Parafoveal preview benefit is an implicit measure of lexical activation in reading. PB has been demonstrated for orthographic and phonological but not for semantically related information in English. In contrast, semantic PB is obtained in German and Chinese. We propose that these language differences reveal differential resource demands and timing of phonological and semantic decoding in different orthographic systems.
This study explores the relationship between language and thought in similarity judgments by testing how monolingual children who speak languages with partial typological differences in motion description respond to visual motion event stimuli. Participants were either Chinese- or English-speaking, 3-year-olds, 8-year-olds and adults who judged the similarity between caused motion scenes in a match-to-sample task. The results suggest, first of all, that the two younger groups of 3-year-olds are predominantly path-oriented, irrespective of language, as evidenced by their significantly longer fixation (...) on path-match videos rather than manner-match videos in a preferential looking scheme. Using categorical measurement of overt choices, older children and adults also showed a shared tendency of being more path-oriented. However, the analysis using continuous measurement of reaction time revealed significant variations in spatial cognition that can be related to linguistic differences: English speakers tended to be more manner-oriented while Chinese speakers were equally manner- and path-oriented. On the whole, our findings indicate a likelihood that children’s non-linguistic thought is similar prior to internalising the lexicalisation pattern of motion events in their native languages, but shows divergences after such habitual use, thus suggesting that the pattern of non-linguistic thought may be linked, among other things, to linguistic structure. (shrink)
Sven Bernecker’s contribution to the ongoing revival in the philosophy of memory offers a consistent vision and analysis of propositional remembering, and covers a range of topics in analytic metaphysics and epistemology. Bernecker defends a methodological externalism, by which memory ‘must be analyzed from a third-person point of view’ (34): so even though conceptual analysis remains the primary method, the ‘linguistic intuitions’ that guide it ‘are not a priori but empirical working hypotheses’ (31). Given the central role of such (...) intuitions in Bernecker’s treatment of many briefly described thought experiments throughout the book, it is strange that he does not defend their use more explicitly in this early section on method, instead leaving it to a later footnote (147, n. 11) to say that ‘trying to defend the use of intuitions in the philosophy of memory would . . . take us too far afield’. Bernecker’s subtitle signals a restricted target audience: this is a book for those analytic philosophers who will enjoy long exegeses on Twin Earth, slow switching or quasi-memory. Psychological results on memory are cited, but only piecemeal, and interactive dialogue with scientific theory is not Bernecker’s aim. (shrink)
In seinem Buch Illusion freier Wille? verfolgt Sven Walter zwei Hauptziele. Das erste besteht in dem detaillierten Nachweis, dass die in den letzten beiden Jahrzehnten öffentlichkeitswirksam vorgetragene kognitions- und neurowissenschaftlich begründete Freiheitsskepsis durch die empirischen Befunde nicht gedeckt sei. Das zweite Hauptziel ist, aufzuzeigen, dass Willensfreiheit bzw. „unsere intuitive Freiheitsgewissheit“ durchaus empirisch erforschbaren Beeinträchtigungen unterliegt, aber anderen als von den Wortführern der neurobiologischen Freiheitskritik angeführten: „Unbewusste situationale Einflüsse“ auf unsere Willens- und Entscheidungsbildung seien zwar nicht per se, wohl aber (...) dann freiheitsbedrohend, „wenn sie dazu führen, dass sich unser Wille nicht mehr unserem rückhaltlosen Urteil darüber fügt, was zu tun richtig wäre“. [...]. (shrink)
This comment on Sven Ove Hansson's article on the history of the journal Theoria elaborates and corrects Hansson's characterisation of the political standpoint of the Finnish philosopher Eino Kaila as "sympathetic towards the German regime". Although not an easy question, particularly considering Kaila's unfortunate publications during the Second World War, it is argued that the characterisation is plainly wrong if it refers to the mid-1930s.
The Ethics of Technology. Methods and Approaches avoids the overly simplistic and individualistic approach to the ethics of technology, which might otherwise mislead the reader into a superficial understanding of the discipline. Too often, the ethics of technology is reduced to an overt and over reliance on professional codes, ethical theories (spelled out in terms of the dichotomy between deontology and utilitarianism) and the application of a prescribed heuristic to what most often are black and white individualistic dilemmas described by (...) case studies. The collection of essays edited by Hansson is thus an important contribution to the growing body of literature on the ethics of technology, as it questions and brings to light the broader purpose of engineering and the conceptual tools required for the responsible practice of the profession if we are to enable engineers to address structural issues. (shrink)
The book under review is a collection of thirteen essays on the nature phenomenal concepts and the ways in which phenomenal concepts figure in debates over physicalism. Phenomenal concepts are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. There are recent arguments, originating in Descartes’ famous conceivability argument, that purport to show that phenomenal experience is irreducibly non-physical. Second, phenomenal concepts are (...) widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. Both the anti-physicalist arguments and physicalist replies to these arguments turn on views about the nature of phenomenal concepts. In this review I survey the many ways in which the essays in this volume are engaged with anti-physicalist arguments and the role phenomenal concepts play in these arguments. (shrink)