we respond to it by resonating or feeling at home. (shrink)
Conversational partners' representations may be less aligned than they appear even when interlocutors believe they have successfully understood each other, as data from a series of experiments on surveys about facts and behaviors suggest. Although the goal of a mechanistic psychology of dialogue is laudable, the ultimate model is likely to require far greater specification of individual and contextual variability.
Kratzer 1998 proposes that certain indefinite determiners (at least in some of their uses) might be variables for (Skolemized) choice functions that receive a value from the utterance context. What does it mean for a choice function variable to receive a value from the context of utterance? How can a context provide such a function? To sharpen intuitions, here is an example describing a custom from my home town Mindelheim. After every funeral, all the mourners gathered around the still open (...) grave say a prayer that starts with the words: “And now let us pray for the person among us who will die next.” Suppose an anthropologist attended one or more funerals in Mindelheim, and reports on what she found out in a lecture using (1), or the more general (2). (shrink)
This note is a reply to ‘On the Lumping Semantics of Counterfactuals’ by Makoto Kanazawa, Stefan Kaufmann and Stanley Peters. It shows first that the first triviality result obtained by Kanazawa, Kaufmann, and Peters is already ruled out by the constraints on admissible premise sets listed in Kratzer (1989). Second, and more importantly, it points out that the results obtained by Kanazawa, Kaufmann, and Peters are obsolete in view of the revised analysis of counterfactuals in Kratzer (1990, 2002).
The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) is an ontology that provides terms with precisely defined meanings to describe all aspects of how investigations in the biological and medical domains are conducted. OBI re-uses ontologies that provide a representation of biomedical knowledge from the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) project and adds the ability to describe how this knowledge was derived. We here describe the state of OBI and several applications that are using it, such as adding semantic expressivity to (...) existing databases, building data entry forms, and enabling interoperability between knowledge resources. OBI covers all phases of the investigation process, such as planning, execution and reporting. It represents information and material entities that participate in these processes, as well as roles and functions. Prior to OBI, it was not possible to use a single internally consistent resource that could be applied to multiple types of experiments for these applications. OBI has made this possible by creating terms for entities involved in biological and medical investigations and by importing parts of other biomedical ontologies such as GO, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) and Phenotype Attribute and Trait Ontology (PATO) without altering their meaning. OBI is being used in a wide range of projects covering genomics, multi-omics, immunology, and catalogs of services. OBI has also spawned other ontologies (Information Artifact Ontology) and methods for importing parts of ontologies (Minimum information to reference an external ontology term (MIREOT)). The OBI project is an open cross-disciplinary collaborative effort, encompassing multiple research communities from around the globe. To date, OBI has created 2366 classes and 40 relations along with textual and formal definitions. The OBI Consortium maintains a web resource providing details on the people, policies, and issues being addressed in association with OBI. (shrink)
Resultatives raise important questions for the syntax-semantics interface, and this is why they have occupied a prominent place in recent linguistic theorizing. What is it that makes this construction so interesting? Resultatives are submitted to a cluster of not obviously related constraints, and this fact calls out for explanation. There are tough constraints for the verb, for example.
The study of philosophical terms and doctrines in the Mahābhārata touches not only on important aspects of the contents, composition and the historical contexts of the epic, but also on the historiography of Indian philosophy. General ideas about the textual history of the epic and the distinction between “didactic” and “narrative” parts have influenced the study of epic philosophy no less than academic discussions about what is philosophy in India and how it developed. This results in different evaluations of the (...) place of philosophical texts in the epic and their relationship to the history of Indian philosophy. While some scholars have suggested that there is a “philosophy of the epic” its composers wished to propagate, others have argued that “philosophy” is included in the epic either in a “proto” form or in a variety of doctrines they deemed relevant. The article discusses these views and some of the heuristic assumptions on which they are based. It proposes to widen the scope of analysis by paying more attention to the interplay of narrative and didactic passages, the various ways in which philosophy is presented in the epic, and its connection to a larger spectrum of the reception of philosophy in textual genres and by audiences outside the expert circles of the philosophical schools. (shrink)
