INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ON HUMANISTIC IDEOLOGY
VOL. 2 NO. 1 SPRING-SUMMER 2009
TOPICS: MIND AND LANGUAGE
EDITORIAL: Mihaela GLIGOR, Mind and Language. The Problem, 7
Noam CHOMSKY, Thoughts on Minds and Language, 13
Abstract: I have been thinking about various ways to approach this opportunity, and on balance, it seemed that the most constructive tack would be to review, and rethink, a few leading themes of the biolinguistic program since its inception in the early 1950s, at each stage influenced by developments in the biological sciences. And to try to indicate how the questions now entering the research agenda develop in a natural way from some of the earliest concerns of these inquiries. Needless to say, this is from a personal perspective.
Keywords: Mind, Language, Universal Grammar, biolinguistic program.
Amita CHATTERJEE, Naturalism in Linguistic Theory, 43
Abstract: The article begins with an exploration of different varieties of naturalism in order to understand what “naturalism” means in linguistic theory. Having discussed the methodological naturalism propounded by Chomsky, the author presents the views of Bhartrhari, the famous Grammarian thinker of the Pāninian tradition of ancient India. Both Chomsky and Bhartrhari argued against conventionalism and both treated language as a natural object. However, their desiderata were completely different and hence their linguistic theories developed differently, in spite of having significant overlaps.
Keywords: naturalism, conventionalism, the language faculty, performance-systems, sphota–theory.
Steven PINKER, The Evolutionary Social Psychology of Off-Record Indirect Speech Acts, 59
Abstract: This paper proposes a new analysis of indirect speech in the framework of game theory, social psychology, and evolutionary psychology. It builds on the theory of Grice, which tries to ground indirect speech in pure rationality (the demands of efficient communication between two cooperating agents) and on the Politeness Theory of Brown and Levinson, who proposed that people cooperate not just in exchanging data but in saving face (both the speaker’s and the hearer’s). I suggest that these theories need to be supplemented because they assume that people in conversation always cooperate.
A reflection on how a pair of talkers may have goals that conflict as well as coincide requires an examination of the game-theoretic logic of plausible denial, both in legal contexts, where people’s words may be held against them, and in everyday life, where the sanctions are social rather than judicial. This in turn requires a theory of the distinct kinds of relationships that make up human social life, a consideration of a new role for common knowledge in the use of indirect speech, and ultimately the paradox of rational ignorance, where we choose not to know something relevant to our interests.
Keywords: social psychology, indirect speech, off-record, knowledge, language.
Virgil DRĂGHICI, On Some Limits of Thought, 91
Abstract: The aim of this paper is one essentially expositive. Two different points of view regarding some limits of thought, having their starting point the paradoxical constructions are presented: the one (I) represented by the limitative theorems, as a consistent solution to some paradoxes, the other (II) represented by dialetheism, according to which the limits can be transcended by dropping the principle of noncontradiction.
Keywords: limitative theorems, Gödel, Tarski, Church, semantical/syntactical paradoxes, incompleteness, dialetheism, Priest, true contradictions.
Robert K. LOGAN, The Extended Mind and the Emergence of Language and Culture, 105
Abstract: A model based on the evolution of notated language and complexity theory is presented to explain the emergence of language and culture. Language emerges as the bifurcation from percept-based to concept-based thought. Our first words are our first concepts and act as strange attractors for the percepts associated with that concept. A distinction is made between the brain and the mind. The mind emerges as a bifurcation of the brain acting as a percept processor with the simultaneous emergence of language.
Keywords: bifurcation, culture, emergence, evolution, language, mind.
Smita SIRKER, Can we infer the non-Observable Mind without Language?, 129
Abstract: We know our minds through introspection and others through inference. The occult perception of the one’s “mind” is dependent on the “mental activity”; dependent on the “awareness of one’s mental states” itself. One finds difficulty in separating the distinct roles of inference and perception in case of self-knowledge. The life of philosophers, brain scientists and of course the ordinary folks sails through the stormy debate concerning whether “mind and its states exist” quite peacefully. The discourse between the philosopher and the brain scientist; the philosopher and the ordinary folk; the brain scientist and ordinary folk presupposes that our minds exist and we share our thoughts and doubts through our ordinary language which in a big way helps us in the inference of “other minds”. This brief article explores the role of ordinary language in our discourse to discover the enigma of the “mind”.
Keywords: Descartes’ myth, introspection, ordinary language, mental activity, inference of mind, privilege access, phenomenal experience.
Habibollah GHASSEMZADEH, The Wise Man and Collective Memory in Sa’di’s Rose Garden: A Cognitive - Narrative Analysis, 135
Abstract: Analysis of stories in a psychological framework with an emphasis on cognitive concepts and constructs such as schema, memory, problem solving, and wisdom as well as narrative elements such as sequentiality of the events may be regarded as one of the most important contributions to the field of narrative theory and narratology. As an initiatory step toward such an analysis, a story from Sa’di’s Gulistan has been selected and analyzed at five levels of processing. This cognitive- narrative study of Sa’di’s story may be considered as a preliminary effort to move toward a cognitive and narrative analysis of a story in Persian culture and Persian language. It presents an analysis of story as a window to a culture. Furthermore, since this is most likely the first attempt in this direction, it also may have some implications for future studies about Persian stories.
Keywords: Cognitive-narrative analysis, Collective memory, Labov’s Model, Problem solving, Sa’di’s Gulistan (Rose Garden), Schematic processing, Sequentiality, Wisdom, Wise man.
Sharmistha DHAR, Determinism: Do Untutored Intuitions Feed the Bugbears?, 167
Abstract: Philosophers have since long been relying on their own intuitions to shore up their own belief about agency and about the possibility of reconciliation with the domain of physical events that seems to be freewheeled by an underlying necessitarian process. In a certain philosophical circle, a trend has now emerged to put unprimed intuitions to test through psychological experiments, in order to figure out whether philosophers should exercise some temperance in bringing their own belief about agency to the fore, and the possible sources of the intuitional dilemma. This paper aims to explore the folk concept of agency and figure out the implications of the extant empirical work for our concept of free will.
Keywords: Determinism, Indeterminism, Compatibilism, Incompatibilism, Folk intuition.
Sanjukta BASU: Smita Sirker and Amita Chatterjee, Mental Reasoning: Experiments and Theories, Kolkata, India: Jadavpur University and Codex Publisher and Book Seller, 2009, pp. xvii+320, ISBN: 978-81-906429-3-4
Keith HITCHINS: Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston, Searching for Cioran, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2009, 284p, ISBN: 978-0-253-35267-5