Following upon Merlin Donald’s claim that human specificity emerges in history, and not exclusively in evolutionary time, it will be suggested that the diversified means of producing semiosis created by human beings account for the spread of empathy and altruism not only beyond the kin group, but to humankind in general. This amounts to treating other cultures as different from us, but still able to enter into communication with us (as an Alter), as opposed to treating these cultures as being part of nature, and thus only susceptible to being communicated about (as an Alius). Starting out from the theory of bio-cultural evolution defended by Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd, as well as from the multi-level selection theory of Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson, we try to lay bare the way in which semiotic structures play a role for transforming cultural evolution, contrary to biological evolution, into human history. We inquiry into what makes the existence of Alter-culture possible, if, as Sober and Wilson have claimed, armed with game theory, an altruistic society (an Ego-culture in our terms), is only possible in opposition to another group in relation to which group egoism rules (that is, in our terms, an Alius-culture). We will follow Michael Tomasello in arguing for the primacy of games of cooperation, rather than competition, while adding an historical dimension, which serves to explain how such cooperation can be extended beyond the primary group (our Ego-culture). However, we will insist on the importance of multiple semiotic resources for the boot-strapping of empathy and altruism, as well as on the genesis of this process in cultural encounters, as reflected in the spirit of the Enlightenment.
This paper aims at elaborating the concept of linguistic self with regard to its twofold existence modes, namely as a physical person and as a mental subject, being shaped by external and internal dialogs in interpersonal and intersubjective communication. These dialogical encounters, constantly changing the reality of everyday life, are based, on the one hand, on the observable multitextuality of narratives, and on the other, on the multi-voicedness of opinions. As such, it lays emphasis on the need for a holistic approach to human beings as a psychosomatic unity, taking part in cognition with their minds and bodies, and developing itself both in-and-with the physical and logical domains of their surrounding ecosystems. In view of the private and public character of the self, the author postulates to consider in future studies the achievements of personal and social constructivism.
The subject matter of this article constitutes the semiotic mapping of human of knowledge which results from cognition. Departing from the presentation of human subjects as world-model-builders, it places epistemology among the sciences of science and the sciences of man. As such the understanding of epistemology is referred either to a static state of knowledge or to a dynamic acquisition of knowledge by cognizing subjects. The point of arrival, in the conclusive part of a this article, constitutes the substantiation of the two understandings of epistemology, specified, firstly, as a set of investigative perspectives, which the subject of science has at his/her disposal as a knower on the metascientific level, or, secondly, as a psychophysiological endowment of a cognizing subject who possesses the ability of learning and/or knowing a certain kind of information about cognized reality.
This article first surveys the current, somewhat unproductive state of research into potential universals of translation. Then it considers in specific the “first translational response universal” (Malmkjær 2011), suggesting that it may be rooted in the cognitive mechanism of priming. Empirical evidence for this is next sought in the analysis of a set of 34 novice translations of the same short passage from Swedish into Polish, which are shown to exhibit the effects of priming to a considerable extent. Overall, the objective is to illustrate a possible way of investigating postulated translation universals: first identifying a cluster of cognitive mechanisms to motivate the universal, then determining the linguistic structures that are concrete manifestations of such mechanisms in languages meeting in translation. The proposed research procedure thus proceeds from a cognitive process to a detailed language structure, allowing for the examination of phenomena observed in the “third code” on the supra-cultural level.
The complexity of the phenomena associated with the course of the cognitive processes that determine an efficient learning, excludes the possibility of collecting knowledge in other ways than neuronal-information. It excludes also possibilities of interpreting it, in other ways than with use of respectively formalized cognitive models. The presented paper is a kind of summary of the latest achievements in this field.
Developed within the frame of cognitive linguistics and cognitive science, the present paper argues that the wave-stream model is a more adequate manner of representing verbal grams in Biblical Hebrew than neat models built on discrete, binary and static categories. Taking as examples two Biblical Hebrew verbal grams (WAYYIQTOL and QATAL) and building on the empirical evidence concerning the senses conveyed by these two forms in the book of Genesis, the author demonstrates the following: a) Neat, binary, discrete and static models correspond to “folk” representations of reality; b) A more adequate representation, which preserves the complex nature of language and its components, is provided by the wave-stream model; c) The wave-stream model additionally suggests the psychological reality of the grams or their conceptualizations by speakers. As a result, the wave-stream model has both etic (language centric) and emic (psychological or human centric) dimensions, the latter being derived in a principled manner.
Self-control is a complex and multifaceted construct that can be regarded as an individual trait that follows its own developmental trajectory. In the presented study we used NAS-50 for the assessment of self-control in adolescents and young adults. Since the questionnaire has not been used before in underage participants we tested its reliability in adolescent and adult samples. We also investigated possible age and gender differences in self-control abilities as well as relations between NAS-50 and behavioral measures of cognitive control and impulsivity. Although the sample was quite small, the reliability of the questionnaire was similar to the results achieved by its authors. According to the predictions in the literature we did not find relations between NAS-50 and behavioral measures of cognitive control and impulsivity. We also did not observe significant age differences in the assessment of self-control abilities. The theoretical relevance of our results is discussed.
