The present paper studies the general implications of theprinciple of compositionality for the organization of grammar.It will be argued that Janssen''s (1986) requirement that syntax andsemantics be similar algebras is too strong, and that the moreliberal requirement that syntax be interpretable into semanticsleads to a formalization that can be motivated and applied more easily,while it avoids the complications that encumber Janssen''s formalization.Moreover, it will be shown that this alternative formalization evenallows one to further complete the formal theory of compositionality, inthat (...) it is capable of clarifying the role played by translation,model-theoretic interpretation and meaning postulates,of which the latter two aspects received little or no attention inMontague (1970) and Janssen (1986). (shrink)
This review confirms Herman’s work as a praiseworthy contribution to East-West and comparative philosophical literature. Due credit is given to Herman for providing English readers with access to Buber’s commentary on, a personal translation of, the Chuang-Tzu; Herman’s insight into the later influence of I and Thou on Buber’s understanding of Chuang-Tzu and Taoism is also appropriately commended. In latter half of this review, constructive criticisms of Herman’s work are put forward, such as formatting inconsistencies, a (...) tendency toward verbosity and jargon, and a neglect of seemingly important hermeneutical issues. Such issues, seemingly substantive but neglected by Herman, are the influence of Buber’s prior familiarity with Hasidic teachings on his encounter with Chuang-Tzu, as well as the prevalence of Hasidic and Taoist thought in Buber’s conception of good and evil. (shrink)
Social interactions of autistic and non-autistic persons are intriguing. In all sorts of situations people with autism are part of the daily life of those around them. Such interactions exist despite the lack of familiar ways of attuning to one another. In Autistic Company, the anthropologist and philosopher Ruud Hendriks—himself trained as a care worker for young people with autism—investigates what alternative means are sometimes found by autistic and non-autistic people to establish a shared existence. Unprecedented in scholarly work (...) on autism, the book also reflects on how to talk about these unusual ways of getting on together. Drawing on methods from both the arts and the social sciences, this study covers very diverse sources, ranging from literary works to factual writing on autism in science and advisory literature, and from autobiographical accounts to ethnographic observations in a home for autistic people. “Putting familiar concepts to a test, Autistic Company wrenches and fiddles with the very distinctions that constitute our sense of self. By doing so, Hendriks succeeds in getting closer both to autistic and non-autistic extremes, showing how thin the division between us and them really is.” -L.W. Nauta in Krisis. (shrink)
Making room for character -- Pluralism and the community of moral judgment -- A cosmopolitan kingdom of ends --Responsibility and moral competence --Can virtue be taught?: the problem of new moral facts -- Training to autonomy: Kant and the question of moral education -- Bootstrapping -- Rethinking Kant's hedonism -- The scope of moral requirement -- The will and its objects -- Obligatory ends -- Moral improvisation -- Contingency in obligation.
Richard Henson attempts to take the sting out of this view of Kant on moral worth by arguing (i) that attending to the phenomenon of the overdetermination of actions leads one to see that Kant might have had two distinct views of moral worth, only one of which requires the absence of cooperating inclinations, and (ii) that when Kant insists that there is moral worth only when an action is done from the motive of duty alone, he need not also (...) hold that such a state of affairs is morally better, all things considered, than one where supporting inclination is present. Henson's proposals seem to me both serious and plausible. I do not think that either of his models, in the end, can take on the role Kant assigns to moral worth in the argument of the Groundwork. But seeing the ways Henson's account diverges from Kant's makes clearer what Kant intended in his discussion of those actions he credits with moral worth. [...] An action has moral worth if it is required by duty and has as its primary motive the motive of duty. The motive of duty need not reflect the only interest the agent has in the action (or its effect); it must, however, be the interest that determines the agent's acting as he did. (shrink)
Many social situations require a mental model of the knowledge, beliefs, goals, and intentions of others: a Theory of Mind (ToM). If a person can reason about other people’s beliefs about his own beliefs or intentions, he is demonstrating second-order ToM reasoning. A standard task to test second-order ToM reasoning is the second-order false belief task. A different approach to investigating ToM reasoning is through its application in a strategic game. Another task that is believed to involve the application of (...) second-order ToM is the comprehension of sentences that the hearer can only understand by considering the speaker’s alternatives. In this study we tested 40 children between 8 and 10 years old and 27 adult controls on (adaptations of) the three tasks mentioned above: the false belief task, a strategic game, and a sentence comprehension task. The results show interesting differences between adults and children, between the three tasks, and between this study and previous research. (shrink)
