Histories and Discourses: Rewriting Constructivism

Andrews UK Limited
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Siegfried J. Schmidt is closely associated in Germany with the cross-disciplinary research programme of Radical Constructivism. In Histories & Discourses he carries out a change of perspective from media and communication studies to studies of culture and the philosophy of language. His 'rewriting' of constructivism shows that classical constructivism shares some fundamental assumptions with realism, and he creates a new vocabulary which allows us to understand how we construct truth, identity, ethics, etc., without using any point of reference which lies beyond our culture (our 'history and discourses').
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Additional Information

Publisher
Andrews UK Limited
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Published on
Mar 30, 2016
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Pages
152
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ISBN
9781845405113
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Epistemology
Philosophy / Language
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The essays in this collection are the outgrowth of a workshop, held in June 1976, on formal approaches to the semantics and pragmatics of natural languages. They document in an astoundingly uniform way the develop ments in the formal analysis of natural languages since the late sixties. The avowed aim of the' workshop was in fact to assess the progress made in the application of formal methods to semantics, to confront different approaches to essentially the same problems on the one hand, and, on the other, to show the way in relating semantic and pragmatic explanations of linguistic phenomena. Several of these papers can in fact be regarded as attempts to close the 'semiotic circle' by bringing together the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic properties of certain constructions in an explanatory framework thereby making it more than obvious that these three components of an integrated linguistic theory cannot be as neatly separated as one would have liked to believe. In other words, not only can we not elaborate a syntactic description of (a fragment of) a language and then proceed to the semantics (as Montague pointed out already forcefully in 1968), we cannot hope to achieve an adequate integrated syntax and semantics without paying heed to the pragmatic aspects of the constructions involved. The behavior of polarity items, 'quantifiers' like any, conditionals or even logical particles like and and or in non-indicative sentences is clear-cut evidence for the need to let each component of the grammar inform the other.
How propaganda undermines democracy and why we need to pay attention

Our democracy today is fraught with political campaigns, lobbyists, liberal media, and Fox News commentators, all using language to influence the way we think and reason about public issues. Even so, many of us believe that propaganda and manipulation aren't problems for us—not in the way they were for the totalitarian societies of the mid-twentieth century. In How Propaganda Works, Jason Stanley demonstrates that more attention needs to be paid. He examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy—particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality—and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Focusing on the shortcomings of liberal democratic states, Stanley provides a historically grounded introduction to democratic political theory as a window into the misuse of democratic vocabulary for propaganda's selfish purposes. He lays out historical examples, such as the restructuring of the US public school system at the turn of the twentieth century, to explore how the language of democracy is sometimes used to mask an undemocratic reality. Drawing from a range of sources, including feminist theory, critical race theory, epistemology, formal semantics, educational theory, and social and cognitive psychology, he explains how the manipulative and hypocritical declaration of flawed beliefs and ideologies arises from and perpetuates inequalities in society, such as the racial injustices that commonly occur in the United States.

How Propaganda Works shows that an understanding of propaganda and its mechanisms is essential for the preservation and protection of liberal democracies everywhere.

Popular assumptions about gender and communication - famously summed up in the title of the massively influential 1992 bestseller Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus - can have unforeseen but far-reaching consequences in many spheres of life, from attitudes to the phenomenon of 'date-rape' to expectations of achievement at school, and potential discrimination in the work-place. In this wide-ranging and thoroughly readable book, Deborah Cameron, Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at Oxford University and author of a number of leading texts in the field of language and gender studies, draws on over 30 years of scientific research to explain what we really know and to demonstrate how this is often very different from the accounts we are familiar with from recent popular writing. Ambitious in scope and exceptionally accessible, The Myth of Mars and Venus tells it like it is: widely accepted attitudes from the past and from other cultures are at heart related to assumptions about language and the place of men and women in society; and there is as much similarity and variation within each gender as between men and women, often associated with social roles and relationships. The author goes on to consider the influence of Darwinian theories of natural selection and the notion that girls and boys are socialized during childhood into different ways of using language, before addressing problems of 'miscommunication' surrounding, for example, sex and consent to sex, and women's relative lack of success in work and politics. Arguing that what linguistic differences there are between men and women are driven by the need to construct and project personal meaning and identity, Cameron concludes that we have an urgent need to think about gender in more complex ways than the prevailing myths and stereotypes allow. A compelling and insightful read for anyone with an interest in communication, language, and the sexes.
Elucidating the structures of biopolymers as they exist in nature has long been a goal of biochemists and biologists. Understanding how these substances interact with themselves, other solutes, and solvents can provide useful insights into many areas of biochemistry, agriculture, food science and medicine. Knowledge of the structure of a protein or complex carbohydrate in its native form provides guidelines for the chemical or genetic modifications often desired to optimize these compounds to specific needs and applications. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, structure-function relationships involving biopolymers are studied rou tinely as a means to design new drugs and improve their efficacies. The tools to conduct structure investigations of biopolymers at the molecular level are limited in number. Historically X-ray crystallography has been the most attractive method to conduct studies of this type. How ever, X-ray methods can only be applied to highly ordered, crystalline materials, thus obviating studies of solution dynamics that are often critical to attaining a global understanding of biopolymer behavior. In recent years, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy has evolved to become a powerful tool to probe the structures of biopolymers in solution and in the solid state. NMR provides a means to study the dynamics of polymers in solution, and to examine the effects of solute, solvent and' other factors~n polymer behavior. With the development of 2D and 3D forms of NMR spectroscopy, it is now possible to assess the solution conforma tions of small proteins, oligonucleotides and oligosaccharides.
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