Linguists intuitions about language change can be captured by adynamical systems model derived from the dynamics of language acquisition.Rather than having to posit a separate model for diachronic change, as hassometimes been done by drawing on assumptions from population biology (cf.Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman, 1973; 1981; Kroch, 1990), this new modeldispenses with these independent assumptions by showing how the behavior ofindividual language learners leads to emergent, global populationcharacteristics of linguistic communities over several generations. As thesimplest case, we formalize the example of (...) two grammars and show that eventhis situation leads directly to a nonlinear (quadratic) dynamical system.We study this one parameter model in a variety of situations for differentkinds of acquisition algorithms and maturational times, showing howdifferent learning theories can have very different evolutionaryconsequences. This allows us to formulate an evolutionary criterion for theadequacy of grammatical and learning theories. An application of thecomputational model to the historical loss of Verb Second from Old French toModern French is described showing how otherwise adequate grammaticaltheories might fail the evolutionary criterion. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that the current views on the relation between fields and social networks are based on two false premises: first, that fields and social networks are mutually exclusive forms of relational structure, and second, that the objective form of relational structure is an a priori fact. The main point of this article is that fields—defined as sites of contest among their inhabitants known for using their symbolically charged capitals to define hierarchical relations among them—create historical conditions (...) for social networks to emerge as the objective form of relational structure. Following this point, I argue that relational sociologists must reconstruct the notion of relational structure by focusing their epistemological lenses on the history of contests among the relevant field’s actors over the symbolic value of their field-specific capitals. I illustrate this insight on relational sociology using Bourdieu’s political field theory. (shrink)
Field theory is often criticized because sociologists applying it fail to follow two seminal rules: the three key concepts of field theory—capital, habitus, and field structure—must be implemented in relation to each other and reconstructed for the historically specific moment of their application. I claim that Bourdieu developed his conceptual tools in response to Bachelard’s insight that scientific progress requires a break from common sense. Once we appreciate the epistemological foundation of field theory concepts, we can better appreciate the rules (...) for their application, avoid their typical criticism, and further improve them. (shrink)
This article seeks to delineate some of the fundamental philosophical traits that are special characteristics of the Indian cultural soil. Tracing these from the Vedic period, it is shown that this heritage is still alive and gives a distinctive flavor to the science–religion dialogue in the Indian context. The prevalent attitude is not to view science and religion as antagonistic, but rather as forces that together could create a world where the persistent epistemological and ethical problems can get resolved to (...) the benefit of humanity. In Indian thought rationality and spirituality are not viewed as opposed categories. The notion of “evidence” has played a crucial role in all enquiries for legitimizing the sources of knowledge and the criteria by which any claim to knowledge can be tested. References to investigations pertaining to such areas as cosmology, ecology, ethics, study of consciousness, and so on are made in order to bring out their relevance for science–religion dialogue today. (shrink)
Bourdieu’s concept of habitus claims to solve the problem of the individual/society duality. However, the concept of habitus appears to be inadequate to explain the idiosyncratic features of individual field actors’ practices. In this article, I argue that to explain the particularity of individual habitus, we must appreciate the operationalization of relational logic in field theory. I further argue that individuals learn to prediscursively identify certain types of practices as meaningful for a given field position because of their embodied experiences (...) of movements within the historically specific relational structure of the field. Thus, the same individual can exhibit multiple and even contradictory practices depending on the person’s relational position in the field. I illustrate this insight by discussing the political habitus of the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. (shrink)
ABSTRACTCritical realism's insight into depth ontology creates the possibility for re-imagining sociology as a science of the social world. However, critical realism has yet to gain a strong foothold in sociological analysis. Challenging the available criticism of critical realism, I argue that its main flaw is its inability to draw an appropriate epistemological strategy from its insights into depth ontology. I propose that this limitation can be overcome when we anchor the depth ontology of critical realism to the two-step epistemological (...) strategies of Bourdieu's field theory: first, objectifying common sense to develop a scientific model of social structure; and second, objectifying the scientific point of view to re-introduce common sense in the scientific model of social structure. I argue that by anchoring the ontological insights of critical realism to the epistemological strategies of field theory, we can create the long-sought core around which sociology can progress as a science of the social world. (shrink)
This volume comprises a number of letters between author Anindita Niyogi Balslev and philosopher Richard Rorty. The letters explore ways to generate a creative and critical crosscultural discourse not only by challenging stereotypes about cultures and subcultures in general and traditions of thought in particular, but by being careful not to abolish the common ground on which stereotypes can be addressed.
