Unlike nonhuman primates, thousands of bird species have articulatory capabilities that equal or surpass those of humans, and they develop their vocalizations through vocal imitation in a way that is very similar to how human infants learn to speak. An understanding of how speech mechanisms have evolved is therefore unlikely to yield key insights into how the human brain is special.
Studies of AGL have frequently used training and test stimuli that might provide multiple cues for learning, raising the question what subjects have actually learned. Using a selected subset of studies on humans and non‐human animals, Trotter et al. demonstrate how a meta‐analysis can be used to identify relevant experimental variables, providing a first step in asssessing the relative contribution of design features of grammars as well as of species‐specific effects on AGL.
Three experiments examined contributions of study phase awareness of word identity to subsequent word-identification priming by manipulating visual attention to words at study. In Experiment 1, word-identification priming was reduced for ignored relative to attended words, even though ignored words were identified sufficiently to produce negative priming in the study phase. Word-identification priming was also reduced after color naming relative to emotional valence rating (Experiment 2) or word reading (Experiment 3), even though an effect of emotional valence upon color naming (...) (Experiment 2) indicated that words were identified at study. Thus, word-identification priming was reduced even when word identification occurred at study. Word-identification priming may depend on awareness of word identity at the time of study. (shrink)
Scholars have long been captivated by the parallels between birdsong and human speech and language. In this book, leading scholars draw on the latest research to explore what birdsong can tell us about the biology of human speech and language and the consequences for evolutionary biology. They examine the cognitive and neural similarities between birdsong learning and speech and language acquisition, considering vocal imitation, auditory learning, an early vocalization phase, the structural properties of birdsong and human language, and the striking (...) similarities between the neural organization of learning and vocal production in birdsong and human speech. After outlining the basic issues involved in the study of both language and evolution, the contributors compare birdsong and language in terms of acquisition, recursion, and core structural properties, and then examine the neurobiology of song and speech, genomic factors, and the emergence and evolution of language. Contributors: Hermann Ackermann, Gabriël J.L. Beckers, Robert C. Berwick, Johan J. Bolhuis, Noam Chomsky, Frank Eisner, Martin Everaert, Michale S. Fee, Olga Fehér, Simon E. Fisher, W. Tecumseh Fitch, Jonathan B. Fritz, Sharon M.H. Gobes, Riny Huijbregts, Eric Jarvis, Robert Lachlan, Ann Law, Michael A. Long, Gary F. Marcus, Carolyn McGettigan, Daniel Mietchen, Richard Mooney, Sanne Moorman, Kazuo Okanoya, Christophe Pallier, Irene M. Pepperberg, Jonathan F. Prather, Franck Ramus, Eric Reuland, Constance Scharff, Sophie K. Scott, Neil Smith, Ofer Tchernichovski, Carel ten Cate, Christopher K. Thompson, Frank Wijnen, Moira Yip, Wolfram Ziegler, Willem Zuidema. (shrink)
Chris Tucker's paper on the hiddenness argument seeks to turn aside a way of defending the latter which he calls the value argument. But the value argument can withstand Tucker's criticisms. In any case, an alternative argument capable of doing the same job is suggested by his own emphasis on free will.
There are doubtless many with personal experience of suffering, or of comforting others in distress, who would agree with Milton thus far that philosophic argument is powerless to satisfy those who in their anguish ask the question ‘Why did it happen to me?’ Yet to think so is to underestimate both the necessity and the power of reason: clarity of mind and the disposition to argue are commonly enhanced rather than diminished by suffering; and if reason is an essential part (...) of man's nature, it should serve him, if anywhere, in the trials of life. We have every justification, therefore, despite common opinion, for seeking a rational answer to the question proposed. It must, however, be admitted at the outset that there is no direct answer to the question which can both withstand critical scrutiny and bring genuine comfort to the afflicted, an answer, that is, which accepts the question as it stands with its attendant presuppositions; but there is an indirect answer, which, precisely by rejecting one or more of these presuppositions and restating the question, can indeed satisfy these two requirements. Before such an answer can be outlined, however, the question in its traditional form must be examined and the traditional answers to it critically reviewed. (shrink)
