This paper describes the application of eight statistical and machine-learning methods to derive computer models for predicting mortality of hospital patients with pneumonia from their findings at initial presentation. The eight models were each constructed based on 9847 patient cases and they were each evaluated on 4352 additional cases. The primary evaluation metric was the error in predicted survival as a function of the fraction of patients predicted to survive. This metric is useful in assessing a model’s potential to assist (...) a clinician in deciding whether to treat a given patient in the hospital or at home. We examined the error rates of the models when predicting that a given fraction of patients will survive. We examined survival fractions between 0.1 and 0.6. Over this range, each model’s predictive error rate was within 1% of the error rate of every other model. When predicting that approximately 30°K of the patients will survive, all the models have an error rate of less than 1.5%. The models are distinguished more by the number of variables and parameters that they contain than by their error rates; these differences suggest which models may be the most amenable to future implementation as paper-based guidelines. (shrink)
This paper examines the efforts of contractualists to develop an alternative to aggregation to govern our duty not to harm (duty to rescue) others. I conclude that many of the moral principles articulated in the literature seem to reduce to aggregation by a different name. Those that do not are viable only as long as they are limited to a handful of oddball cases at the margins of social life. If extended to run-of-the-mill conduct that accounts for virtually all unintended (...) (in the sense of undesired) harm to others—noncriminal activities that impose some risk of harm on others—they would rule out all action. Moreover, because such conduct poses an irreducible conflict between freedom of action and freedom from expected harm, it can be regulated only by principles that accept the necessity of making precisely the sorts of interpersonal trade-offs that contractualism is foundationally committed to reject: trade-offs in which the numbers count, such that a risk of serious harm to one person can be justified by small benefits to the many. (shrink)
Formal semantics is an approach to SEMANTICS1, the study of meaning, with roots in logic, the philosophy of language, and linguistics, and since the 1980’s a core area of linguistic theory. Characteristics of formal semantics to be treated in this article include the following: Formal semanticists treat meaning as mind-independent (though abstract), contrasting with the view of meanings as concepts “in the head” (see I-LANGUAGE AND E-LANGUAGE and MEANING EXTERNALISM AND INTERNALISM); formal semanticists distinguish semantics from knowledge of semantics (Lewis (...) 1975, Cresswell 1978), which has consequences for the notion of semantic COMPETENCE. A central part of the meaning of a sentence on this approach is its TRUTH CONDITIONS, and most although not all formal semantics is model-theoretic, relating linguistic expressions to model-theoretically constructed semantic values cast in terms of truth, REFERENCE, and possible worlds. This sets formal semantics apart from approaches which view semantics as relating a sentence just to a representation on another linguistic “level” (LOGICAL FORM) or a representation in an innate LANGUAGE OF THOUGHT. The formal semanticist could accept such representations as an aspect of semantics but would insist on asking what the model-theoretic semantic interpretation of the given representationlanguage is (Lewis 1970). Formal semantics is centrally concerned with COMPOSITIONALITY at the SYNTAX-SEMANTICS INTERFACE, how the meanings of larger constituents are built up from the meanings of their parts on the basis of their syntactic structure, and with the relation between compositional SENTENCE MEANING and meaning in discourse. (shrink)
Formal semantics and pragmatics as they have developed since the late 1960's have been shaped by fruitful interdisciplinary collaboration among linguists, philosophers, and logicians, among others, and in turn have had noticeable effects on developments in syntax, philosophy of language, computational linguistics, and cognitive science.In this paper I describe the environment in which formal semantics was born and took root, highlighting the differences in ways of thinking about natural language semantics in linguistics and in philosophy and logic. With Montague as (...) a central but not solo player in the story, I reflect on crucial developments in the 1960's and 70's in linguistics and philosophy, and the growth of formal semantics and formal pragmatics from there. I discuss innovations, key players, and leading ideas that shaped the development of formal semantics and its relation to syntax, to pragmatics, and to the philosophy of language in its early years, and some central aspects of its early impact on those fields. (shrink)