Most of us have been brought up on the idea that moral theories divide as they are, at the root, either deontological or consequentialist. A new point of division has been emerging that places deontological and consequentialist theories together against theories of virtue, or a conception of morality constrained at the outset by the requirements of the “personal.” In a series of important essays Bernard Williams has offered striking arguments for the significance of the personal in moral thought based on (...) the role of integrity in human activity and character. His criticisms of both Kantian and utilitarian theories for their deep-seated tendencies to undermine the integrity of persons brings to a new level of seriousness and subtlety long-standing complaints against these theories—the invasive do-gooding of utilitarianism, the coldness and severity toward normal human concerns of Kantian theory. Although Williams is inclined to find the sources of the attack on integrity in these different features of the two traditional theories, in the end his complaint against both of them turns on their demand that the moral agent submit himself to the authority of impartial value. (shrink)
This paper presents a study of the effect of working memory load on the interpretation of pronouns in different discourse contexts: stories with and without a topic shift. We discuss a computational model (in ACT-R, Anderson, 2007) to explain how referring expressions are acquired and used. On the basis of simulations of this model, it is predicted that WM constraints only affect adults' pronoun resolution in stories with a topic shift, but not in stories without a topic shift. This latter (...) prediction was tested in an experiment. The results of this experiment confirm that WM load reduces adults' sensitivity to discourse cues signaling a topic shift, thus influencing their interpretation of subsequent pronouns. (shrink)
We can understand and act upon the beliefs of other people, even when these conflict with our own beliefs. Children’s development of this ability, known as Theory of Mind, typically happens around age 4. Research using a looking-time paradigm, however, established that toddlers at the age of 15 months old pass a non-verbal false-belief task (Onishi and Baillargeon in Science 308:255–258, 2005). This is well before the age at which children pass any of the verbal false-belief tasks. In this study (...) we present a more complex case of false-belief reasoning with older children. We tested second-order reasoning, probing children’s ability to handle the belief of one person about the belief of another person. We find just the opposite: 7-year-olds pass a verbal false-belief reasoning task, but fail on an equally complex low-verbal task. This finding suggests that language supports explicit reasoning about beliefs, perhaps by facilitating the cognitive system to keep track of beliefs attributed by people to other people. (shrink)
If, as Kant says, "the will is practical reason", we should think of willing as a mode of reasoning, and its activity represented in movement from evaluative premises to intention by way of a validity-securing principle of inference. Such a view of willing takes motive and rational choice out of empirical psychology, thereby eliminating grounds for many familiar objections to Kant's account of morally good action. The categorical imperative provides the fundamental principle of valid practical inference; however, for good willing, (...) we also require correct premises. These come from specifications of the two obligatory ends - our own perfection and the happiness of others. Interpreting good willing as good reasoning not only fits well with Kant's metaphysics of free action, it also offers a sound method for reasoning to and about individual as well as role-dependent moral obligations. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to elucidate the processes that characterize natural language interpretation. The basic hypothesis is that natural language interpretation can be characterized as an optimization problem. This innovative view on interpretation is shown to account for the crucial role of contextual information while avoiding certain well-known problems associated withcompositionality. This will become particularly clear in the context of incomplete expressions. Our approach takes as a point of departure total freedom ofinterpretation in combination with the parallel application (...) of soft constraints on possible interpretations. These constraints can be contextual, intonational or syntactic in nature. The integration of pragmatic andsyntactic/semantic information in a system of ranked constraints is proposed to correctly derive the optimal interpretations in cases of nominal anaphorization, determiner quantification and elliptical comparatives. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to elucidate the processes that characterize natural language interpretation. The basic hypothesis is that natural language interpretation can be characterized as an optimization problem. This innovative view on interpretation is shown to account for the crucial role of contextual information while avoiding certain well-known problems associated with compositionality. This will become particularly clear in the context of incomplete expressions. Our approach takes as a point of departure total freedom of interpretation in combination with the (...) parallel application of soft constraints on possible interpretations. These constraints can be contextual, intonational or syntactic in nature. The integration of pragmatic and syntactic/semantic information in a system of ranked constraints is proposed to correctly derive the optimal interpretations in cases of nominal anaphorization, determiner quantification and elliptical comparatives. (shrink)
We dispute Penn et al.'s claim of the sharp functional discontinuity between humans and nonhumans with evidence in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) of higher-order generalizations: spontaneous integration of previously learned rules and concepts in response to novel stimuli. We propose that species-general explanations that are in approach are more plausible than Penn et al.'s innatist approach of a genetically prespecified supermodule.
