The Thought Occurs

Friday, 31 January 2014

The Argument From Adverse Consequences

The argument from adverse consequences rejects an argument because its consequences are undesirable, or because accepting it could mean accepting something we would prefer not to acknowledge; in most cases, this is regarded as a logical fallacy.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Bandwagon Fallacy

The bandwagon fallacy is committed by arguments that appeal to the growing popularity of an idea as a reason for accepting it as true. They take the mere fact that an idea suddenly attracting adherents as a reason for us to join in with the trend and become adherents of the idea ourselves.

This is a fallacy because there are many other features of ideas than truth that can lead to a rapid increase in popularity. Peer pressure, tangible benefits, or even mass stupidity could lead to a false idea being adopted by lots of people. A rise in the popularity of an idea, then, is no guarantee of its truth.

The bandwagon fallacy is closely related to the appeal to popularity; the difference between the two is that the bandwagon fallacy places an emphasis on current fads and trends, on the growing support for an idea, whereas the appeal to popularity does not.
(1) Increasingly, people are coming to believe that Eastern religions help us to get in touch with our true inner being.
(2) Eastern religions help us to get in touch with our true inner being.
This argument commits the bandwagon fallacy because it appeals to the mere fact that an idea is fashionable as evidence that the idea is true. Mere trends in thought are not reliable guides to truth, though; the fact that Eastern religions are becoming more fashionable does not imply that they are true.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Genetic Fallacy

The genetic fallacy is committed when an idea is either accepted or rejected because of its source, rather than its merit. 

Even from bad things, good may come; we therefore ought not to reject an idea just because of where it comes from, as ad hominem arguments do. 

Equally, even good sources may sometimes produce bad results; accepting an idea because of the goodness of its source, as in appeals to authority, is therefore no better than rejecting an idea because of the badness of its source. Both types of argument are fallacious. 

(1) My mommy told me that the tooth fairy is real.
(2) The tooth fairy is real.  
(1) Eugenics was pioneered in Germany during the war.
(2) Eugenics is a bad thing. 
Each of these arguments commits the genetic fallacy, because each judges an idea by the goodness or badness of its source, rather than on its own merits.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Robin Fawcett Being Rude To Computer Software

At 09:09 on 27/1/14, Robin Fawcett replied to a message that is automatically generated when posts are sent from an email address that is not subscribed to the sys-func list as follows:
Dear Whoeveryouare
I have sent the message below to Chris Gledhill, the organizer of the next ESFLA conference, and sysfling, but sysfunc has rejected it. It may be of interest to any sysfunc user who is not also on sysfling and who may be contemplating a vidit to Europe in July. 
Robin P. Fawcett
Emeritus Professor of Linguistics
Cardiff University

Friday, 24 January 2014

Academic Freedom

There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. 
— J Robert Oppenheimer 

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
— George Orwell

An intelligent person is never afraid or ashamed to find errors in his understanding of things.
— Bryant H. McGill

The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or politics, but it is not the path to knowledge.
 — Carl Sagan

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Agreement Fallacy

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
 — Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Nietzsche On Institutions

The aim of institutions — whether scientific, artistic, political, or religious — never is to produce and foster exceptional examples; institutions are concerned, rather, for the usual, the normal, the mediocre.
— Friedrich Nietzsche Also Sprach Zarathustra

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Origins Of Positivism: The Sociologists Comte And Durkheim

"Positivism is a philosophy of science based on the view that information derived from logical and mathematical treatments and reports of sensory experience is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge, that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in scientific knowledge. Verified data received from the senses is known as empirical evidence. This view, when applied to the social as to the natural sciences, holds that society operates according to general laws like the physical world. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected. 
Though the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of Western thought, modern sense of the approach was developed by the philosopher and founding sociologist Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so also does society. 
Positivism states that the only authentic knowledge is that which allows positive verification and assumes that there is valid knowledge only in scientific knowledge. Enlightenment thinkers such as Henri de Saint-Simon, Pierre-Simon Laplace and Auguste Comte believed the scientific method, the circular dependence of theory and observation, must replace metaphysics in the history of thought. Sociological positivism was reformulated by Émile Durkheim as a foundation to social research. 
In the early 20th century, logical positivism — a descendant of Comte's basic thesis but an independent movement — sprang up in Vienna and grew to become one of the dominant schools in Anglo-American philosophy and the analytic tradition. Logical positivists (or 'neopositivists') reject metaphysical speculation and attempted to reduce statements and propositions to pure logic. Critiques of this approach by philosophers such as Karl Popper, Willard Van Orman Quine and Thomas Kuhn have been highly influential, and led to the development of postpositivism."

