25 February 2009

Ontological Promiscuity

So I have this new schedule for the remainder of the semester. I impose upon myself to read approximately 5 hours a day, and think for 3 hours a day. This will hopefully hold true except for Tuesday and Friday, because those are the days in which I have a 3-hour class in the morning and I have lab duties or lab meetings in the afternoon.

Now what should be the purpose of this schedule? It is done in order to churn out a dissertation proposal by the end of the semester, and hopefully defend it during the summer. Obviously, writing a dissertation never occurs in a vacuum: one always situates oneself within the current state of affairs. The period of the Renaissance Man is over: chances are other people have done something that relates to one wants to do. So that is basically what I am doing right now, reading and thinking how previous studies have been deficient, and what I can do to improve it.

So yesterday, I went to my friend's orchestra rehearsal. I didn't have to, but I accompanied her. The thing is, I knew that if I just went home straight, I would just be lulled to sleep, and I wouldn't accomplish anything. Yesterday was Tuesday, and so I had a three-hour class in the morning, and I had a three-hour lab duty in the afternoon, which I spent multi-tasking. I would load the experiments and run the subjects in the running rooms, and then when things settle down, I was doing informant work for another classmate of mine (she wanted some Tagalog sentences), and after her, another classmate of mine saw me and asked for my statistical expertise in interpreting a paper we were reading. She asked help how to understand the statistical jargon of the paper. Speaking of which, a number of people in my department already consider me their stats guru. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing. Perhaps it is a good thing, since even though I don't have an interest in what they do, I can devise statistical tests and design experiments for them. Last week, I met with some other graduate student and helped him design his dissertation experiment, telling him how the stimuli are to be constructed, and how the fillers are to be designed as well, to avoid boredom and satiation effects, and so on.

Anyway, that was a long digression. So yeah, the rehearsal yesterday took three hours, so basically, I had three hours of reading time that I added to my schedule yesterday. I learned about ontological promiscuity. It has something to do with one's assumptions on model-theoretic formal semantics and inference.

So there, I don't want to go into technicalities, so I'll leave it at that.

(Latvijas Republikas Vēstniecība, from my Embassy Row Series)

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