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Causal Concepts Guiding Model Specification in Systems Biology

Abstract

In this paper I analyze the process by which modelers in systems biology arrive at an adequate representation of the biological structures thought to underlie data gathered from high-throughput experiments. Contrary to views that causal claims and explanations are rare in systems biology, I argue that in many studies of gene regulatory networks modelers aim at a representation of causal structure. In addressing modeling challenges, they draw on assumptions informed by theory and pragmatic considerations in a manner that is guided by an interventionist conception of causal structure. While doubts have been raised about the applicability of this notion of causality to complex biological systems, it is here seen to be an adequate guide to inquiry.

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Why is “not infrequent” not always “frequent”? Double negation in political discourse

References Abbott, Barbara (2000). Presuppositions as nonassertions. Journal of Pragmatics 32: 1419-1437. Atlas, Jay David (2004). Presupposition. Horn, Laurence, Gregory Ward, eds. TheHandbook of Pragmatics. Oxford: Blackwell, 29-52. Baker, Carl Leroy (1970). Double negatives. Linguistic Inquiry 1.2: 169-186. Chandler, David (2000). Bosnia: Faking Democracy After Dayton (2nd edn.). London; Sterling, Virginia: Pluto Press. Chilton, Paul, Christina Schäffner (2002). Themes and

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in ExELL
Cognitive-Pragmatic Aspects of Translation and Interpretation within Discourses

Abstract

The aim of this investigation is a comparative description of translation and interpretation in terms of modern communication technology, translation, and discourse studies. Each type of translation work, either oral or written, has its own specific requirements for the translator and the final result of his work - translation. A description of both types of translation cannot suffice without taking into account pragmatics, psycholinguistics, and the pragmatic scope of each text. A more important final result is the right linguistic expression in compliance with the grammatical, semantic, and stylistic rules of the target language. Special attention should be paid to extralinguistic factors - certain communicative situations that create special conditions for interpreting, including the place, time, recipients, and environment (interfering noise). The article describes different types of interpreting and draws the reader’s attention to the controversial question of the interpreter’s natural ability and the possibility of achieving excellence in interpreting through the intensive practising of skills simultaneously with a profound knowledge of certain languages and the translator or interpreter’s general educational development.

Translation usually gives the translator more time for focusing and considering the choice of the necessary lexico-grammatical and stylistic elements for a certain text. Interpretation requires an immediate reaction from the interpreter, who is in a constant state of stress and works under pressure. The translator of a written text is not only the person who renders the original text, but he is also the creator of a new written version of the text that can be read and, discussed, with its own mistakes in it. Interpreting is much more neutral and invisible to the addressee; the main thing here is the pragmatic transfer of the original information.

For the research the first-hand experience of teaching students in a class of translating and interpreting, with the presentation of examples in Czech and Ukrainian, is used.

The author comes to the conclusion that common features of interpretation and translation include the need for high language competence and the translator’s general erudition (excellent language skills, knowledge of features of the cultural background, a functional approach to linguistic means, and a developed aesthetic and cultural perception). But, considering that the requirements for performers of translation and interpretation are different, even in the scientific literature the assertion whether the professional specialist exists at all and can be a true professional in both translating and interpreting remains debatable.

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Easy Way to Language Acquisition: Diminutives in Lithuanian Child Language

Easy Way to Language Acquisition: Diminutives in Lithuanian Child Language

Introduction In most languages diminutive formation is the first pattern of word formation to emerge. The main reason for this seems to be the pragmatic functions of endearment, empathy, and sympathy, which make diminutives particularly appropriate for child-centered communication. This is especially true for things belonging to the child's world, which the caretakers tend to refer to using diminutives. The frequency of diminutives in the input as well as in the output of children clearly depends on the pragmatic role of diminutives in the respective language. In addition, their greater degree of morphological productivity and transparency, as well as their phonological saliency, favors the use of diminutives (Savickienė & Dressler 2007). Research of the languages where an extensive use of diminutives was noted induced some scholars to advance the hypothesis to the effect that the use of diminutives simplifies the acquisition of nominal declension (Olmsted 1994; Savickienė 2001; Kempe et al. 2001).

Aim of the study This paper explores the hypothesis that diminutives in child-directed speech provide multiple cues for language acquisition. Diminutives in Lithuanian present an interesting case not only in terms of pragmatics and semantics (a feature which is shared by Lithuanian as well as other languages), but also from a language-specific point of view.

Materials and methods The following discussion is based on analysis of data from a longitudinal corpus of a Lithuanian girl. For the present study we have chosen to analyze the girl's speech covering the period from 1;7 to 2;6. The corpus consists of almost 35 hours of recordings. The choice of the period was influenced by the fact that the child's onset of morphological development can be dated approximately around the age of 1;7 and continues until the age of 2;6, which marks the phase of morphology proper (Savickienė 2003). The recorded speech was transcribed according to the requirements of CHILDES (MacWhinney 2000).

Results and conclusions The study suggests that the early and frequent use of diminutives by the Lithuanian child is due to the fact that it not only decreases word-ending variance (restricting the number of paradigm patterns to 3 instead of 12 declension classes), regularize stress patterns, but also facilitates the acquisition of case inflections.