The aim of this article is to illustrate the most frequent conceptualisations of depression in the contemporary Italian media discourse. The analyses presented in the paper are mainly based on the cognitive theory of metaphor by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson and form a part of a wider research topic regarding the differences in conceptualisation of depression depending on such factors as the language, the type of the discourse and the personal experience of the author concerning the state of depression. The study revealed that depression is represented the most frequently in the analysed corpus through the frame of disease, and by the metaphors DEPRESSION IS AN ENEMY and DEPRESSION IS A LOCATION, often situated down and taking the form of a container. Less numerous and regular were other kinds of its personifications and representations of depression as an object or danger.
The main goal of this article is to characterise and compare some aspects of Hilary Putnam’s referential theory of meaning and Robert B. Brandom’s inferential theory of meaning. I will do it to indicate some similarities and differences in these theories. It will provide an opportunity for a deeper understanding of these theories and for a more adequate evaluation of how they describe and explain the process of meaning acquisition of linguistic expressions. In his theory of meaning Putnam emphasises the importance of reference understood as a relationship which connects linguistic expressions and extra-linguistic (empirical) reality. Brandom acknowledges inference as a main category useful in characterising the meaning of expressions used in premises and a conclusion of inference. But his theory of meaning is criticised for minimalising the role of an empirical component (demonstratives etc.). He tries to defend his standpoint in the anaphoric theory of reference. Putnam like Brandom claimed that we – as cognitive subjects – are not in a situation in which we learn about the extra-linguistic reality in a direct way. It is the reality itself as well as our cognitive apparatus that play a role in a cognitive process.
Studies based on the most common diagnostic categories do not bring conclusive results concerning the overlapping and distinctive features of anxiety and depression, especially in the areas of attentional functioning, structure of affect, and cognitive emotion regulation. However, a new typology has been proposed which treats anxiety and depression as personality types (Fajkowska, 2013). These types – arousal and apprehension anxiety as well as valence and anhedonic depression – are constructed based on two criteria: specific structure and functions (reactive or regulative). The present paper critically examines the empirical evidence related to this approach. The data mostly confirmed the prediction that the similarities and differences in attentional and affective functioning among the anxiety and depression types would be related to their shared and specific structural and functional characteristics. The new typology turned out to be suitable for integrating the existing research findings by relating them to the structure and functions of anxiety and depression. As a result, it is useful in explaining some of the inconsistencies in literature, as it allows to identify the overlapping and distinctive features of the anxiety and depression types. It also helps to understand the mechanisms contributing to the development and maintenance of anxiety and depression, which might be useful in diagnosis and treatment. However, even though Fajkowska’s approach is an important contribution to the understanding of anxiety and depression, it is not exhaustive. Its limitations are discussed, along with proposed modifications of the theory, as well as further research directions.
Human brain is “the perfect guessing machine” (James V. Stone (2012) Vision and Brain, Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, p. 155), trying to interpret sensory data in the light of previous biases or beliefs. Bayesian inference is carried out by three complex networks of the human brain: salience network, central executive network, and default mode network. Their function is analysed both in neurotypical person and Attention Deficit Disorder. Modern human being having predictive brain and overloaded mind must develop social identity, whose evolution went probably through three stages: social selection based on punishment, sexual selection based on reputation, and group selection based on identity.
The process of cognitive aging in global sense can be characterised by changes of the fluid and crystallised intelligence. In the context of this explanation the basic question is which cognitive functions and regulatory mechanisms play the basic role of the determinants for cognitive aging. Probable, mechanism of associative memory play a central role in top-down direction of cognitive processing. This type of memory connect the resources/networks of long term memory with the current processing in working memory. Another set of mechanisms concerns with bottom-up direction based on procedural memory, which is fundamental for the functioning of the mind as whole (Tulving theory,1985). Unfortunately, our knowledge about associative memory and its relations to working and procedural memory is incomplete and unclear. The importance of associative memory are partly, empirically supported by classic research on decreasing the cognitive components of intelligence aging, since the fluid and crystallized intelligence where discovered (Horn, Cattell, 1967). Changes of the mind functioning and its cognitive growth/aging can be characterised as a complex chain from primary, biologically determined mind, through Piagetian and Vygotsky’s type of mind to relatively balanced mind.
The paper presents the key-finding algorithm based on the music signature concept. The proposed music signature is a set of 2-D vectors which can be treated as a compressed form of representation of a musical content in the 2-D space. Each vector represents different pitch class. Its direction is determined by the position of the corresponding major key in the circle of fifths. The length of each vector reflects the multiplicity (i.e. number of occurrences) of the pitch class in a musical piece or its fragment. The paper presents the theoretical background, examples explaining the essence of the idea and the results of the conducted tests which confirm the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm for finding the key based on the analysis of the music signature. The developed method was compared with the key-finding algorithms using Krumhansl-Kessler, Temperley and Albrecht-Shanahan profiles. The experiments were performed on the set of Bach preludes, Bach fugues and Chopin preludes.
The aim of this paper is to discuss possible connections between the categories of mind and life. Some authors argue that life and mind are closely connected or even are two sides of the same phenomenon. I analyze and examine this thesis in the light of different approaches to defining life: the metabolic approach (which stresses the importance of self-maintenance and self-making) and the evolutionary approach (which focuses on evolution by natural selection). The first way of defining life is Maturana and Varela' conception of autopoiesis, the second is Korzeniewski's cybernetic definition of life and van Hateren's modified Darwinian definition of life. Especially interesting is the possibility of connecting mind and life in the evolutionary framework. The text does not provide exact results, but rather it proposes possible modes of thinking of the relation of these two categories.