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At the end of this course students will have an informed view of the impact of cultural variables on core mental activities. In addition, they will acquire the skills of writing academic papers suitable for presentation at graduate conferences.Indicative Module Content:
This course will look at recent research on the interdependence between culture and mind. Two aspects of culture that the course will particularly focus on are language and moral norms. One of the broad themes that we will explore is relativity. So called ‘linguistic relativity’ is the view that (a) languages affect our thinking as well as our experiences of the world and (b) vastly different languages will give rise to very different, possibly incommensurable, ways of thinking about the world. We will look at recent empirical evidence for this view, and its philosophical implications. We will also look at empirical evidence for and philosophical discussion of variance in moral norms across different cultures. An opposing thought is that language or moral norms are to some extent universal. We’ll examine empirical evidence that bears on and philosophical discussion of this hypothesis
Seminar 1 (week 20)
- Pullum, Geofrey. 1989. The great Eskimo vocabulary hoax. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 7: 275–281.
Seminar 2 (Week 21)
- Pinker, S. (1994). The language instinct. London: Penguin. Chapter 3.
- Fodor, J. A. (1989). Why There Still Has to be a Language of Thought. In P. Slezak & W. R. Albury (Eds.), Computers, Brains and Minds: Essays in Cognitive Science (pp. 23-46). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
Seminar 3 (Week 22)
- Bloom, P., & Keil, F. C. (2001). Thinking through language. Mind & Language, 16(4), 351-367.
- Regier, Terry & Paul Kay. 2009. Language, thought, and color: Whorf was half right. Trends in Cognitive Science 13: 439–446.
Seminar 4 (Week 23)
- Margolis, E. & Laurence, S. 2011. Learning Matters: The Role of Learning in Concept Acquisition, Mind & Language.
- de Villiers, Jill & Peter de Villiers. 2003. Language for thought: coming to understand false beliefs. In Language in mind: advances in the study of language and thought, D. Gentner & S. Goldin-Meadow (eds), 335–384. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Seminar 5 (Week 24)
- Reines, Maria Francisca, and Jesse Prinz. 2009. Reviving Whorf: The Return of Linguistic Relativity. Philosophy Compass 4: 1022–1032.
- Li, Peggy, Linda Abarbanell, Lila Gleitman, and Anna Papafragou. 2011. Spatial reasoning in Tenejapan Mayans. Cognition 120: 33–53.
Seminar 6 (Week 25)
- Quine, W.v.O. (1960) Word and Object, Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press. Chapter 2.
- Imai, M. and Mazuko, R. (2003). Re-evaluation of linguistic relativity: Language-specific categories and the role of universal ontological knowledge in the construal of individuals. in: Language in Mind: Advances in the issues of language and thought., Publisher: MIT Press, pp.430-464
Seminar 7 (Week 26)
- Rachels, J. (2003). The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 4th Edition. New York: McGraw Hill: Chapter 2.
- Prinz, J. (2011). Morality is a culturally conditioned response. Philosophy Now, 82, 6-9.
Seminar 8 (Week 29)
- Flanagan, O., Williams R.A. (2010), - What Does the Modularity of Morals Have to Do With Ethics? Four Moral Sprouts Plus or Minus a Few. Topics in Cognitive Science.
Seminar 9 (Week 30)
- Wong, D.B. 2011,“Relativist Explanation of Interpersonal and Group Disagreement,” in S.D. Hales (ed.), A Companion to Relativism, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 411–29.
Seminar 10 (Week 31)
- (optional): Gendron et al., (2014) Perceptions of Emotions from Facial Expressions are not Culturally Universal. Evidence from a Remote Culture. Emotion vol. 14, no.2. 251-262.
Seminar 11 (Week 32)
- (optional) de Cruz, H. (2009) Is linguistic Determinism an empirically testable hypothesis? Logique et Analyse. Vol 52, no 20. pp. 327-341.
Seminar 12 (Week 33)
- (optional) Shapiro, L.A., (2011) Embodied Cognition: lessons from linguistic determinism. Philosophical Topics, vol 39, no. 1. Pp. 121-140
|Student Effort Type||Hours|
|Seminar (or Webinar)||
|Autonomous Student Learning||
Not applicable to this module.
|Description||Timing||Component Scale||% of Final Grade|
|Presentation: < Description >||Throughout the Trimester||n/a||Graded||Yes||
|Seminar: A conference presentation based on the course essay.||End of trimester MCQ||n/a||Graded||No||
|Essay: < Description >||Coursework (End of Trimester)||n/a||Graded||Yes||
|Remediation Type||Remediation Timing|
|In-Module Resit||Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board|
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
Not yet recorded.