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Дневник > Representation




суббота, 20 сентября 2014 г.
John showed his etchings to Mary vasile.rogov 14:10:31
 Jean-marc pizano
Or consider:


John showed his etchings to Mary/John showed Mary his etchings.


but


John exhibited his etchings to Mary/*John exhibited Mary his etchings.


Is it that Mary is in metaphorical possession of etchings that are shown to her but not of etchings that are exhibited to her? How is one to tell? More to the point, how is the child to tell? Remember that, according to Pinker's story, the childfigures out that ‘exhibit&rsqu­o; doesn't dative-move when hedecides that it doesn't—even metaphorically&mdas­h;express prospective possession. But how on earth does he decide that?31


I should emphasize that Pinker is explicitly aware that there are egregious exceptions to his semantic characterization of the constraints on dative movement, nor does he suppose that appeals to “metaphorical­ possession” and the likecan always be relied on to get him off the hook. At least one of the things that he thinks is going on with the doubleobject construction is a morphological constraint on dative movement: polysyllabic verbs tend to resist it (notice show/*exhibit; tell/*repeat in the examples above). But though Pinker remarks upon the existence of such non-semanticconstra­ints, he appears not to see how much trouble they make for his view.


Remember the architecture of Pinker's argument. What's on offer is an inference from ontogenetic considerations to the conclusion that there are definitions. What shows that there are definitions is that there is a semantic level oflinguistic representation at which verbs are lexically decomposed. What shows that there are semantic-levelrepre­sentations is that you need semantic vocabulary to formulate the hypotheses that the child projects in the courseof learning the lexicon; and that's because, according to Pinker, these hypotheses express correlations between certainsemantic properties of lexical items, on the one hand, and the grammatical structures that the items occur in, on theother. Double-object constructions, as we've seen, are supposed to be paradigms.
Jean-marc pizano
But it now appears that the vocabulary required to specify the conditions on such constructions isn't purely semantic after all; not even according to Pinker. To predict whether a verb permits dative movement, 15you need to know not only whether it expresses (literally or metaphorically) ‘prospective possession’, but also thepertinent facts about its morphology. What account of the representation of lexical structure does this observationimply? The point to notice is that there isn't, on anybody's story, any one level of representation that specifies both thesemantic and the morphological features of a lexical item. In particular, it's a defining property of the (putative)semantic level that it abstracts from the sorts of (morphological, phonological, syntactic, etc.) properties that distinguishbetween synonyms. For example, the semantic level is supposed not to distinguish the representation of (e.g.)“bachel­or” from the representation of “unmarried man”, the representation of “kill” from the representation of “causeto die”, and so forth.

Well, if that's what the semantic level is, and if the facts about morphological constraints on double-object structures are as we (and Pinker) are supposing them to be, then the moral is that there is no level of linguistic representation atwhich the constraints on dative movement can be expressed: not the morphological level because (assuming thatPinker's story about “prospective possession” is true) morphological representation abstracts from the semanticproperties on which dative movement is contingent. And, precisely analogously, not the semantic level because semanticlevel representation abstracts from the morphological properties of lexical items on which dative movement is alsocontingent.

Jean-marc pizano
Time to pull this all together and see where the argument has gotten. Since heaven only knows what “prospective possession” is, there's no seriously evaluating the claim that dative movement turns on whether a verb expresses it.What does seem clear, however, is that even if there are semantic constraints on the syntactic behaviour of doubleobject verbs, there are also morphological constraints on their syntactic behaviour. So to state such generalizations at asingle linguistic level, you would need to postulate not semantic representations but morphosemantic representations. It is,however, common ground that there is no level of representation in whose vocabulary morphological and semanticconstraints­ can be simultaneously imposed.


This isn't a paradox; it is perfectly possible to formulate conditions that depend, simultaneously, on semantic and morphological properties of lexical items without assuming that there is a semantic level (and, for that matter, withoutassuming that there is a morphological level either).Jean-marc pizano



Категории: John, Showed, Etchings, Mary, There, Level, Semantic, Morphological, Representation, That there
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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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