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[8.1] The law of statutory interpretation directs us to ascertain the ‘purpose’ of an Act when construing a provision of that Act. This is one of the few general principles of statutory interpretation law that is the subject of a legislative mandate, though the common law has developed an equivalent principle. The mandate is that we must have regard to the purpose of an Act and choose the construction that promotes or best achieves that purpose. This does not warrant neglect of the statutory text or context, but instead requires the interpreter to have regard to the purpose in the context of the broader analysis of text and context required by the rules of statutory interpretation. Sometimes the purpose will be critical to the task of attributing meaning and sometimes it will be of little value. The value that purpose can provide to the task may depend on the degree of specificity with which it can be expressed. Many Acts embody multiple purposes or the purpose of the Act may be general. For these reasons, the purpose of the provision being construed can be more helpful for the interpretative task than the purpose of the Act as a whole.
[6.1] Statutory interpretation is to be ‘text-based’. ‘The text’ here refers to the words whose meaning or effect is in issue. Rooted in constitutional principles, consideration of the text is the starting point of the interpretative process. The text supplies the basis for ascertaining the ordinary or grammatical meaning and similar meanings. In turn, that supplies a presumptive and weighty meaning. After having been read in context, the text is also the ending point of the interpretative process. It is where meaning is ultimately held to ‘reside’. But, for an interpreter, the text is not limiting in the sense that he or she must choose between its grammatical or semantic possibilities, read in isolation. The paramount object remains to give effect to the intention of Parliament.
Across four studies participants (N = 818) rated the profoundness of abstract art images accompanied with varying categories of titles, including: pseudo-profound bullshit titles (e.g., The Deaf Echo), mundane titles (e.g., Canvas 8), and no titles. Randomly generated pseudo-profound bullshit titles increased the perceived profoundness of computer-generated abstract art, compared to when no titles were present (Study 1). Mundane titles did not enhance the perception of profoundness, indicating that pseudo-profound bullshit titles specifically (as opposed to titles in general) enhance the perceived profoundness of abstract art (Study 2). Furthermore, these effects generalize to artist-created abstract art (Study 3). Finally, we report a large correlation between profoundness ratings for pseudo-profound bullshit and “International Art English” statements (Study 4), a mode and style of communication commonly employed by artists to discuss their work. This correlation suggests that these two independently developed communicative modes share underlying cognitive mechanisms in their interpretations. We discuss the potential for these results to be integrated into a larger, new theoretical framework of bullshit as a low-cost strategy for gaining advantages in prestige awarding domains.
In reply to Dalton (2016), we argue that bullshit is defined in terms of how it is produced, not how it is interpreted. We agree that it can be interpreted as profound by some readers (and assumed as much in the original paper). Nonetheless, we present additional evidence against the possibility that more reflective thinkers are more inclined to interpret bullshit statements as profound.
Pragmatics – the study of language in context, and of how we understand what other people say – is a core subject in English language, linguistics, and communication studies. This textbook introduces the key topics in this fast-moving field, including metaphor, irony, politeness, disambiguation, and reference assignment. It walks the reader through the essential theories in pragmatics, including Grice, relevance theory, speech act theory, and politeness theory. Each chapter includes a range of illustrative examples, guiding readers from the basic principles to a thorough understanding of the topics. A dedicated chapter examines how research is conducted in pragmatics, providing students with resources and ideas for developing their own projects. Featuring exercises, a comprehensive glossary, and suggestions for further reading, this book is accessible to beginner undergraduates, including those with no prior knowledge of linguistics. It is an essential resource for courses in English language, English studies, and linguistics.
This study aimed to adapt the meaning-centered psychotherapy (MCP) to treat post-bereavement grief in Japanese bereaved families who lost their loved ones to cancer and to examine the feasibility of the intervention using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
A modified version of MCP was developed with cultural consideration. Bereaved individuals aged ≥18 years who had lost their family members to cancer at least 6 months before and had severe or persistent grief with a score of ≥26 on the Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG-19) were included in the study. The participants received the modified version of MCP, which was provided in a 5-session monthly format. The levels of grief (ICG-19), depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale [CES-D]), general health (General Health Questionnaire-12), and post-traumatic growth (Post-traumatic Growth Inventory -Short Form) were compared before and after the intervention.
