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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2007
Philosophy of Linguistics

Table of Contents

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Displaying: 1-13 of 13 documents


articles
1. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Dunja Jutronić Introduction
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2. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Alex Barber Linguistic Structure and the Brain
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A popular interpretation of linguistic theories has it that they should describe the brain at a high level of abstraction. One way this has been understood is as the requirement that the theory’s derivational structure reflect (by being isomorphic to) relevant structural properties of the language user’s brain. An important criticisrn of this idea, made originally by Crispin Wright against Gareth Evans in the 1980s, still has purchase, notwithstanding attempts to reply to it, notably by Martin Davies and, indirectly, Christopher Peacocke. Wright’s objection seems to have been forgotten rather than seen off.
3. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Paul M. Pietroski Systematicity via Monadicity
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Words indicate concepts, which have various adicities. But words do not, in general, inherit the adicities of the indicated concepts. Lots of evidence suggests that when a concept is lexicalized, it is linked to an analytically related monadic concept that can be conjoined with others. For example, the dyadic concept CHASE(_,_) might be linked to CHASE(_), a concept that applies to certain events. Drawing on a wide range of extant work, and familiar facts, I argue that the (open class) lexical items of a natural spoken language include neither names nor polyadic predicates. The paper ends with some speculations about the value of a language faculty that would impose uniform monadic analyses on all concepts, including the singular and relational concepts that we share with other animals.
4. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Geoffrey K. Pullum, Barbara C. Scholz Systematicity and Natural Language Syntax
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A lengthy debate in the philosophy of the cognitive sciences has turned on whether the phenomenon known as ‘systematicity’ of language and thought shows that connectionist explanatory aspirations are misguided. We investigate the issue of just which phenomenon ‘systematicity’ is supposed to be. The much-rehearsed examples always suggest that being systematic has something to do with ways in which some parts of expressions in natural languages (and, more conjecturally, some parts of thoughts) can be substituted for others without altering well-formedness. We show that under one construal this yields a grossly weak claim that is not just compatible with a narrow version of associationist psychology but essentially coincides with a formalization of its descriptive power. Under another construal we get a claim (apparently unintended) that requires natural languages to fall within the context-free class, a claim that most linguists regard as too strong. Looking more closely at this proposed reconstruction of systematicity leads us to endorse, with further illustrations, the suggestion of Johnson (2004) that systematicity as a matter of substitutability of co-categorial constituents for one another does not appearto hold of natural languages at all. The appeal of the ill-delineated notion of systematicity may lie in the fact that within certain subclasses of lexical items mutual intersubstitutability does seem to hold, and theexplanation for that lies in a limitation on human memory: we simply cannot learn separate privileges of syntactic distribution for all of the huge number of words and phrases that we know.
5. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Guy Longworth Conflicting Grammatical Appearances
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I explore one apparent source of conflict between our naïve view of grammatical properties and the best available scientific view of grammatical properties. That source is the modal dependence of the range of naïve, or manifest, grammatical properties that is available to a speaker upon the configurations and operations of their internal systems -- that is, upon scientific grammatical properties. Modal dependence underwrites the possibility of conflicting grammatical appearances. In response to that possibility, I outline a compatibilist strategy, according to which the range of grammatical properties accessible to a speaker is dependent upon their cognitive apparatus, but the properties so accessible are also mind-independent.
6. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Steven Gross Relating Conscious and Unconscious Semantic Knowledge
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Normal mature human language users arguably possess two kinds of knowledge of meaning. On the one hand, they possess semantic knowledge that rationalizes their linguistic behavior. This knowledge can be characterized homophonically, can be self-ascribed without adverting to 3rd-person evidence, and is accessible to consciousness. On the other hand, there are empirical grounds for ascribing to them knowledge, or cognition, of a compositional semantic theory. This knowledge lacks the three qualities listed above. This paper explores the possible relations among these two kinds of semantic knowledge. Is the former derived from the latter? Do these ascriptions in fact characterize the same states albeit in different ways? Special attention is paid to the varying philosophical and empirical commitments that different answers incur.
7. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
M. J. Cain Language Acquisition and the Theory Theory
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In this paper my concern is to evaluate a particular answer to the question of how we acquire mastery of the syntax of our first language. According to this answer children learn syntax by means of scientific investigation. Alison Gopnik has recently championed this idea as an extension of what she calls the ‘theory theory’, a well established approach to cognitive development in developntental psychology. I will argue against this extension of the theory theory. The general thrust of my objection is that at the point at which children are acquiring knowledge of syntax they are not in a position to engage in far-reaching scientific investigation. Or, if they are, there are no mechanisms in place to ensure that their scientific investigations will generate a common body of knowledge so making linguistic convergence a mystery. That this is so is a product of two salient features of scientific confirmation. I will conclude that my objections to the theory theory put pressure on learning theories in general.
8. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Danielle Macbeth Logical Analysis, Reduction, and Philosophical Understanding
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Russell’s theory of descriptions in “On Denoting” has long been hailed as a paradigm of the sort of analysis that is constitutiue of philosophical understanding. It is not the only model of logical analysis available to us, however. On Frege’s quite different view, analysis provides not a reduction of some problematic notion to other, unproblematic ones -- as Russell’s analysis does -- but instead a deeper, clearer articulation of the very notion with which we began. This difference, I suggest, is grounded in their two very different conceptions of the nature of language / thought; and it grounds in turn two very different conceptions of the nature of philosophical understanding.
discussion
9. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Nora Grigore Michael Beaney on Frege and the Paradox of Analysis
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book reviews
10. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Adrian Briciu Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism
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11. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Nenad Miščević Oxford Studies in Epistemology: Volume 1
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12. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Vojko Strahovnik Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal
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13. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Horia Tarnovanu Action in Perception
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