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суббота, 20 сентября 2014 г.
3 The Demise of Definitions, Part I: The Linguist'sTale vasile.rogov 14:00:49
 Jean-marc pizano
3 The Demise of Definitions, Part I: The Linguist's
Tale
Certain matters would appear to get carried certain distances whether one wishes them to or not, unfortunately. —David Markham, Wittgenstein's Mistress

Introduction
I want to consider the question whether concepts are definitions. And let's, just for the novelty, start with some propositions that are clearly true:

1. You can't utter the expression ‘brown cow’ without uttering the word ‘brown’­.

2. You can utter the word ‘bachelor&rsq­uo; without uttering the word ‘unmarried&rs­quo;.


The asymmetry between 1 and 2 will be granted even by those who believe that the “semantic representation&rdqu­o; of ‘bachelor&rsq­uo; (its representation, as linguists say, “at the semantic level”) is a complex object which contains, inter alia, thesemantic representation of ‘unmarried&rs­quo;.


Now for something that's a little less obvious:


3. You can't entertain the M(ental) R(epresentation) BROWN COW without entertaining the MR BROWN.


4. You can't entertain the M(ental) R(epresentation) BACHELOR without entertaining the MR UNMARRIED.

I'm going to take it for granted that 3 is true. I have my reasons; they'll emerge in Chapter 5. Suffice it, for now, that anybody who thinks that 3 and the like are false will certainly think that 4 and the like are false; and that 4 and the likeare indeed false is the main conclusion this chapter aims at. I pause, however, to remark that 3 is meant to betendentious. It claims not just what everyone admits, viz. that anything that satisfies BROWN COW inter alia satisfiesBROWN, viz. that brow cows are ipso facto brown.

Jean-marc pizano
Proposition 3 says, moreover, that to think the content brown cow is, inter alia, to think the concept BROWN, and that would be false if the mental representation that expresses brown cow is atomic; like, for example, BROWNCOW.

What about 4? Here again there is a way of reading what's being claimed that makes it merely truistic: viz. by not distinguishing concept identity from content identity. It's not, I suppose, unreasonable (for the present illustrativepurpose­s, I don't care whether it's true) to claim that the content bachelor and the content unmarried man are one and thesame. For example, if concepts express properties, then it's not unreasonable to suppose that BACHELOR andUNMARRIED MAN express the same property. If so, and if one doesn't distinguish between content identity andconcept identity, then of course it follows that you can't think BACHELOR without thinking UNMARRIED (unlessyou can think UNMARRIED MAN without thinking UNMARRIED. Which let's just concede that you can't).1


However, since we are distinguishing content identity from concept identity, we're not going to read 4 that way. Remember that RTM is in force, and RTM says that to each tokening of a mental state with the contentso-and-so therecorresponds a tokening of a mental representation with the content so-and-so. In saying this, RTM explicitly means toleave open the possibility that different (that is, type distinct) mental representations might correspond to the samecontent; hence the analogy between mental representations and modes of presentation that I stressed in Chapter 2. Inthe present case, the concession that being a bachelor and being an unmarried man are the same thing is meant toleave open the question whether BACHELOR and UNMARRIED MAN are the same concept.
Jean-marc pizano
RTM also says that (infinitely many, but not all) mental representations have constituent structure; in particular that there are both complex


mental representations and primitive mental representations, and that the former have the latter as proper parts. We are now in a position to make expository hay out of this assumption; we can rephrase the claim that is currently beforethe house as:


5. The M(ental) R(epresentation) UNMARRIED, which is a constituent of the MR UNMARRIED MAN, islikewise a constituent of the MR BACHELOR.


