Neural correlates exist for a basic component of logical formulae, PREDICATE(x). Vision and audition research in primates and humans shows two independent neural pathways; one locates objects in body-centered space, the other attributes properties, such as colour, to objects. In vision these are the dorsal and ventral pathways. In audition, similarly separable “where” and “what” pathways exist. PREDICATE(x) is a schematic representation of the brain's integration of the two processes of delivery by the senses of the location of an arbitrary (...) referent object, mapped in parietal cortex, and analysis of the properties of the referent by perceptual subsystems. The brain computes actions using a few “deictic” variables pointing to objects. Parallels exist between such nonlinguistic variables and linguistic deictic devices. Indexicality and reference have linguistic and nonlinguistic (e.g., visual) versions, sharing the concept of attention. The individual variables of logical formulae are interpreted as corresponding to these mental variables. In computing action, the deictic variables are linked with “semantic” information about the objects, corresponding to logical predicates. Mental scene descriptions are necessary for practical tasks of primates, and preexist language phylogenetically. The type of scene descriptions used by nonhuman primates would be reused for more complex cognitive, ultimately linguistic, purposes. The provision by the brain's sensory/perceptual systems of about four variables for temporary assignment to objects, and the separate processes of perceptual categorization of the objects so identified, constitute a pre-adaptive platform on which an early system for the linguistic description of scenes developed. Key Words: argument; attention; deictic; dorsal; logic; neural; object; predicate; reference; ventral. (shrink)
Human languages, such as French, Cantonese or American Sign Language, are socio- cultural entities. Knowledge of them (`competence') is acquired by exposure to the ap- propriate environment. Languages are maintained and transmitted by acts of speaking and writing; and this is also the means by which languages evolve. The utterances of one generation are processed by their children to form mental grammars, which in some sense summarize, or generalize over, the children's linguistic experiences. These grammars are the basis for the (...) production of a new avalanche of utterances to which the next generation in its turn is subjected. (This picture is simplified, of course, as generations overlap.) Languages inhabit two distinct and separate modes of existence, which have been called (by Chomsky, 1986) `E-Language' and `I-Language'. E-language is the external observable behaviour --- utterances and inscriptions and manifestations of their meanings. E-language is regarded by some as so chaotic and subject to the vicissitudes of everyday human life as to be a poor candidate for systematic study. (E-Language corresponds to what Chomsky, in earlier terminology, called `performance'.) Out of this blooming buzzing confusion the individual child distils an order internal to the mind; the child constructs a coherent systematic set of rules mapping meanings onto forms. This set of rules is the child's I-Language (where `I' is for `internal'). No two individuals' I-Languages have to be the same, although those of people living in the same community will overlap very significantly. But there will usually be at least some slight difference between the I-language features prevalent in one generation and those prevalent in the next. This is the stuff of language evolution, in the sense of the historical development of individual languages, such as Swedish, Navaho or Zulu. (shrink)
In a recent symposium on Descartes' ontological argument, Norman Malcolm has restated a rather ingenious version of St Anse1m's ontological argument. 1 The purpose of the present paper is to assess the merits of this particular version of the ontological argument.
One of the contemporary results of Germany’s memorial conundrum is the rise of its “counter-monuments”: brazen, painfully self-conscious memorial spaces conceived to challenge the very premises of their being. On the former site of Hamburg’s greatest synagogue, at Bornplatz, Margrit Kahl has assembled an intricate mosaic tracing the complex lines of the synagogue’s roof construction: a palimpsest for a building and community that no longer exist. Norbert Radermacher bathes a guilty landscape in Berlin’s Neukölln neighborhood with the inscribed light of (...) its past. Alfred Hrdlicka began a monument in Hamburg to counter—and thereby neutralize—an indestructible Nazi monument nearby. In a suburb of Hamburg, Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz have erected a black pillar against fascism and for peace designed to disappear altogether over time. The very heart of Berlin, former site of the gestapo headquarters, remains a great, gaping wound as politicians, artists, and various committees forever debate the most appropriate memorial for this site.4 4. The long-burning debate surrounding projected memorials, to the Gestapo-Gelände in particular, continues to exemplify both the German memorial conundrum and the state’s painstaking attempts to articulate it. For an excellent documentation of the process, see Topographie des Terrors: Gestapo, SS und Reichssicherheitshauptamt auf dem “Prinz-Albrecht-Gelände,” ed. Reinhard Rürup . For a shorter account, see James E. Young, “The Topography of German Memory,” The Journal of Art 1 : 30. James E. Young is assistant professor of English and Judaic studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust: Narrative and the Consequences of Interpretation and The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning in Europe, Israel, and America , from which this essay is drawn. He is also the curator of “The Art of Memory,” an exhibition at the Jewish Museum of New York. (shrink)
James E. Bruce explores the relationship between morality and God’s free choices in the thought of Francis Turretin. The first book-length treatment of Turretin’s natural law theory, Rights in the Law provides an important theological backdrop to Early Modern moral and political philosophy. Turretin affirms Thomas Aquinas’s approach to the natural law, calling it the common opinion of the Reformed orthodox, but he develops it, too, by introducing a threefold scheme of right —divine, natural, and positive—to explain how change (...) within the law is possible. For example, God can change the specific day for Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday—from positive right—without changing the natural law precept that finite creatures ought to rest. Yet even with respect to the natural law God is still free. God can make a world in which there is no such thing as murder: he can choose not to make a world that contains such a thing as man. What God cannot do is make a murderable man. So God’s free choices determine the natural law insofar as the natural law is constituted by the nature of the things that God has chosen to create. (shrink)
Externalism, Naturalism, Mathematics, Ontology, Personal Identity, Time and Tense, The Metaphysics of Reference, The Metaphysics of Properties, Conceivability, The Physical, and Theoretical Identity, and Actualism- these are some of the central issues addressed in the essays of this fifteenth volume devoted to metaphysics. Essays discussing metaphysics from some of the foremost academics in philosophy. Topics include Ontology, Personal Identity, the metaphysics of reference, and the metaphysics of properties.
A contribution to ongoing debates in the philosophy of science, aiming to reconceptualize the orientation of the subject. Mobilizing the literature, the authors seek to transform their insights into a new epistemological and ontological basis for studying the enterprise of science.