Since its first publication, A Study of Time in Indian Philosophy has been acclaimed as having successfully shown •the simple falsityê of such clich_s that the Indian view of time is •cyclicê or that it is exclusively •illusoryê. Given the variety of views discussed in this work, it is evident that the theme of time is intimately related to such basic concepts as being and becoming, change and causality, creation and annihilation. It has been therefore, observed that this book makes (...) an excellent introduction to the heart of Indian thought. Based on Sanskrit source material, this book is a unique attempt to presenting a comprehensive review of the widely divergent views about time in Indian thought. Clearly written, it succeeds in setting out the issues of discussion pointedly and cogently. Since the concept of time intervenes with such major concepts as that of causality, being and non-being etc., this book also –serves as a general introduction to the classic heart of Indian Philosophy.” The author –has demonstrated a rare ability to translate technical doctrines from one tradition of thought into the language of another”, and thus has made it possible- for all those who are concerned with the question of time but do not have access in the Indian conceptual world to appreciate the contributions of Indian thought with regard to this complex question. Noteworthy is the fact that this book is the first attempt which –successfully exposes the simple falsity” of such cliches as that the Indian view of time is •cyclic as opposed to the Judaeo-Christian understanding of linear time. A Study of Time in Indian Philosophy, therefore, renders a valuable service to all those who are concerned with cross-cultural and inter religious exchange. (shrink)
This book analyses the many facets-psychological, epistemological, metaphysical-of the repeated philosophical adventures over centuries to explore and explain the indubitability of I-consciousness. While the major focus is on the Upanisadic and the Buddhist traditions, this volume also examines Western philosophical traditions in a cross-cultural philosophical context.
. This paper outlines some major ideas concerning cosmogony and cosmogony and cosmology that pervade the Hindu conceptual world. The basic source for this discussion is the philosophical literature of some of the principal schools of Hindu thought, such as VaiVaiśika, Sānkhya, and Advaita Vedānta, focusing on the themes of cosmology, time, and soteriology. The core of Hindu philosophical thinking regarding these issues is traced back to the Rk Vedic cosmogonical speculations, analyzed, and contrasted with the “views of the opponent.” (...) The relevance of the Hindu worldview for overcoming the conflict between science and religion is pointed out. (shrink)
Biological and epidemiological phenomena are often measured with error or imperfectly captured in data. When the true state of this imperfect measure is a confounder of an outcome exposure relationship of interest, it was previously widely believed that adjustment for the mismeasured observed variables provides a less biased estimate of the true average causal effect than not adjusting. However, this is not always the case and depends on both the nature of the measurement and confounding. We describe two sets of (...) conditions under which adjusting for a non-deferentially mismeasured proxy comes closer to the unidentifiable true average causal effect than the unadjusted or crude estimate. The first set of conditions apply when the exposure is discrete or continuous and the confounder is ordinal, and the expectation of the outcome is monotonic in the confounder for both treatment levels contrasted. The second set of conditions apply when the exposure and the confounder are categorical. In all settings, the mismeasurement must be non-differential, as differential mismeasurement, particularly an unknown pattern, can cause unpredictable results. (shrink)
Signaling games provide basic insights into some fundamental questions concerning the explanation of meaning. They can be analyzed in terms of rational choice theory and in terms of evolutionary game theory. It is argued that an evolutionary approach provides better explanations for the emergence of simple communication systems. To substantiate these arguments, I will look at models similar to those of Skyrms (2000) and Komarova and Niyogi (2004) and study their dynamical properties. My results will lend partial support to (...) the thesis that evolution leads to communication. In general, states of partial communication may evolve with positive probability under standard evolutionary dynamics. However, unlike states of perfect communication, they are unstable relative to neutral drift. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss Richard Rorty’s views on intercultural hermeneutics as presented in his essay “Heidegger, Kundera, and Dickens” and in his correspondence with the Indian philosopher Anindita Niyogi Balslev. In doing so, I focus primarily on Rorty’s presumption that instead of providing an “authentic” picture of another culture, the goal of intercultural studies or hermeneutics should be to look if there is anything “of use” that a given culture offers and that is not offered by ours.