Quarantine and spatial distancing measures associated with COVID-19 resulted in substantial changes to individuals’ everyday lives. Prominent among these lifestyle changes was the way in which people interacted with media—including music listening. In this repeated assessment study, we assessed Australian university students’ media use throughout early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, and determined whether media use was related to changes in life satisfaction. Participants were asked to complete six online questionnaires, capturing pre- and during-pandemic experiences. The results indicated (...) that media use varied substantially throughout the study period, and at the within-person level, life satisfaction was positively associated with music listening and negatively associated with watching TV/videos/movies. The findings highlight the potential benefits of music listening during COVID-19 and other periods of social isolation. (shrink)
One way to challenge the substantiveness of a particular philosophical issue is to argue that those who debate the issue are engaged in a merely verbal dispute. For example, it has been maintained that the apparent disagreement over the mind/brain identity thesis is a merely verbal dispute, and thus that there is no substantive question of whether or not mental properties are identical to neurological properties. The goal of this paper is to help clarify the relationship between mere verbalness and (...) substantiveness. I first argue that we should see mere verbalness as a certain kind of discourse defect that arises when the parties differ as to what each takes to be the immediate question under discussion. I then argue that mere verbalness, so understood, does not imply that the question either party is attempting to address is a non-substantive one. Even if it turns out that the parties to the mind/brain dispute are addressing subtly different questions, these might both be substantive questions to which their respective metaphysical views provide substantive answers. One reason it is tempting to reach deflationary conclusions from the charge of mere verbalness is that we fail to distinguish it from the claim that a sentence under dispute is, in a certain sense, indisputable. Another reason is that we fail to distinguish mere verbalness from a certain sort of indeterminacy. While indisputability and indeterminacy plausibly capture forms of nonsubstantiveness, I argue that mere verbalness is insufficient to establish either indisputability or indeterminacy. (shrink)
Intuitively, (1)-(3) seem to express genuine claims (true or false) about what the world is like, attempts to correctly describe parts of extra-linguistic reality. By contrast, it is tempting to regard (4)-(6) as merely reflecting decisions (or conventions, or dispositions, or rules) concerning the terms in which that extra-linguistic reality is described, decisions about which things to label with 'vixen', 'bachelor' or 'cup'.
Pairs of sentences like the following pose a problem for ontology: (1) Jupiter has four moons. (2) The number of moons of Jupiter is four. (2) is intuitively a trivial paraphrase of (1). And yet while (1) seems ontologically innocent, (2) appears to imply the existence of numbers. Thomas Hofweber proposes that we can resolve the puzzle by recognizing that sentence (2) is syntactically derived from, and has the same meaning as, sentence (1). Despite appearances, the expressions ‘the number of (...) moons of Jupiter’ and ‘four’ do not function semantically as singular terms in (2). Hofweber’s primary evidence for this proposal concerns differences in the focus-related communicative functions of (1) and (2). In this paper I raise several serious problems for Hofweber’s proposal, and for his attempt to support it by appeal to focus-related phenomena. I conclude by offering independent evidence for an alternative, purely pragmatic resolution of the ontological puzzle. (shrink)
his book develops an account of legal reasoning based on underlying narrative patterns, and compares other such approaches in legal philosophy, psychology and history. Download full ToC and Preface from http://www.legaltheory.demon.co.uk/books_lfnc.html.
Later reprinted by Deborah Charles Publications (and not available from Amazon), this book expounds and comments on the application of Greimasian semiotics to a legal text, as found in the article by Greimas and Landowski in Greimas, Sémiotique et Sciences Sociales (1976), compares this with the semiotic presuppositions of Hart, Dworkin, MacCormick and Kelsen, and offers my own analysis of the implications of such semiotic analysis for legal theory, including some more recent radical non-positivist accounts.
