The Hodgkin–Huxley (HH) model of the action potential is a theoretical pillar of modern neurobiology. In a number of recent publications, Carl Craver (, , ) has argued that the model is explanatorily deficient because it does not reveal enough about underlying molecular mechanisms. I offer an alternative picture of the HH model, according to which it deliberately abstracts from molecular specifics. By doing so, the model explains whole-cell behaviour as the product of a mass of underlying low-level events. The (...) issue goes beyond cellular neurobiology, for the strategy of abstraction exhibited in the HH case is found in a range of biological contexts. I discuss why it has been largely neglected by advocates of the mechanist approach to explanation. 1 Introduction2 A Primer on the HH Model2.1 The basic qualitative picture2.2 The quantitative model3 Interlude: What Did Hodgkin and Huxley Think?4 Craver’s View4.1 Mechanistic explanation4.2 Sketches4.3 Craver's view: The HH model as a mechanism sketch5 An Alternative View of the HH Model5.1 Another look at the equations5.2 The discrete-gating picture5.3 The road paved by Hodgkin and Huxley5.4 Summary and comparison to Craver6 Conclusion: The HH Model and Mechanistic Explanation6.1 Sketches and abstractions6.2 Why has aggregative abstraction been overlooked? (shrink)
The Nucleus accumbens (Nacc) has been proposed to act as a limbic-motor interface. Here, using invasive intraoperative recordings in an awake patient suffering from obsessive-compulsive disease (OCD), we demonstrate that its activity is modulated by the quality of performance of the subject in a choice reaction time task designed to tap action monitoring processes. Action monitoring, that is, error detection and correction, is thought to be supported by a system involving the dopaminergic midbrain, the basal ganglia, and the medial prefrontal (...) cortex. In surface electrophysiological recordings, action monitoring is indexed by an error-related negativity (ERN) appearing time-locked to the erroneous responses and emanating from the medial frontal cortex. In preoperative scalp recordings the patient's ERN was found to be signifi cantly increased compared to a large (n= 83) normal sample, suggesting enhanced action monitoring processes. Intraoperatively, error-related modulations were obtained from the Nacc but not from a site 5 mm above. Importantly, crosscorrelation analysis showed that error-related activity in the Nacc preceded surface activity by 40 ms. We propose that the Nacc is involved in action monitoring, possibly by using error signals from the dopaminergic midbrain to adjust the relative impact of limbic and prefrontal inputs on frontal control systems in order to optimize goal-directed behavior. (shrink)
The ventral striatum / nucleus accumbens has been implicated in the craving for drugs and alcohol which is a major reason for relapse of addicted people. Craving might be induced by drug-related cues. This suggests that disruption of craving-related neural activity in the nucleus accumbens may significantly reduce craving in alcohol-dependent patients. Here we report on preliminary clinical and neurophysiological evidence in three male patients who were treated with high frequency deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens bilaterally. All three (...) had been alcohol dependent for many years, unable to abstain from drinking, and had experienced repeated relapses prior to the stimulation. After the operation, craving was greatly reduced and all three patients were able to abstain from drinking for extended periods of time. Immediately after the operation but prior to connection of the stimulation electrodes to the stimulator, local field potentials were obtained from the externalized cables in two patients while they performed cognitive tasks addressing action monitoring and incentive salience of drug related cues. LFPs in the action monitoring task provided further evidence for a role of the nucleus accumbens in goal-directed behaviors. Importantly, alcohol related cue stimuli in the incentive salience task modulated LFPs even though these cues were presented outside of the attentional focus. This implies that cue-related craving involves the nucleus accumbens and is highly automatic. (shrink)
I examine different arguments that could be used to establish indeterminism of neurological processes. Even though scenarios where single events at the molecular level make the difference in the outcome of such processes are realistic, this falls short of establishing indeterminism, because it is not clear that these molecular events are subject to quantum mechanical uncertainty. Furthermore, attempts to argue for indeterminism autonomously (i.e., independently of quantum mechanics) fail, because both deterministic and indeterministic models can account for the empirically observed (...) behavior of ion channels. (shrink)
