We combine state-of-the-art techniques from computational linguisticsand theorem proving to build an engine for playing text adventures,computer games with which the player interacts purely through naturallanguage. The system employs a parser for dependency grammar and ageneration system based on TAG, and has components for resolving andgenerating referring expressions. Most of these modules make heavy useof inferences offered by a modern theorem prover for descriptionlogic. Our game engine solves some problems inherent in classical textadventures, and is an interesting test case for (...) the interactionbetween natural language processing and inference. (shrink)
John Wilkins and Malte Ebach respond to the dismissal of classification as something we need not concern ourselves with because it is, as Ernest Rutherford suggested, mere ‘‘stamp collecting.’’ They contend that classification is neither derivative of explanation or of hypothesis-making but is necessarily prior and prerequisite to it. Classification comes first and causal explanations are dependent upon it. As such it is an important (but neglected) area of philosophical study. Wilkins and Ebach reject Norwood Russell Hanson’s thesis that (...) classification relies on observation that is theory-laden and deny the need for aetiological assumptions and historical reconstruction to justify its arrangement. What they offer instead is a significant (albeit controversial) contribution to the philosophical literature on classification, a pre-theoretic natural classification based on the observation of patterns in data of ready-made phenomena. Their notion of ready-made phenomena rests on a conception of tacit knowledge or know-how. This is evident in their distinction between strong Theory-dependence and na ̈ıve theory-dependence. Their small t-theory-dependence permits patterns of observation that facilitate know-how but does not rely on a domain-specific explanatory theory of their aetiology. Wilkins and Ebach suggest classification differs from theory building in that it is passive (whereas theory building is active). Classification is possible just because it does not require the sieve of theory to capture classes that are ‘‘handed to you by your cognitive dispositions and the data that you observe’’ (p. 18). Finding regularities sans-theory is just something we do and can do without any prior theory about the underlying causes or origins of the resultant regularities. Luke Howard’s classification of clouds serves as an exemplar of a passive, theory-free classification system and the periodic table and the DSM help to illustrate this type of non-aetiological patterning. A recurrent theme is the nature of naturalness. For Wilkins and Ebach, the conception of naturalness is not one that is based on the generation or discovery of natural kind categories popular in both the traditional metaphysics of Mill and Wittgenstein as well as updated notions within philosophy of biology such as Boyd’s Homeostatic Property Cluster kinds. Instead, Wilkins and Ebach define the naturalness of classification as the falling into hierarchical patterns, aligning the search for natural arrangement with the aim of systematics, and as something that is grounded in a cognitive task or activity. However, they leave the question of realism v. antirealism open. ‘‘In natural classification...we must have real relations no matter how we might interpret ‘real’’’ (p. 70). There is tension with regard to their ontological commitments as they vacillate between constructive, operationalist, and realist approaches. Wilkins and Ebach initially define real as that which is causal and important (pp. 70–71), and later as that which ‘‘depends in no way upon a mind or observer’’ (p. 122). This makes their claim that there was ‘‘no real theory involved [in the pre-Darwinian classifications of Jussieu and Adanson]’’ (p. 64) difficult to interpret. Cont’d……. (shrink)
A dynamic semantics for epistemically modalized sentences is an attractive alternative to the orthodox view that our best theory of meaning ascribes to such sentences truth-conditions relative to what is known. This essay demonstrates that a dynamic theory about might and must offers elegant explanations of a range of puzzling observations about epistemic modals. The first part of the story offers a unifying treatment of disputes about epistemic modality and disputes about matters of fact while at the same time avoiding (...) the complexities of alternative theories. The second part of the story extends the basic framework to cover some complicated data about retraction and the interaction between epistemic modality and tense. A comparison between the suggestion made in this essay and current versions of the orthodoxy is provided. (shrink)
Every adequate semantics for conditionals and deontic ought must offer a solution to the miners paradox about conditional obligations. Kolodny and MacFarlane have recently argued that such a semantics must reject the validity of modus ponens. I demonstrate that rejecting the validity of modus ponens is inessential for an adequate solution to the paradox.
