Darwin’s Conjecture is a bold attempt to bring evolutionary explanation to the social sciences, particularly economics. The book outlines the history of Darwinian explanation in social science then puts forward a generalized replicator account of social evolution by natural selection. The authors identify habits and routines as examples of the generative replicators necessary in order that social evolution is Darwinian. This reviewer notes that the replicator approach limits the generality of this account and suggests that habits and routines might better (...) be seen as members of a Darwinian population in the tradition of Godfrey-Smith’s (2009) generalized account of natural selection instead. Furthermore, the existence of levels of social evolution will constrain what evolution can occur low in the hierarchy. (shrink)
Abstract: For William Blattner, Heidegger's phenomenology fails to demonstrate how a nonsuccessive temporal manifold can ‘generate’ the appropriate sequence of world-time Nows. Without this he cannot explain the ‘derivative’ status of ordinary time. In this article I show that it is only Blattner's reconstruction that makes failure inevitable. Specifically, Blattner is wrong in the way he sets out the explanatory burden, arguing that the structure of world-time must meet the traditional requirements of ordinary time logic if the derivation is to (...) succeed. He takes this to mean: mundane ‘tasks’, the contents of world-time nows, must form a transitive series, importing back into world-time the very structure that Heidegger says is derived by its levelling-off. I argue, instead, that world-time nows, seen at the level of lived content, can be quite ‘irrational’ but this is perfectly consistent with the generative thesis. Adapting Blattner's useful suggestion that temporality is sequence building or ‘iterative’ I show that iteration does not manifest itself at the level of tasks but at the ‘existential’ level of my involvement in a task. Depriving that involvement of its expressive content is what accounts for the levelling-off of the world-time now and thus the derivation of the ordinary concept of time. (shrink)
Seismic facies estimation is a critical component in understanding the stratigraphy and lithology of hydrocarbon reservoirs. With the adoption of 3D technology and increasing survey size, manual techniques of facies classification have become increasingly time consuming. Besides, the numbers of seismic attributes have increased dramatically, providing increasingly accurate measurements of reflector morphology. However, these seismic attributes add multiple “dimensions” to the data greatly expanding the amount of data to be analyzed. Principal component analysis and self-organizing maps are popular techniques to (...) reduce such dimensionality by projecting the data onto a lower order space in which clusters can be more readily identified and interpreted. After dimensional reduction, popular classification algorithms such as neural net, K-means, and Kohonen SOMs are routinely done for general well log prediction or analysis and seismic facies modeling. Although these clustering methods have been successful in many hydrocarbon exploration projects, they have some inherent limitations. We explored one of the recent techniques known as generative topographic mapping, which takes care of the shortcomings of Kohonen SOMs and helps in data classification. We applied GTM to perform multiattribute seismic facies classification of a carbonate conglomerate oil field in the Veracruz Basin of southern Mexico. The presence of conglomerate carbonates makes the reservoir units laterally and vertically highly heterogeneous, which are observed at well logs, core slabs, and thin section scales. We applied unsupervised GTM classification to determine the “natural” clusters in the data set. Finally, we introduced supervision into GTM and calculated the probability of occurrence of seismic facies seen at the wells over the reservoir units. In this manner, we were able to assign a level of confidence to encountering facies that corresponded to good and poor production. (shrink)
This paper explores the implications of the psychology of constructive memory for philosophical theories of the metaphysics of memory and for a central question in the epistemology of memory. I first develop a general interpretation of the psychology of constructive memory. I then argue, on the basis of this interpretation, for an updated version of Martin and Deutscher's influential causal theory of memory. I conclude by sketching the implications of this updated theory for the question of memory 's status as (...) a generative epistemic source. (shrink)
Chung-ying Cheng has been systematically expounding, expanding, and extending the insights and parameters of Western hermeneutics, producing a new understanding of Chinese philosophy by way of an onto-generative hermeneutics that unravels not only the epistemological workings of the ineluctable human process of interpreting and understanding, but also encapsulates the ontological conditions of which the process is an integral expression. His work functions as the bedrock of a philosophy of culture; the practical expression of Cheng's onto-generative hermeneutics, construed as a valid (...) and consistent theory of culture, dismisses the ideality of meaning by subjecting all cultural realities to constant reinterpretation, based on a non-foundationalist conception of culture, while squarely rooted in the ontological source of creativity. (shrink)