Childhood overweight and obesity, especially among migrant children, are current health problems in several European countries. In the present study the prevalence of overweight and obesity among migrant children from Turkey and the former Yugoslavia was documented and compared with that of Austrian children in Vienna. Anthropometric data from 1786 children were collected at the ages of 6, 10 and 15 years. Body mass was estimated by means of the body mass index and percentile curves were used to determine weight (...) status. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was found to be significantly higher among migrant children. Children and adolescents from the former Yugoslavia and Turkish girls exhibited especially high rates of overweight and obesity. Biosocial and cultural factors are discussed as causes of these observations. (shrink)
Forschung an und mit Menschen muss sich legitimieren, d. h. sie muss ihre wissenschaftliche Qualität, Rechtmäßigkeit und ethische Vertretbarkeit aufzeigen. Zu den Rechtfertigungsbedingungen zählt ein „günstiges“ Verhältnis von Nutzen- und Schadenpotenzialen des Forschungsvorhabens. Unabhängige Ethikkommissionen sind den Forschenden zur Seite gestellt, um sie bei der Prüfung und Sicherstellung der genannten Erfordernisse zu unterstützen. Eine zum Gebrauch durch Ethikkommissionen und Forschende entwickelte Nutzen- und Schadentaxonomie sowie ein Schema zur Systematisierung von Chancen-Risiken-Bewertungen wurde nachträglich auf alle Ethikanträge des Jahres 2006 an die (...) Ethikkommission der Medizinischen Fakultät der Universität zu Lübeck angewandt. Unter den 206 analysierten Studienvorhaben lassen 46 % die Chance eines direkten Eigennutzens für die Studienteilnehmer erkennen. Als gruppennützig wurden 12 % der Studienprojekte eingestuft. Sie lassen unmittelbar nach Studienabschluss oder nach wenigen weiteren Studien ein Nutzenpotenzial für Personen mit den gleichen demographischen und klinischen Merkmalen wie die Studienteilnehmer erwarten. 42 % der Ethikanträge bezogen sich auf fremdnützige Studienvorhaben mit Nutzenchancen für die Heilkunde und/oder medizinische Wissenschaft. Das Risiko eines mehr als geringfügigen Eigenschadens wurde bei 53 % der Studien identifiziert. Die Analyse der jeweiligen Nutzenchancen und Schadenrisiken führte bei insgesamt 33 der 206 Studien (16 %) zu einem negativen Ergebnis: Im Urteil der nachträglich durchgeführten Bewertung übertreffen die Nutzenchancen nicht die Schadenrisiken. Studien mit einem mehr als geringfügigen Eigenschadenpotenzial sowie nicht-eigennützige Studien weisen besonders häufig eine negative Gesamtbilanz auf. Eine Prozeduralisierung der Analyse von Chancen und Risiken kann die Transparenz vorgenommener Analyse- und Vergleichsprozesse steigern. Die Kommunikation zwischen Forschenden und Ethikkommissionen sowie unter Ethikkommissionsmitgliedern bei strittigen Studienvorhaben wird erleichtert, die Standardisierung und Harmonisierung der Beratungsabläufe der Ethikkommissionen unterstützt. (shrink)
In this article we will explore the consequences of adopting recent proposals by Chomsky, according to which the syntactic derivation proceeds in terms of phases. The notion of phase – through the associated notion of spellout – allows for an insightful theory of the fact that syntactic constituents receive default phrase stress not across the board, but as a function of yet-to-be-explicated conditions on their syntactic context. We will see that the phonological evi- dence requires us to modify somewhat the (...) theory of which functional categories actually deﬁne a phase. Patterns of default, syntax-determined, phrase stress are argued to result from a prosodic spellout requiring the highest phrase in the spellout domain to correspond to a major prosodic phrase in phonological representation, and carry major phrase stress. (shrink)
The BPR assumes that we already know how sentences are partitioned into focused and backgrounded material, and this is quite legitimate, given the literature on the topic , von Stechow ). If the BPR was true, no more would have to be said about the meaning of focus. The behavior of whatever inferences are generated by backgrounding could be taken care of by theories dealing with the projection of presuppositions of the familiar kind, the presuppositions of definite descriptions, clefts, or (...) factives, for example. This is a non-trivial and interesting claim. (shrink)
This paper reconstructs Van Parijs' core argument for an unconditional basic income and presents three objections against it. The first and most theoretical objection attacks the egalitarian basis of Van Parijs' argument and suggests an alternative, humanitarian theory of justice. The second and third more concrete objections accuse Van Parijs of selling-out the right to work as well as the right to recognition of work, for example of family work. The conclusion drawn from these three objections, however, is not that (...) an unconditional basic income cannot be defended. Instead the paper ends by indicating an alternative, humanitarian argument for an unconditional basic income. (shrink)