Hodgkin and Huxley’s model of the action potential is an apparent dream case of covering‐law explanation in biology. The model includes laws of physics and chemistry that, coupled with details about antecedent and background conditions, can be used to derive features of the action potential. Hodgkin and Huxley insist that their model is not an explanation. This suggests either that subsuming a phenomenon under physical laws is insufficient to explain it or that Hodgkin and Huxley were wrong. I defend Hodgkin (...) and Huxley against Weber’s heteronomy thesis and argue that explanations are descriptions of mechanisms. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Philosophy‐Neuroscience‐Psychology Program, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, Wilson Hall, St. Louis, MO 63130; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Hodgkin and Huxley’s 1952 model of the action potential is an apparent dream case of covering-law explanation. The model appeals to general laws of physics and chemistry (specifically, Ohm’s law and the Nernst equation), and the laws, coupled with details about antecedent and background conditions, entail many of the significant properties of the action potential. However, Hodgkin and Huxley insist that their model falls short of an explanation. This historical fact suggests either that there is more to explaining the action (...) potential than subsuming it under a general laws or that Hodgkin and Huxley were wrong about the explanatory import of their model. In this paper, I defend Hodgkin and Huxley’s view that their model alone does not explain the action potential (contra Weber 2005). I argue further that neuroscientists lacked crucial explanatory details about the action potential until they could describe the molecular and ionic mechanisms by virtue of which their model holds (see Bogen 2005). Mathematical generalizations are important epistemic tools for assessing mechanistic explanations, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient for adequate explanations, even at the lowest levels of organization where biological phenomena are integrated with physics and chemistry. (shrink)
After a brief review of the field formulations and the relativistic non-instantaneous action-at-a-distance formulations of some well known classical theories, we study Rivacoba’s generalization of a theory with a linearly rising potential as a relativistic non-instantaneous action-at-a-distance theory. For this case we construct the corresponding field theory, which turns out to coincide with a model proposed by Kiskis to describe strong interactions. We construct the action functional for this field theory. Although this model belongs to the class of Lagrangian theories (...) with higher derivatives, it is shown that its action-at-a-distance counterpart has a much simpler form. A proposal to construct an action-at-a-distance description of Yang-Mills interactions is also presented. (shrink)
The question of whether our behaviour is guided by our conscious intentions is gaining momentum within the field of cognitive neuroscience. It has been demonstrated that the subjective experience that conscious intentions are the driving force of our actions, is built partially on a post hoc reconstruction. Our hypothesis was that this reconstructive process is mediated by an action-monitoring system that compares the predicted and the actual sensory consequences of an action. We applied Event Related Potentials (ERP) to a variant (...) of the Libet’s task in which participants were asked to press a button and to report the time of decision –will judgment (W) – to press. We provided delayed auditory feedbacks after participants’ action to signify an action time later than the actual action. We found that auditory feedbacks evoked a negative component in the 250–300 time range, namely action-effect negativity (NAE), that is thought to reflect the activity of a system that detects violation from expectancies. We showed that the amplitude of the NAE was sensitive to the delay of the auditory feedback, with a larger amplitude for more delayed feedbacks. Furthermore, changes in the NAE were also associated with changes in the reported W. These results not only confirm that we infer the time we decided to act from events occurring after the response, but these results also indicate that the subjective experience of when an action is decided is influenced by the activity of an action-monitoring system that detects mismatches between predicted and actual sensory consequences of the actions. (shrink)
The Nucleus Accumbens (NAcc) is an important structure for the transfer of information between cortical and subcortical structures, especially the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. However, the mechanism that allows the NAcc to achieve this integration is not well understood. Phase-amplitude cross-frequency coupling (PAC) of oscillations in different frequency bands has been proposed as an effective mechanism to form functional networks to optimize transfer and integration of information. Here we assess PAC between theta and high gamma oscillations as a potential (...) mechanism that facilitates motor adaptation. To address this issue we recorded intracranial field potentials directly from the bilateral human NAcc in three patients while they performed a motor learning task that varied in the level of cognitive control needed to perform the task. As in rodents, PAC was observable in the human NAcc, transiently occurring contralateral to a movement following the motor response. Importantly, PAC correlated with the level of cognitive control needed to monitor the action performed.This functional relation indicates that the NAcc is engaged in action monitoring and supports the evaluation of motor programs during adaptive behavior by means of PAC. (shrink)
This article applies reflexive and dialogue oriented approaches to municipal planning. Experience from the dialogical development process in Vennesla is discussed, highlighting the potential of collaborative work in a development coalition. Dialogue and democracy in the coalition are discussed, emphasising the social construction of meaning and knowledge.
