Remembered advice to pregnant mums: speak often to the fœtus, as it is believed that it will begin to adapt to phonemes of its native tongue even before birth. I'm not sure if that's based on actual science, as I can't imagine making a good experiment to test it but I imagine one might be able to make a decent guess based on developmental psychology. If we imagine that adaptation actually happens as early as the advice would suggest, I wonder if the cadence of speech is also adapted to during the same acquisition period. Largely tangental experiment: expose people to muffled noise (or crowd noice) across a spectrum of languages, measuring both activation levels of various language areas (trying to get at the degree to which it "sounds theoretically parsable", a la Dutch to English speakers, attempting to separate that from phonemic cues) and pleasingness (presuming that one's own language has cadence that people tend to find most pleasing among the alternatives - this may be a poor presumption, as personally I find Japanese muffled speech more pleasant than English muffled speech).
- Are there languages you're tempted to learn because they sound nice to you? Do you think that's more because of the sounds or the cadence of the language?
- When listening to music in foreign languages (presuming you do), are there genres that you think are particularly suited for some languages?
In political philosophy: returned to meditations on different conceptions of justice and responsibility. One of the foundations of current trends in western thought on jurisprudence is that of the individual scope - people are not to inherit responsibility for their family's actions, nor that of their society or other larger group, in most cases. While, by and large, I fit into the mainstream on this matter, it's clear that in various places, past and present, acceptance of this is not universal. While we might describe various qualities of this conception, it's difficult to construct an adequate argument against it because it's such a foundational matter - one could easily imagine coherent, working systems with their own attractive features.
On a personal note, I repeat that I have computer and other stuff that I don't need that's free for the taking, and also that I have a wonderful, large, friendly male cat that I would like to hand off in the very near future to someone I know. Please volunteer, someone.