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Aspects of species life histories may increase their susceptibility to climate change. Owing to their exclusive reliance on environmental sources of heat for incubation, megapodes may be especially vulnerable. We employed a trait-based vulnerability assessment to weigh their exposure to projected climate variables of increasing temperatures, fluctuating rainfall and sea level rise and their biological sensitivity and capacity to adapt. While all 21 species were predicted to experience at least a 2 °C increase in mean annual temperature, 12 to experience a moderate or greater fluctuation in rainfall and 16 to experience rising seas, the most vulnerable megapodes are intrinsically rare and range restricted. Species that employ microbial decomposition for incubation may have an adaptive advantage over those that do not and may be more resilient to climate change. The moderate microclimate necessary for mound incubation, however, may in some areas be threatened by anthropogenic habitat loss exacerbated by warmer and seasonally drier conditions. As with many avian species, little is known about the capacity of megapodes to adapt to a changing climate. We therefore recommend that future research efforts investigate megapode fecundity, gene flow and genetic connectivity at the population level to better determine their adaptive capacity.
In this chapter we give an overview of the research area which studies the meaning of questions. We start with explaining some general notions and insights in this area, and then zoom in on the three most influential semantic theories of questions, which all attempt to characterize question meaning in terms of “answerhood conditions”. (They are thus following up on the notion of “truth conditions” as the core notion of a formal semantics for indicative sentences.) Next, we discuss some special topics in the study of questions and answers, where we focus on issues which are concerned with identity and questions which have to do with scope. Finally, we describe some pragmatic features of answering questions and the general role that questions play in the dynamics of discourse, leading up to a concise introduction of the recent framework of inquisitive semantics.
Questions can be studied from various perspectives. For a syntactician, questions are linguistic entities, sentences of a certain kind with distinctive formal features. In English they typically display a change in word order (Is Marco smart? versus Marco is smart), they host wh-expressions with characteristic syntactic features (who, what, where, how, but also which students, which Canadians and the like), and in spoken language a question normally, but not invariably, comes with specific intonation, while in written language it is accompanied by a question mark.
For a semanticist, questions are abstract objects taken as the denotations of the above-described type of syntactic expressions. A semanticist here may take his cue from the (formal) study of indicative sentences. There the aim is to uncover a domain of denotations (labeled “propositions” mostly), as, for instance, an algebra which hosts logical constructions (like that of conjunction, disjunction, negation) and logical relations (like entailment, synonymy, and (in-)consistency). In the semantic study of interrogatives the aim is to establish a corresponding domain of denotations that underlies suitable notions of question entailment and answerhood.
From a pragmatic perspective, questions are essentially events in a discourse or dialogue. In response to the utterance of an interrogative sentence onemay legitimately ask “Was that a question?” Questions, then, are certain acts in a conversation the very performance of which is subject to linguistic and pragmatic rules.
Humans characteristically use language, and a characteristic feature of the use of language is that it is meaningful. Semantics is the study of meaning, of the structural ways in which it is realized in natural language, and of the formal logical properties of these structures. The area of formal semantics finds its roots in logic and the philosophy of language and mind, but it has also become deeply entrenched in linguistics and the cognitive sciences.
This Cambridge Handbook of Formal Semantics constitutes a comprehensive guide to contemporary formal semantics, and it provides, among other things, a historical context and foundation of the field, a survey of the variety of formal/logical approaches to linguistic meaning, an overview of the major areas of research within current semantic theory, and a presentation of the interfaces between semantics and other domains of linguistic inquiry, broadly conceived.
This handbook is intended for everyone interested in the understanding of meaning. It presents a broad view of the semantics and logic of natural language and, as a helpful tool, of the logical languages employed.
The twenty-five chapters constituting this handbook have been grouped together into five major parts, and we hope the handbook can thus be seen to cover, in a systematic and transparent way, both the broad and the varied scope of the domain as well as the width and variety of the perspectives adopted. The contributions are subsumed under the following headings:
I The landscape of formal semantics.
II Theory of reference and quantification.
III Temporal and aspectual ontology and other semantic structures.
IV Intensionality and force.
V The interfaces.
The first and the last parts aremore of a methodological or programmatic nature. The first part gives a general sketch of the frameworks in and perspectives from which semantic research is conducted. The last part focuses on the intimate and intrinsic relationships with bordering academic disciplines. The three middle parts are concerned with more or less established major domains of linguistic research: the nominal domain (Part II) and the verbal or predicative domain (Part III). Both domains are studied with logical and (natural language) ontological interests. Part IV gives an overview of the various moods and modalities in language, ranging from negation, to modals, questions and other moods.
Natural language is often used to say what the actual world is like, and we refer not only to this actual world but also to the things that we find in there, and that strike us as distinguished and relevant enough to talk about. All known languages have devices to refer to things in the world, our world, if you want. It seems to be a characteristic property of language that a special category of expressions serves especially this device of reference: names. This chapter is not on names though. It is on the role that reference plays according to prevailing theories of the meaning of natural language expressions, that is, in formal semantics.
We take it for granted that it is clear to the reader what we mean when we say things such as the following.
