How can lamps, flags, and parrots be libelous? These and many other odd questions are typical topics in this collection of essays that present an occasionally zany, often wry, but always fascinating look at langua How reliable are all those stories about the number of Eskimo words for snow? These and many other odd questions are typical topics in this collection of essays that present an occasionally zany, often wry, but always fascinating look at language and the people who study it.
I was loaned this book by a friend when I started talking about the information content of non-verbal thought, blind people, and the color green.
I found some of the essays a bit too "inside baseball" for a non-linguist such as myself. But I could appreciate many of the delightful wordplays and turns of phrase that one might expect from a linguist satirist.
I also love the idea of a scientific journal publishing a less-formal common that pokes fun at the inconsistencies in the field. My favorite essay in the whole collection is "Chomsky on the Enterprise" which is a fabulous showdown of Chomsky and Spock.
Watch out for the current And science is almost certainly just as prone to follow fashions as any other domain of human endeavor, but to point this out raises a few hackles here and there. Thomas Kuhn, whose book on scientific revolutions is quoted so often by linguists that on the basis of his citation index any Dean would grant him tenure in a linguistics department, is quite explicit about this; but he has taken a lot of flak for it.
Many philosophers of science have been somewhat aghast at the prospect of irrationality in theory choice.
How many people who were not tipped off by a knowledgeable friend spotted that the initials "H. Clarke surreptitiously publicizing the International Business Machines Corporation with this allusion in his novel, or was it coincidence? It spans the alleged gulf between the humanities and the sciences and in consequence as Barbara Hall Partee recently pointed out to me, is perhaps the only subject that regularly gets research funding from agencies in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.
And it is genuinely humanizing, it seems to me. Because of this rule, the news media in America since have remained free to do what has had to be done over the last few decades - uncovering the mendacity and criminal misdeeds of presidents, vice presidents, attorneys general, senators, congressmen, and generals - by publishing freerly and fearlessly under no constraint more severe than a desire to be recognized as a reliable source of information.
If the news media in America were exposed without protection to the full lunacy of the year-old jumble of defamation case law, much of the power of the American people to keep a watchful eye on their government would disappear like the morning mist.
The revenge of the methodological monsters Well, I am not aware of having had Sampson in mind at the time, but if he thinks the cap fits, he is certainly welcome to insert his head. I discern three main factions in philosophy of science.
The first contains the logicians. They study topics like the logic of confirmation, the empirical status of counterfactual conditional claims, and so on.
They cite Hempel and Popper, and their examples are about swans being white. The second faction contains the sociohistorians. They study issues like the emergence of scientific revolutions and the sociological preconditions for acceptance of new theories. They cite Kuhn and Lakatos, and their examples are about brave physicists and chemists struggling on despite recalcitrant data and the disapproval of friends and relatives.The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax: And Other Irreverent Essays on the Study of Language GoodReads: 2 stars "The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax" is a compilation of tongue-in-cheek essays written by linguist Geoffrey Pullum that were published in the journal Natural Language and Linguistic Theory in the 's.
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