A comparison of disjunctive theories of action and perception. The development of a theory of action that warrants the name, a disjunctive theory. On this theory, there is an exclusive disjunction: either an action or an event (in one sense). It follows that in that sense basic actions do not have events intrinsic to them.
Is the thought that having a reason for action can also be the cause of the action for which it is the reason coherent? This is an attempt to say exactly what is involved in such a thought, with special reference to the case of con-reasons, reasons that count against the action the agent eventually choses.
This article reviews some recent empirical work on lay judgments about what agents do intentionally and what they intend in various stories and explores its bearing on the philosophical project of providing a conceptual analysis of intentional action. The article is a case study of the potential bearing of empirical studies of a variety of folk concepts on philosophical efforts to analyze those concepts and vice versa. Topics examined include double effect; the influence of moral considerations on judgments about what (...) is done intentionally and about what is intended; the influence of considerations of luck, skill, and causal deviance on judgments about what agents do intentionally; what interesting properties all cases of intentional action might share; and the debate between proponents of, respectively, "the Simple View" of the connection between intentional action and intention and "the Single Phenomenon View" of that connection. A substantial body of literature is devoted to the project of analyzing intentional action  . In this article, I explore the bearing on that project of some recent empirical work on lay judgments about what is done intentionally and about what is intended. This article may reasonably be regarded as a case study of the potential bearing of empirical studies of a range of folk concepts on philosophical efforts to analyze those concepts and, likewise, of the potential bearing of attempted philosophical analyses of folk concepts on empirical studies of those concepts. (shrink)
In this paper, I draw on the mutually implicated structures of tragedy and self-formation found in Hegel’s use of Sophocles’ Antigone in the Phenomenology. By emphasizing the apparent distinction between particular and universal in Hegel’s reading of the tragedies in Antigone, I propose that a tragedy of action (which particularizes a universal) is inescapable for subjectivity understood as socially constituted and always already socially engaged. I consider universal/particular relations in three communities: Hegel’s Greek polis, his community of conscience, and my (...) reading of certain feminist communities. The position I propose establishes a ground from which to approach subjects, and implies that all subjects may be understood as the result of relations embodying potential tragedy. This speaks to contemporary concerns about marginalization, identity articulation, and relations of recognition. (shrink)
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a well-accepted treatment for movement disorders and is currently explored as a treatment option for various neurological and psychiatric disorders. Several case studies suggest that DBS may, in some patients, influence mental states critical to personality to such an extent that it affects an individual’s personal identity, i.e. the experience of psychological continuity, of persisting through time as the same person. Without questioning the usefulness of DBS as a treatment option for various serious and treatment (...) refractory conditions, the potential of disruptions of psychological continuity raises a number of ethical and legal questions. An important question is that of legal responsibility if DBS induced changes in a patient’s personality result in damage caused by undesirable or even deviant behavior. Disruptions in psychological continuity can in some cases also have an effect on an individual’s mental competence. This capacity is necessary in order to obtain informed consent to start, continue or stop treatment, and it is therefore not only important from an ethical point of view but also has legal consequences. Taking the existing literature and the Dutch legal system as a starting point, the present paper discusses the implications of DBS induced disruptions in psychological continuity for a patient’s responsibility for action and competence of decision and raises a number of questions that need further research. (shrink)