Five bereaved individuals were enrolled, and all the participants completed the program. The mean scores of the ICG-19. The participants’ sense of regret, guilt, and being separated from the deceased person gradually shifted to the reappraisal of the experience, leading to a broadened view of the relationship with the deceased, and rediscovery of the core values, identity, and roles of the participants through the process of rediscovery of the meaning of life.
Significance of results
A modified version of the MCP was well accepted by Japanese bereaved families. The intervention appears to promote the rediscovery of the meaning of life and appears to have the potential to alleviate the bereaved individuals’ depression and grief-related symptoms and to facilitate their post-traumatic growth.
There are few studies evaluating the role of spirituality and the role of spiritually integrated interventions in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (PALS) and their caregivers.
A scoping review was conducted to examine the nature and breadth of peer-reviewed literature on the role of spirituality, interventions integrating spirituality, and outcomes for PALS and their caregivers.
A literature review was performed, following the methods from the Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewers, based on all articles published between January 2006 and April 2022, identified in the CINAHL Complete, MEDLINE Complete, MedicLatina, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, and SPORTDiscus with full-text databases using key terms. Extracted data included research aims, study design, population and characteristics, theme description, and measures or type of intervention.
A total of 18 articles were included in this study: 14 qualitative, 3 quantitative, and 1 protocol of a quantitative study. Eight studies were based in Europe. The search identified different main themes related to spirituality for caregivers and patients, 2 spiritual measure scales, and one intervention. However, many studies were limited in sample size, generalizability, and transferability and used less sophisticated research designs.
Significance of the results
This scoping review illustrates the importance given to spirituality by caregivers and PALS and reveals a very heterogeneous response. Thus, experimental studies in the area of spirituality are needed to systematically explore the impact of spiritual interventions, and the results of these studies could advance practice and policy by enhancing the quality of life for PALS and their caregivers.
While Wittgenstein has become recognized as the most overt philosophical influence in Wallace’s writing, he was by no means the only one. Wallace was heavily indebted to numerous philosophical schools, and was particularly influenced by the linguistic turn, and the post-philosophical ideas of Rorty and Cavell. Wallace attended classes with Stanley Cavell at Harvard University, and his influence on Wallace has been traced in recent scholarship by Adam Kelly and others. This chapter offers guidance on reading Wallace through the lens of what Cavell referred to as “moral perfectionism” – the drive toward constant moral improvement, an endless iterative repetition of self-discovery, “a process of moving to, and from, nexts” – which Wallace explored and embodied in different ways throughout the work. The recurrent theme of heroic attention as a virtuous struggle arguably owes a debt to Cavell’s concept of acknowledging the other as a moral good, and the anti-teleological drive of Wallace’s oeuvre fits neatly with Cavell’s imaginary of unending toil toward the good. Using the Pop Quiz structure of “Octet” as a point of departure and focusing more broadly on the dialogic imperative of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men as a whole, this chapter argues that Wallace’s work, with its sense of repeating shapes, themes and patterns, and especially the persistent figurations of failure and regrouping, is best read as a series of iterations of perfectionism, a career-long fantasy of searching for the good in the knowledge that it will not be attained.
In common treatments of deontic logic, the obligatory is what is true in all deontically ideal possible worlds. In this article, I offer a new semantics for Standard Deontic Logic with Leibnizian intensions rather than possible worlds. Even though the new semantics furnishes models that resemble Venn diagrams, the semantics captures the strong soundness and completeness of Standard Deontic Logic. Since, unlike possible worlds, many Leibnizian intensions are not maximally consistent entities, we can amend the semantics to invalidate the inference rule which ensures that all tautologies are obligatory. I sketch this amended semantics to show how it invalidates the rule in a new way.