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Semantics and pragmatics of the lexeme posledný [the last] in discursive contexts

Abstract

The study attempts to interpret meanings of the Slovak lexeme posledný [the last]. The study is based on the fact that the lexeme has two kinds of semantic valence; that of a sequence element and that of a sequence. In the language picture of the world, this lexeme anticipates ideas of a wide range of collocates and syncretism of several types of sequence. Analyses are based on the invariant meaning of the lexeme “the last” (‘such an X that is not followed by any other’) and on corpus data. The data are used in order to determine how types of collocates in the constructions with ‘last’ do reflect modifications of the invariant meaning, how they are being specified referentially, and how they develop semantic and pragmatic inferences, by means of which they facilitate realization of specific semantic occurrences. Since the lexeme has an anthropological basis, it is expected that various portions and efficiency of the subjective factor will be found. The aim of the study is to present the paradigm of the meanings of the lexeme posledný which are both context-bound and characterized by oscillation between description and qualification. Being a part of noun phrases, these meanings reflect linguistics of constructions as well as syntactic and communicative functions of the lexeme. The aim of the study is also either to confirm or disprove the equal position of the lexemes posledný and ostatný.

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The ‘indisciplinarity’ of stylistics

Abstract

This paper aims at showing why the stylistician can be construed as a prolific “impostor” in a most positive sense: pledged to no specific linguistic prophet, she can opt for different theoretical linguistic tools (in the sphere of pragmatics, critical discourse analysis, cognitive grammar, etc.) depending on her object of study and what her research question is. The liberty claimed by the stylistician explains why stylistics is the “undisciplined” child of linguistics, shirking any clear definition of its boundaries. It will be argued that stylistics can only exist as a cross-disciplinary field given its conception of language as fundamentally contextualized. If it was a discipline determined by clear-cut pre-established boundaries, stylistics would be far more “disciplined” but would run the risk of serving only itself. The broad goal of this paper is thus to evince that the “indisciplinarity” of stylistics constitutes its very defining essence. With this aim in mind, it will demonstrate what stylistics owes to other disciplines, what it shares with similar language-based disciplines and what it can offer to other fields or practices of knowledge.

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Towards Entrepreneurship: Reflections Between Theory and Practice

Abstract

The paper deals with the pragmatic need of linking theory and practice in the learning process, focusing on vocational education in economics and entrepreneurship education. In connection with selected alternative economic theories is shown the necessity of praxeological educational background and practical work experience in teaching process in entrepreneurship education. Results are based on the research, which was done in the framework of prepared dissertation thesis on the theme of entrepreneurship education from the perspectives of theory and the perspective of vocational school teachers of economics subjects. The results focus on the concept of entrepreneurship education preferred by teachers of the economical subjects at the secondary schools specialised in economics. The main aim of the research was to check, to what degree are the theoretical bases of the education of the entrepreneurship fulfilled in the reality of a secondary school specialised in economics. The results show that in the case of preferred aims of the respondents of our examination we could talk about the combination of creation of knowledge and preparation for the profession. It is confirmed that the teachers rely significantly on a prescribed list of educational topics, but at the same time the results clearly show that the respondents think about their subject and formative aspect of their classes through using of cross-sectional topic.

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Sport beyond Moral Good and Evil

Sport beyond Moral Good and Evil

Sport is - and should be - an amoral phenomenon (what should not be confused with an immoral one); that is, a phenomenon which is completely independent from ethics, except of, possibly, deontological ethics which concerns professionals who have professional obligations towards their employers and other persons who are provided with and influenced by their services.

Conduct according to rules of a given sport has no moral character. It has only pragmatic character, similarly as conduct in compliance with principles of the administrative code, the civil code or the penal code. Of course, when you act in accordance with rules of sports rivalry you can additionally realize also other aims - like, for example, aesthetic, spectacular or moral ones. However, in each case rules of the game and legal norms have priority, because they are the most important regulative determinant of conduct in various societies, including variously defined human teams. The above mentioned legal and sports regulations are not moral norms. They can, however, influence moral behaviours if they are in conflict with the law or rules of the game.

From that viewpoint moral norms are exterritorial in their relation to assumptions and rules of a particular sport. Contestants and people responsible for them - like, for example, coaches or sports officials - as well as their employers are neither required to account for their moral beliefs, nor for their moral behaviours, if only they act in compliance with rules of sports rivalry.

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The MODUS Approach to Formal Verification

Abstract

Background: Software reliability is of great importance for the development of embedded systems that are often used in applications that have requirements for safety. Since the life cycle of embedded products is becoming shorter, productivity and quality simultaneously required and closely in the process of providing competitive products Objectives: In relation to this, MODUS (Method and supporting toolset advancing embedded systems quality) project aims to provide small and medium-sized businesses ways to improve their position in the embedded market through a pragmatic and viable solution Methods/Approach: This paper will describe the MODUS project with focus on the technical methodologies that can assist formal verification and formal model checking. Results: Based on automated analysis of the characteristics of the system and by controlling the choice of the existing opensource model verification engines, model verification producing inputs to be fed into these engines. Conclusions: The MODUS approach is aligned with present market needs; the familiarity with tools, the ease of use and compatibility/interoperability remain among the most important criteria when selecting the development environment for a project

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Corruption and Campaign Funding: A Burkean Perspective

Abstract

Edmond Burke based his 1780 plea for economic reform on a notion of political corruption that he touched on only in few additional letters and addresses of the time. It was soon eclipsed by other “burning” questions that occupied his mind, and remains among his less developed and less studied ideas. It nevertheless merits attention. As a pragmatic politician with a philosophical bent, his main aim in the speech on reform was to sway the politics of his time; yet his deductive reasoning led him to generalizations that may point to a possible direction by which we can look for solutions to some of the problems that beset current understandings of corruption. Of special interest in this context is his treatment of situations where widespread perception of corruption exists with out any massive law- breaking. In what follows I will argue that Burkes conception stakes a midway position between the older, “classic” views of corruption, and the thought of the 18th century liberals that informs our current perceptions of the phenomenon. Both received ample attention in the literature. Nevertheless, a brief note may serve as context for the consideration of Burkes ideas on the subject.

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