It’s time for a linkfest again.
We start off with some philosophy of linguistics on The Brains Blog where David Pereplyotchik talks about his book Psychosyntax. He discusses three different philosophical approaches towards linguistics, cognitivism, platonism and nominalism.
To get even more dusty, here is some history:
The MPI for Psycholinguistics (the only one of its kind) has a nice webpage (in general but specifically) about its history. There is also a short film by the same institute about ‘A celebration of language‘.
An interesting text on the website for MIT gradadmissions (linguistics is like physics ) trys to explain what linguistics actually is to outsiders. Maybe this post doesn’t come too late for you trying to make your family understand that as a linguist you don’t participate in excavations.
Talking Brains finally had a non-PhD position related post, What is Cognition?.
I found a blog post by Andrew Gelman about Chomsky, describing his sociological situation as follows: “Chomsky seems to be surrounded mostly by admirers or his haters. The admirers give no useful feedback, and the haters are so clearly against him that he can ignore them. As with others in that situation, Chomsky can then make the convenient choice to ignore the critics who are non-admirers and non-haters. From an intellectual standpoint, those are the people who require the most work to interact with.”
There is an interesting map with the achievements of Cognitive Science by Anna Riedl. Linguistics is basically missing but it’s an interesting map nonetheless.
Replicated Typo has a very entertaining post about the computational nature of language, in the style of a dialogue a la Platon.
This tumblr has a witty sentence that I couldn’t agree with more:
“Morpheme is the Smallest Meaningful Unit in a Language“
is the linguistic equivalent of
“Mitochondria is the Powerhouse of the Cell”
Finally (and absolutely unrelated) there is this story about ultrafinitists in maths view the reality of numbers:
I have seen some ultrafinitists go so far as to challenge the existence of 2100 as a natural number, in the sense of there being a series of “points” of that length. There is the obvious “draw the line” objection, asking where in 21, 22, 23,…, 2100, do we stop having “Platonic reality”? Here this “…” is totally innocent, in that it can easily be replaced by 100 items (names) separated by commas. I raised just this objection with the (extreme) ultrafinitist Yessenin-Volpin during a lecture of his. He asked me to be more specific. I then proceeded to start with 21 and asked him if this was “real” or something to that effect. He virtually immediately said yes. Then I asked about 22 and he again said yes, but with a perceptible delay. Then 23 and yes, but with more delay. This continued for a couple more times, till it was obvious how he was handling this objection. Sure, he was prepared to always answer yes, but he was going to take 2100 times as long to answer yes to 2100 as he would to answering 21. There is no way that I could get very far with this.
Harvey M. Friedman, “Philosophical Problems in Logic”
That’s it for now! Happy holidays!