Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Hume In Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 638):
Algebra and arithmetic are the only sciences in which we can carry on a long chain of reasoning without losing certainty.  Geometry is not so certain as algebra and arithmetic, because we cannot be sure of the truth of its axioms.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, a long chain of reasoning in algebra or arithmetic is a sequence of iterated elaborations of an initial identifying figure that is, interpersonally, an unmodalised proposition.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Hume In Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 638):
Hume begins by distinguishing seven kinds of philosophical relation: resemblance, identity, relations of time and place, proportion in quantity or number, degrees in any quality, contrariety and causation.  These, he says, may be divided into two kinds: those that depend only on the ideas, and those that can be changed without any change in the ideas.  Of the first kind are resemblance, contrariety, degrees of quality, and proportions in quantity or number.  But spatio-temporal and causal relations are of the second kind.  Only relations of the first kind give certain knowledge; our knowledge concerning the others is only probable.

Blogger Comments:

Through the lens of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, Hume's philosophical relations correspond to ideational relations:
  • 'resemblance' to enhancement: comparative,
  • 'identity' to relational being,
  • 'relations of time and place' to enhancement: location and extent,
  • 'degrees in any quality' to enhancement: manner: degree,
  • 'contrariety' to extension: addition: adversative, and
  • 'causation' to enhancement: cause.
On the other hand, 'certain' and 'probable' correspond to interpersonal values: high and median values of modalisation.

Hume, then, associates high values of modalisation with propositions involving relations of comparative or manner enhancement or adversative extension, and median values of modalisation with propositions involving involving relations enhancing location, extent or cause.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Hume Vs Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 636):
There is, [Hume] says, no impression of self, and therefore no idea of self (Book I, part iv, sec. vi).  'For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure.  I never catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception.'  There may, he ironically concedes, be some philosophers who can perceive their selves; 'but setting aside some metaphysicians of this kind, I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with inconceivable rapidity, and are in perpetual flux and movement'.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, Hume's claim is that the Senser is 'nothing but' mental Processes projecting Phenomena.  That is, he excludes the Medium from the Process.

Monday, 27 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Russell Vs Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 635-6):
This theory, which is a modern form of nominalism, has two defects, one logical, the other psychological.  To begin with the logical objection: 'When we have found a resemblance among several objects,' Hume says, 'we apply the same name to fit all of them.'  Every nominalist would agree.  But in fact a common name, such as 'cat', is just as unreal as the universal CAT is.  The nominalist solution to the problem of universals thus fails through being insufficiently drastic in the application of its own principles; it mistakenly applies these principles only to 'things', and not also to words.

Blogger Comments:

Through the lens of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the word 'cat' can be used for the class (Attribute) and a member/instance (Carrier).  Both are construals of experience as meaning.

Russell treats the common name 'cat' as within language, but the universal CAT as a 'thing' outside language.  That is, he treats meaning as transcendent rather than immanent, and it this that both undermines his logical objection to Hume, and confuses him about the 'problem of universals'.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Hume In Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 635):
There is a section (Book I, part i, sec. vii) 'Of Abstract Ideas', which opens with a paragraph of emphatic agreement with Berkeley's doctrine that 'all general ideas are nothing but particular ones, annexed to a certain term, which gives them a more extensive significance, and makes them recall upon occasion other individuals, which are similar to them.'  He contends that, when we have an idea of a man, it has all the particularity that the impression of a man has.  'The mind cannot form any notion of quantity or quality without forming a precise notion of degrees of each.'  'Abstract ideas are in themselves individual, however they may become general in their representation.'

Blogger Comments:

Through the lens of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, the relation between 'particular idea' and 'general idea', in this sense, is the attributive relation between Carrier and Attribute, which construes class membership.  One subtype of this relation is that of instantiation: the token to type relation between instance and class.

Hume's distinction between idea and impression corresponds to the distinction between mental phenomena of cognition vs perception, respectively.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Hume In Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 635):
H[um]e begins with the distinction between 'impressions' and 'ideas'.  These are two kinds of perceptions, of which impressions are those that have the more force and violence.  'By ideas I mean the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning.'  Ideas, at least when simple, are like impressions, but fainter.  'Every simple idea has a simple impression, which resembles it; and every simple impression a correspondent idea.'  'All our simple ideas in their first appearance are derived from simple impressions, which are correspondent to them, and which they exactly represent.'  Complex ideas, on the other hand, need not resemble impressions.  We can imagine a winged horse without having ever seen one, but the constituents of this idea are all derived from impressions. … Among ideas, those that retain a considerable degree of vivacity of the original impressions belong to memory, the others to imagination.