Empirical studies have suggested that language-capable robots have the persuasive power to shape the shared moral norms based on how they respond to human norm violations. This persuasive power presents cause for concern, but also the opportunity to persuade humans to cultivate their own moral development. We argue that a truly socially integrated and morally competent robot must be willing to communicate its objection to humans’ proposed violations of shared norms by using strategies such as blame-laden rebukes, even if doing (...) so may violate other standing norms, such as politeness. By drawing on Confucian ethics, we argue that a robot’s ability to employ blame-laden moral rebukes to respond to unethical human requests is crucial for cultivating a flourishing “moral ecology” of human–robot interaction. Such positive moral ecology allows human teammates to develop their own moral reflection skills and grow their own virtues. Furthermore, this ability can and should be considered as one criterion for assessing artificial moral agency. Finally, this paper discusses potential implications of the Confucian theories for designing socially integrated and morally competent robots. (shrink)
This book reviews the classical schools of jurisprudence with particular reference to their linguistic presuppositions, and summarises an alternative account based on Paris school semiotics. Detailed ToC available from linked web page. NOT available from Amazon.
Notice that each of (1)–(4) is an instance of a more general pattern. For example, we could replace ‘black’ in (1) with any of a wide range of other adjectives such as ‘furry’ or ‘hungry’ or ‘three-legged’, without rendering the entailment invalid or any less obvious. Similarly, there are a number of verbs that occur in entailments parallel to (3): ‘Moe boiled the water; so the water boiled’; ‘Bart blew up the school; so the school blew up’; ‘Homer sank the (...) boat; so the boat sank’ and so on. (shrink)
The case states that a male same-sex couple entered into a surrogacy arrangement with an unrelated surrogate using donor sperm and the surrogate’s eggs. M is the legal mother pursuant to s33 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. Though the facts tell us that there was no legally binding arrangement, this is in fact the position of the law: under s1A Surrogacy Arrangements Act, no surrogacy arrangements can ever be binding on the parties. It is not clear whether (...) the donor sperm is from one of the same-sex couple or not. If it was donor sperm and not from either intended father, this is not an arrangement that would be recognised in law, as one of the men must be genetically related to the child in order for them to obtain legal parenthood via a parental order, under s54 HFEA 2008. They could apply to adopt the child, although they may fall foul of adoption legislation1 if any money has moved between them and M and they do not fall within an exemption.2 In any event, an adoption cannot be achieved in time for them to obtain legal parenthood in a crisis situation. In the absence of a biological connection and the resulting legal parenthood, in order to obtain parental responsibility for the child to allow them to make decisions about Baby T’s care, the men would need to apply for leave to apply for a child arrangements order pursuant to s10 Children Act 1989. However, in the …. (shrink)
What accounts for the capacity of ordinary speakers to comprehend utterances of their language? The phenomenology of hearing speech in one’s own language makes it tempting to many epistemologists to look to perception for an answer to this question. That is, just as a visual experience as of a red square is often taken to give the perceiver immediate justification for believing that there is a red square in front of her, perhaps an auditory experience as of the speaker asserting (...) that p gives the competent hearer immediate justification for believing that the speaker has asserted that p. My aim here is to offer reasons for resisting this temptation. I argue that the perceptual model cannot adequately account for the hearer’s justification in many cases. The arguments here also allow us to draw certain further morals about the role of phenomenology in the epistemology of perception. (shrink)
This is a brief response to Thomas Hofweber's "Extraction, Displacement and Focus: A Reply to Balcerak Jackson" (Linguistics and Philosophy 37.3 (2014)), which was a reply to my "Defusing Easy Arguments for Numbers" (Linguistics and Philosophy 36.6 (2013)).