Source here.

Friday, 17 January 2014

The Difference Between A Symbolising Process, A Symbolic Process And Symbolic Processing

(1) A symbolising process is a type of relational process.  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 599-600):
The ideational resources of language are primarily a theory of experience, so they are reflected fairly directly in consciously designed theories such as those of cognitive science. If we stay within the ideational metafunction, where mental processes are construed, we also find other processes that are complementary to these: those of saying (verbal processes) and symbolising (a type of relational process).
(2) A symbolic process is an alternative name for a verbal process (Halliday & Matthiessen: 2004: 254).

(3) Symbolic processing refers to a projecting figure — interior sensing or exterior saying — that brings another figure into symbolic existence (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 129). It involves the symbolic process and the participant engaged in symbolic processing, the Symboliser

 Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 129):
Symbolic processing” is a generalisation across sensing and saying that foregrounds the fact that they can both project.
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 130):
The interior Symboliser of sensing is construed as a participant engaged in conscious processing.
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 153):
The general motif of figures of sensing is ‘conscious processing’; that of figures of saying is ‘symbolic processing’.

Monday, 13 January 2014

The Theoretical Architecture Of SFL Classified By SFL Relations

A. system networks
i. delicacy: elaboration
ii. disjunction: extension: alternative
iii. conjunction: extension: addition
iv. entry condition: enhancement: condition

B. rank scale: extension: composition (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 146)

C. realisation: elaboration + identifying (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 145)
1. higher stratum realised by lower stratum [stratification]
2. system realised by structure [axis]
3. function realised by form; eg clause rank function structure realised by group rank syntagm

D. instantiation cline: elaboration + attributive (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 145)

P.S. The pedagogical advantage of understanding the theoretical architecture in these very precise ways is that it enables the learner to immediately identify the bluffers in the SFL community who don't understand the theory — but whose confident bullying might suggest otherwise — so that the learner doesn't waste time trying to accommodate their misunderstandings.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Metafunctions: Grammatical Or Semantic?

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 511):
We have stressed all along that a language is a system for creating meaning; and that its meaning potential has evolved around three motifs — what we refer to as the “metafunctions” of ideational, interpersonal and textual, with the ideational in turn comprising an experiential component and a logical component. These are the multiple aspects of the content plane — the grammar (in its usual sense of lexicogrammar) and the semantics. Since the powerhouse of language lies in the grammar, we shall refer to them here as aspects of the grammar; but it is important to insist that they could not be “in” the one without also being “in” the other. It makes no sense to ask whether the metafunctions are grammatical or semantic; the only possible answer would be “yes”.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Why ‘Realisation’ Applies To Both Strata And Rank And Where The Difference Lies

The overall architecture of SFL theory can be understood in terms of theoretical constructs within the model, namely: relational processes (identifying and attributive) and logical semantic relations (expansion and projection).

Realise’ functions as an intensive identifying process, which means that it combines ‘identifying’ with ‘elaboration’.

The term ‘realisation’ is used wherever there is an intensive identifying (token-value) relation in the theory. eg between system and structure on a given stratum, between strata, between function and form in the rank scale.

Stratal Hierarchy:

In the case of strata, a lower stratum realises a higher stratum, and the relation between them is thus identifying + elaboration.

Rank Scale:

The rank scale, on the other hand, is organised in terms of composition, which is a subtype of extension.

Realise’ is used on the rank scale to relate the function of a higher rank to the form of a lower rank (eg Process is realised by verbal group). This relation between function and form is thus also identifying + elaboration.


The similarity thus lies in elaboration + identifying being an organising principle for both stratification and the rank scale.


The difference lies in the fact that, whereas stratification involves only elaboration + identifying, the rank scale combines extension (relation between forms) with elaboration + identifying (relation between function and form).

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Inherent Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 213):
In ‘relational’ clauses, there are two parts to the ‘being’: something is said to ‘be’ something else … This means that in a ‘relational’ clause in English, there are always two inherent participants … In contrast, the general classes of ‘material’ and ‘mental’ clauses have only one inherent participant (the Actor and the Senser, respectively).