This new heuristic model of perceptual analysis raises interesting issues but in the end falls short. Its arguments are more in the Cartesian than Gestalt tradition. Much of the argument is based on setting up theoretical straw men and ignores well known perceptual and brain science. Arguments are reviewed in light of known physiology and traditional Gestalt theory.
This book provides a systematic study of three foundational issues in the semantics of natural language that have been relatively neglected in the past few decades. focuses on the formal characterization of intensions, the nature of an adequate type system for natural language semantics, and the formal power of the semantic representation language proposes a theory that offers a promising framework for developing a computational semantic system sufficiently expressive to capture the properties of natural language meaning while remaining computationally tractable (...) written by two leading researchers and of interest to students and researchers in formal semantics, computational linguistics, logic, artificial intelligence, and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
In this paper, we investigate the ‘ought implies can’ thesis, focusing on explanations and interpretations of OIC, with a view to clarifying its uses and relevance to legal philosophy. We first review various issues concerning the semantics and pragmatics of OIC; then we consider how OIC may be incorporated in Hartian and Kelsenian theories of the law. Along the way we also propose a taxonomy of OIC-related claims.
This paper proposes a framework for formalising intuitions about the behaviour of imperative commands. It seeks to capture notions of satisfaction and coherence. Rules are proposed to express key aspects of the general logical behaviour of imperative constructions. A key objective is for the framework to allow patterns of behaviour to be described while avoiding making any commitments about how commands, and their satisfaction criteria, are to be interpreted. We consider the status of some conundrums of imperative logic in the (...) context of this proposal. (shrink)
In this paper we address an important issue in the development of an adequate formal theory of underspecified semantics. The tension between expressive power and computational tractability poses an acute problem for any such theory. Generating the full set of resolved scope readings from an underspecified representation produces a combinatorial explosion that undermines the efficiency of these representations. Moreover, Ebert (2005) shows that most current theories of underspecified semantic representation suffer from expressive incompleteness. In previous work we present an account (...) of underspecified scope representations within Property Theory with Curry Typing (PTCT), an intensional first-order theory for natural language semantics. We review this account, and we show that filters applied to the underspecified-scope terms of PTCT permit expressive completeness. While they do not solve the general complexity problem, they do significantly reduce the search space for computing the full set of resolved scope readings in non-worst cases. We explore the role of filters in achieving expressive completeness, and their relationship to the complexity involved in producing full interpretations from underspecified representations. This paper is dedicated to Jim Lambek. (shrink)
Religion has become a vital resource for attempts to rethink the meaning of the political. This article rehearses the efforts of two recent figures, René Girard and Giorgio Agamben, to transform the political by renewing its connection to religion. Both thinkers struggle to escape politics as defined by Carl Schmitt's friend/enemy distinction. Girard and Agamben do clash ideologically, but their inquiries into sacrifice and messianism take similar courses. Regarding origins, Girard argues for the sacrificial crisis as the common parent to (...) religion and politics. Conversely, for Agamben, the Roman figure of homo sacer distinguishes politics from religion. With respect to the future, Girard's messianism installs Christian belief as the only way to move beyond violence. By contrast, Agamben steers Pauline messianism toward the efforts to displace sovereignty and reopen the political. I conclude that Agamben breaks with Schmitt while Girard reinscribes his politics at a higher level. Key Words: Giorgio Agamben Rey Chow Christianity René Girard homo sacer messianism politics sacred sacrifice Carl Schmitt. (shrink)
We present Property Theory with Curry Typing (PTCT), an intensional first-order logic for natural language semantics. PTCT permits fine-grained specifications of meaning. It also supports polymorphic types and separation types. We develop an intensional number theory within PTCT in order to represent proportional generalized quantifiers like âmost.â We use the type system and our treatment of generalized quantifiers in natural language to construct a type-theoretic approach to pronominal anaphora that avoids some of the difficulties that undermine previous type-theoretic analyses of (...) this phenomenon. (shrink)
We formulate a Curry-typed logic with fine-grained intensionality within Turner’s typed predicate logic. This allows for an elegant presentation of a theory that corresponds to Fox and Lappin’s property theory with curry typing, but without the need for a federation of languages. We then consider how the fine-grained intensionality of this theory can be given an operational interpretation. This interpretation suggests itself as expressions in the theory can be viewed as terms in the untyped lambda-calculus, which provides a model of (...) computation. (shrink)
We present an approach to anaphora and ellipsis resolution in which pronouns and elided structures are interpreted by the dynamic identiﬁcation in discourse of type constraints on their semantic representations. The content of these conditions is recovered in context from an antecedent expression. The constraints deﬁne separation types in Property Theory with Curry Typing, an expressive ﬁrst-order logic with Curry typing that we have proposed as a formal framework for natural language semantics.