_Tracing the story of anger from the Buddha to Twitter, Rosenwein provides a much-needed account of our changing and contradictory understandings of this emotion_ All of us think we know when we are angry, and we are sure we can recognize anger in others as well. But this is only superficially true. We see anger through lenses colored by what we know, experience, and learn. Barbara H. Rosenwein traces our many conflicting ideas about and expressions of anger, taking the (...) story from the Buddha to our own time, from anger’s complete rejection to its warm reception. Rosenwein explores how anger has been characterized by gender and race, why it has been tied to violence and how that is often a false connection, how it has figured among the seven deadly sins and yet is considered a virtue, and how its interpretation, once largely the preserve of philosophers and theologians, has been gradually handed over to scientists—with very mixed results. Rosenwein shows that the _history _of anger can help us grapple with it today. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to argue for the fruitfulness for linguistic theory of an approach to semantics that has been developed primarily by logicians and philosophers. That the theory of possible worlds semantics has been extremely fruitful for logic and philosophy is widely if not universally accepted, and I will not try to convince remaining skeptics on that score. But the goals of linguistics are sufficiently different from those of philosophy and logic that there are independent and highly (...) reasonable grounds for skepticism about the appropriateness of such a theory for linguistics, and I will address what seem to me the most important of these in addition to offering positive evidence in favor of such an approach to semantics. (shrink)
The nonconsequentialist revival in tort theory has focused almost exclusively on one issue: showing that the rules governing compensation for acts reflect corrective justice rather than welfarist norms. The literature either is silent on what makes an act wrongful in the first place or suggests criteria that seem indistinguishable from some version of cost/benefit analysis. As a result, cost/benefit analysis is currently the only game in town for determining appropriate standards of conduct for socially useful but risky acts. This is (...) no small omission, and the failure of nonconsequentialists to acknowledge it or cure it can be traced to a number of recurring problems in the nonconsequentialist tort literature. Chief among them is the tendency to conflate prohibition and compensation, and to treat imposition of risk and imposition of harm as if they were distinct forms of conduct rather than the same conduct viewed from different temporal perspectives. (shrink)
“Symmetrical predicates” have distinctive linguistic properties in many languages. But the concept of “symmetry” merits closer examination. Consider the surprising claim by the psychologist Amos Tversky (1977) that the concept ‘similar’, a standard example of a symmetrical predicate, is in fact not symmetrical. Tversky’s evidence includes the fact that experimental subjects generally rate (1a) as holding to a higher degree than (1b). (1) a. North Korea is similar to Red China. b. Red China is similar to North Korea.
For me the adventure began just 50 years ago, here at MIT in 1961. The Chomskian revolution had just begun, and Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle had just opened up a PhD program in Linguistics, and I came in the first class. I want to start by thanking Chomsky and Halle for building that program, and I thank MIT and the Research Laboratory of Electronics for supporting it. I’m indebted to Chomsky for revolutionizing the field of linguistics and making it (...) into a field whose excitement has never waned. Chomsky redefined linguistics as the study of human linguistic competence, making linguistics one of the early pillars of cognitive science. (shrink)
In the history of formal semantics, the successful joining of linguistic and philosophical work brought with it some difficult foundational questions concerning the nature of meaning and the nature of knowledge of language in the domain of semantics: questions in part about “what’s in the head” of a competent language-user. This paper, part of a project on the history of formal semantics, revisits the central issues of (Partee, 1979) in a historical context, as a clash between two traditions, Fregean and (...) Chomskyan, a clash that accompanied early work combining Montague’s semantics with Chomskyan syntax. Recent advances in philosophy of mind (from, e.g., Stalnaker and Burge) go a long way towards changing the framework of arguments about “psychological reality” and “competence”, challenging the suppositions on which the original dichotomy rested, thus largely defusing the tension. (shrink)
