The Thought Occurs

The Thought Occurs

Monday, 3 August 2015

How To Get An Abstract Accepted To An ISFC

Step 1: Choose an abstract from another field.


Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity
Alan D. Sokal

There are many natural scientists, and especially physicists, who continue to reject the notion that the disciplines concerned with social and cultural criticism can have anything to contribute, except perhaps peripherally, to their research. Still less are they receptive to the idea that the very foundations of their worldview must be revised or rebuilt in the light of such criticism. Rather, they cling to the dogma imposed by the long post-Enlightenment hegemony over the Western intellectual outlook, which can be summarized briefly as follows: that there exists an external world, whose properties are independent of any individual human being and indeed of humanity as a whole; that these properties are encoded in "eternal" physical laws; and that human beings can obtain reliable, albeit imperfect and tentative, knowledge of these laws by hewing to the "objective" procedures and epistemological strictures prescribed by the (so-called) scientific method. …

My approach will be as follows: First I will review very briefly some of the philosophical and ideological issues raised by quantum mechanics and by classical general relativity. Next I will sketch the outlines of the emerging theory of quantum gravity, and discuss some of the conceptual issues it raises. Finally, I will comment on the cultural and political implications of these scientific developments. It should be emphasized that this article is of necessity tentative and preliminary; I do not pretend to answer all of the questions that I raise. My aim is, rather, to draw the attention of readers to these important developments in physical science, and to sketch as best I can their philosophical and political implications. …

Step 2: Adapt the source wording to that of the target field.


Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Systemic Functionalisation Of Formal Syntax

There are many linguists, and especially Formal linguists, who continue to reject the notion that the disciplines concerned with social and cultural phenomena can have anything to contribute, except perhaps peripherally, to their research. Still less are they receptive to the idea that the very foundations of their worldview must be revised or rebuilt in the light of such insights. Rather, they cling to the dogma which can be summarised briefly as follows: that there exists a Universal Grammar, whose properties are independent of any individual human being and indeed of humanity as a whole; that these properties are encoded in a Language Acquisition Device (LAD); and that linguists can only acquire knowledge of language by sticking rigidly to the "objective'' procedures and epistemological strictures prescribed by the scientific method.

In challenging this hegemony, my approach will be as follows: First I will review very briefly some of the philosophical and ideological issues raised by Formal and Functional theories of language. Next I will sketch the epistemological assumptions of Systemic Functional Grammatics (SFG), and discuss some of the conceptual issues they raise. Finally, I will comment on the implications of such an approach. It should be emphasised that this paper is of necessity tentative and preliminary; I do not pretend to answer all of the questions that I raise. My aim is, rather, to draw attention to these important issues, and to sketch as best I can their philosophical and ideological implications.

Step 3: Add an appropriate reference list.


Chomsky, N. 1995 The Minimalist Program Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 
Fitch, W. T., Hauser M. D., and Chomsky N. The Evolution Of The Language Faculty: Clarifications And Implications Cognition 97.2 (2005): 179-210.
Halliday, M.A.K. and Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. 1999 Construing Experience Through Meaning: A Language-Based Approach To Cognition London: Continuum
Halliday, M.A.K. and Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. 2004 An Introduction To Functional Grammar London: Arnold
Hauser, M. D., Chomsky N., and Fitch W. T. The Faculty Of Language: What Is It, Who Has It, And How Did It Evolve? Science 298.5598 (2002): 1569-1579.

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