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Jon Elster's Alchemies of the Mind: Rationality and the Emotions PDF

By Jon Elster

ISBN-10: 0521642795

ISBN-13: 9780521642798

ISBN-10: 0521644879

ISBN-13: 9780521644877

Jon Elster has written a finished, wide-ranging booklet at the feelings during which he considers the entire diversity of theoretical techniques. Drawing on historical past, literature, philosophy and psychology Elster offers a whole account of the position of the feelings in human habit. Combining methodological and theoretical arguments with empirical case experiences and written with Elster's ordinary verve and financial system, this ebook may have a huge attract these in philosophy, psychology, economics, political technological know-how, in addition to literary experiences, historical past, and sociology.

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Sample text

It turns out that you identify what words you’re hearing partly by finding the best match between the sound and the words you already know, and partly by guessing what the speaker might be talking about— all completely unconsciously. In other words, your understanding of speech relies heavily on identifying not just the acoustics but also the meaning. Although we know how to get computers to deal with acoustics pretty well by now, meaning is still elusive. This is one reason that after sixty years of research on computer understanding of spoken language, there’s still quite a way to go.

So far we’ve been talking about the words mean and meaning. Now it’s time to ask what Real Meaning could be like, if there is such a thing. Over the next few chapters, I want to show you that it can’t just be a matter of working up a better dictionary with better definitions. Let’s start with a puzzling question raised by Wittgenstein. —not when we’re pointing at anything, just the plain word this on its own. None of the uses of mean we talked about in Chapter 7 do the trick. ” So we don’t know how to answer.

A different use of X means Y expresses a linkage of some sort between the subject of means and the object: Linkage uses of X means Y Smoke means fire. A sharp pain in your left side may mean appendicitis. It doesn’t mean you’re top dog just because your ass is bleeding. (Norman Mailer, quoted in Newsweek, 4 September 1989) This means war! Smoke is a result of fire, and therefore is evidence that there may be a fire. Likewise, pain is a result of appendicitis, and therefore is evidence that you may have appendicitis.

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Alchemies of the Mind: Rationality and the Emotions by Jon Elster


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