An internal reconstruction and an immanent critique of Bourdieu's generative structuralism is presented. Rather than starting with the concept of "habitus," as is usually done, the article tries to systematically reconstruct Bourdieu's theory by an analysis of the relational logic that permeates his whole work. Tracing the debt Bourdieu's approach owes to Bachelard's rationalism and Cassirer's relationalism, the article examines Bourdieu's epistemological writings of the 1960s and 70s. It tries to make the case that Bourdieu's sociological metascience represents a rationalist (...) version of Bhaskar's critical realism, and enjoins Bourdieu to give heed to the realist turn in the philosophy of the natural and the social sciences. The article shows how Bourdieu's epistemological assumptions are reflected in his primary theoretical constructs of "habitus" and "field." To concretize their discussion, it analyzes Bourdieu's reinterpretation of Weber in his theory of the field of religion and of the young Mannheim in his theory of the scientific field. (shrink)
It has been proposed that intentional actions are supplied by a generative system of the sort described by Chomsky for language. In this paper I aim to provide a closer analysis of this claim for the sake of conceptual clarification. To this end, I will first clarify what is involved in the thesis of a structural analogy between language and action, and then I will consider what kind of evidence there seems to be in favour of the thesis of a (...) neurobiological identity. On this basis, I will subsequently focus on two definitional issues. The first is whether, as the claim of a generative system for intentional action suggests, humans may perform an infinite number of possible actions. The second is whether, as the claim of a generative system for intentional action suggests, what is at issue is conscious planning of action and therefore controlled processing. (shrink)
Mesoudi et al.'s new synthesis for cultural evolution closely parallels the evolutionary synthesis of Neo-Darwinism. It too draws inspiration from population genetics, recruits other fields, and, unfortunately, also ignores development. Enculturation involves many serially acquired skills and dependencies that allow us to build a rich cumulative culture. The newer synthesis, evolutionary developmental biology, provides a key tool, generative entrenchment, to analyze them. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Upshot: Thanks to the commentaries we have been able to further clarify the situation of generative first-person analysis in the general framework of neurophenomenology and more specifically of cardio-phenomenology as its extension and reformulation. We have also provided more detailed information about the way phenomenology as transcendental philosophy is genuinely operating as a practice in cardio-phenomenology and has a central function regarding the creation of categories and their suspensive questioning thanks to the epoché method. We have also drawn great benefits (...) from the questions about how micro-phenomenology allows a refinement of descriptive categories and the way new categories are generated, and we have been able to provide some answers about different scales of newness in the generative process. (shrink)
A certain metaphysical thesis about meaning that we'll call Informational Role Semantics (IRS) is accepted practically universally in linguistics, philosophy and the cognitive sciences: the meaning (or content, or `sense') of a linguistic expression1 is constituted, at least in part, by at least some of its inferential relations. This idea is hard to state precisely, both because notions like metaphysical constitution are moot and, more importantly, because different versions of IRS take different views on whether there are constituents of meaning (...) other than inferential role, and on which of the inferences an expression occurs in are meaning constitutive. Some of these issues will presently concern us; but for now it will do just to gesture towards such familiar claims as that: it's part and parcel of dog meaning dog2 that the inference from x is a dog to x is an animal is valid; it's part and parcel of boil meaning boil that the inference from x boiled y to y boiled is valid; it's part and parcel of kill meaning kill that the inference from x killed y to y died is valid; and so on. (See Cruse, Ch. 1 and passim.) IRS brings in its train a constellation of ancillary doctrines. Presumably, for example, if an inference is constitutive of the meaning of a word, then learning the word involves learning that the inference holds. If dog means dog because dog ---> animal is valid, then knowing that dog ---> animal is valid is part and parcel of knowing what the word dog means; and, similarly, learning that x boiled y ---> y boiled is part and parcel of learning what boil means, and so forth. IRS constrains grammatical theories. The semantic lexicon of a language is supposed to make explicit whatever one has to know to understand the lexical expressions of the language, so IRS implies that meaning constitutive inferences are part of the semantic lexical entries for items that have them. Lexical entries are thus typically complex objects (`bundles of inferences') according to standard interpretations of IRS.. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that memory has only the capacity to preserve epistemic features that have been generated by other sources. Specifically, if S knows (justifiedly believes/rationally believes) that p via memory at T2, then it is argued that (i) S must have known (justifiedly believed/rationally believed) that p when it was originally acquired at Tl, and (ii) S must have acquired knowledge that p (justification with respect to p/rationality with respect to p) at Tl via a non-memorial source. Thus, (...) according to this view, memory cannot make an unknown proposition known, an unjustified belief justified, or an irrational belief rational--it can only preserve what is already known, justified, or rational. In this paper, I argue that condition (i) is false and, a fortiori, that condition (ii) is false. Hence, I show that, contrary to received wisdom in contemporary epistemology, memory can function as a generative epistemic source. (shrink)
Building on the success of the bestselling first edition, the second edition of this textbook provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the major issues in Principles and Parameters syntactic theory, including phrase structure, the lexicon, case theory, movement, and locality conditions. Includes new and extended problem sets in every chapter, all of which have been annotated for level and skill type. Features three new chapters on advanced topics including vP shells, object shells, control, gapping and ellipsis and an additional (...) chapter on advanced topics in binding. Offers a brief survey of both Lexical-Functional Grammar and Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. Succeeds in strengthening the reader's foundational knowledge, and prepares them for more advanced study. Supported by an instructor's manual and online resources for students and instructors, available at www.blackwellpublishing.com/carnie. (shrink)
We introduce a set of biologically and computationally motivated design choices for modeling the learning of language, or of other types of sequential, hierarchically structured experience and behavior, and describe an implemented system that conforms to these choices and is capable of unsupervised learning from raw natural-language corpora. Given a stream of linguistic input, our model incrementally learns a grammar that captures its statistical patterns, which can then be used to parse or generate new data. The grammar constructed in this (...) manner takes the form of a directed weighted graph, whose nodes are recursively (hierarchically) defined patterns over the elements of the input stream. We evaluated the model in seventeen experiments, grouped into five studies, which examined, respectively, (a) the generative ability of grammar learned from a corpus of natural language, (b) the characteristics of the learned representation, (c) sequence segmentation and chunking, (d) artificial grammar learning, and (e) certain types of structure dependence. The model's performance largely vindicates our design choices, suggesting that progress in modeling language acquisition can be made on a broad front—ranging from issues of generativity to the replication of human experimental findings—by bringing biological and computational considerations, as well as lessons from prior efforts, to bear on the modeling approach. (shrink)
Western philosophy has been deﬁned through the exclusion of non-Western forms of thought as non-philo-sophical. In this paper, I place the notion of what is “properly” philosophy into question by contrasting the essence/appearance paradigm governing Western metaphysics and its deconstructive critics with the more ﬂuid, dynamic, and participatory forms of encountering and performatively enacting the world that are articulated in Chinese thinking and made apparent in Chinese painting. In this hermeneutical contrast, Western and Chinese thinking themselves are interpeted as co-relational (...) rather than as discrete, mutually indifferent or ethnocentrically nativist traditions. (shrink)
Using a historical and biographical, then developmental, approach, this article examines William James's spiritual family history by reviewing key events in the life of his father, Henry James, Sr. It pays particular attention to Henry Sr's tumultuous relationship with his own father, William James of Albany, and Henry Sr's subsequent conversion to the religious thought of Emmanuel Swedenborg. James's writing of The Varieties of Religious Experience can be seen as integral to his moral and religious development; that is, it functioned (...) as an extended process of conversion that permitted him to distance himself from a rational, scientific identity. In search of the deeper emotional satisfaction and in loyalty to the two paternal ancestors, James's redefined himself, dramatically expanding his own generative legacy. (shrink)
Jackendoff's Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution attempts to reconnect generative linguistics to the rest of cognitive science. However, by minimally acknowledging decades of work in cognitive linguistics, treating dynamical systems approaches somewhat dismissively, and clinging to certain fundamental dogma while revising others, he clearly risks satisfying no one by almost pleasing everyone.