These days it is widely agreed that there is no such thing as absolute motion and rest; the motion of an object can only be characterized with respect to some chosen frame of reference.1 This is a fact of which many of us are well-aware, and yet a cursory consideration of the ways we ascribe motion to objects gives the impression that it is a fact we persistently ignore. We insist to the police officer that we came to a full (...) and complete stop at the stop sign, we fret that traffic is moving too slowly, we observe that the sun has dropped below the hills on the horizon, all without ever saying which frames of reference we have in mind. (shrink)
A central question for ontology is the question of whether numbers really exist. But it seems easy to answer this question in the affirmative. The truth of a sentence like ‘Seven students came to the party’ can be established simply by looking around at the party and counting students. A trivial paraphrase of is ‘The number of students who came to the party is seven’. But appears to entail the existence of a number, and so it seems that we must (...) conclude that numbers exist. This is sometimes called the puzzle of how we can get something from nothing. Most extant attempts to solve the puzzle take it for granted that is ontologically innocent, and focus their attention either on or on the transition from to. We argue that both attempts go wrong at the first step: the assumption that is ontologically innocent is undermined by a highly attractive and independently well-motivated degree-based account of number word constructions. Thus the degree-based account provides a straightforward linguistic resolution of the puzzle of how we can get something from nothing. But the paper also has a second aim. The semantics we present treats ‘seven’ as a referring expression that refers to a degree of a certain sort. But what are degrees? We consider various anti-platonist proposals that seek to account for degrees in terms of relations between concrete entities, and argue that they are incompatible with the Universal Density of Measurement hypothesis of Fox and Hackl. While the UDM cannot yet claim to be the consensus view among degree-based semanticists, our aim is to use it to illustrate how views about the nature of degrees can be evaluated by considering the properties degrees must have if they are to play the explanatory roles they are called upon to play in linguistics. In the present state of development of degree-based semantics there are difficult open questions about what these properties are. These questions need to be addressed if we are to develop a clear picture of what natural language semantics has to contribute to ontology and metaphysics. (shrink)
The term ‘logical form’ has been called on to serve a wide range of purposes in philosophy, and it would be too ambitious to try to survey all of them in a single essay. Instead, I will focus on just one conception of logical form that has occupied a central place in the philosophy of language, and in particular in the philosophical study of linguistic meaning. This is what I will call the classical conception of logical form. The classical conception, (...) as I will present it in section 1, has (either explicitly or implicitly) shaped a great deal of important philosophical work in semantic theory. But it has come under fire in recent decades, and in sections 2 and 3 I will discuss two of the recent challenges that I take to be most interesting and significant. (shrink)
In the early days of natural language semantics, Donald Davidson issued a challenge to those, like Richard Montague, who would do semantics in a model-theoretic framework that gives a central role to a model-relative notion of truth. Davidson argued that no theory of this kind can claim to be an account of real truth conditions unless it first makes clear how the relativized notion relates to our ordinary non-relativized notion of truth. In the 1990s, Davidson’s challenge was developed by Etchemendy (...) into an argument against the model-theoretic account of logical consequence, one that also threatens the attempt to capture natural language entailment relations in modeltheoretic terms—one of the central desiderata of semantics. Nevertheless, the modeltheoretic framework has flourished within natural language semantics. But it has flourished without any consensus among semanticists as to how to answer Davidson’s challenge. The aim of this essay is to develop an answer. I argue that model-theoretic semantics is best understood as model-based science: a semantics for a natural language is a scientific model of truth conditions. This makes good sense of the way model-theoretic tools are used in natural language semantics. And it allows us to answer Davidson’s challenge by showing how a theory that employs a relativized notion of truth manages to tell us about ordinary truth conditions. Moreover, I argue that it helps us see how semantics can provide genuine explanations for natural language entailment and other truth-conditional phenomena. (shrink)
Social democracy has often been seen as a pragmatic compromise between capitalism and socialism. This chapter shows that social democracy is in fact a distinctive body of political thought: an ideology which prescribes the use of democratic collective action to extend the principles of freedom and equality valued by democrats in the political sphere to the organization of the economy and society, chiefly by opposing the inequality and oppression created by laissez-faire capitalism. The chapter makes this case by examining three (...) distinct eras in the development of social democratic ideas: the emergence of social democracy in the decades before the Second World War; the so-called ‘golden age’ of social democracy between 1945 and 1970; and the period of social democratic retreat from 1970 until the present. (shrink)
