The central aims of this paper are to show how linguistic corpora have been used and can be used in philosophy and to argue that linguistic corpora and corpus analysis should be added to the philosopher’s toolkit of ways to address philosophical questions. A linguistic corpus is a curated collection of texts representing language use that can be queried to answer research questions. Among many other uses, linguistic corpora can help answer questions about the meaning of words and the structure (...) of discourse. Through a discussion of examples, the paper shows that there are many philosophical questions that can be addressed by using a linguistic corpus. However, linguistic corpora need not (and often cannot) replace traditional philosophical methods. Lastly, it argues that the special properties of linguistic corpora, including their independence and the current ease and cheapness of access, make them an indispensable resource for philosophers. (shrink)
Knowledge of human uses of animals is an important, but understudied, aspect of how humans treat animals. We developed a measure of one kind of knowledge of human uses of animals – knowledge of factory farming. Studies 1 (N = 270) and 2 (N = 270) tested an initial battery of objective, true or false statements about factory farming using Item Response Theory. Studies 3 (N = 241) and 4 (N = 278) provided evidence that responses to a 10-item Knowledge (...) of Factory Farming Scale predicted a reduction in consumption of animal products (rs = −.17- −.27) and approval of political actions aimed at factory farming (rs = .2 – .24). Path models from Studies 3 and 4 suggested that different kinds of knowledge uniquely predicted different outcomes. The Knowledge of Factory Farming scale was a unique predictor of approval of political actions concerning factory farmed animals but not animal consumption. Knowledge of Animals Used as Food predicted animal consumption but not political actions concerning farmed animals. These results highlight that different kinds of knowledge can be relevant for different animal related outcomes. (shrink)
Resource Bounded Agents Resource bounded agents are persons who have information processing limitations. All persons and other cognitive agents who have bodies are such that their sensory transducers have limited resolution and discriminatory ability; their information processing speed and power is bounded by some threshold; and their memory and … Continue reading Resource Bounded Agents →.
Bayesians take “definite” or “single-case” probabilities to be basic. Definite probabilities attach to closed formulas or propositions. We write them here using small caps: PROB(P) and PROB(P/Q). Most objective probability theories begin instead with “indefinite” or “general” probabilities (sometimes called “statistical probabilities”). Indefinite probabilities attach to open formulas or propositions. We write indefinite probabilities using lower case “prob” and free variables: prob(Bx/Ax). The indefinite probability of an A being a B is not about any particular A, but rather about the (...) property of being an A. In this respect, its logical form is the same as that of relative frequencies. For instance, we might talk about the probability of a human baby being female. That probability is about human babies in general — not about individuals. If we examine a baby and determine conclusively that she is female, then the definite probability of her being female is 1, but that does not alter the indefinite probability of human babies in general being female. Most objective approaches to probability tie probabilities to relative frequencies in some way, and the resulting probabilities have the same logical form as the relative frequencies. That is, they are indefinite probabilities. The simplest theories identify indefinite probabilities with relative frequencies.3 It is often objected that such “finite frequency theories” are inadequate because our probability judgments often diverge from relative frequencies. For example, we can talk about a coin being fair (and so the indefinite probability of a flip landing heads is 0.5) even when it is flipped only once and then destroyed (in which case the relative frequency is either 1 or 0). For understanding such indefinite probabilities, it has been suggested that we need a notion of probability that talks about possible instances of properties as well as actual instances.. (shrink)