not exactly in praise of vagueness

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Not Exactly

Author : Kees van Deemter
ISBN : 9780199645732
Genre : Computers
File Size : 78. 63 MB
Format : PDF
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Our lives are full of inexactitude. We say a person is tall or an action is just without the precision of measurement on a dial. In this engaging account, Kees van Deemter explores vagueness, cutting across areas such as language, mathematical logic, and computing. He considers why vagueness is inherent, and why it is important in how we function.

Not Exactly

Author : Kees van Deemter
ISBN : 9780191647857
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 77. 72 MB
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Not everything is black and white. Our daily lives are full of vagueness or fuzziness. Language is the most obvious example - for instance, when we describe someone as tall, it is as though there is a particular height beyond which a person can be considered 'tall'. Likewise the terms 'blond' or 'overweight' in common usage. We often think in discontinuous categories when we are considering something continuous. In this book, van Deemter cuts across various disciplines in considering the nature and importance of vagueness. He looks at the principles of measurement, and how we choose categories; the vagueness lurking behind what seems at first sight crisp concepts such as that of the biological 'species'; uncertainties in grammar and the impact of vagueness on the programmes of Chomsky and Montague; vagueness and mathematical logic; computers, vague descriptions, and Natural Language Generation in AI (a new class of programs will allow computers to handle descriptions such as 'the man in the yellow shirt'). Van Deemter shows why vagueness is in various circumstances both unavoidable and useful, and how we are increasingly able to handle fuzziness in mathematical logic and computer science.

In Praise Of Profanity

Author : Michael Adams
ISBN : 9780199337606
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 78. 32 MB
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When President Obama signed the affordable health care act in 2009, the Vice President was overheard to utter an enthusiastic "This is a big f****** deal!" A town in Massachusetts levies $20 fines on swearing in public. Nothing is as paradoxical as our attitude toward swearing and "bad language": how can we judge profanity so harshly in principle, yet use it so frequently in practice? Though profanity is more acceptable today than ever, it is still labeled as rude, or at best tolerable only under specific circumstances. Cursing, many argue, signals an absence of character, or poor parenting, and is something to avoid at all costs. Yet plenty of us are unconcerned about the dangers of profanity; bad words are commonly used in mainstream music, Academy Award-winning films, books, and newspapers. And of course, regular people use them in conversation every day. In In Praise of Profanity, Michael Adams offers a provocative, unapologetic defense of profanity, arguing that we've oversimplified profanity by labeling it as taboo. Profanity is valuable, even essential, both as a vehicle of communication and an element of style. As much as we may deplore it in some contexts, we should celebrate it in others. Adams skillfully weaves together linguistic and psychological analyses of why we swear-for emotional release, as a way to promote group solidarity, or to create intimate relationships -- with colorful examples of profanity in literature, TV, film, and music, such as The Sopranos, James Kelman's How Late It Was, How Late, or the songs of Nellie McKay. This breezy, jargon-free book will challenge readers to reconsider the way they think about swearing.

Experiencing Mathematics

Author : Reuben Hersh
ISBN : 9780821894200
Genre : Mathematics
File Size : 53. 28 MB
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The question ``What am I doing?'' haunts many creative people, researchers, and teachers. Mathematics, poetry, and philosophy can look from the outside sometimes as ballet en pointe, and at other times as the flight of the bumblebee. Reuben Hersh looks at mathematics from the inside; he collects his papers written over several decades, their edited versions, and new chapters in his book Experiencing Mathematics, which is practical, philosophical, and in some places as intensely personal as Swann's madeleine. --Yuri Manin, Max Planck Institute, Bonn, Germany What happens when mid-career a mathematician unexpectedly becomes philosophical? These lively and eloquent essays address the questions that arise from a crisis of reflectiveness: What is a mathematical proof and why does it come after, not before, mathematical revelation? Can mathematics be both real and a human artifact? Do mathematicians produce eternal truths, or are the judgments of the mathematical community quasi-empirical and historically framed? How can we be sure that an infinite series that seems to converge really does converge? This collection of essays by Reuben Hersh makes an important contribution. His lively and eloquent essays bring the reality of mathematical research to the page. He argues that the search for foundations is misleading, and that philosophers should shift from focusing narrowly on the deductive structure of proof, to tracing the broader forms of quasi-empirical reasoning that star the history of mathematics, as well as examining the nature of mathematical communities and how and why their collective judgments evolve from one generation to the next. If these questions keep you up at night, then you should read this book. And if they don't, then you should read this book anyway, because afterwards, they will! --Emily Grosholz, Department of Philosophy, Penn State, Pennsylvania, USA Most mathematicians, when asked about the nature and meaning of mathematics, vacillate between the two unrealistic poles of Platonism and formalism. By looking carefully at what mathematicians really do when they are doing mathematics, Reuben Hersh offers an escape from this trap. This book of selected articles and essays provides an honest, coherent, and clearly understandable account of mathematicians' proof as it really is, and of the existence and reality of mathematical entities. It follows in the footsteps of Poincare, Hadamard, and Polya. The pragmatism of John Dewey is a better fit for mathematical practice than the dominant ``analytic philosophy''. Dialogue, satire, and fantasy enliven the philosophical and methodological analysis. Reuben Hersh has written extensively on mathematics, often from the point of view of a philosopher of science. His book with Philip Davis, The Mathematical Experience, won the National Book Award in science. Hersh is emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of New Mexico.

