Cognitive Science of Philosophy Symposium: Corpus Analysis

Welcome to the Brains Blog’s new Symposium series on the Cognitive Science of Philosophy! The aim of the series is to examine the use of methods from the cognitive sciences to generate philosophical insight. Each symposium is comprised of two parts. In the target post, a practitioner describes their use …

Symposium on Fischer et. al. ‘Experimental Ordinary Language Philosophy’

In ‘Experimental ordinary language philosophy: a cross-linguistic investigation of default inferences’, (Synthese, 2019) Eugen Fischer, Paul Engelhard, Joachim Horvath and Hiroshi Ohtani seek to take experimental philosophy beyond the study of intuitions and highlight links to one of its historical precursors. They show how experimental methods and findings from psycholinguistics …

2. Psychological and Computational Models of Sentence Processing

Last time, I argued that there are substantive open questions about whether the theoretical constructs of formal linguistics play any role in the psychological processes underlying language use. Let’s now address those questions. When people talk about “the psychological reality of syntax”, there are (at least) two importantly different types …

1. The Ontology, Epistemology, and Methodology of Linguistics

There are, broadly speaking, three competing frameworks for answering the foundational questions of linguistic theory—cognitivism (e.g., Chomsky 1995, 2000), platonism (e.g., Katz 1981, 2000), and nominalism (e.g., Devitt 2006, 2008). Platonism is the view that the subject matter of linguistics is an uncountable set of abstracta—entities that are located outside …

6. Descriptive names

Consider the following example: Case 1: ‘Tremulous Hand’ ‘Tremulous Hand’ is used to refer to the otherwise unidentified author of around 50,000 Thirteenth Century glosses in manuscripts. Palaeographical analysis provides strong evidence that these glosses are the work of a single person with distinctive (tremulous and left-leaning) handwriting. All that …

2. Reference and Justification

In my first post I sketched an argument for a principle connecting aboutness and justification. Here is the sketch version again as a little graphic: The resulting principle, which I call in the book ‘Reference and Justification’, brings out the significance for accounts of aboutness of the fact that justification is …

1. The Theory of Reference is Retro-chic

Remember the causo-descriptivist wars? If your education was anything like mine, at some point you were walked across the old battlefield and shown some of the main sights: early naïve descriptivism about proper names; its cluster theoretic successor; Kripke’s attack on descriptivism in Naming and Necessity; his causal inheritance picture; …

epistemic modals conference announcement

By Janice Dowell Epistemic Modals April 16-18, 2010 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE Speakers: Keith DeRose,  “Accommodation and Epistemic Possibilities Nobody Knows to be False” Kai von Fintel and Thony Gillies, TBA Angelika Kratzer, “Epistemic Modals: Embedded, Modified, and Plain” John MacFarlane, TBA Robert Stalnaker, “‘If’s, ‘May’s, and ‘Might’s” Eric …

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