Originally written in 1990, this reviews largely late 20th century debates on the study of law as Logic, Discourse, or Experience; the Unity of the Legal System and the Problem of Reference; Semiotic Presuppositions of Traditional Jurisprudence (Austin, Hart, Kelsen, Dworkin, Legal Realisms); then turns to legal philosophies explicitly Employing Forms of Semiotics (Kalinowski, the Italian Analytical School, Rhetorical and Pragmatic Approaches, Sociological and Socio-Linguistic Approaches, Peircian Legal Semiotics, Greimasian Legal Semiotics and Aesthetic/Symbolic Approaches). A major section then offers (from (...) a largely Greimasian point of view) some hypotheses for legal semiotics on the Problem of Reference, Semantic and Pragmatic Levels, Semiotic Groups and “The Legal Culture”, Normativity and Justification, and finally considers the implications for particular legal phenomena: the “Legal System”, Legal Institutions, Legal Codes, Legal Rules, Rights, Courtroom Behaviour: Witness and Counsel, The Judge: Justification of Decisions on Law, and the Criminal Justice Process. A conclusion addresses the status of legal semiotics. (shrink)
In his essay ‘“Conceptual Truth”’, Timothy Williamson (2006) argues that there are no truths or entailments that are constitutive of understanding the sentences involved. In this reply I provide several examples of entailment patterns that are intuitively constitutive of understanding in just the way that Williamson rejects, and I argue that Williamson’s argument does nothing to show otherwise. Williamson bolsters his conclusion by appeal to a certain theory about the nature of understanding. I argue that his theory fails to consider (...) the role that the structure of a sentence plays in determining its meaning. The cases I present suggest that this role imposes greater cognitive requirements on understanding than Williamson can acknowledge. (shrink)
Introduction While quizzing during informed consent for research to ensure understanding has become commonplace, it is unclear whether the quizzing itself is problematic for potential participants. In this study, we address this issue in a multinational HIV prevention research trial enrolling injection drug users in China and Thailand. Methods Enrolment procedures included an informed consent comprehension quiz. An informed consent survey followed. Results 525 participants completed the informed consent survey (Heng County, China=255, Xinjiang, China=229, Chiang Mai, Thailand=41). Mean age was (...) 33 and mean educational level was 8 yrs. While quizzing was felt to be a good way to determine if a person understands the nature of clinical trial participation (97%) and participants did not generally find the quiz to be problematic, minorities of respondents felt pressured (6%); anxious (5%); bored (5%); minded (5%); and did not find the questions easy (13%). In multivariate analysis, lower educational level was associated with not minding the quizzing (6–10 yrs vs 0–5 yrs: OR=0.27, p=0.03; more than 11 yrs vs 0–5 yrs: OR=0.18, p=0.03). There were also site differences (Heng County vs Xinjiang) in feeling anxious (OR=0.07; p=<0.01), not minding (OR=0.26; p=0.03), being bored (OR=0.25; p=0.01) and not finding the questions easy (OR=0.10; p=<0.01). Conclusions Quizzing during the informed consent process can be problematic for a minority of participants. These problems may be associated with the setting in which research takes place and educational level. Further research is needed to develop, test and implement alternative methods of ensuring comprehension of informed consent. Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov number NCT00270257. (shrink)
This account of civil liability for animals in a range of ancient, mediaeval and modern legal systems (based on a series of studies conducted early in my career: (s.1)) uses semiotic analysis to supplement the insights of conventional legal history, thus balancing diachronic and synchronic approaches. It reinforces the conventional historical sensitivity to anachronism in two respects: (1) (logical) inference of underlying values from concrete rules (rather than attending to literary features of the text) manifests cognitive anachronism, an issue manifest (...) in biblical scholarship’s discussion of the stoning of the homicidal ox in Exod. 21:28 (s.2); (2) the application of modern notions of literal (rather than narrative) meaning not only manifests a semiotic anachronism but here also obscures the institutional origins of many of the rules in a system heavily reliant on self-help and informal settlement. (shrink)
Introduction.Bernard S. Jackson - 2014 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 27 (3):421-423.details
This Special Issue reflects a very special occasion. On 13 January 2012, the Tilburg Law School marked the retirement of Associate Professor Dr. Hanneke van Schooten and the recent publication of her latest book, Jurisprudence and Communication (Liverpool: Deborah Charles Publications, 2011) with a special colloquium, at which Dr. Van Schooten summarised the findings of her book, and four colleagues offered responses to it, three (by Jackson, van Roermund and Witteveen, here developed further). -/- .