A dynamic semantics for iffy oughts offers an attractive alternative to the folklore that Chisholm's paradox enforces an unhappy choice between the intuitive inference rules of factual and deontic detachment. The first part of the story told here shows how a dynamic theory about ifs and oughts gives rise to a nonmonotonic perspective on deontic discourse and reasoning that elegantly removes the air of paradox from Chisholm's puzzle without sacrificing any of the two detachment principles. The second part of the (...) story showcases two bonus applications of the framework suggested here: it offers a response to Forrester's gentle murder paradox and avoids Kolodny and MacFarlane's miners paradox about deontic reasoning under epistemic uncertainty. A comparison between the dynamic semantic proposal made in this paper and a more conservative approach combining a static semantics with a dynamic pragmatics is provided. (shrink)
Mindfulness meditation describes a set of different mental techniques to train attention and awareness. Trait mindfulness and extended mindfulness interventions can benefit self-control. The present study investigated the short-term consequences of mindfulness meditation under conditions of limited self-control resources. Specifically, we hypothesized that a brief period of mindfulness meditation would counteract the deleterious effect that the exertion of self-control has on subsequent self-control performance. Participants who had been depleted of self-control resources by an emotion suppression task showed decrements in self-control (...) performance as compared to participants who had not suppressed emotions. However, participants who had meditated after emotion suppression performed equally well on the subsequent self-control task as participants who had not exerted self-control previously. This finding suggests that a brief period of mindfulness meditation may serve as a quick and efficient strategy to foster self-control under conditions of low resources. (shrink)
This paper offers a unified semantic explanation of two observations that prove to be problematic for classical analyses of modals, conditionals, and disjunctions: the fact that disjunctions scoping under possibility modals give rise to the free choice effect and the fact that counterfactuals license simplification of disjunctive antecedents. It shows that the data are well explained by a dynamic semantic analysis of modals and conditionals that uses ideas from the inquisitive semantic tradition in its treatment of disjunction. The analysis explains (...) why embedding a disjunctive possibility under negation reverts disjunction to its classical behavior, is general enough to predict less studied simplification patterns, and also makes progress toward a unified perspective on the distinction between informative, inquisitive, and attentive content. (shrink)
In contemporary discussions of the Ramsey Test for conditionals, it is commonly held that (i) supposing the antecedent of a conditional is adopting a potential state of full belief, and (ii) Modus Ponens is a valid rule of inference. I argue on the basis of Thomason Conditionals (such as ' If Sally is deceiving, I do not believe it') and Moore's Paradox that both claims are wrong. I then develop a double-indexed Update Semantics for conditionals which takes these two results (...) into account while doing justice to the key intuitions underlying the Ramsey Test. The semantics is extended to cover some further phenomena, including the recent observation that epistemic modal operators give rise to something very like, but also very unlike, Moore's Paradox. (shrink)
This article discusses the importance of social interaction for the development of the representations for symbolic communication. We suggest that there is no need to distinguish between different representational systems emerging at different stages of development. Instead, we propose that representations are rich right from the beginning of a child’s life, and that they are driven mainly by acting and interacting in the physical and social world. The more variety in a child’s interactional experience, the more enriched and abstracted the (...) representations become. We review literature providing evidence for the ways in which infants’ development toward symbolic communication benefits from repeated social action and consider some implications for computational approaches. (shrink)
Epistemic modals are a prominent topic in the literature on natural language semantics, with wide-ranging implications for issues in philosophy of language and philosophical logic. Considerations about the role that epistemic "might" and "must" play in discourse and reasoning have led to the development of several important alternatives to classical possible worlds semantics for natural language modal expressions. This is an opinionated overview of what I take to be some of the most exciting issues and developments in the field.