In this paper, I address the issue of scientific modelling in contemporary linguistics, focusing on the generative tradition. In so doing, I identify two common varieties of linguistic idealisation, which I call determination and isolation respectively. I argue that these distinct types of idealisation can both be described within the remit of Weisberg’s :639–659, 2007) minimalist idealisation strategy in the sciences. Following a line set by Blutner :27–35, 2011), I propose this minimalist idealisation analysis for a broad construal of the (...) generative linguistic programme and thus cite examples from a wide range of linguistic frameworks including early generative syntax, Minimalism, the parallel architecture and optimality theory. Lastly, I claim that from a modelling perspective, the dynamic turn in syntax can be explained as a continuation, as opposed to a marked shift, of the generative modelling paradigm. Seen in this light, my proposal is an even broader construal of the generative tradition, along scientific modelling lines. Thus, I offer a lens through which to appreciate the scientific contribution of generative grammar, amid an increased resistance to some of its core theoretical posits, in terms of a brand of structural realism in the philosophy of science and specifically scientific modelling. (shrink)
In The Birth of Sense, Don Beith proposes a new concept of generative passivity, the idea that our organic, psychological, and social activities take time to develop into sense. More than being a limit, passivity marks out the way in which organisms, persons, and interbodily systems take time in order to manifest a coherent sense. Beith situates his argument within contemporary debates about evolution, developmental biology, scientific causal explanations, psychology, postmodernism, social constructivism, and critical race theory. Drawing on empirical studies (...) and phenomenological reflections, Beith argues that in nature, novel meaning emerges prior to any type of constituting activity or deterministic plan. The Birth of Sense is an original phenomenological investigation in the style of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and it demonstrates that the French philosopher’s works cohere around the notion that life is radically expressive. While Merleau-Ponty’s early works are widely interpreted as arguing for the primacy of human consciousness, Beith argues that a pivotal redefinition of passivity is already under way here, and extends throughout Merleau-Ponty’s corpus. This work introduces new concepts in contemporary philosophy to interrogate how organic development involves spontaneous expression, how personhood emerges from this bodily growth, and how our interpersonal human life remains rooted in, and often thwarted by, domains of bodily expressivity. (shrink)
This paper puts Jane Bennett’s vital materialism into dialogue with Luce Irigaray’s ontology of sexuate difference. Together these thinkers challenge the image of dead or intrinsically inanimate matter that is bound up with both the instrumentalization of the earth and the disavowal of sexual difference and the maternal. In its place they seek to affirm a vital, generative materiality: an ‘active matter’ whose differential becomings no longer oppose activity to passivity, subject to object, or one body, self or entity to (...) its ‘other’. For both thinkers, displacing the hylomorphic conceptual structures that have tended to dominate western metaphysical thought is inseparable from critiquing the model of the individual subject as bounded, autonomous and self-identical. Such individualism is countered by the relational ontologies figured in Bennett’s ‘distributed agencies’ and Irigaray’s ‘placental economy’, and by a shared attentiveness to the capacities of the human body to bear others within. Nonetheless, this paper argues that each thinker renders this ‘other within’ in very different ways. On the one hand, Bennett’s approach complements and expands Irigaray’s notion of the elemental by affording a greater attentiveness to inorganic and non-sexuate matters. On the other, Irigaray’s conception of generative relationality and the ontological priority of the in-between allows us to think such material entanglements in ways that more fully displace the twinned logics of individualism and instrumentalization. Her project thereby affirms the relational and irreducible differences on which the ‘vitality’ of a vital materiality depends. If there is no more “earth” to press down/repress, to work, to represent, but also and always to desire, no opaque matter which in theory does not know herself, then what pedestal remains for the ex-sistence of the “subject”? If the earth turned and more especially turned upon herself, the erection of the subject might thereby be disconcerted and risk losing its elevation and penetration. For what would there be to rise up from and exercise his power over? And in? Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman Jane Bennett has recently argued that “the image of dead or thoroughly instrumentalized matter feeds human hubris and our earth-destroying fantasies of conquest and consumption”, continuing that: “The figure of an intrinsically inanimate matter may be one of the impediments to the emergence of more ecological and more materially sustainable modes of production and consumption”.11J. Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010, ix. Henceforth VM. View all notes This insight is prefigured and re-affirmed by the work of Irigaray. Her sustained analysis of western thought and culture shows how its constitutive disavowal of sexual difference and the maternal is inextricably bound up with an equally deep-rooted disavowal of matter and corporeality. As the above passage from Speculum suggests,22L. Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman, trans. G. Gill, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985, 133. Henceforth S. View all notes Irigaray seeks to expose woman's reduction to an object for a subject and a maternal-material resource for man's speculations; but in disentangling woman from her symbolic identification with the earth, she also seeks to release the earth from its identification with a passive and manipulable matter. Her work thus bears directly on the revaluation required to transform human beings' relations to materiality: both their own, and that of the earth they inhabit. At the centre of this revaluation is Irigaray's work to displace the image of dead or intrinsically inanimate matter that Bennett also critiques, and to affirm instead a sexuate materiality that is both living and generative. Her consistent troubling of hylomorphism is as unsettling for the subject as her question: “But what if the ‘object’ started to speak?” This question is echoed in Bennett's concern with “the moment when the object becomes the Other, when the sardine can looks back, when the mute idol speaks”.33 VM, 2, citing W.J.T. Mitchell, What Do Pictures Want?, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 2005, 157. View all notes As this passage indicates, Bennett's own project is more concerned with the agency of non-human materialities – including their role in the constitution of the human – than with specifically sexed bodies or a materiality inflected by sexual difference. It is these crucial differences in emphasis, I will suggest, that allow the work of these two thinkers to be brought together in productive dialogue. On the one hand, Bennett's approach affords a greater attentiveness to inorganic and non-sexuate matter; on the other, Irigaray's twinned ontology of sexual difference and maternal relation is better able to affirm the relational differences on which the “vitality” of a vital materiality depends. The paper begins by outlining several key elements of Irigaray's philosophy of sexual difference to show how it leads necessarily to a rethinking of matter. This rethinking is especially helpful for shifting away from the hylomorphism that has been a dominant strand in western thought, informing an understanding of the earth as a fundamentally inert and ever-ready resource. As I will show, the figures through which Irigaray re-articulates female specificity also allow her to refigure the earth as active matter that “turns upon herself ” in generative flux. In the second section, I will situate Irigaray's re-thinking of matter in relation to Bennett's “vital materiality”.44Bennett can be aligned with a number of thinkers who have come to be grouped under the heading “new materialisms”. See S. Alaimo and S. Hekman, eds., Material Feminisms, Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2008; D. Coole and S. Frost, eds., New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010. View all notes An advantage of this concept is that it refuses the separation between humans and matter still implicit in concepts such as “the environment”. By attending to “our own constitution as vital materiality”, as well as the ways our “own” bodies are never “fully or exclusively human”, Bennett adjusts the status of human actants while re-evaluating non-human bodies “as actants rather than as objects”. As I will show, her approach provides a constructive critical perspective on Irigaray's work by drawing attention to the specifically non-sexuate nature of the elemental. Equally, however, Irigaray's insistence on sexuate difference problematises any appeal to a generic notion of “the human”. This is especially helpful, I will suggest, in relation to contemporary descriptions of climate change as “anthropogenic”. By homogenising human beings, such descriptions make it more difficult to address the ways in which current ecological problems are inseparable from global patterns of social, political and economic inequity. For both thinkers, challenging hylomorphism needs to be matched with a critique of the dominant modern model of the subject as bounded, autonomous and self-identical. And for both, this model is displaced and undone by the capacity of the human body to bear others within, in ways that engender and sustain human life. Yet as I will discuss in the final two sections, each thinker renders this “other within” in very different ways, with significant implications for the ethics and politics of a “vital materiality”. In the end it is Irigaray's rendering of a distinctively female capacity to bear an other within, explored via the generative relationality of a placental economy, that more fully escapes the individualism of the One and the Same. Together, Irigaray and Bennett show that to take seriously the ecological crises that currently confront us means overcoming the disavowal of both human beings' own fundamental materiality and our dependency on the sustaining materialities of the earth. In contrast, a dominant strand in contemporary responses to these crises is an environmental politics of “enlightened self-interest”55I borrow this phrase from H. Kopnina's critical discussion in “Forsaking Nature? Contesting ‘Biodiversity’ Through Competing Discourses of Sustainability”, Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 7, no. 1 : 51–63. that precludes any serious re-evaluation of human beings' relations to matter and the earth. If human beings can be persuaded that current levels of environmental degradation are damaging to them, threatening perhaps their very survival, they are more likely to take decisive steps to alter their behaviour. Insofar as such approaches demand action only for the sake of human interests and ends, they are both anthropocentric and spring from the same instrumentalising rationality that has engendered the ecological crises we currently face. They may well be successful in prompting action. But by foregrounding the survival of “the human species” per se, such approaches foreclose discussion of whose interests are served if survival is all that is allowed to be at stake, and whose lives are thereby consigned to ongoing exploitation. Moreover, as I will argue below, the instrumental rationality that serves survival is at odds with an affirmation of life, as a becoming that depends on difference. With this in mind, I will problematise Bennett's proposed politics of “expanded self-interest”, while seeking to retain many of the insights her approach brings. To more fully displace the “rational” self-interest that has encouraged human exploitation of the earth, we might take up Bennett's “vital materiality” in ways informed by Irigaray's conception of generative difference and the relational space-time of the in-between. (shrink)
Context: The use of first-person micro-phenomenological interviews and their productive interaction with third-person physiological data is a challenging and pressing issue in order to offer an effective and fruitful application of Varela’s neurophenomenological hypothesis. Problem: We aim at offering a generative method of analysis of first-person micro-phenomenological interviews using third-person physiological data. Our challenge is to describe this generative first-person analysis with the third-person physiological framework rather than put Varela’s hypothesis into practice in a generative way (as we did in (...) another paper. Method: The present contribution is a first pioneering study as far as the exposition of such an interactive generative methodology is concerned. It is also a new issue insofar as it deals with a case study, surprise in depression, that has not been thoroughly dealt with so far, either in philosophy or in psychopathology. Results: We show that the analysis of first-person data is an intrinsic generative one, insofar as new refined categories and multifarious circular micro- and macro-processes were discovered in the very process of analyzing. They provide the initial structural generic third-person description of surprise inherited both from philosophical phenomenological a priori categories and from the experimental startle setting with a refined micro-segmentation of the dynamic of the experience. Implications: Our article could be of interest to neurophenomenologists looking for an effective application and to researchers in quest of a method of analysis of first-person data. The present limitations are due to the still preliminary data-results we need to complete. Constructivist content: The article is directly linked to Varela’s neurophenomenological program and aims at extending and reforming it with a cardio-phenomenological approach. Keywords: First-person micro-phenomenological interviews, surprise, generative analysis of first-person data, depression, cardio-phenomenology, generative categories. (shrink)
