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ERIC Number: ED017903
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1964-Feb
Pages: 1
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
COGNITION AND COMPONENTIAL ANALYSIS--GOD'S TRUTH OR HOCUS-POCUS.
BURLING, ROBBINS
IN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDIES THE TECHNIQUE OF COMPONENTIAL ANALYSIS (TAKEN FROM THE FIELD OF FORMAL SEMANTICS) IS APPLIED TO A SET OF TERMS WHICH FORM A CULTURALLY RELEVANT DOMAIN. THIS METHOD PROCEEDS BY RECOGNIZING SEMANTIC DISTINCTIONS (COMPONENTS) WHICH APPORTION THE TERMS OF THE SET INTO CONTRASTING SUB-SETS SUCH THAT EVERY ITEM IS DISTINGUISHED FROM EVERY OTHER ITEM BY AT LEAST ONE COMPONENT. FOR EXAMPLE, IN GIVING A SEMANTIC ANALYSIS OF THE THIRD PERSON SINGULAR PRONOUNS IN ENGLISH (HE, SHE, IT), THERE ARE SIX POSSIBLE ANALYSES OR WAYS OF SEPARATING THEM. FOR SETS OF FOUR ITEMS, THE AUTHOR SETS UP SEVEN DIFFERENT PRIMARY COMPONENTS AND FOUR TYPES, AND HE FINDS THAT "IN PRINCIPLE, THE NUMBER OF POSSIBLE ANALYSES BECOMES INFINITE." THE AUTHOR FEELS THAT GIVEN THIS GREAT NUMBER OF LOGICAL POSSIBILITIES, STRUCTURAL SEMANTICS CANNOT OF ITSELF CLAIM TO PROVIDE AN UNDERSTANDING OF COGNITION. IT IS HIS BELIEF THAT LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF A LANGUAGE DOES NOT DISCOVER THE COGNITIVE SYSTEM OF THE SPEAKERS (GOD'S TRUTH THEORY), BUT PROVIDES US WITH A SET OF RULES (HOCUS-POCUS) WHICH TAKE INTO ACCOUNT OBSERVED PHENOMENA AND ALLOW US TO USE TERMS THE WAY THE SPEAKERS DO. THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN "AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST," VOLUME 66, NUMBER 1, FEBRUARY 1964. (JD)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: N/A