Here's a standard view: the concept BACHELOR is expressed by the word “bachelor&rdq­uo;, and the word “bachelor&rdq­uo; is definable; it means the same as the phrase “unmarried man”. In the usual case, the mental representation thatcorresponds to a concept that corresponds to a definable word is complex: in particular, the mental representation thatcorresponds to a definable word usually has the same constituent structure as the mental representation thatcorresponds to its definition.Jean-mar­c pizano



Категории: Demise, Definitions, Part, Linguist, Stale, Mental, Representation, Content, Word, Concept
Прoкoммeнтировaть
Compare van Gelder and Nicklasson 1994. vasile.rogov 13:56:40
 Jean-marc pizano Compare van Gelder and Nicklasson 1994.
 


and as part of what is not negotiable, that systematicity and productivity are grounded in the ‘architecture­’ of mental representation and not in the vagaries of experience. If a serious alternative proposal should surface, I guess I'mprepared to reconsider what's negotiable. But the prospect hasn't been losing me sleep.


So, to repeat the question, what is it about mental representation that explains the systematicity and productivity of belief? Classical versions of RTM offer a by now familiar answer: there are infinitely many beliefs because there areinfinitely many thoughts to express their objects. There are infinitely many thoughts because, though each mentalrepresentatio­n is constructed by the application of a finite number of operations to a finite basis of primitive concepts,there is no upper bound to how many times such operations may apply in the course of a construction.Corres­pondingly, thought is systematic because the same primitive concepts and operations that suffice to assemblethoughts like JOHN LOVES MARY also suffice to assemble thoughts like MARY LOVES JOHN; therepresentational­ capacity that is exploited to frame one thought implies the representational capacity to frame theother. Since a mental representation is individuated by its form and content (see Chapter 1), both of these are assumedto be determined by specifying the inventory of primitive concepts that the representation contains, together with theoperations by which it is assembled from them. (In the case of the primitive concepts themselves, this assumption istrivially true.) As a shorthand for all this, I'll say that what explains the productivity and systematicity of thepropositional attitudes is the compositionality of concepts and thoughts.

Jean-marc pizano
The requirement that the theory of mental representation should exhibit thoughts and concepts as compositional turns out, in fact, to be quite a powerful analytic engine. If the content of a mental representation is inherited from thecontents of its conceptual constituents then, presumably, the content of a constituent concept is just whatever it cancontribute to the content of its hosts. We'll see, especially in Chapter 5, that this condition is not at all easy for a theoryof concepts to meet.


4. Quite a lot of concepts must turn out to be learned.


I want to put this very roughly since I'm going to return to it at length in Chapter 6. Suffice it for now that all versions of RTM hold that if a concept belongs to the primitive basis from which complex mental representations areconstructed, it must ipso facto be unlearned. (To be sure, some versions of RTM are rather less up front in holding thisthan others.) Prima facie, then, where a theory of concepts draws the distinction between what's primitive and what'snot is also where it draws the


distinction between what's innate and what's not. Clearly, everybody is going to put this line somewhere. For example, nobody is likely to think that the concept BROWN COW is primitive since, on the face of it, BROWN COW hasBROWN and COW as constituents. Correspondingly, nobody is likely to think that the concept BROWN COW isinnate since, on the face of it, it could be learned by being assembled from the previously mastered concepts BROWNand COW.

Jean-marc pizano
A lot of people have Very Strong Feelings about what concepts are allowed to be innate,20 hence about how big a primitive conceptual basis an acceptable version of RTM can recognize. Almost everybody is prepared to allow REDin, and many of the liberal-minded will also let in CAUSE or AGENT. (See, for example, Miller and Johnson-Laird1978).­ But there is, at present, a strong consensus against, as it might be, DOORKNOB or CARBURETTOR. I haveno desire to join in this game of pick and choose since, as far as I can tell, it hasn't any rules. Suffice it that it would benice if a theory of concepts were to provide a principled account of what's in the primitive conceptual basis, and itwould be nice if the principles it appealed to were to draw the distinction at some independently plausible place.(Whatever, if anything, that means.) Chapter 6 will constitute an extended reconsideration of this whole issue, includingthe question just how the relation between a concept's being primitive and its being innate plays out.Jean-marc pizano