Blogger Comments:

Through the lens of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, Hume's two types of perceptions, impressions and ideas, correspond to the phenomena (things) of mental processes — those of visual perception and cognition, respectively.  Memory and imagination correspond to two types of cognitive mental process.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Russell Vs Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 633):
It will be seen that, according to the above definitions, a mind and a piece of matter are, each of them, a group of events.  There is no reason why every event should belong to a group of one kind or the other, and there is no reason why some events should not belong to both groups; therefore some events may be neither mental nor material, and other events may be both.  As to this, only detailed empirical considerations can decide.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, material processes and mental processes are construals of different domains of experience, and mental processes and their projections are construals of different orders of experience. Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 579):
… the idea clause is projected, as the “content of consciousness”, by the Senser involved in the process of sensing. The content is brought into existence by the sensing process, as actualised through the Senser; and it is construed as being of a higher order of semiotic abstraction than the process of sensing itself.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Russell Vs Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 633):
As for 'mind', when substance has been rejected a mind must be some group or structure of events.  The grouping must be effected by some relation which is characteristic of the sort of phenomena we wish to call 'mental'.  We may take memory as typical.  We might — though this would be rather unduly simple — define a 'mental' event as one which remembers or is remembered.  Then the mind to which a given mental event belongs is the group of events connected with the given event by memory–chains, backwards or forwards.

Blogger Comments:

On the ideational dimension of consciousness, Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 577, 578) "structure the events" as follows:
We have shown how the system of the ideation base construes consciousness: as conscious processing by a conscious being. Conscious processing can create a higher–order world of ideas (or, as we would say, meanings)… . Conscious processes are of two kinds: sensing, and saying. …
The figure of sensing is a configuration of a Process and the participant engaged in sensing, the Senser; that is, consciousness is construed as a complementarity of change through time and persistence through time — as a conscious participant involved in an unfolding process.
In terms of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, Russell's definition of a mental event as one which remembers or is remembered corresponds to a Senser engaged in a cognitive mental process or a Phenomenon or projected idea.

Russell encodes the mind to which a given mental event belongs by reference to the group of events connected with the given event by memory–chains, backwards or forwards

the mind [[to which a given mental event belongs]]
is
the group [of events [[connected with the given event by memory–chains, backwards or forwards]] ]
Identified/Value
Process: relational
Identifier/Token

and construes the relation between mind and mental events as one of attributive possession: the mind possesses mental events

to
which
a given mental event
belongs

Attribute: possessor
Carrier: possessed
Process: relational: possession

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Berkeley In Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 629):
Things as we know them are bundles of sensible qualities: a table, for example, consists of its visual shape, its hardness, the noise it emits when rapped, and its smell (if any). These different qualities have certain [contiguities] in experience, which lead common sense to regard them as belonging to one 'thing', but the concept of 'thing' or 'substance' adds nothing to the perceived qualities, and is unnecessary.

Blogger Comments:

Through the lens of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, things and qualities are two types of participant (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 182), with the latter typically construed as an Attribute (op. cit.: 208) in an intensive (elaborating) attributive relation; that is: a quality is construed as a class to which things are members.

Here, however, the relation is construed as:
  • identifying, not attributive, such that the identity decodes things by reference to aggregates of qualities:
things [[as we know them]]
are
bundles [of sensible qualities]
Identified/Token
Process: relational: intensive
Identifier/Value

  • identifying and extending, instead of attributive and elaborating:
a table
consists of
its visual shape, its hardness, the noise [[[it emits || when rapped]]] and its smell (if any)
Identified/Token
Process: relational: possession: containment
Identifier/Value

  • attributive, but extending instead of elaborating:
these different qualities
belong to
one 'thing'
Carrier: possessed
Process: relational: possession
Attribute: possessor

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Thoughts Of Russell In Systemic Functional Linguistics

Russell (1961: 627):
If it were held that thought and perception consist of a relation between subject and object, it would be possible to identify the mind with the subject, and to maintain that there is nothing 'in' the mind, but only objects 'before' it.

Blogger Comments:

In terms of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, 'thought' and 'perception' are reifications of mental processes of cognition and perception.

Here these reified mental processes are construed as an intensive attributive relation between subject/mind and object, such that objects are members of the class 'before the subject/mind':

objects
are
‘before’ the subject/mind
Carrier
Process: relational
circumstantial Attribute
Medium
Range: location

Through the lens of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, mental processes of perception project first-order phenomena, and mental processes of cognition project second-order phenomena (metaphenomena).

subjects
perceive
objects
Senser
Process: mental: perception
Phenomenon
Medium
Range

subjects
think
ideas
Senser
Process: mental: cognition
Phenomenon: metaphenomenon
Medium
Range

Phenomena are themselves construals of experience as meaning; that is: semiotic values mentally assigned to experiential tokens.

subjects
construe
experience
as
meaning
Assigner
Process: relational
Identified/Token

Identifier/Value
Agent
Medium
Range

As this analysis shows, the construal of experience as meaning is the mental assignment of identifying relations that decode experience by reference to meaning.