Rita Widmaier and Malte-Ludolf Babin have done a valuable scholarly service for studies of the early modern European reception of China in collecting letters from Leibniz's extensive correspondence concerning China and translating them from the original Latin and French into German. This multi-lingual and chronologically organized edition gathers letters to and from Leibniz as well as supplementary texts composed between the years 1694 and 1716. It incorporates helpful clarificatory notes as well as an informative and lucid introduction.This edition focuses (...) on the exchanges between Leibniz and the Jesuit theologian and philosopher Barthélemy Des Bosses S.J. and other Jesuits in Europe who were in... (shrink)
ZusammenfassungFünfzehn Jahre nach ihrer Entstehung ist die Neuroethik ein internationales wissenschaftliches Feld mit enormer Dynamik. Innerhalb weniger Jahre wurden eigene Kongresse, Zeitschriften, Forschungsförderprogramme, Fachgesellschaften und Institute gegründet. Gleichwohl besteht erheblicher Dissens über die Definition und den Gegenstandsbereich dieses neuen Gebiets. Wir argumentieren hier für eine differenzierte Konzeption, wonach neben der Reflexion ethischer Probleme der Neurowissenschaft und ihrer überwiegend neurotechnologischen Anwendungen auch die ethische Reflexion neurowissenschaftlicher Forschung zur Moralität zur Neuroethik gehört. Dies umfasst zwar nicht neurowissenschaftliche oder neuropsychologische Studien zur Moralität, (...) wohl aber die Reflexion der Bedeutung dieser Forschung für die Ethik und das Recht. Wir geben einen Überblick über die wichtigsten Themen der Neuroethik, woraus deutlich wird, wie sehr in verschiedenen gesellschaftlichen Bereichen, auch jenseits von Medizin und Gesundheitswesen, neuroethische Fragen relevant sind. Das Potenzial der Neuroethik als eines neuen Wissenschaftsfeldes liegt darin, durch eine Verknüpfung neurophilosophischer und medizinethischer Themen sowie eine breite interdisziplinäre Vernetzung neue Antworten auf gesellschaftlich drängende Fragen zu finden. (shrink)
Folklore has it that Sobel sequences favor a variably strict analysis of conditionals over its plainly strict alternative. While recent discussions for or against the lore have focussed on Sobel sequences involving counterfactuals, this paper draws attention to the fact that indicative Sobel sequences are just as felicitous as are their counterfactual cousins. The fact, or so I shall argue here, disrupts the folklore: given minimal assumptions about the semantics and pragmatics of indicative conditionals, a textbook variably strict analysis fails (...) to predict that indicative Sobel sequences are felicitous. The correct lesson to draw from Sobel sequences is that their felicity challenges classical implementations of the variably strict and of the plainly strict analysis alike. In response to this challenge I develop a dynamic strict analysis of conditionals that handles indicative Sobel sequences with grace while preserving intuitive constraints on the semantics and pragmatics of their members. A discussion of how such an analysis may handle the challenge from reverse Sobel sequences is provided. (shrink)
How do scientific innovations spread within and across scientific communities? In this paper, we propose a general account of the diffusion of scientific innovations. This account acknowledges that novel ideas must be elaborated on and conceptually translated before they can be adopted and applied to field-specific problems. We motivate our account by examining an exemplary case of knowledge diffusion, namely, the early spread of theories of rational decision-making. These theories were grounded in a set of novel mathematical tools and concepts (...) that originated in John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern's Theory of Games and Economic Behavior and subsequently spread widely across the social and behavioral sciences. Introducing a network-based diffusion measure, we trace the spread of those tools and concepts into distinct research areas. We furthermore present an analytically tractable typology for classifying publications according to their roles in the diffusion process. The proposed framework allows for a systematic examination of the conditions under which scientific innovations spread within and across preexisting and newly emerging scientific communities. (shrink)
Comparative biology is a field that deals with morphology. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe recognised comparative biology, not as a passive science obsessed with counting similarities as it is today, but as an active field wherein he sought to perceive the inter-relationships of individual organisms to the organic whole, which he termed the archetype. I submit that Goethe’s archetype and his application of a technique termed the Anschauung are rigorous and significant ways to conduct delicate empiricism in comparative biology. The future (...) of comparative biology lies in the use of the Anschauung to communicate the archetype as a set of inter-relationships of homologues that we perceive intuitively. In this essay I present how the extension of our own intuitive perception forms the foundations of a method for seeing and discovering the archetype in comparative biology. (shrink)