The major claims of this dissertation are that there is a discrete mode of action that we can identify as spontaneity, that spontaneity in this sense is fundamentally based on affectivity, and that it is most accurately described as aesthetic spontaneity. Aesthetic spontaneity is a mode of action overlooked in Western philosophy but prized and cultivated in Far Eastern thought and lately described in detail by psychologists. The qualifier "aesthetic" is added to "spontaneity" to distinguish it from the spontaneity often (...) referred to in Western metaphysics, particularly in reference to free will. -/- In contemporary philosophy, action has most often been analyzed in relation to intention in an attempt to uncover its factors of incipience, with relatively little attention given to modes of action. This dissertation will address such issues as intention and free will but in a peripheral way as they pertain to particular historical topics under discussion. The focus instead will be on understanding the modality of spontaneity. -/- The earliest extensive account of aesthetic spontaneity is found in the early Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi, roughly contemporaneous with Plato. In order to understand Zhuangzi's account, however, on must first confront two outstanding issues in his work, both of which bear on his understanding of affectivity. Zhuangzi's terminology can often be opaque, and one of his most notoriously difficult terms is translated by A. C. Graham as "essential" and by Victor Mair as "emotion." The term in Chinese is qing 情, which in later Chinese thought unequivocally bears the meaning of emotion but at this early date means something more akin to an environmental affectivity. In Chapter 1, I delineate this meaning in some detail by looking at the uses of qing in a range of early Chinese works, with the aim of demonstrating definitively that the term does, contra Graham, have affective connotations and that they are essential to understanding Zhuangzi's notion of aesthetic spontaneity. On the whole, Zhuangzi's attitude toward affectivity appears ambiguous, which is the second issue I approach. On the one hand, he advocates an open acceptance, even an active fascination, with all natural transformations, including those of an individual's body, but on the other hand, he appears to suggest that affective transformations should be dampened or overcome. In order to speak authoritatively about Zhuangzi's notion of affectivity, this apparent contradiction requires elucidation. -/- In the second chapter, I begin a fuller exploration of affectivity, beginning with a neglected side of Plato. First, drawing on the work of Suzanne Langer, Alfred North Whitehead, and Robert Solomon, I expand the notion of affectivity to include all cognitive activity in an attempt to reintegrate the Platonic body and mind. At first glance, this may appear to be an impossible task, but I find a significant amount of evidence in works other than the Republic (the work usually chosen for examination of his psychology) to support this claim, and by delineating a notion of aesthetic affectivity going back to the original meaning of aesthetics in Baumgarten that includes all sensibilities of the human being, I am able to reconstruct a notion of an integrated self in Plato that contradicts Charles Taylor's divided Platonic self. After coming to a physiological understanding of aesthetic affectivity in Plato, I turn to Aristotle for an understanding of the need for cultivated aesthetic affectivity. While the integrated body and mind is receiving quite a bit of attention in contemporary philosophy, the notion of self-cultivation is not. After reviewing the evidence for such a need in Aristotle, I turn to Richard Schusterman's pragmatic aesthetics to demonstrate how the notion of self-cultivation can still contribute to a robust contemporary philosophical anthropology, and this understanding will contribute to the notion of cultivating aesthetic spontaneity in Chapter 5. -/- In Chapter 3, I undertake a nuanced definition of "spontaneity" by going back to Zhuangzi. I analyze a significant number of passages of Zhuangzi that center on descriptions of spontaneous activity and distill out aspects that may serve as a heuristic definition of "spontaneity", namely, holistic fluency. I identify wholeness as entailing processes of collection (calm focus) and shedding (of distractions, consideration of rewards, discursive knowledge, selfishness, the external form of an object, etc.). Fluency involves responsiveness and ease and is derivative of wholeness. The purpose of delineating a definition of spontaneity is to be able to work with it as a useful philosophical concept, something that has not been possible up to now. In this chapter, I engage the work of Angus Graham, who has done the most with the notion of spontaneity, and of Hans Georg Gadamer, comparing his work on ease with a Zhuangzian notion. After defining spontaneity, I canvass the history of Western philosophy in an attempt to find terms of our tradition that may be useful in incorporating a Zhuangzian notion of spontaneity into contemporary philosophy. There is also the need to clear the air of other uses of the term "spontaneity" that could create confusion. I begin with notions of automaton, physis, and hexis in Aristotle, move on to Chryssipus and Epicurus, then because talk of spontaneity is dominated by the free will vs. determinism debate for the next 1,500 or more years, I skip to Rousseau. With Rousseau, and later Mill, I demonstrate how an early paradox of spontaneity persists, suggesting that this paradox rests on certain metaphysical assumptions and how one cannot speak of Zhuangzian spontaneity under those assumptions. I also entertain Kant and McDowell's