Word-08-3

Word-08-3 - In a Word Lecture 3 Language and Scientific...

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    In a Word Lecture 3 More on Language and Scientific Method   September 2, 2008
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    Puzzle summary to date: How can we learn and store so many words so quickly? How can we recognize and retrieve this words so quickly? We seem to be utilizing a system of  phonology   to help us wade  through the many possibilities.   But what is this system, and how can the child acquiring his/her  native language learn this phonological system ?
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    Furthermore,  we also seem to have a system that tells us which word  construction is good and which is not.  Linguists call this system  Morphology . Just like phonology, morphology makes the task of processing and  learning words easier. But just like in the case of  phonology , we must ask what is the system  of  morphology , and how the child learns morphological systems, and  how they are represented in the brain
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    Linguistics is the Scientific Study of Words and Language
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    Science is a particular way of knowing, which is based on using a particular methodology: It searches for laws that describe the organization and development of the universe
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    More Specifically on the Scientific Method: It is a tool for observing and making predictions about the predictable universe . And often, discovering an explanation only reveals new things that were not known before. In other words, often the answer is the new question
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    Identifying patterns Observations experiments (data) Hypotheses predictions preconceptions
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    When a balloon rises, rather than  falls, does that make gravity not  valid?  Is it an ‘exception’, or can  we use it to understand gravity  better? We cannot prove a theory right.   We can only prove it wrong  (hence falsifiability).
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    Some Properties of Scientific Questions (based on Hazen et. Al) 1. S o m e  q ue s tio ns  a re  b e yo nd  s c ie nc e  inq uiry (m e a ning  o f life ?   S ho uld I ha ve  c hildre n? ) 2. S c ie ntific  q ue s tio ns  a re  dive rs e , a nd  m a y c o nc e rn diffe re nt a re a s : They may concern existing things (discovery included). They may concern the origin of things, either historically, or within larger systems.
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    (2. Scientific questions may concern different areas,  cont.) : They may investigate the process – how do things work (reproduction, attrition,etc,). They may concern the application of scientific knowledge.
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    1. Answers are often the new questions 2. Questions may be interconnected – it is not always easy to set up the  boundaries (is language linguistics? Psychology? Biology? Sociology?  Philosophy?) 3. Are the properties of the system reducible to the properties of its  building blocks, or does the system have properties which are emergent
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Word-08-3 - In a Word Lecture 3 Language and Scientific...

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