The behavior of an organism, according to Merleau-Ponty, lays out a milieu through which significant phenomena of varying degrees of optimality elicit adjustment. This leads to the dialectical co-emergence of milieu and aptitude that is both the product and the condition of life. What is present as a norm soliciting optimization is species-specific, but it also depends on the needs of the organism and its prior experience. Although a rich entry point into biological phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty’s work does not adequately describe (...) milieu–aptitude development in interactions between organisms, but it can be assisted through employing Husserl’s three levels of analysis identified by Steinbock, extending all three modes into the biological world. In particular, generative analyses can address inter-organismal behavioral structures slighted in Merleau-Ponty’s work. Generative phenomenology is concerned with the cultural, historical, and intersubjective constitution of human experience and is generally thought to be solely of value in examining the structure of human phenomenality. However, the possibility of human generativity presupposes structures produced widely in the biological world. Ecological, embryogenic, and evolutionary development already depend on protocultural and historical processes creating and created through intercorporeal interaction. After developing the concept of biological generativity through a consideration of plant ecology, mammalian embryology, and insect mimicry, I conclude with implications for humans, who can participate in biological generativity not merely phenomenally, but phenomenologically. (shrink)
Mitte der fünfziger Jahre entsteht mit den Arbeiten der amerikanischen Linguisten Zellig S. Harris und Noam Chomsky die Theorie der generativen (Transformations-)Grammatiken a) Chomskys Grammatikmodell in den "Aspects" ... b) Entwicklung der Theorie ... nach 1965 ...
In this important and pioneering book Frederick Newmeyer takes on the question of language variety. He considers why some language types are impossible and why some grammatical features are more common than others. The task of trying to explain typological variation among languages has been mainly undertaken by functionally-oriented linguists. Generative grammarians entering the field of typology in the 1980s put forward the idea that cross-linguistic differences could be explained by linguistic parameters within Universal Grammar, whose operation might vary from (...) language to language. Unfortunately, this way of looking at variation turned out to be much less successful than had been hoped for. Professor Newmeyer's alternative to parameters combines leading ideas from functionalist and formalist approaches which in the past have been considered incompatible. He throws fresh light on language typology and variation, and provides new insights into the principles of Universal Grammar. The book is written in a clear, readable style and will be readily understood by anyone with a couple of years' study of linguistics. It will interest a wide range of scholars and students of language, including typologists, historical linguists, and theorists of every shade. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe road to a virtuous life is typically met with roadblocks and detours. Life stories reveal the courses people chart around those roadblocks in their attempts to cultivate virtuous lives in non-idealized circumstances. Life stories feature difficult choices that challenge individuals’ attempts to live out the virtues they most value. In this article we focus on the life stories of two women for whom the virtues of generativity and caring for others serve as deeply personal motives that came at a (...) personal cost, notably in the pursuit of other paths of eudaimonic growth. However, these women’s virtuous actions were also a source of meaningful redemption when times got tough. Their life stories also reflect how their lives have been shaped by both personal choices and cultural master narratives of gendered ideals for a good life. Overall these women’s stories illustrate how non-idealized life circumstances can both facilitate and thwart the development of virtue. (shrink)
