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101. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Wilma A. Dunaway Diaspora History Construction and Slave Culture Formation on Small U.S. Plantations
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This analysis of enslavement in an American South subregion provides an historical microcosm for understanding the complexities of provincial culture formation in the modern world-system. Simultaneously rooted in multiple points of local and world-systemic origin, peoplehood is an historical product of the capitalist world-system. Despite widespread notions to the contrary, low black population density and geographical isolation did not forestall slave community building on small plantations. Despite extreme repression, slaves dialectically preserved and altered hidden transcripts in order to recapture pasts that had been silenced by the capitalist system. Embracing the collective diasporic memory of many disparate communities, small slave populations shared the collective grievance and the counter-hegemonic culture of all who had been forced to participate in international and domestic labor migrations.
102. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Jonathan Friedman Culture and its Politics in the Global System
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This article deals with the relation between cultural process, the politics of culture and global systemic dynamics. The central argument is that cultural forms are generated out of socially constituted experience, what I refer to as the experiential substrate of culture, and that the latter is itself elaborated in specific conditions of social existence that can be linked to global processes. The history of the culture concept is discussed in such terms and the emergent salience of identity politics from the mid 1970s is understood to be part of a larger process of Western hegemonic decline. From the point of view of the larger system, the new cultural politics is an expression of real political and cultural fragmentation. This systemic decline is also the basis of real political economic globalization and the emergence of cosmopolitan elites that are the major bearers of the discourse of globalization. The latter is part of a process of class polarization that pits emergent cosmopolitan “hybrid” elites against downwardly mobile indigenizing locals.
103. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Mason Cash Unconventional Utterances?: Davidson’s Rejection of Conventions in Language Use
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Since people can often successfully interpret utterances that flout or ignore conventions, Davidson concludes that shared conventions are neither necessary nor sufficient for linguistic interpretation. This conclusion is based on an overly narrow conception of what it is to know, and to share, a language. Rather than, as Davidson argues, simply interpreting the meaning the speaker intends their words to be interpreted as having (and their words’ truth conditions), successful interpretation requires interpreting the illocutionary act the speaker intends to be interpreted as performing (and the act’s felicity conditions). This change in focus highlights the need for many types of shared conventions, beyond the conventional meanings of words that Davidson considers and dismisses as unnecessary. When any one convention is ignored or flouted, interpretation is possible because the apparently unconventional utterance nonetheless conforms to a host of other shared conventions. Conventions are necessary for linguistic interpretation.
104. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Frank J. Lechner National Identity and Globalization: Policy Paths and the Process of Reimagining Community
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World culture legitimates the particularity of national identities yet globalization calls their viability into question. What are nations to do? This paper argues that identities undergo embattled redefinition by means of path-dependent renegotiation. The reproduction of national difference and the viability of national culture thus depend on “glocal” forms of identity work, fine-grained understanding of which is important to any analysis of culture in the world system. Proposing that processes of policy formation serve as useful markers of identity transformations, the paper illustrates how in policy arenas in the Netherlands national identity was enacted in meeting recently intensified global challenges with local paradigms while at the same time the content and viability of the national “project” were continually in question, leading to variation over time and by sector in the reimagining of national community.
105. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Brie Gertler Simulation Theory on Conceptual Grounds
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This paper outlines a conceptual argument for Simulation Theory. My principal goal is not to win converts to Simulation Theory, but rather to suggest that the current deadlock in the dispute between Simulation Theory and Theory Theory calls for a shift in focus, from empirical to conceptual considerations. I argue that mental concepts such as BELIEF and DESIRE are indexical, in that possessing them requires the capacity to make direct indexical reference to states which satisfy them (e.g., beliefs and desires). And only Simulation Theory can accommodate this indexicality.
106. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Ron Wilburn Moral Realism, Supervenience, Externalism and the Limits of Conceptual Metaphor
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In this paper, I articulate a form of moral realism that I take to be of special promise. I hope to show, not only that this realist position satisfies cognitivist, objectivist and success constraints, but also that this position is particularly commended by a number of recent apologetic strategies that have been more commonly deployed in the defense of other non-moral varieties of realism. To this extent, I aim to show that moral realism, far from being a desperate or quixotic position, is a perfectly natural extension of analytic philosophy’s efforts to reform itself in spirit of post-positivistic recovery.
107. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
108. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
109. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
On ProtoSociology
110. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Robert Kowalski Development – Paradox, Paralysis and Praxis
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Development is permeated by paradoxes. These are primarily the result of a confusion of logical types that characterises human communication. When these paradoxes are turned into double binds they have a distinctly disabling impact upon the partners and the processes of development. The two main causes of double binds are an inability to withdraw from the no win choices of paradox, and an interdiction against discussing the existence of the paradox. A number of examples of double binds in development and their causes are discussed and a series of suggestions to improve the practices of development are made.
111. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
ProtoSociology: Digital volumes available
112. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Bookpublications of the project
113. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Cooperations / Announcements
114. ProtoSociology: Volume > 20
Published Volumes
115. ProtoSociology: Volume > 21
Henry Jackman Descriptive Atomism and Foundational Holism: Semantics between the Old Testament and the New
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While holism and atomism are often treated as mutually exclusive approaches to semantic theory, the apparent tension between the two usually results from running together distinct levels of semantic explanation. In particular, there is no reason why one can’t combine an atomistic conception of what the semantic values of our words are (one’s “descriptive semantics”), with a holistic explanation of why they have those values (one’s “foundational semantics”). Most objections to holism can be shown to apply only to holistic versions of descriptive semantics, and do not tell against any sorts of holistic foundational semantics. As Davidson’s work will be used to illustrate, by clearly distinguishing foundational and descriptive semantics, one can capture the most appealing features of both holism and atomism.
116. ProtoSociology: Volume > 21
Alberto Peruzzi Compositionality up to Parameters
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The principle of compositionality (PC) claims that the meaning of a compound expression is determined by the meanings of its constituent expressions and the way they compose. Is it true or false? Does it apply to both natural and formalised languages? In order to answer, we must examine various formal versions of PC, the notion of meaning and the patterns of composition. Moreover, further principles are called for to determine its import and, in particular, its relationships with the Context Principle, which seems to be inconsistent with PC. The paper deals with some aspects of the issues involved, by considering both empirical and model-theoretic results on compositionality obtained in recent years. The main thesis is that only if the parametric form of PC is acknowledged, the above questions can receive a definite answer. To this aim, the paper makes the conditions for the consistency of PC with context-dependence explicit. Such conditions allow for the stability of a schematic conceptual/epistemic core, in contrast with the slippery slope leading to holistic pragmatism.
117. ProtoSociology: Volume > 21
Pauli Brattico On the Problem of Unspeakable Content
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There is compelling linguistic evidence that many words (e.g., boil) are derived from phrasal sources (e.g., cause to boil). Among causation, typical semantic primitives composing word meanings are becoming, having and getting. While linguists have argued that word meanings contain semantic knowledge that we can grasp but cannot express linguistically, Fodor and his colleagues maintain that words express primitive, semantically unanalysable concepts. Under this view, putative linguistic semantic decompositions express nonsemantic metaphysical regularities. After reviewing the debate, it is suggested in this article that semantic features that are linguistically salient and unspeakable emerge neither from the analytical connections between words, nor from the metaphysical structure of the world, but from the logical syntax of the grammar.
118. ProtoSociology: Volume > 21
Claire Horisk The Surprise Argument for Truth-Conditional Semantics
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Davidson’s Surprise argument promises to resolve a dispute that has arisen in contemporary formal semantics over the proper semantic value for a semantic theory. At issue are doubts that Pietroski raises about the compositionality of truth-conditions, and thereby about truthconditional semantics, which treats a truth value as the semantic value for a sentence. The dispute is recalcitrant because, as I show, Pietroski’s evidence that truth-conditions are not compositional can be explained away with attention to Cappelen and Lepore’s distinction between the truth of what is semantically expressed by an utterance and the truth of its speech act content. While the Surprise argument would, if it worked, support truth-conditional semantics, I demonstrate that it fails; in fact, it is peculiarly vulnerable to Pietroski’s concerns.
119. ProtoSociology: Volume > 21
Daniel Blair Contexts Crossed Over
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The recent interest in some of the phenomena traditionally associated with the context dependence of quantificational expressions (QPs) has centered around the idea that some constituents of a sentence might serve as the locus of domain restriction for QPs might be present but lack for overt manifestation. In this essay, one such argument – due to Stanley (2000) – is critically examined. Specifically, I will present a number of different kinds of constructions where the predictions of a theory based upon syntactically represented context variables are not confirmed.
120. ProtoSociology: Volume > 21
Marc A. Moffett Constructing Attitudes
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The singular term theory maintains that that-clauses are complex singular terms which designate propositions. Though extremely well-supported, the theory is endangered by the existence of oblique that-clauses; that is, that-clauses occurring in what appear to be nonargument positions (e.g., ‘Lola was upset that Slick Willy had all the fun’). In this paper I argue that the best solution to the problem consistent with the singular term theory, invokes a construction-based grammatical theory. Such an approach challenges traditional views of semantic compositionality by rejecting a central dogma of semantics, namely, that linguistic constructions contribute only trivial logical or quasi-logical information to semantic interpretation (e.g., function-application relations).