At 30 years' distance, it is safe to say that Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia has achieved the status of a classic. It is not only the central text for all contemporary academic discussions of libertarianism; with Rawls's A Theory of Justice, it arguably frames the landscape of academic political philosophy in second half of 20th century. Many factors, obviously account for the prominence of the book. This paper considers one: the book's use of rhetoric to charm and disarm its (...) readers, simultaneously establishing Nozick's credibility with readers, turning them on his ideological opponents, and helping his argument over some of its more serious substantive difficulties. Footnotesa I am grateful to Joe Bankman, Tom Grey, Pam Karlan, Ellen Frankel Paul, Seana Shiffrin, and Bob Weisberg for their very helpful comments on previous drafts of this essay. I am also grateful to my fellow contributors to this volume and to the participants in the Berkeley GALA and the UCLA Law and Philosophy Workshop, at which earlier versions of this essay were presented. All errors and indiscretions are mine alone. (shrink)
The Russian Genitive of Negation construction (Gen Neg) involves case alternation between Genitive and the two structural cases, Nominative and Accusative.1 The factors governing the alternation have been a matter of debate for many decades, and there is a huge literature. Here we focus on one central issue and its theoretical ramiﬁcations. The theoretical issue is the following. The same truth-conditional content can often be structured in more than one way; we believe that there is a distinction between choices in (...) how to structure a situation to be described, and choices in how to structure a sentence describing the (already structured) situation. The distinction may not always be sharp, and the term Information Structure may perhaps cover both, but we believe that the distinction is important and needs closer attention. Babby (1980), in a masterful work on the Russian Genitive of Negation, argued that the choice depended principally on Theme-Rheme structure; after initially following Babby (Borschev & Partee 1998), we later argued (Borschev & Partee 2002a,b) that the choice reﬂects not Theme-Rheme structure but a structuring of the described situation which we call Perspectival Structure. Here we brieﬂy review the phenomenon, Babby’s Theme-Rheme-based analysis, and our arguments for a diﬀerent analysis. We then consider Hanging Topics, partitive Genitives, and broader licensing conditions of Genitive case, raising the possibility that our counterexamples to Babby’s use of Theme-Rheme structure might be explained away as examples involving Hanging Topics rather than (Praguian) Themes. We argue against that idea as well, but leave open the possibility that our Perspectival Structure may eventually be construable as a kind of information structure itself, if that notion can include some kinds of structuring of the situation as well as of the discourse. (shrink)
A mental heuristic is a shortcut (means) to a desired end. In the moral (as opposed to factual) realm, the means/end distinction is not self-evident: How do we decide whether a given moral intuition is a mere heuristic to achieve some freestanding moral principle, or instead a freestanding moral principle in its own right? I discuss Sunstein's solution to that threshold difficulty in translating “heuristics” to the moral realm.
The article considers a surprisingly resilient argument, going back to Adam Smith, for the fairness of proportionate taxation: that proportionate taxation represents the fair way to divide the surplus value produced by social cooperation among all of society's members. The article considers two recent variants on that argument, one by Richard Epstein in Takings and one by David Gauthier in Morals by Agreement. It concludes that the normative and empirical assumptions that underlie these, and all other variants, of the argument (...) are so implausible as to suggest the argument cannot be taken seriously as a defense of proportionate taxation. The article concludes by considering other possible explanations for the enduring attraction of proportionate taxation for political philosophers, particularly those with libertarian and quasi-libertarian leanings. Footnotes I am grateful to participants in faculty workshops at Vanderbilt, NYU, Virginia and Stanford Law Schools and the Qunnipiac College School of Law Conference on Law and Philosophy, as well as the anonymous outside readers for this journal, for their very helpful comments on earlier drafts. (shrink)
In a pioneering study Georges Duby showed how the system of justice that had prevailed in the Carolingian era ceased to function in the Mâconnais of the tenth century. His observations about the breakdown of public institutions opened up a new field of research, for they suggested the development in the tenth century of a unique set of judicial institutions and practices, different in kind from the traditional public order of the Roman and Roman-influenced Carolingian worlds. This was an important (...) change, and a number of scholars turned their attention to the developments described by Duby. (shrink)