Категории: Compare, Gelder, Nicklasson, 1994, Concepts, Primitive, This, Mental, Representation, Concept
Прoкoммeнтировaть
3 The Demise of Definitions, Part I: The Linguist'sTale vasile.rogov 13:04:47
 Jean-marc pizano
3 The Demise of Definitions, Part I: The Linguist's
Tale
Certain matters would appear to get carried certain distances whether one wishes them to or not, unfortunately. —David Markham, Wittgenstein's Mistress

Introduction
I want to consider the question whether concepts are definitions. And let's, just for the novelty, start with some propositions that are clearly true:

1. You can't utter the expression ‘brown cow’ without uttering the word ‘brown’­.

2. You can utter the word ‘bachelor&rsq­uo; without uttering the word ‘unmarried&rs­quo;.


The asymmetry between 1 and 2 will be granted even by those who believe that the “semantic representation&rdqu­o; of ‘bachelor&rsq­uo; (its representation, as linguists say, “at the semantic level”) is a complex object which contains, inter alia, thesemantic representation of ‘unmarried&rs­quo;.


Now for something that's a little less obvious:


3. You can't entertain the M(ental) R(epresentation) BROWN COW without entertaining the MR BROWN.


4. You can't entertain the M(ental) R(epresentation) BACHELOR without entertaining the MR UNMARRIED.

I'm going to take it for granted that 3 is true. I have my reasons; they'll emerge in Chapter 5. Suffice it, for now, that anybody who thinks that 3 and the like are false will certainly think that 4 and the like are false; and that 4 and the likeare indeed false is the main conclusion this chapter aims at. I pause, however, to remark that 3 is meant to betendentious. It claims not just what everyone admits, viz. that anything that satisfies BROWN COW inter alia satisfiesBROWN, viz. that brow cows are ipso facto brown.

Jean-marc pizano
Proposition 3 says, moreover, that to think the content brown cow is, inter alia, to think the concept BROWN, and that would be false if the mental representation that expresses brown cow is atomic; like, for example, BROWNCOW.

What about 4? Here again there is a way of reading what's being claimed that makes it merely truistic: viz. by not distinguishing concept identity from content identity. It's not, I suppose, unreasonable (for the present illustrativepurpose­s, I don't care whether it's true) to claim that the content bachelor and the content unmarried man are one and thesame. For example, if concepts express properties, then it's not unreasonable to suppose that BACHELOR andUNMARRIED MAN express the same property. If so, and if one doesn't distinguish between content identity andconcept identity, then of course it follows that you can't think BACHELOR without thinking UNMARRIED (unlessyou can think UNMARRIED MAN without thinking UNMARRIED. Which let's just concede that you can't).1


However, since we are distinguishing content identity from concept identity, we're not going to read 4 that way. Remember that RTM is in force, and RTM says that to each tokening of a mental state with the contentso-and-so therecorresponds a tokening of a mental representation with the content so-and-so. In saying this, RTM explicitly means toleave open the possibility that different (that is, type distinct) mental representations might correspond to the samecontent; hence the analogy between mental representations and modes of presentation that I stressed in Chapter 2. Inthe present case, the concession that being a bachelor and being an unmarried man are the same thing is meant toleave open the question whether BACHELOR and UNMARRIED MAN are the same concept.
Jean-marc pizano
RTM also says that (infinitely many, but not all) mental representations have constituent structure; in particular that there are both complex


mental representations and primitive mental representations, and that the former have the latter as proper parts. We are now in a position to make expository hay out of this assumption; we can rephrase the claim that is currently beforethe house as:


5. The M(ental) R(epresentation) UNMARRIED, which is a constituent of the MR UNMARRIED MAN, islikewise a constituent of the MR BACHELOR.