This chapter turns to the second step of interpretation, namely content-determination. This exercise can be narrated in two ways: first, by reference to the formal rules of interpretation set forth in the VCLT; second, in light of the assumptions, predispositions, and standards of acceptability shared by the judicial community. The juxtaposition of these accounts highlights the interplay between freedom and constraint in international treaty interpretation. What guides the gaze of the interpreter? Where are the boundaries of their discretion? On the one hand, VCLT rules are powerless before the ontological indeterminacy of legal norms, and have therefore little cash value when it comes to derive exact meaning. On the other hand, the patterned practices and background knowledge of the community impose powerful limitations on the interpreter’s discretion.
In this chapter I traverse Merleau-Ponty’s account of language as the medium of thought, in which conceptual significations inhabit words instead of lying behind them (a mistake common to empiricist and intellectualist theories). We do not inspect an indicating word and indicated thing to reach a verbal signification. Rather we learn it as we learn to use a tool, by seeing it employed in a certain situation. Through the words that we utter we act and project action possibilities ahead of ourselves, as well as our attitudes towards these possibilities. Language is manifested as creative or speaking speech and as habitual or spoken speech. This explication is followed by an outline of Merleau-Ponty’s view of our affective lives in knowing, acting and loving, in which we always encounter others and things within a certain mood or mode of attunement, one that can widen or narrow down the world of possibilities.
This chapter concludes the discussion of interpretation by focusing on the emotions and mental processes of the interpreter. Each case presents at least one dilemma that cannot be solved through pure legal deduction. What options, then, does the interpreter have? First, they will seek the illusory comfort of legal objectivity, and convince themselves that the answer is out there, buried somewhere in the record. But it is not. Second, the interpreter will try to exercise responsible agency and provide an answer that best resonates with their ethical or political commitments. But the interpreter does not really know which interpretive outcome is preferable. Third, the interpreter will turn to the standard practices of the community and write pages upon pages of corollary analysis, hoping that the intractable issue will magically vanish. Finally, the interpreter will stick to their decision and defend it as the sole logical solution.
This and the next chapter defend the Argument from the Marks of Intentionality: Since powers share relevant marks of intentionality with mental states, powers are intentional properties. After identifying ten marks of intentionality, including those advanced by C. B. Martin and Karl Pfefier at the beginning of the physical intentionality debate, this chapter focuses on applying what are arguably the three essential marks of intentionality: directedness, intentional inexistence, and intentional indeterminacy. Directedness, inherently connected to intentional inexistence, is the main focus here: Just as thoughts are directed toward objects that need not exist, powers are directed toward manifestations that need not occur. The discussion explores what directedness is and is not. It is argued that directedness is a representational phenomenon. Therefore, since powers are directed, they are representational intentional states, contrary to George Molnar’s claim that powers are nonrepresentational intentional states. The concluding section argues that powers, like thoughts, display indeterminacy.
Linguistics and philosophy, while being two closely-related fields, are often approached with very different methodologies and frameworks. Bringing together a team of interdisciplinary scholars, this pioneering book provides examples of how conversations between the two disciplines can lead to exciting developments in both fields, from both a historical and a current perspective. It identifies a number of key phenomena at the cutting edge of research within both fields, such as reporting and ascribing, describing and referring, narrating and structuring, locating in time and space, typologizing and ontologizing, determining and questioning, arguing and rejecting, and implying and (pre-)supposing. Each chapter takes on a phenomena and explores it through a set of questions which are posed and answered at the outset of each chapter. An accessible and engaging resource, it is essential reading for researchers and students in both disciplines, and will empower exciting and illuminating conversations for years to come.