Modernist Fiction And Vagueness

Author : Megan Quigley
ISBN : 9781316195666
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 30. 33 MB
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Modernist Fiction and Vagueness marries the artistic and philosophical versions of vagueness, linking the development of literary modernism to changes in philosophy. This book argues that the problem of vagueness - language's unavoidable imprecision - led to transformations in both fiction and philosophy in the early twentieth century. Both twentieth-century philosophers and their literary counterparts (including James, Eliot, Woolf, and Joyce) were fascinated by the vagueness of words and the dream of creating a perfectly precise language. Building on recent interest in the connections between analytic philosophy, pragmatism, and modern literature, Modernist Fiction and Vagueness demonstrates that vagueness should be read not as an artistic problem but as a defining quality of modernist fiction.

Elastic Language

Author : Grace Zhang
ISBN : 9781107028449
Genre : Foreign Language Study
File Size : 50. 83 MB
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Language is like a slingshot, stretching for various communicative targets. This book reveals the art of purposive and powerful language stretching.

Unruly Words

Author : Diana Raffman
ISBN : 9780199915101
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 37. 66 MB
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In Unruly Words, Diana Raffman advances a new theory of vagueness which, unlike previous accounts, is genuinely semantic while preserving bivalence. According to this new approach, called the multiple range theory, vagueness consists essentially in a term's being applicable in multiple arbitrarily different, but equally competent, ways, even when contextual factors are fixed.

Computational Models Of Referring

Author : Kees van Deemter
ISBN : 9780262034555
Genre : Computers
File Size : 52. 20 MB
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An argument that computational models can shed light on referring, a fundamental and much-studied aspect of communication.

The Intelligent Web

Author : Gautam Shroff
ISBN : 9780191664625
Genre : Computers
File Size : 26. 13 MB
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As we use the Web for social networking, shopping, and news, we leave a personal trail. These days, linger over a Web page selling lamps, and they will turn up at the advertising margins as you move around the Internet, reminding you, tempting you to make that purchase. Search engines such as Google can now look deep into the data on the Web to pull out instances of the words you are looking for. And there are pages that collect and assess information to give you a snapshot of changing political opinion. These are just basic examples of the growth of "Web intelligence", as increasingly sophisticated algorithms operate on the vast and growing amount of data on the Web, sifting, selecting, comparing, aggregating, correcting; following simple but powerful rules to decide what matters. While original optimism for Artificial Intelligence declined, this new kind of machine intelligence is emerging as the Web grows ever larger and more interconnected. Gautam Shroff takes us on a journey through the computer science of search, natural language, text mining, machine learning, swarm computing, and semantic reasoning, from Watson to self-driving cars. This machine intelligence may even mimic at a basic level what happens in the brain.

In Praise Of Wasting Time

Author : Alan Lightman
ISBN : 9781501154379
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 70. 17 MB
Format : PDF
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In this timely and essential book that offers a fresh take on the qualms of modern day life, Professor Alan Lightman investigates the creativity born from allowing our minds to freely roam, without attempting to accomplish anything and without any assigned tasks. We are all worried about wasting time. Especially in the West, we have created a frenzied lifestyle in which the twenty-­four hours of each day are carved up, dissected, and reduced down to ten minute units of efficiency. We take our iPhones and laptops with us on vacation. We check email at restaurants or our brokerage accounts while walking in the park. When the school day ends, our children are overloaded with “extras.” Our university curricula are so crammed our young people don’t have time to reflect on the material they are supposed to be learning. Yet in the face of our time-driven existence, a great deal of evidence suggests there is great value in “wasting time,” of letting the mind lie fallow for some periods, of letting minutes and even hours go by without scheduled activities or intended tasks. Gustav Mahler routinely took three or four-­hour walks after lunch, stopping to jot down ideas in his notebook. Carl Jung did his most creative thinking and writing when he visited his country house. In his 1949 autobiography, Albert Einstein described how his thinking involved letting his mind roam over many possibilities and making connections between concepts that were previously unconnected. With In Praise of Wasting Time, Professor Alan Lightman documents the rush and heave of the modern world, suggests the technological and cultural origins of our time-­driven lives, and examines the many values of “wasting time”—for replenishing the mind, for creative thought, and for finding and solidifying the inner self. Break free from the idea that we must not waste a single second, and discover how sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing at all.

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