Mark McCreary has argued that I cannot consistently advance both the hiddenness argument and certain arguments for religious scepticism found in my book The Wisdom to Doubt . This reaction was expected, and in WD I explained its shortsightedness in that context. First, I noted how in Part III of WD , where theism is addressed, my principal aim is not to prove atheism but to show theists that they are not immune from the scepticism defended in Parts I and (...) II. To the success of this aim, McCreary's arguments are not so much as relevant, for a thoroughgoing scepticism embracing even the hiddenness argument is quite compatible with its success. But I also explained how someone convinced that the hiddenness argument does prove atheism escapes the grip of religious scepticism because of that argument's reliance on apparent conceptual truths. McCreary's critique obscures this point but does not defuse it. (shrink)
Lanczos, C. Einstein's path from special to general relativity.--Balazs, N. L. The acceptability of physical theories: Poincaré versus Einstein.--Ellis, G. F. R. Global and non-global problems in cosmology, by G. F. R. Ellis and D. W. Sciama.--Ehlers, J. The geometry of free fall and light propagation, by J. Ehlers, F. A. E. Pirani and A. Schild.--Trautman, A. Invariance of Lagrangian systems.--Penrose, R. The geometry of impulsive gravitational waves.--Exact solutions of the Einstein-Maxwell equations for an accelerated charge.--Taub, A. H. Plane-symmetric similarity (...) solutions for self-gravitating fluids.--Robinson, I. Equations of motion in the linear approximation, by I. Robinson and J. R. Robinson.--Florides, P. W. Rotating bodies in general relativity.--Chandrasekhar, S. A limiting case of relativistic equilibrium.--Israel, W. The relativistic Boltzmann equation.--Thompson, W. B. The self-consistent test-particle approach to relativistic kinetic theory. (shrink)
William Alston's Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience is a most significant contribution to the philosophy of religion. The product of 50 years' reflection on its topic , this work provides a very thorough explication and defence of what Alston calls the ‘mystical perceptual practice’ – the practice of forming beliefs about the Ultimate on the basis of putative ‘direct experiential awareness’ thereof . Alston argues, in particular, for the rationality of engaging in the Christian form of MP . (...) On his view, those who participate in CMP are justified in forming beliefs as they do because their practice is ‘socially established’, has a ‘functioning overrider system’ and a ‘significant degree of self-support’; and because of the ‘lack of sufficient reasons to take the practice as unreliable’. (shrink)
AtLeg.666b7, Burnet's emendation of the transmitted λήθην to λήθῃ has been widely accepted. Newly discovered support for this emendation comes from an Arabic version or adaptation of Plato'sLaws, most likely Galen'sSynopsis, quoted by the polymath Abū-Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī (a.d.973–1048) asKitāb al-Nawāmīs li-Aflāṭunin his ethnographic work on India. I transliterate and translate the passage below, proposing two incidental emendations to the Arabic:wa-qāla l-aṯīniyyu fī l-maqālati l-tāniyati mina l-kitābi: lammā raḥima [sic proraḥimati] l-ālihatu ǧinsa l-bašari min aǧli annahū maṭbūʿun ʿalā l-taʿabi hayyaʾū lahum (...) aʿyādan li-l-ālihati wa-li-l-sakīnāti wa-li-ʾf-w-l-l-n mudabbiri l-sakīnāti wa-li-d-y-w-n-w-s-y-s māniḥi l-bašari l-ḫamrata dawāʾan lahum min ʿufūṣati l-šayḫūḫati li-yaʿūdū fityānan bi-l-duhūli ʿani l-kābati wa-ntiqāli ḫulqi l-nafsi [wa-yantaqila ḫulqu l-nafsiperhaps to be read] mina l-šiddati ilā l-salāmati [al-salāsatiprobably to be read].The Athenian said in the second book of the work [sc. theLaws]: The gods, taking pity on the human race since it was born for toil, established for them feast-days (dedicated) to the gods and to the Muses and to Apollo, overseer of the Muses, and to Dionysus, who gave human beings wine as a remedy for them against the bitterness of old age, so that they might be rejuvenated by forgetting sorrow and (by) the character of the soul changing [and (so that) the character of the soul might changeperhaps to be read] from severity into soundness [into tractabilityprobably to be read].The source of the latter part of the passage, that is, the description of Dionysus’ gift and its effect (māniḥi l-bašari…l-salāmati), has until now remained unidentified. In the notes to his translation, Sachau, followed by Gabrieli, correctly identified part ofLeg. 653c–d (θεοὶ … ἔδοσαν) as the origin of much of the passage (see n. 4). No previous scholarship, however, has noted that the latter part translates a passage inLeg.666b–c (τοῖς ἀνθρώποις … τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ἦθος), here joined to the earlier passage (presumably by Bīrūnī’s source, that is, most likely Galen) on the hinge of their shared mention of Dionysus. (shrink)
Introduction, by J. L. Hevesi.--Days of reading, by M. Proust.--Poetry and abstract thought, by P. Valèry.--Jacob Cow the pirate; or, Whether words are signs, by J. Paulhan.--Concerning the pebble, by F. Ponge.--The journey and the return, by J. P. Sartre.--The power of words, by B. Parain.