Instructions

The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

We begin with the emergence of the philosophy of the social sciences as an arena of thought and as a set of social institutions. The two characterisations overlap but are not congruent. Academic disciplines are social institutions. . . . My view is that institutions are all those social entities that organise action: they link acting individuals into social structures. There are various kinds of institutions. Hegelians and Marxists emphasise universal institutions such as the family, rituals, governance, economy and the military. These are mostly institutions that just grew. Perhaps in some imaginary beginning of time they spontaneously appeared. In their present incarnations, however, they are very much the product of conscious attempts to mould and plan them. We have family law, established and disestablished churches, constitutions and laws, including those governing the economy and the military. Institutions deriving from statute, like joint-stock companies are formal by contrast with informal ones such as friendships. There are some institutions that come in both informal and formal variants, as well as in mixed ones. Consider the fact that the stock exchange and the black market are both market institutions, one formal one not. Consider further that there are many features of the work of the stock exchange that rely on informal, noncodifiable agreements, not least the language used for communication. To be precise, mixtures are the norm . . . From constitutions at the top to by-laws near the bottom we are always adding to, or tinkering with, earlier institutions, the grown and the designed are intertwined.

It is usual in social thought to treat culture and tradition as different from, although alongside, institutions. The view taken here is different. Culture and tradition are sub-sets of institutions analytically isolated for explanatory or expository purposes. Some social scientists have taken all institutions, even purely local ones, to be entities that satisfy basic human needs - under local conditions . . . Others differed and declared any structure of reciprocal roles and norms an institution. Most of these differences are differences of emphasis rather than disagreements. Let us straddle all these versions and present institutions very generally . . . as structures that serve to coordinate the actions of individuals. . . . Institutions themselves then have no aims or purpose other than those given to them by actors or used by actors to explain them . . .

Language is the formative institution for social life and for science . . . Both formal and informal language is involved, naturally grown or designed. (Language is all of these to varying degrees.) Languages are paradigms of institutions or, from another perspective, nested sets of institutions. Syntax, semantics, lexicon and alphabet/character-set are all institutions within the larger institutional framework of a written language. Natural languages are typical examples of what Ferguson called ‘the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design’[;] reformed natural languages and artificial languages introduce design into their modifications or refinements of natural language. Above all, languages are paradigms of institutional tools that function to coordinate.

Question 10

All of the following inferences from the passage are false, EXCEPT:

Solution

Based on the passage, the correct inference is: Option D - "natural language" refers to that stage of language development where no conscious human intent is evident in the formation of language.

The passage states that natural languages are "the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design," suggesting that they are not consciously designed or modified. Artificial languages and reformed natural languages, on the other hand, are described as introducing "design into their modifications or refinements," indicating that they are consciously modified.

The passage does not support the other inferences. In fact, it suggests that culture and tradition can be understood as subsets of institutions and have analytical, explanatory, and expository power when they are studied in this context. It also suggests that there are both informal and formal institutions, and that many institutions are a mixture of the two, rather than being mutually exclusive categories. The passage also does not imply that institutions like the family, rituals, governance, economy, and the military are natural and cannot be consciously modified; rather, it suggests that these institutions are the product of conscious attempts to mold and plan them, and that they can be modified through processes such as family law, established and disestablished churches, constitutions and laws, and so on [Options A, B and C].

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