notions of cognitive spontaneity and a related notion in Sartre. Schiller's and Gadamer's notions of play are also considered. Most important in all these considerations, perhaps, is grasping the contemporary, scientific understanding of emergent order. By understanding spontaneity in thoroughly naturalistic terms and by clearing the air of the roadblock of free-will, I pave the way for a viable theoretic understanding of aesthetic spontaneity. -/- Unlike popular notions of spontaneity, Daoist spontaneity involves more than impulsiveness. In Chapter 4, I explain that the aesthetic of spontaneity relies on a notion of experience that arises out of complex interaction with our environment that is conceptualized by Daoists as the chaos of the inchoate, a primal disorder that is the seat of potent creativity. Through the Daoists Laozi and Zhuangzi, and drawing on John Dewey's theory of experience, I show how aesthetic experience relies on a reservoir of inchoate potential in achieving spontaneous action. I also draw on John Dewey in formulating the role of habit in spontaneity. Habit can be conceived as a trigger or spring that releases spontaneous actions, but Dewey also says that there must be more to spontaneous action than habit. I clarify this issue and take preliminary steps to providing a resolution. -/- Continuing with the issue the theory of spontaneous action from earlier chapters, in chapter 5, I offer a fully conceptualized account of spontaneous action. First, I reiterate the relationship of spontaneity to affectivity by explaining how affectivity understood as responsiveness culminates in an ideal that we call spontaneity. I then offer a new categorization of the arts into "active" and "non-active", a distinction that brings into focus the fact that the aesthetic value of some arts relies on the actions in the process of the creation or performance of a work. These works cannot be experienced apart from actions, and it is the spontaneity of the actions, I argue, that contributes to the success of the works. -/- . (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to challenge the claim that the neural activity commonly referred to as 'readiness potential' constitutes evidence for the unconscious initiation of action. Although I accept that such neural activity seriously challenges the commonly held view that one's sense of volition is causally efficacious, I nevertheless contend that much of our everyday engagement with the world is consciously initiated. Thus, a distinction is made between awareness and what the awareness is of: the latter constituting the (...) conscious decision to act in accordance with one's goal, or what I have termed intentional project. Initiation of an action in accordance with one's intentional project grounds the action in meaning, something that would be lacking in an exclusively unconscious decision to act. (shrink)
The aim of our paper is to show that there is a sense of body that is enactive in nature and that enables to capture the most primitive sense of self. We will argue that the body is primarily given to us as source or power for action, i.e., as the variety of motor potentialities that define the horizon of the world in which we live, by populating it with things at hand to which we can be directed and with (...) other bodies we can interact with. We will show that this sense of body as bodily self is, on the one hand, antecedent the distinction between sense of agency and sense of ownership, and, on the other, it enables and refines such distinction, providing a conceptual framework for the coherent interpretation of a variety of behavioral and neuropsychological data. We will conclude by positing that the basic experiences we entertain of our selves as bodily selves are from the very beginning driven by our interactions with other bodies as they are underpinned by the mirror mechanism. (shrink)
In this paper we present an executable approach to model interactions between agents that involve sensitive, privacy-related information. The approach is formal and based on deontic, epistemic and action logic. It is conceptually related to the Belief-Desire-Intention model of Bratman. Our approach uses the concept of sphere as developed by Waltzer to capture the notion that information is provided mostly with restrictions regarding its application. We use software agent technology to create an executable approach. Our agents hold beliefs about the (...) world, have goals and commitment to the goals. They have the capacity to reason about different courses of action, and communicate with one another. The main new ingredient of our approach is the idea to model information itself as an intentional agent whose main goal it is to preserve the integrity of the information and regulate its dissemination. We demonstrate our approach by applying it to an important process in the insurance industry: applying for a life insurance. In this paper we will: (1) describe the challenge organizational complexity poses in moral reasoning about informational relationships; (2) propose an executable approach, using software agents with reasoning capacities grounded in modal logic, in which moral constraints on informational relatio nships can be modeled and investigated; (3) describe the details of our approach, in which information itself is modeled as an intentional agent in its own right; (4) test and validate it by applying it to a concrete ‘hard case’ from the insurance industry; and (5) conclude that our approach upholds and offers potential for both research and practical application. (shrink)