How should we understand the familiar demand that journalists ‘be objective’? One possibility is that journalists are under an obligation to report only the facts of the matter. However, facts need to be interpreted, selected, and communicated. How can this be done objectively? This paper aims to explain the concept of journalistic objectivity in methodological terms. Specifically, I will argue that the ideal of journalistic objectivity should be recast as a commitment to John Rawls’s conception of public reason. Journalism plays (...) a vital role in the operation of all modern liberal democracies, functioning as the public watchdog, the fourth estate, or the conduit through which vital information flows to the citizenry. Journalism is, therefore, an institution that is best understood as part of the basic structure of society. In Political Liberalism, Rawls explicitly excludes media of any kind from the demands of public reason because he doesn’t think that they play a political role that is important enough to bring them under the official auspices of public reason. I will argue that overlooking the political significance of journalism is a mistake, but one that can be corrected while keeping within the spirit and most important elements of his theory. This revision will widen the scope for what counts as journalism beyond traditional outlets and forms of media but will impose the demands of public reason on anyone who intends to participate in the institution. (shrink)
From late 1684 through mid-1685, Isaac Newton turned to developing and refining the conceptual foundations presupposed by his emerging physics. Analysis of his manuscripts from this period reveals that Newton’s understanding of the relativity of acceleration led him to seek a spatiotemporally invariant quantity of matter. He found two such quantities and then designed an experiment to discover their relationship. Interpreting the experiment, however, required distinguishing a new notion of force. Others have recognized the conceptual distinction between inertial and gravitational (...) mass. I show here that Newton clearly saw this distinction and that he provisionally established their equivalence. (shrink)
We may wonder about the status of logical accounts of the meaning of language. When does a particular proposal count as a theory? How do we judge a theory to be correct? What criteria can we use to decide whether one theory is âbetterâ than another? Implicitly, many accounts attribute a foundational status to set theory, and set-theoretic characterisations of possible worlds in particular. The goal of a semantic theory is then to find a translation of the phenomena of interest (...) into a set-theoretic model. Such theories may be deemed to have âexplanatoryâ or âpredictiveâ power if a mapping can found into expressions of set-theory that have the appropriate behaviour by virtue of the rules of set-theory (for example Montague 1973; Montague1974). This can be contrasted with an approach in which we can help ourselves to ânewâ primitives and ontological categories, and devise logical rules and axioms that capture the appropriate inferential behaviour (as in Turner 1992). In general, this alternative approach can be criticised as being mere âdescriptivismâ, lacking predictive or explanatory power. Here we will seek to defend the axiomatic approach. Any formal account must assume some normative interpretation, but there is a sense in which such theories can provide a more honest characterisation (cf. Dummett 199). In contrast, the set-theoretic approach tends to conflate distinct ontological notions. Mapping a pattern of semantic behaviour into some pre-existing set-theoretic behaviour may lead to certain aspects of that behaviour being overlooked, or ignored (Chierchia & Turner 1988; Bealer 1982). Arguments about the explanatory and predictive power of set-theoretic interpretations can also be questioned (see Benacerraf 1965, for example). We aim to provide alternative notions for evaluating the quality of a formalisation, and the role of formal theory. Ultimately, claims about the methodological and conceptual inadequacies of axiomatic accounts compared to set-theoretic reductions must rely on criteria and assumptions that lie outside the domain of formal semantics as such. (shrink)
The tension between expressive power and computational tractability poses an acute problem for theories of underspeciﬁed semantic representation. In previous work we have presented an account of underspeciﬁed scope representations within Property Theory with Curry Typing, an intensional ﬁrst-order theory for natural language semantics. Here we show how ﬁlters applied to the underspeciﬁed-scope terms of PTCT permit both expressive completeness and the reduction of computational complexity in a signiﬁcant class of non-worst case scenarios.
