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Ryan M. Nefdt [10]Ryan Mark Nefdt [3]
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Ryan Mark Nefdt
University of Cape Town
  1.  64
    The Ontology of Words: A Structural Approach.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (8):877-911.
    ABSTRACTWords form a fundamental basis for our understanding of linguistic practice. However, the precise ontology of words has eluded many philosophers and linguists. A persistent difficulty for most accounts of words is the type-token distinction [Bromberger, S. 1989. “Types and Tokens in Linguistics.” In Reflections on Chomsky, edited by A. George, 58–90. Basil Blackwell; Kaplan, D. 1990. “Words.” Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume LXIV: 93–119]. In this paper, I present a novel account of words which differs from the atomistic and platonistic (...)
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  2.  51
    A Puzzle concerning Compositionality in Machines.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2020 - Minds and Machines 30 (1):47-75.
    This paper attempts to describe and address a specific puzzle related to compositionality in artificial networks such as Deep Neural Networks and machine learning in general. The puzzle identified here touches on a larger debate in Artificial Intelligence related to epistemic opacity but specifically focuses on computational applications of human level linguistic abilities or properties and a special difficulty with relation to these. Thus, the resulting issue is both general and unique. A partial solution is suggested.
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  3.  59
    The Philosophy of Linguistics: Scientific Underpinnings and Methodological Disputes.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12).
    This article surveys the philosophical literature on theoretical linguistics. The focus of the paper is centred around the major debates in the philosophy of linguistics, past and present, with specific relation to how they connect to the philosophy of science. Specific issues such as scientific realism in linguistics, the scientific status of grammars, the methodological underpinnings of formal semantics, and the integration of linguistics into the larger cognitive sciences form the crux of the discussion.
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  4.  51
    Formal Semantics and Applied Mathematics: An Inferential Account.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2020 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 29 (2):221-253.
    In this paper, I utilise the growing literature on scientific modelling to investigate the nature of formal semantics from the perspective of the philosophy of science. Specifically, I incorporate the inferential framework proposed by Bueno and Colyvan : 345–374, 2011) in the philosophy of applied mathematics to offer an account of how formal semantics explains and models its data. This view produces a picture of formal semantic models as involving an embedded process of inference and representation applying indirectly to linguistic (...)
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  5.  33
    Inferentialism and Structuralism: A Tale of Two Theories.Ryan Mark Nefdt - 2018 - Logique Et Analyse 61 (244):489-512.
    This paper aims to unite two seemingly disparate themes in the philosophy of mathematics and language respectively, namely ante rem structuralism and inferentialism. My analysis begins with describing both frameworks in accordance with their genesis in the work of Hilbert. I then draw comparisons between these philosophical views in terms of their similar motivations and similar objections to the referential orthodoxy. I specifically home in on two points of comparison, namely the role of norms and the relation of ontological dependence (...)
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  6.  27
    Recursion: A Computational Investigation Into the Representation and Processing of Language. [REVIEW]Ryan M. Nefdt - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):206-209.
  7.  27
    Semantics, Metasemantics, Aboutness. [REVIEW]Ryan M. Nefdt - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (277):871-874.
    Semantics, Metasemantics, Aboutness. By Simchen Ori.
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  8.  6
    Structural Realism and Generative Grammar.Ryan M. Nefdt - unknown
    Linguistics as a science has rapidly changed during the course of a relatively short period. The mathematical foundations of the science, however, present a different story below the surface. In this paper, I argue that due to the former, the seismic shifts in theory over the past 80 years opens linguistics up to the problem of pessimistic meta-induction or radical theory change. I further argue that, due to the latter, one current solution to this problem in the philosophy of science, (...)
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  9.  3
    Structural realism and generative linguistics.Ryan M. Nefdt - forthcoming - Synthese:1-27.
    Linguistics as a science has rapidly changed during the course of a relatively short period. The mathematical foundations of the science, however, present a different story below the surface. In this paper, I argue that due to the former, the seismic shifts in theory over the past 80 years opens linguistics up to the problem of pessimistic meta-induction or radical theory change. I further argue that, due to the latter, one current solution to this problem in the philosophy of science, (...)
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  10.  30
    Teaching and Learning Guide For: The Philosophy of Linguistics: Scientific Underpinnings and Methodological Disputes.Ryan Mark Nefdt - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (1).
    This is a teaching guide companion to the main article published in Philosophy Compass. It offers insights into how one might go about designing a course in the philosophy of linguistics at advanced undergrad/graduate level. Readings and possible core questions are included.
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  11.  32
    The Foundations of Linguistics : Mathematics, Models, and Structures.Ryan Mark Nefdt - 2016 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    The philosophy of linguistics is a rich philosophical domain which encompasses various disciplines. One of the aims of this thesis is to unite theoretical linguistics, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of science and the ontology of language. Each part of the research presented here targets separate but related goals with the unified aim of bringing greater clarity to the foundations of linguistics from a philosophical perspective. Part I is devoted to the methodology of linguistics in terms of scientific modelling. (...)
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  12.  16
    The Social Evolution of Human Nature: From Biology to Language. [REVIEW]Ryan M. Nefdt - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (277):874-877.
    The Social Evolution of Human Nature: From Biology to Language. By Smit Harry.
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  13.  61
    Why Philosophers Should Do Semantics : A Reply to Cappelen.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (1):243-256.
    In this paper, I address a series of arguments recently put forward by Cappelen Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8: 743–762 to the effect that philosophers should not do formal semantics or be concerned with the “minutiae of natural language semantics”. He offers two paths for accessing his ideas. I argue that his arguments fail in favour of the first and cast some doubt on the second in so doing. I then proffer an alternative conception of why exactly philosophers should (...)
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