During the early twentieth century, the Swiss Zoologist Adolf Naef (1883–1949) established himself as a leader in German comparative anatomy and higher level systematics. He is generally labeled an ‘idealistic morphologist’, although he himself called his research program ‘systematic morphology’. The idealistic morphology that flourished in German biology during the first half of the twentieth century was a rather heterogeneous movement, within which Adolf Naef worked out a special theoretical system of his own. Following a biographical sketch, we present an (...) English translation of a previously unpublished typescript from Naef’s estate, which Naef intended as the introduction to a textbook on Comparative Anatomy for which he was unable to find a publisher before his sudden death in 1949. The typescript contains Naef’s mature thoughts with unprecedented conciseness, focus, and clarity. The density of Naef’s text warrants a historical and contextual explication of its content. (shrink)
Metaethical noncognitivists have trouble arriving at a respectable semantic theory for moral language. The goal of this article is to make substantial progress toward demonstrating that these problems may be overcome. Replacing the predominant expressivist semantic agenda in metaethics with a dynamic perspective on meaning and communication allows noncognitivists to provide a satisfying analysis of negation and other constructions that have been argued to be problematic for metaethical noncognitivism, including disjunctions. The resulting proposal preserves some of the key insights from (...) recent work on the semantics of expressivism while highlighting the widely neglected early noncognitivists' sympathies to the kind of dynamic story I intend to tell here. A comparison between the advertised dynamic semantic story and current proposals that treat expressivism as a pragmatic rather than semantic theory about moral language is provided. (shrink)
Changes in the methodology of the historical sciences make them more vulnerable to unjustifiable speculations being passed off as scientific results. The integrity of historical science is in peril due the way speculative and often unexamined causal assumptions are being used to generate data and underpin the identification of correlations in such data. A step toward a solution is to distinguish between plausible and speculative assumptions that facilitate the inference from measured and observed data to causal claims. One way to (...) do that is by comparing these assumptions against a well-attested set of aspects of causation, such as the so-called “Bradford Hill Criteria”. The BHC do not provide a test for causation or necessary and sufficient conditions for causation but do indicate grounds for further investigation. By revising the BHC to reflect the needs and focus of historical sciences, it will be possible to assess the cogency of methods of investigation. These will be the Historical Sciences Bradford Hill Criteria. An application to one area in historical science is used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the HSBHC, namely biogeography. Four methods are assessed in order to show how the HSBHC can be used to examine the assumptions between our data and the causal biogeographical processes we infer. (shrink)
The notion of a recognitional concept (RC) is stated precisely and shown to be unrelated to the proper notion of a perceptually based concept, defining of concept empiricism. More fundamentally, it is argued that the notion of an RC does not reflect a potentially sensible candidate theory of concepts at all and therefore ought to be abandoned from concept-theoretical discourse. In the later parts of the paper, it is shown independently of these points that Fodor's attacks on RCs are in (...) all central respects based on fallacies and confusions. Thus, even if the notion of an RC were one worth defending, it could not be threatened by Fodor's attacks on it. Throughout the paper, I aim at clarification regarding the logical relations between various concept-theoretical options. (shrink)
Schulz has shown that the suppositional view of indicative conditionals leads to a corresponding view of epistemic modals. But his case backfires: the resulting theory of epistemic modals gets the facts wrong, and so we end up with a good argument against the suppositional view. I show how and why a dynamic view of indicative conditionals leads to a better theory of epistemic modals.
This paper investigates the effects of (surface) DP-internal quantifying expressions on semantic interpretation. In particular, I investigate two syntactic constructions in which an adjective takes scope out of its embedding DP, thus raising an interesting question for strict compositionality. Regarding the first construction, I follow Larson (1999) and assume that the adjective incorporates into the determiner of its DP, forming a complex quantifier [D+A]. I present new evidence in favor of this analysis. Since Larson's semantic analysis of complex quantifiers [D+A] (...) makes a wrong prediction, I propose an alternative, empirically more adequate analysis that treats D+A compounds as pluractional quantifiers in the sense of Lasersohn (1995). Finally, I turn to the second construction, arguing that – despite superficial similarities to the first construction - it should not be analyzed in terms of complex quantifier formation, but in terms of LF-movement of the adjective to Spec,DP. The discussion suggests that there is more than one way for DP-internal modifiers to take DP-external scope in natural language. (shrink)
Abstract Some aspects of the coverage of bioethical issues in Japanese (11) and German (10 series) biology textbooks for lower secondary school have been investigated, concentrating on the treatment of environmental issues. It was found that German textbooks devote more space to these problems than the Japanese ones and that the style of presentation in German books is aimed at appealing to the emotions of the pupils, whereas that of the Japanese ones is a more traditional scientific one. The inclusion (...) of ethical view points in biology teaching is discussed in this context. (shrink)