The human sciences—including psychology, anthropology, and social theory—are widely held to have been born during the eighteenth century. This first full-length, English-language study of the Enlightenment sciences of humans explores the sources, context, and effects of this major intellectual development. The book argues that the most fundamental inspiration for the Enlightenment was the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. Natural philosophers from Copernicus to Newton had created a magisterial science of nature based on the realization that the physical world operated (...) according to orderly, discoverable laws. Eighteenth-century thinkers sought to cap this achievement with a science of _human_ nature. Belief in the existence of laws governing human will and emotion; social change; and politics, economics, and medicine suffused the writings of such disparate figures as Hume, Kant, and Adam Smith and formed the basis of the new sciences. A work of remarkable cross-disciplinary scholarship, this volume illuminates the origins of the human sciences and offers a new view of the Enlightenment that highlights the period's subtle social theory, awareness of ambiguity, and sympathy for historical and cultural difference. (shrink)
A BSTRACT. We present Property Theory with Curry Typing, an intensional ﬁrst-order logic for natural language semantics. PTCT permits ﬁne-grained speciﬁcations of meaning. It also supports polymorphic types and separation types.1 We develop an intensional number theory within PTCT in order to represent proportional generalized quantiﬁers like most. We use the type system and our treatment of generalized quantiﬁers in natural language to construct a typetheoretic approach to pronominal anaphora that avoids some of the difﬁculties that undermine previous type-theoretic analyses (...) of this phenomenon. (shrink)
The paper presents Property Theory with Curry Typing where the language of terms and well-formed formulæ are joined by a language of types. In addition to supporting ﬁne-grained intensionality, the basic theory is essentially ﬁrst-order, so that implementations using the theory can apply standard ﬁrst-order theorem proving techniques. The paper sketches a system of tableau rules that implement the theory. Some extensions to the type theory are discussed, including type polymorphism, which provides a useful analysis of conjunctive terms. Such terms (...) can be given a single polymorphic type that expresses the fact that they can conjoin phrases of any one type, yielding an expression of the same type. (shrink)
I read Tacitus’s valorizing of the Germani in Germania and his depiction of Jews in the Annals and Histories as sources of post-medieval Germany’s identity crisis. Tacitus compares German and Jewish sexuality, marriage, morality, religion, superstition, and women. Most importantly, he devises contrasting German and Jewish models of freedom that prefigure this concept’s development in Kantian and Post-Kantian philosophy. This leads to a paradox: although Tacitus denounces Jews for what he praises in the Germani, he admires Jewish anti-idolatry and freedom. (...) But ultimately, Tacitus denounces the Jews in unequivocal terms. Their practices are “quite opposed to those of all other religions,” and they “regard as profane all that we hold sacred... they permit all that we abhor.” It will be this slander that is epochal. (shrink)
In previous work we have developed Property Theory with Curry Typing (PTCT), an intensional first-order logic for natural language semantics. PTCT permits fine-grained specifications of meaning. It also supports polymorphic types and separation types. We develop an intensional number theory within PTCT in order to represent proportional generalized quantifiers like "most", and we suggest a dynamic type-theoretic approach to anaphora and ellipsis resolution. Here we extend the type system to include product types, and use these to define a permutation function (...) that generates underspecified scope representations within PTCT. We indicate how filters can be added to encode constraints on possible scope readings. Our account offers several important advantages over other current theories of underspecification. (shrink)