Over the last 20 years, the topics of action observation (AO) and motor imagery (MI) have been largely studied in isolation from each other, despite the early integrative account by Jeannerod (1994, 2001). Recent neuroimaging studies demonstrate enhanced cortical activity when AO and MI are performed concurrently ('AO+MI'), compared to either AO or MI performed in isolation. These results indicate the potentially beneficial effects of AO+MI, and they also demonstrate that the underlying neurocognitive processes are partly shared. We separately review (...) the evidence for MI and AO as forms of motor simulation, and present two quantitative literature analyses that indeed indicate rather little overlap between the two bodies of research. We then propose a spectrum of concurrent AO+MI states, from congruent AO+MI where the contents of AO and MI widely overlap, over coordinative AO+MI, where observed and imagined action are different but can be coordinated with each other, to cases of conflicting AO+MI. We believe that an integrative account of AO and MI is theoretically attractive, that it should generate novel experimental approaches, and that it can also stimulate a wide range of applications in sport, occupational therapy, and neurorehabilitation. (shrink)
Rural development policies are often inspired by narratives that are difficult to challenge because they are based on an apparently obvious and coherent reading of reality. Research may confront such narratives and trigger debates outside the academic community, but this can have a feedback effect and lead to a simplistic or biased posture in research. This article analyzes a research-based initiative that questioned a commonly held narrative in large-scale irrigation schemes in Morocco concerning the structural weaknesses of farmer-led collective action. (...) This initiative conceived an alternative narrative of farmer-led collective action, based on research and actions undertaken in collaboration with the farmers. The article assesses to what extent it was possible to design this narrative and to draw on it to orient research activities, actions with farmers and public engagement, without impairing the quality of the research process. The alternative narrative was designed and diffused based on three intertwined activities: (1) the identification and analysis of farmer-led collective actions, (2) the diffusion of information on successful farmer-led collective actions especially through the production of videos, and (3) exchanges with and between local farmers’ organizations. The alternative narrative that resulted from these activities emphasizes the potentialities of farmer-led collective action, and more broadly, the willingness and capabilities of many family farmers to play an active role in the governance of rural areas. The message of the alternative narrative and the distinction made between the research articles and videos in both their content and role ensured that research did not fall into simplistic or biased analyses. The alternative narrative also became a key to renewed relations between farmers and researchers and helped design training for students that pay more attention to local dynamics. In a situation in which scheme-level organizations show limited interest in reflexive enquiry, this initiative proposes some stepping stones to make it possible for changing narratives to accompany changing relations between actors. (shrink)
Maximizing gains during probabilistic reinforcement learning requires the updating of choice–outcome expectations at the time when the feedback about a specific choice or action is given. Extant theories and evidence suggest that dopaminergic modulation plays a crucial role in reinforcement learning and the updating of choice–outcome expectations. Furthermore, recently a positive component of the event-related potential (ERP) about 200 msec (P2) after feedback has been suggested to reflect such updating. The efficacy of dopaminergic modulation changes across the life span. However, (...) to date investigations of age-related differences in feedback-related P2 during reinforcement learning are still scarce. The present study thus aims to investigate whether individual differences in the feedback-related P2 would be associated with polymorphic variations in a dopamine relevant gene PPP1R1B (also known as DARPP-32) and whether the genetic effect may differ between age groups. We observed larger P2 amplitudes in individuals carrying the genotype associated with higher dopamine receptor efficacy, i.e., A allele homozygotes of a single nucleotide polymorphism (rs907094) of the PPP1R1B gene. Moreover, this effect was more pronounced in children and older adults in comparison to adolescents and younger adults. Together, our findings indicate that polymorphic variations in a dopamine relevant gene are associated with individual differences in brain-evoked potentials of outcome updating and hint at the possibility that genotype effects on neurocognitive phenotypes may vary as a function of brain maturation and aging. (shrink)