(1) The name “Barack Obama” refers to the current president of the United States, and the phrase “the name ‘Barack Obama’ ” has his name as its referent.
(2) When Wittgenstein referred to the author of the Tractatus he was referring to himself.
(3) The referent IM(a) of a proper name a in a model M is the individual in the domain of M assigned to a by the interpretation function IM of the model.
The word reference is taken here not as in a “reference manual”, in the “references section” of an article, or in the “professional references” in your CV, although the expressions are of course lexically related. Reference is considered from a linguistic perspective, as a phenomenon related to language.We will mostly speak of the reference of linguistic items, be they words, phrases, sentences, or uses or utterances thereof. Often it is associated with a specific syntactic category, that of noun phrases, or with a specific type of linguistic items, most particularly names and singular or plural nouns. The references of the expressions are taken to be individuals, objects, sets of objects, or any kind of things one can, indeed, refer to. The objects can be physical, perceptible objects, times, places, events, as well as abstract objects, imaginary objects, objects of any kind. Briefly, but not very informatively, we could say that objects thus conceived of can be anything one can refer to, or equivalently that anything one can refer to is an object.
Formal semantics - the scientific study of meaning in natural language - is one of the most fundamental and long-established areas of linguistics. This Handbook offers a comprehensive, yet compact guide to the field, bringing together research from a wide range of world-leading experts. Chapters include coverage of the historical context and foundation of contemporary formal semantics, a survey of the variety of formal/logical approaches to linguistic meaning and an overview of the major areas of research within current semantic theory, broadly conceived. The Handbook also explores the interfaces between semantics and neighbouring disciplines, including research in cognition and computation. This work will be essential reading for students and researchers working in linguistics, philosophy, psychology and computer science.
This paper presents a proof system for discourse representation theoretic reasoning and dynamic predicate logical inference. It gives a sound and complete characterization of the dynamic declaration of discourse referents and the essentially indexical means to refer back to them. The indexical outlook upon discourse reference is argued to further our understanding of some issues deemed relevant both theoretically (philo-logically) and practically (computationally).
In the previous chapters, we argued that moral sentiments have become less significant in the public domain. Many Dutch citizens say that they experience a certain hardening of the social climate or even an increase in aggressive behaviour. In this chapter, we examine the extent to which moral values have eroded in their private lives. To determine what values or ideals Dutch citizens consider important, we conducted a survey in 2010 in which we asked respondents how they viewed the concept of ‘something higher’, defined as the imagination of a whole to which I feel committed and that motivates me to act in an altruistic way. We wanted to see whether their answers could be linked to certain values of a religious or spiritual nature and also whether they could be linked to the way in which they put their ideals into practice. The respondents’ socio-demographic details and their recent views on social and political affairs were already available, which allowed us to keep the survey short. The questionnaire began with a series of questions about the respondents’ personal values. We then asked some questions about religion, followed by a few questions about volunteer work. In the final section of the survey, we explicitly asked for their views on the concept of ‘something higher’.
In presenting the results of the survey, we have reversed the sequence that was used in the questionnaire. We first share the respondents’ explanations of their understanding of the concept of ‘something higher’ (section 1), and we illustrate this with a few examples (section 2). We then link this to something already discussed in chapter 2, where we made a distinction between values of a sacred, social and vital nature (section 3). An important point is whether these results can be tied in with the level of interest in the church in the Netherlands (section 4) or to a more spiritual interest (section 5). After outlining the socio-demographic backgrounds underlying the different views on the concept of ‘something higher’ (section 6), we ask about our respondents’ willingness to help others.
In this chapter we argue that moral values in modern Dutch society have not disappeared but rather changed. This change is clearly visible if we compare today's society with that of a few decades ago. We already focused on the negative aspects of this change in previous chapters. Here we would like to emphasise the positive developments that have taken place, for example the greater equality between men and women, and the increased focus on individual responsibility and self-development. From this we can infer that what has changed over the years is primarily the content of our moral sentiments. Such a change in the content of morality does not occur out of the blue, of course; our contention is that it ensued from the gradual modernisation of society. This is in any case the hypothesis that we will be testing in this chapter on the basis of empirical survey data.
We are certainly not the first to study the relationship between changes in values and modernisation. A well-known and widely used theory on (post-)modernisation is that of Ronald Inglehart. Below, we present the main ideas of this theory. We then analyse whether the theory applies to the Netherlands and if so, to what extent. Most of the empirical data we use here is derived from the European Values Study (EVS), a large-scale research project that has been conducted every nine years from 1981, offering insights into key developments over the last thirty years. Because the EVS is conducted in all countries within Europe, we can compare the data for the Netherlands with the rest of Europe. This is relevant because national contexts play a crucial role, particularly with regard to values. The survey includes many questions that reveal how respondents perceive matters such as religion, work, politics, leisure, health and family life. It thus constitutes a unique source for our research.
We begin with a brief outline of Inglehart's view of the process of modernisation (section 1). We also assess the position of the Netherlands vis-a-vis other European countries (section 2). Then we look at how the values of individual Dutch citizens have changed in recent decades (section 3) and which values experienced the most significant change (section 4).