Here's a standard view: the concept BACHELOR is expressed by the word “bachelor&rdq­uo;, and the word “bachelor&rdq­uo; is definable; it means the same as the phrase “unmarried man”. In the usual case, the mental representation thatcorresponds to a concept that corresponds to a definable word is complex: in particular, the mental representation thatcorresponds to a definable word usually has the same constituent structure as the mental representation thatcorresponds to its definition.Jean-mar­c pizano



Категории: Demise, Definitions, Part, Linguist, Stale, Mental, Representation, Content, Word, Concept
Прoкoммeнтировaть
Compare van Gelder and Nicklasson 1994. vasile.rogov 12:58:27
 Jean-marc pizano Compare van Gelder and Nicklasson 1994.
 


and as part of what is not negotiable, that systematicity and productivity are grounded in the ‘architecture­’ of mental representation and not in the vagaries of experience. If a serious alternative proposal should surface, I guess I'mprepared to reconsider what's negotiable. But the prospect hasn't been losing me sleep.


So, to repeat the question, what is it about mental representation that explains the systematicity and productivity of belief? Classical versions of RTM offer a by now familiar answer: there are infinitely many beliefs because there areinfinitely many thoughts to express their objects. There are infinitely many thoughts because, though each mentalrepresentatio­n is constructed by the application of a finite number of operations to a finite basis of primitive concepts,there is no upper bound to how many times such operations may apply in the course of a construction.Corres­pondingly, thought is systematic because the same primitive concepts and operations that suffice to assemblethoughts like JOHN LOVES MARY also suffice to assemble thoughts like MARY LOVES JOHN; therepresentational­ capacity that is exploited to frame one thought implies the representational capacity to frame theother. Since a mental representation is individuated by its form and content (see Chapter 1), both of these are assumedto be determined by specifying the inventory of primitive concepts that the representation contains, together with theoperations by which it is assembled from them. (In the case of the primitive concepts themselves, this assumption istrivially true.) As a shorthand for all this, I'll say that what explains the productivity and systematicity of thepropositional attitudes is the compositionality of concepts and thoughts.

Jean-marc pizano
The requirement that the theory of mental representation should exhibit thoughts and concepts as compositional turns out, in fact, to be quite a powerful analytic engine. If the content of a mental representation is inherited from thecontents of its conceptual constituents then, presumably, the content of a constituent concept is just whatever it cancontribute to the content of its hosts. We'll see, especially in Chapter 5, that this condition is not at all easy for a theoryof concepts to meet.


4. Quite a lot of concepts must turn out to be learned.


I want to put this very roughly since I'm going to return to it at length in Chapter 6. Suffice it for now that all versions of RTM hold that if a concept belongs to the primitive basis from which complex mental representations areconstructed, it must ipso facto be unlearned. (To be sure, some versions of RTM are rather less up front in holding thisthan others.) Prima facie, then, where a theory of concepts draws the distinction between what's primitive and what'snot is also where it draws the


distinction between what's innate and what's not. Clearly, everybody is going to put this line somewhere. For example, nobody is likely to think that the concept BROWN COW is primitive since, on the face of it, BROWN COW hasBROWN and COW as constituents. Correspondingly, nobody is likely to think that the concept BROWN COW isinnate since, on the face of it, it could be learned by being assembled from the previously mastered concepts BROWNand COW.

Jean-marc pizano
A lot of people have Very Strong Feelings about what concepts are allowed to be innate,20 hence about how big a primitive conceptual basis an acceptable version of RTM can recognize. Almost everybody is prepared to allow REDin, and many of the liberal-minded will also let in CAUSE or AGENT. (See, for example, Miller and Johnson-Laird1978).­ But there is, at present, a strong consensus against, as it might be, DOORKNOB or CARBURETTOR. I haveno desire to join in this game of pick and choose since, as far as I can tell, it hasn't any rules. Suffice it that it would benice if a theory of concepts were to provide a principled account of what's in the primitive conceptual basis, and itwould be nice if the principles it appealed to were to draw the distinction at some independently plausible place.(Whatever, if anything, that means.) Chapter 6 will constitute an extended reconsideration of this whole issue, includingthe question just how the relation between a concept's being primitive and its being innate plays out.Jean-marc pizano



Категории: Compare, Gelder, Nicklasson, 1994, Concepts, Primitive, This, Mental, Representation, Concept
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