Intensional logic (IL) and its application to natural language, which the present monograph addresses, was ﬁrst developed by Richard Montague in the late 1960s (e.g., Montague 1970a, 1970b). Through the efforts of (especially) Barbara Partee (e.g., Partee 1975, 1976), and Richmond Thomason, who edited the posthumous collection of Montague’s works (Thomason 1974), this became the main framework for those who aspired to a formal semantic theory for natural language, and these included computational linguists as early as Jerry Hobbs in the (...) late 1970s (e.g., Hobbs and Rosenschein 1977). In fact, until the advent of the current interest in statistical linguistics with its own conception of what semantics is, IL, or some variant of it, was perhaps the main theory of semantics within computational linguistics generally. And within current computational semantics it still is. But over the years, philosophers, linguists, and computational linguists have noted a variety of shortcomings in Montague’s version of IL. Montague deﬁned intensions as functions from possible worlds to extensions in that world. But this had the effect of making logically equivalent expressions have the same intension, thus leading to the problem of “logical omniscience” (believing/knowing all the logical consequences of what is believed/known). Montague had based his IL on Church’s simple theory of types (Church 1940), supplemented with intensions of each type. But this implies that each natural language item accepts only arguments of some one ﬁxed type. However, this is not true for natural language, where conjunctions, verbs, and pretty much any functional term that accepts arguments at all can accept arguments of different types. (For example, and can accept arguments that are of the sentence type, of the verb phrase type, of the adjective type, etc.; and indeed, it can accept arguments of differing types in its different argument.. (shrink)
High-spin states have been studied in Pr-135(59), populated through the Cd-116(Na-23,4n) reaction at 115 MeV, using the Gammasphere gamma-ray spectrometer. The negative-parity yrast band has been significantly extended to spin similar to 45 (h) over bar and excitation energy 21.5 MeV, showing evidence for several rotational alignments. The positive-parity yrast band of Ce-135(58), populated through the p4n channel of this reaction, was also populated to spin similar to 38 (h) over bar and excitation energy 18 MeV. Cranking calculations indicate that (...) these nuclei are soft with respect to the triaxiality parameter gamma and that several competing nuclear shapes occur at high spin. (shrink)
Allen Buchanan argues that it doesn’t matter whether a state has authority in the sense of being able to create binding obligations for its citizens, so long as it is morally justified in wielding political power. In this paper, I look at this issue from a slightly different angle. I argue that it matters a great deal whether citizens relate to their state in an obligatory fashion. This is for two reasons. First, a fully morally justified state must be an (...) efficacious state; it must be able to realise its values and make its rules stick. My contention will be that enduring stability can only be secured when citizens, or at least a significant proportion of citizens, are tangibly bound to regulate their conduct in accordance with a principle of obedience to just states. Second, it is only when individuals interact in the right way with the justification for state power that the state itself as a pervasive and coercive entity does not pose a problem for them as reason-responsive agents. In fac.. (shrink)
The recent translation of Emmanuel Levinas’s essay On Escape complicates our view of his relationship to Hegel, and reopens the ontological question of escape. The impetus for Levinas’s essay was National Socialism’s effort to reduce subjectivity to being qua biologistic. To resist this, Levinas enlists idealism as an ally. He affirms the idealist subject’s effort to escape being, but denies that it makes good its escape. I challenge this denial by comparing Levinas’s phenomenology of escape with Hegel’s phenomenology of unhappy (...) consciousness, paying special attention to the themes of shame and the will to escape. The similarity between treatments leads me to suggest that the urge to escape emerges at least as early as medieval Christianity, thus predating the historical predicament of mid-1930s European Jewry. I conclude by interpreting space travel and the posthuman figure of the cyborg as signs that escape continues asan object of human aspiration. (shrink)