Archive for the ‘Counterfactuals’ Category

Revisiting 32: Exception-triggered alternation

August 27, 2019

The phenomenon, from my 8/25 posting “Exception-triggered alternation”, involves:

Two contrarily opposed states — good vs. bad [in a joke routine], forestressed vs. afterstressed [in the accentuation of N + N compounds] — for some phenomenon, with the choice between them determined by context, the choice flipping between the two as the context narrows more and more (with each flip, the contextually more specific choice overrides the contextually more general one).

“More specific overrides more general” is a familiar principle, known by many names; what the statement above emphasizes is that this overriding can cascade, through a number of iterations.

Now, as an addition to these two examples Larry Horn (Laurence Horn of Yale Univ.) offers another, from formal semantics: Sobel sequences. Here I’ll turn the floor over to Larry, for a guest posting on them. As background, the cover of David Lewis’s Counterfactuals book (in the paperback edition, much more visually exciting than the severe cover of the edition I once had):

In Larry’s words, from here on out:


Aquatic carpentry

February 5, 2019

A Wayno & Piraro Bizarro from the 4th, presenting an exercise in cartoon understanding and jogging some reflections on comics conventions:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

To understand the cartoon, you need to appreciate that it shows a situation from everyday life (the office of a carpentry business)  juxtaposed with, or translated into, another, more remarkable, world (an undersea, aquatic, world, populated by specific fish, which you need to recognize).