This is the first installment of a two-part essay. Limitations of space prevented the publication of the full essay in present issue of the Journal. The second installment will appear in the next issue, 2021. My overall goal is to outline a strategy for integrating generative linguistics with a broadly pragmatist approach to meaning and communication. Two immensely useful guides in this venture are Robert Brandom and Paul Pietroski. Squarely in the Chomskyan tradition, Pietroski’s recent book, Conjoining Meanings, offers an (...) approach to natural-language semantics that rejects foundational assumptions widely held amongst philosophers and linguists. In particular, he argues against extensionalism—the view that meanings are truth and satisfaction conditions. Having arrived at the same conclusion by way of Brandom’s defl ationist account of truth and reference, I’ll argue that both theorists have important contributions to make to a broader anti-extensionalist approach to language. What appears here as Part 1 of the essay is largely exegetical, laying out what I see as the core aspects of Brandom’s normative inferentialism and Pietroski’s naturalistic semantics. In Part 2, I argue that there are many convergences between these two theoretical frameworks and, contrary to first appearances, very few points of substantive disagreement between them. If the integration strategy that I propose is correct, then what appear to be sharply contrasting commitments are better seen as interrelated verbal differences that come down to different—but complementary—explanatory goals. The residual disputes are, however, stubborn. I end by discussing how to square Pietroski’s commitment to predicativism with Brandom’s argument that a predicativist language is in principle incapable of expressing ordinary conditionals. (shrink)
Classical categorial grammars are the grammars introduced by Ajdukiewicz  and formalized by Bar-Hillel , Bar-Hillel et al. . In  there is proved the weak equivalence of CCG’s and context-free grammars . In this note we characterize the strong generative capacity of ﬁnite and rigid CCG’s, i.e. their capacity of structure generation. These results are more completely discussed in , .
The theoretical debate in linguistics during the past half-century bears an uncanny parallel to the politics of the (now defunct) Communist Bloc. The parallels are not so much in the revolutionary nature of Chomsky's ideas as in the Bolshevik manner of his takeover of linguistics (Koerner 1994) and in the Trotskyist (“permanent revolution”) flavor of the subsequent development of the doctrine of Transformational Generative Grammar (TGG) (Townsend & Bever 2001, pp. 37–40). By those standards, Jackendoff is quite a party faithful (...) (a Khrushchev or a Dubcek, rather than a Solzhenitsyn or a Sakharov) who questions some of the components of the dogma, yet stops far short of repudiating it. (shrink)
My contribution takes up a set of methodological and philosophical issues in linguistics that have recently occupied the work of Devitt and Rey. Devitt construes the theories of generative linguistics as being about an external linguistic reality of utterances, inscriptions, etc.; that is, Devitt rejects the ‘psychologistic’ construal of linguistics. On Rey’s conception, linguistics concerns the mental contents of speaker / hearers; there are no external linguistic items at all. I reject both views. Against Devitt, I argue that the philosophical (...) issues in linguistics should be framed in terms of the theories themselves, not pre-theoretical conceptions front either philosophy or commonsense as to what linguistics is about or what a language is. In this light, I suggest that Devitt’s key arguments (concerning parameter setting, psychological reality, and the role of intuitions) do not make sense of current linguistic inquiry and so do not offer an adequate philosophical basis of that work. To this extent, I agree with Rey. Ourdifferences emerge over the putative role of content in linguistic inquiry and how the concept of computation ought to be understood. Following the lead of Chomsky’s recent philosophical remarks, I argue that a theory of the language faculty should be understood as an abstract specification of the function that pairs ‘sound’ with ‘meaning’ rather than as a specification of the content the mind represents. But doesn’t ‘computation’ presuppose ‘representation’? I argue for a negative answer, at least if ‘representation’ is read intentionally. A ‘representation’ can be construed as brain structure that, at the present stage of inquiry, can only be picked out via the abstract concepts of linguistic theory. We are entitled to posit such structures insofar as they earn their explanatory keep over the output of the faculty. The linguistic function is a way of setting the boundary conditions on what the brain must be doing such that humans get to be competent speaker / hearers, although we do not therefore take the function to be a story of the causal spring of linguistic performance. (shrink)