It has been observed (Kehler, 1996, Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society; Kehler, 2000 Linguistics and Philosophy, 23, 533–575; Kehler, 2002 Coherence, Reference, and the Theory of Grammar) that ellipsis resolution processes interact with the inference processes underlying the establishment of coherence relations in discourse. For example, gapping only co‐occurs with the coherence relation of Resemblance. In this paper I show that the reason why certain ellipsis processes only co‐occur with certain types of coherence relations (...) does not lie in the (im)possibility to reconstruct the missing material. Rather, ellipsis processes differ in their relation to the topic of the sentence. The way in which different coherence relations construct their topic (i.e. as a contrastive topic or as a non‐contrastive topic) restricts the types of ellipsis they can occur with. This conclusion is supported by observed differences between gapping and subject deletion in Dutch SGF‐constructions. (shrink)
Clinical experience suggests that adult survivors of childhood trauma arrive at their memories in a number of ways, with varying degrees of associated distress and uncertainty and, in some cases, after memory lapses of varying duration and extent. Among those patients who enter psychotherapy as a result of early abuse, three general patterns of traumatic recall are identified: relatively continuous and complete recall of childhood abuse experiences coupled with changing interpretations of these experiences, partial amnesia for abuse events, accompanied by (...) a mixture of delayed recall and delayed understanding, and delayed recall following a period of profound and pervasive amnesia. These patterns are represented by three composite clinical vignettes. Variations among them suggest that the phenomena underlying traumatic recall are continuous not dichotomous. Future research into the nature of traumatic memory should be informed by clinical observation. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to investigate whether choosing the appropriate referring expression requires taking into account the hearer’s perspective, as is predicted under some versions of bidirectional Optimality Theory but is unexpected under other versions. We did this by comparing the results of 25 young and 25 elderly adults on an elicitation task based on eight different picture stories, and a comprehension task based on eight similar written stories. With respect to the elicitation task, we found that elderly (...) adults produce pronouns significantly more often than young adults when referring to the old topic in the presence of a new topic. With respect to the comprehension task, no significant differences were found between elderly and young adults. These results support the hypothesis that speakers optimize bidirectionally and take into account hearers when selecting a referring expression. If the use of a pronoun will lead to an unintended interpretation by the hearer, the speaker will use an unambiguous definite noun phrase instead. Because elderly adults are more limited in their processing capacities, as is indicated by their smaller working memory capacity, as speakers they will not always be able to reason about the hearer’s choices. As a result, they frequently produce non-recoverable pronouns. (shrink)
It is shown, in a large variety of manifestations, that the Aharonov—Bohm effect has classical counterparts in aspects concerning energy and momentum balance. No counterexamples are found in the cases considered, although whenever image charges shield the magnetic field region from the electric field of the passing electron the classical momentum effects, while present, would not be observable. Similarly, if the magnetic flux is maintained by superconductors, magnetic shielding will also render the classical energy effect unobservable. Partial shieldings of either (...) type will reduce but not totally eliminate the corresponding observable classical manifestations of these effects. (shrink)
The work ethic has been deeply challenged by two trends – the division of labor and the destruction of continuity in employment. Here a narrative model is proposed for reconstructing the work ethic. Narratives embody assumptions about the flow of time, and work becomes charged with meaning when "contractual time" is interrupted, when new functions are invented to cope with obstacles having to do human character and action. Content for this abstract model is provided by four historical movements in the (...) U.S. having to do with the reorganization of work or work relations: scientific management, the human-relations movement, the human-potential movement, and early management thought. (shrink)
Using Ian McEwan's 2007 novel On Chesil Beach as a case study, this paper seeks to enhance opportunities for dialogue between researchers in the cognitive sciences and scholars of story. More specifically, now that narrative alternatives to theories of mind have begun to shape debates about the nature and status of folk psychology, it is time to flesh out those alternatives by highlighting the action-modelling capacity built into the structure of stories. Narrative practices like McEwan's demonstrate how stories can be (...) used to configure and reconfigure characters'behaviour from different temporal, spatial, and evaluative standpoints, in the way that a complex molecule or architectural structure can be displayed and manipulated in virtual space with the help of an advanced computer graphics program. In turn, interpreting narrative as a system for building models of action underscores the relevance of narratology for the philosophy of mind -- and vice versa. (shrink)
In response to critical discussions of my book, Moral Literacy, by Stephen Engstrom, Sally Sedgwick and Andrews Reath, I offer a defence of Kant's formalism that is not only friendly to my claims for the moral theory's sensitivity to a wide range of moral phenomena and practices at the ground level, but also consistent with Kant's high rationalist ambitions.
Medicine has been said to be both a science and an art. Many practitioners regard this statement as containing an element of “either/or”. A brief look at what scientists and artists have written about their work and their world views, however, suggests that the two fields of endeavour form a complementary part of our attempts to understand ourselves and the world about us. Moreover, on occasion, each can perform some of the other's tasks. This paper quotes from the writings of (...) physicians, scientists and people active in the humanities in order to demonstrate how frequently their thoughts converge. It also presents a case report from general practice illustrative of the idea that there is much common ground between the “hard” and the “soft” in medicine. Indeed, the profession's art and science may really be one. (shrink)
Abstract In discussing the meaning of life in the Bhagavad Git? two obvious questions arise: first, what is the meaning of ?the meaning of life'?, and second, how does that meaning apply to the Bhagavad Git?? In Part I of this brief paper I will attempt to answer the first question by focusing on one of the common meanings of that phrase; in Part II, I will apply that very common meaning to the Bhagavad Git?; and in the third and (...) final part, I will point to a puzzle, the paradox of the jivanmukta, that would seem to follow from the discussion in the first two parts of this paper. My own feeling is that the concept of ?the meaning of life? is a Western invention . This being so, perhaps it would be wise to probe for that concept and its meaning among Western authors. We turn first, then, to one ancient writer, Aristotle of Stagira, and conclude Part I with a modern writer also concerned with the meaning of life, Albert Camus. (shrink)