Is logic intrinsically normative? Given that we often make errors in reasoning, one might hold that logic is not about how we do think but about how we ought to think. However, logical laws say nothing about thinking. How does logic gain normative traction on psychological processes such as belief formation or reasoning? To answer this question, the chapter begins by examining the debate between descriptivists, who hold that logic simply describes truth-preserving entailment relations, and normativists, who hold that logic is intrinsically normative. Husserl was a descriptivist, and Heidegger’s early work follows him. But Heidegger’s phenomenological account of the truth-predicate as grounded in the comportment of assertion, and his analysis of the “hermeneutic as” that grounds such comportment, affords a different perspective on the debate. Logic provides constitutive norms for the practice of reason-giving, a kind of rationality – being answerable to others – that is not an essential property of, but is nevertheless demanded by, Dasein’s being as “care.” The chapter concludes by showing how Heidegger’s phenomenological approach can affirm the main claims of descriptivism while insisting that “the reign of logic” in philosophy “disintegrates into the turbulence of a more original questioning.”
This chapter examines Heidegger’s use of seemingly nonsensical sentences in his 1926 Logic lectures to illustrate the primacy of a kind of practical sense, which serves as a basis for a derivative logical-propositional sense. It contrasts Heidegger’s approach with a conception of nonsense emerging out of an “austere” reading of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, according to which nonsense is never a function of what words mean but only a result of a failure to assign a meaning to one or more elements of a would-be proposition; according to this austere reading, there are thus no nonsensical propositions, but only strings of meaningless signs. Although Heidegger in certain respects hews to this austere conception, viz. in recognizing the interplay between bipolarity and something’s being a proposition at all, his use of nonsense nonetheless departs from the specifics of the austere reading. Doing so, the chapter argues, allows Heidegger to do a kind of phenomenological-ontological work, whose possibility the austere reading renders obscure (at best).
The authors critique trauma and illness models of the effects of adversity, and go on to consider alternative societal and political understandings. They then review biological insights from attachment theory and affective neuroscience. An analogy with grief leads to consideration of post-traumatic growth, and adversity activated development.
A review of symptoms resulting from adversity then leads to consideration of the factors that help people rebuild their lives after major adversity, such as safety and security, interpersonal bonds, and networks. A positive sense of one’s identity and role, and feeling that life is just and meaningful, also helps. Effects of the asylum process often counter these factors.
People’s problems often have to be categorised as ‘health’ issues in order to access care. Positive and negative effects of this are reviewed.
It is widely thought that we have good reason to try to be important. Being important or doing significant things is supposed to add value to our lives. In particular, it is supposed to make our lives exceptionally meaningful. This essay develops an alternative view. After exploring what importance is and how it might relate to meaning in life, a series of cases are presented to validate the perspective that being important adds no meaning to our lives. The meaningful life does need valuable projects, activities, and relationships. But no added meaning is secured by those projects, activities, and relationships being especially significant. The extraordinary life has no more meaning than the ordinary life.
In much of the emerging literature in African philosophy on the question of life's meaning, little, if anything, has been said about the relationship between African conceptions of death and the question of life's meaning. Drawing from clues in the literature on African metaphysics/philosophy of religion, this article will argue that within the context of an African conception of death, life is ultimately meaningless. To do this, I will begin by curating an African conception of death that sees death as primarily the disembodiment of subjective consciousness. Through this disembodiment, the individual can approach death with meaning in life and pivot into meaning after life. However, I will show this view to be mistaken on several grounds – the implausibility of the metaphysics grounding the possibility of disembodiment; and the idea of a second death inherent in the African conception of death. Thus, I will conclude that the finality of death provides good reason to acknowledge that life is ultimately meaningless.
Life extension consists in slowing, halting, or even reversing human ageing. I will briefly review why many reputable geroscientists believe this is possible. This raises three areas of ethical concern. First, some people argue that extended life is not desirable, and that we are better off without it. I explain why these are mostly bad arguments, and why, for most people, the advantages of extended life will outweigh whatever disadvantages it may have. The second concern is that widespread use of life extension will cause overpopulation. The third concern is that life extension will be so expensive that not everyone will be able to get it, and this is unjust. These are legitimate concerns, but not insurmountable. After reviewing the ethical issues behind these concerns, I argue that we should develop life extension and make it available provided that we take steps to avoid overpopulation and to distribute life extension fairly.