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A Reader


Vagueness is currently the subject of vigorous debate in the philosophy of logic and language. Vague terms—such as 'tall', 'red', 'bald', and 'tadpole'—have borderline cases (arguably, someone may be neither tall nor not tall); and they lack well-defined extensions (there is no sharp boundary between tall people and the rest). The phenomenon of vagueness poses a fundamental challenge to classical logic and semantics, which assumes that propositions are either true or false and that extensions are determinate.

Discourses on Modernity, 1900-1939

Starting around 1900, technology became a lively subject for debate among intellectuals, writers, and other opinion leaders. The expansion of the machine into ever more areas of social and economic life had led to a need to interpret its meanings in a more comprehensive way than in the past.

An Introduction to Minimalist Syntax

This unusual book takes the form of a dialogue between a linguist and another scientist. The dialogue takes place over six days, with each day devoted to a particular topic--and the ensuing digressions. The role of the linguist is to present the fundamentals of the minimalist program of contemporary generative grammar. Although the linguist serves essentially as a voice for Noam Chomsky's ideas, he is not intended to be a portrait of Chomsky himself.

The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace

Stories define how we think, play, and understand our lives. In this comprehensive and readable book—already a classic statement of the aesthetics of digital media, acclaimed by practitioners and theorists alike—Janet Murray shows how the computer is reshaping the stories we live by. Murray discusses the unique properties and pleasures of digital environments and connects them with the traditional satisfactions of narrative.

Analyses of Function and Design in Biology

Within the natural sciences, only biologists take seriously teleological statements about design, purpose, and adaptive function. Some biologists claim that to understand the complex morphological and behavioral traits of organisms we must say what they are for, which is to give a teleological explanation of why organisms have them. Others argue that the theory of natural selection, in providing statistical explanations for the same phenomena, obviates any need for teleological thinking.

Introductory Selections on Cognitive Science
Edited by Paul Thagard

Mind Readings is a collection of accessible readings on some of the most important topics in cognitive science. Although anyone interested in the interdisciplinary study of mind will find the selections well worth reading, they work particularly well with Paul Thagard's textbook Mind: An Introduction Cognitive Science, and provide further discussion on the major topics discussed in that book. The first eight chapters present approaches to cognitive science from the perspective that thinking consists of computational procedures on mental representations.

How People Make Decisions

Anyone who watches the television news has seen images of firefighters rescuing people from burning buildings and paramedics treating bombing victims. How do these individuals make the split-second decisions that save lives? Most studies of decision making, based on artificial tasks assigned in laboratory settings, view people as biased and unskilled. Gary Klein is one of the developers of the naturalistic decision making approach, which views people as inherently skilled and experienced. It documents human strengths and capabilities that so far have been downplayed or ignored.

The Advancement of Women

Why do so few women occupy positions of power and prestige? Virginia Valian uses concepts and data from psychology, sociology, economics, and biology to explain the disparity in the professional advancement of men and women. According to Valian, men and women alike have implicit hypotheses about gender differences—gender schemas—that create small sex differences in characteristics, behaviors, perceptions, and evaluations of men and women. Those small imbalances accumulate to advantage men and disadvantage women.

Based on an introductory course on natural-language semantics, this book provides an introduction to type-logical grammar and the range of linguistic phenomena that can be handled in categorial grammar. It also contains a great deal of original work on categorial grammar and its application to natural-language semantics. The author chose the type-logical categorial grammar as his grammatical basis because of its broad syntactic coverage and its strong linkage of syntax and semantics.

A Social History of American Energies

How did the United States become the world's largest consumer of energy? David Nye shows that this is less a question about the development of technology than it is a question about the development of culture. In Consuming Power, Nye uses energy as a touchstone to examine the lives of ordinary people engaged in normal activities. He looks at how these activities changed as new energy systems were constructed, from colonial times to recent years.

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