MIDDLE GROUND. Legal Theory compared with Cognitive Linguistics / prototype theory. Meta-theoretical Position One final similarity between Hart’s theory and prototype theory should be mentioned. It refers to no particular features of these theories, but rather to their meta-theoretical position in the disciplines they come from. The general purpose of open texture theory for Hart was to establish a middle-ground between two extreme positions in the tradition of legal thought: formalism and rule-scepticism, which he famously dubbed “the Scylla and Charybdis of juristic theory”. On the one hand, he rejected the possibility of mechanical jurisprudence associated with legal formalism, namely the idea that legal rules can be applied to cases through the sole use of logical deduction. Such approach seems plausible in plain cases, but it will inevitably fail in cases of the penumbra. On the other hand, he rejected another extreme view, namely rule-scepticism, associated mostly with American legal realists who refused to credit legal rules with any binding force due to the indeterminacy of linguistic meaning. Hart claimed that such a view equates the whole law with penumbra cases and ignores the existence of plain cases, which are much more common and unproblematic. Hart’s ambition was to strike a balance between those two extremes. He used the open texture theory, characterised by the distinction between the core and the penumbra, to argue that the law is neither entirely determinate nor entirely indeterminate. Instead, it is determinate in paradigm cases and indeterminate in penumbral ones. Quite similarly, prototype theorists, and cognitive linguists in general, take a middle-ground between two, more traditional, approaches to semantics. First and foremost, they oppose the approach called “objectivism”, “rationalism” or “literalism”, as typified by Katz and Fodor’s semantic theory in linguistics and Frege-inspired formal semantics in analytic philosophy, best illustrated by the mind-as-a-computer metaphor. This approach supposedly holds that “all meaning is specifiable in sets of literal concepts and propositions that can apply directly to our given experience, and that reasoning is a rule-like activity that operates logically and linearly with these concepts”. At the same time, cognitive linguists defy postmodern approaches to meaning referred to as “subjectivism” or “relativism”. These approaches claim that there are no absolute foundations of thought and language, and that meaning is merely a product of social construction. Both “objectivism” and “subjectivism” are faces of semantic fundamentalism, the difference being that the former do it explicitly, while the latter only implicitly.Footnote23 Cognitive linguists, on the other hand, defend a moderate position, claiming that meaning is both principled and flexible, universal and relative, objective and socially constructed at the same time. Prototype theory plays a vital role in this argument.

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Alex Villestein yes I think so. I thought being directed would solve everything easily and what a surprise to find out that there are so many different ways to look at the same things. I think what’s been amazing about this process is that I have gone about this over the past eight years from multiple angles of attack and yet I end up with very similar results each time

Alex Villestein yes I … [read full article]


Ah, this centrality sort used with hierarchical navigation is really making some good sense I think. There’s a 50/50 split between HUMAN BEHAVIOR and EMERGENCE (with SOCIETY at 100%) and connecting right to Human Behavior is: Human Activities .41 Human Communication .34 Mental and Behavioral Disorders .34 Social Constructivism .31 Motivation .25 Personality .22 Creativity .22 Communication theory .19 Applied Ethics .19 Deception .19 Misconduct .12 Kinship and Descent .12 Emotion .12 As to the MEANING of those numbers, it’s a measure from “how far away from the center” it is. So the smaller the number, the “less central” the category is to the graph as a whole. So it’s NOT LACK OF IMPORTANCE but SPECIALIZATION. [less general]

Ah, this centrality sort
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“I am fascinated that you interpret this phenomenon as of your mind instead of of meaning/truth itself. can you expand on the reasoning behind that choice?” yes. I’ve bumped into people not understanding me since I was a kid. “He beats to a different drummer”, “Oh there’s kenny again – just let him talk until he’s done – don’t try to make sense of it” – and so I suspect that a good amount of people likely don’t think the same way that I do. So, an honest or authentic approach I figured would be doing all of this and applying it only and solely to myself FIRST, understanding it as thoroughly as I possibly can, and ONLY THEN, start to universalize for all people and possibly for all things.

I am fascinated … [read full article]