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Abstract

Significant linguistic universals exist and significant musical universals exist. Both are cultural universals. Significance via irreducibility to noncultural biological phenomena rests in the centrality of knowledge-acquisition for each activity. Cultural universals are unreducible (non-natural) when part of the required knowledge remains non-innate. Surprises result from applying current neo-essentialism (Kripke)—e.g., words are like natural kinds and have essential properties only empirically discoverable (including meanings!); melodies also have essential empirical properties (Happy Birthday’s dominant beginning and tonic end); and the locus of contingency is shifted to the decisions and actions of cultural participants.

Keywords

Natural Kind Linguistic Universal Definite Description Cultural Phenomenon Natural Kind Term 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip L. Peterson
    • 1
  1. 1.Syracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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