This article is partly an exercise in academic autobiography, seeking to make sense of the different ways in which I have applied semiotics to secular law on the one hand, Jewish law on the other. The very fact that it can be applied to both shows that its claims are methodological. But it also indicates a possible reformulation of the semiotic issues in philosophical terms: we may view the relationship between the semantic and pragmatic levels in terms of the relationship/balance (...) between certainty/truth (the semantic level) on the one hand and trust (the pragmatic level) on the other. What may distinguish the secular and religious systems is the manner in the issue of trust is be ideologically concealed. (shrink)
Is there a principled difference between entailments in natural language that are valid solely in virtue of their form or structure and those that are not? This paper advances an affirmative answer to this question, one that takes as its starting point Gareth Evans’s suggestion that semantic theory aims to carve reality at the joints by uncovering the semantic natural kinds of the language. I sketch an Evans-inspired account of semantic kinds and show how it supports a principled account of (...) structural entailment. I illustrate the account by application to a case study involving the entailment properties of adverbs; this involves developing a novel proposal about the semantics for adverbs like ‘quickly’ and ‘slowly’. In the course of the discussion I explore some implications of the account for the place of model-theoretic tools in natural language semantics. (shrink)
In this paper, I ask whether mishpat ivri (Jewish Law) is appropriately conceived as a “legal system”. I review Menachem Elon’s use of a “Sources” Theory of Law (based on Salmond) in his account of Mishpat Ivri; the status of religious law from the viewpoint of jurisprudence itself (Bentham, Austin and Kelsen); then the use of sources (and the approach to “dogmatic error”) by halakhic authorities in discussing the problems of the agunah (“chained wife”), which I suggest points to a (...) theory more radical than the “sources” theory of law, one more akin to the ultimate phase of the thought of Kelsen (the “non-logical” Kelsen) or indeed to some form of Legal Realism (with which that phase of Kelsen’s thought has indeed been compared)? I finally juxtapose an account based on internal theological resources (a “Jurisprudence of Revelation”). Downloadable at at http://www.biu.ac.il/JS/JSIJ/jsij1.html. (shrink)
My interest in semantic categories arises out of consideration of what is often called structural entailment. Consider the following: 1. Lisa quickly left; so Lisa left. The first of the two sentences in (1) entails the second; necessarily, if the first is true then so is the second. Moreover, (1) is an instance of a more general pattern whose validity doesn’t seem to depend on the specific meanings of the words in (1). The adverb ‘quickly’, for example, can be replaced (...) with any of a wide range of adverbs without loss of validity; analogous remarks hold for the verb ‘leave’. Here are a few more paradigm examples of structural entailment. (shrink)
Jewish law has a history stretching from the early period to the modern State of Israel, encompassing the Talmud, Geonic and later codifications, the Spanish Golden Age, medieval and modern responsa, the Holocaust and modern reforms. Fifteen distinct periods are separately studied in this volume, each one by a leading specialist, and the emphasis throughout is on the development of the institutions and sources of the law.
First published in 1979, this book looks at the subject of childminding in Britain at the time it was written. It is based on a national survey that was commissioned by the Social Science Research Council and on action to help childminders funded by the Wates Foundation at Manchester University, UK. Previous to this study it was calculated that more than one million children under the age of five had a working mother, but little research had been done into childminders (...) themselves. This book evaluates the number and nature of the childminders in Britain that were looking after the nation’s children in the 70s. It argues that parents have a right to choose to work if society can guarantee loving and skilled care for their children. However, the authors suggest that this was not the case at the time and state that childminders were in need of better governmental support. (shrink)