It's an achievement of the last couple of decades that people who work in linguistic semantics and people who work in the philosophy of language have arrived at a friendly, de facto agreement as to their respective job descriptions. The terms of this agreement are that the semanticists do the work and the philosophers do the worrying. The semanticists try to construct actual theories of meaning (or truth theories, or model theories, or whatever) for one or another kind of expression (...) in one or another natural language; for example, they try to figure out how the temperature could be rising compatibly with the substitutivity of identicals. The philosophers, by contrast, keep an eye on the large, foundational issues, such as: what's the relation between sense and denotation; what's the relation between thought and language; whether translation is determinate; and whether life is like a fountain. Every now and then the philosophers and the semanticists are supposed to get together and compare notes on their respective progress. Or lack thereof. (shrink)
Rape of women by men might be generated either by a specialized rape adaptation or as a by-product of other psychological adaptations. Although increasing number of sexual partners is a proposed benefit of rape according to the “rape as an adaptation” and the “rape as a by-product” hypotheses, neither hypothesis addresses directly why some men rape their long-term partners, to whom they already have sexual access. In two studies we tested specific hypotheses derived from the general hypothesis that sexual coercion (...) in the context of an intimate relationship may function as a sperm competition tactic. We hypothesized that men’s sexual coercion in the context of an intimate relationship is related positively to his partner’s perceived infidelities and that men’s sexual coercion is related positively to their mate retention behaviors (behaviors designed to prevent a partner’s infidelity). The results from Study 1 (self-reports from 246 men) and Study 2 (partner-reports from 276 women) supported the hypotheses. The Discussion section addresses limitations of this research and highlights future directions for research on sexual coercion in intimate relationships. (shrink)
According to N. T. Wright, anyone who is a Christian should at least think twice before he or she speaks about the soul, especially as an entity that is distinct from its physical body and can survive death in a disembodied intermediate state until the resurrection and reembodiment. In Wright’s mind, talk of the soul is talk about soul-body substance dualism, which is the villain in Christian anthropological thought. As far as Wright is concerned, it is time for Christians to (...) renounce dualism once and for all. In this paper, I take issue with Wright’s position on substance dualism. (shrink)
The use of language models in Web applications and other areas of computing and business have grown significantly over the last five years. One reason for this growth is the improvement in performance of language models on a number of benchmarks — but a side effect of these advances has been the adoption of a “bigger is always better” paradigm when it comes to the size of training, testing, and challenge datasets. Drawing on previous criticisms of this paradigm as applied (...) to large training datasets crawled from pre-existing text on the Web, we extend the critique to challenge datasets custom-created by crowdworkers. We present several sets of criticisms, where ethical and scientific issues in language model research reinforce each other: labour injustices in crowdwork, dataset quality and inscrutability, inequities in the research community, and centralized corporate control of the technology. We also present a new type of tool for researchers to use in examining large datasets when evaluating them for quality. (shrink)
1 There is a Standard Objection to the idea that concepts might be prototypes (or exemplars, or stereotypes): Because they are productive, concepts must be compositional. Prototypes aren't compositional, so concepts can't be prototypes (see, e.g., Margolis, 1994).2 However, two recent papers (Osherson and Smith, 1988; Kamp and Partee, 1995) reconsider this consensus. They suggest that, although the Standard Objection is probably right in the long run, the cases where prototypes fail to exhibit compositionality are relatively exotic and involve phenomena (...) which any account of compositionality is likely to find hard to deal with; for example, the effects of quantifiers, indexicals, contextual constraints, etc. KP are even prepared to indulge a guarded optimism: "... when a suitably rich compositional theory... is developed, prototypes will be seen ... as one property among many which only when taken altogether can support a compositional theory of combination" (p.56). In this paper, we argue that the Standard Objection to prototype theory was right after all: The problems about compositionality are insuperable in even the most trivial sorts of examples; it is therefore as near to certain as anything in cognitive science ever gets that the structure of concepts is not statistical. Theories of categorization, concept acquisition, lexical meaning and the like, which assume the contrary simply don't work. We commence with a general discussion of the constraints that an account of concepts must meet if their compositionality is to explain their productivity. We'll then turn to a criticism of proposals that OS2 and KP make for coping with some specific cases. (shrink)
Cuckoldry is an adaptive problem faced by parentally investing males of socially monogamous species (e.g., humans and many avian species). Mate guarding and frequent in-pair copulation (IPC) may have evolved as anti-cuckoldry tactics in avian species and in humans. In some avian species, the tactics are used concurrently, with the result that mate guarding behaviors and IPC frequency are correlated positively. In other avian species, the tactics are compensatory, with the result that mate guarding behaviors and IPC frequency are correlated (...) negatively. The relationship between mate guarding and IPC frequency in humans is unknown. Avian males that use these tactics concurrently share with human males an inability to guard a female partner continuously during her peak fertile period. We hypothesized, therefore, that men’s mate guarding and IPC frequency function as concurrent anti-cuckoldry tactics, resulting in a positive correlation between them. Study 1 (n=305) secured men’s self-reports of mate guarding and IPC frequency. Study 2 (n+367) secured women’s reports of their partners’ mate guarding and IPC frequency. The concurrent tactics hypothesis was supported in both studies: Men’s mate guarding and IPC frequency are correlated positively, and this association is not attributable to male age, female age, relationship satisfaction, relationship length, or time that the couple spends together. The Discussion section addresses potential limitations of this research and future research directions. (shrink)
Schmitt recognized that research is needed to identify other factors associated with sex ratio and with sociosexuality that may explain cross-cultural variation in sexual behavior. One such factor may be the risk of sperm competition. Sperm competition theory may lead us to a more complete explanation of cultural variation in sexual behavior.