Action research has been extensively used world-wide for decision making related to policy due to its nature of involving the researcher and decision maker in the process. Following independence in India, one of the major revolutions was brought about in the dairy sector with regard to complete management systems. Most innovations and changes occurred in the line function while the staff function was more often neglected in the overall change. The authors undertook an action research study focusing on staff function (...) and relayed improvements that can influence policy related to decision making. The authors have also developed the MPS model for staff function which can help a company or industry in appraising their own staff and functions which can thereby aid in utilising their potential. (shrink)
The most efficient way to acquire motor skills may be through physical practice. Nevertheless, it has also been shown that action observation may improve motor performance. The aim of the present pilot study was to examine a potential action observation paradigm used to 1) capture the superior performance of expert athletes and 2) capture the underlying neural mechanisms of successful action observation in relation to task experience. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure regional blood flow while presenting (...) videos of a hockey player shooting a puck towards a hockey goal. The videos (a total of 120) where stopped at different time frames with different amount of information provided, creating a paradigm with three different levels of difficulty to decide the fate of a shot. Since this was only a pilot study, we first tested the paradigm behaviorally on 6 elite expert hockey players, 5 intermediate players, and 6 non-hockey playing controls. The results showed that expert hockey players were significantly (p < .05) more accurate on deciding the fate of the action compared to the others. Thus, it appears as if the paradigm can capture superior performance of expert athletes (aim 1). We then tested 3 of the hockey players and 3 of the controls on the same paradigm in the MRI scanner to investigate the underlying neural mechanisms of successful action anticipation. The imaging results showed that when expert hockey players observed and correctly anticipated situations, they recruited motor and temporal regions of the brain. Novices, on the other hand, relied on visual regions during observation and prefrontal regions during action decision. Thus, the results from the imaging data suggest that different networks of the brain are recruited depending on task experience (aim 2). In conclusion, depending on the level of motor skill of the observer, when correctly anticipating actions different neural systems will be recruited. (shrink)
This article compares the potential of classical and connectionist computational concepts for explanations of innate infant knowledge and of its development. It focuses on issues relating to: the perceptual process; the control and form(s) of perceptual-behavioural coordination; the role of environmental structure in the organization of action; and the construction of novel forms of activity. There is significant compatibility between connectionist and classical views of computation, though classical concepts are, at present, better able to provide a comprehensive computational view of (...) the infant. However, Varela's “enaction” perspective poses a significant challenge for both approaches. (shrink)
This paper argues that contemporary philosophy of mind and action could learn much from the structure of action explanation manifested in ancient Greek tragedy, which is less deterministic than typically supposed and which does not conflate the motivation of action with its causal production.
Collective action processes in complex, multiple-use common-pool resources (CPRs) have only recently become a focus of study. When CPRs evolve into more complex systems, resource use by separate user groups becomes increasingly interdependent. This implies, amongst others, that the institutional framework governing resource use has to be re-negotiated to avoid adverse impacts associated with the increased access of any new stakeholders, such as overexploitation, alienation of traditional users, and inter-user conflicts. The establishment of “platforms for resource use negotiation” is a (...) way of dealing with complex natural resource management problems. Platforms arise when stakeholders perceive the same resource management problem, realize their interdependence in solving it, and come together to agree on action strategies for solving the problem (Röling, 1994). This article sets the scene for a discussion in this Special Issue about the potential of nested platforms for resource use negotiation in facilitating collective action in the management of complex, multiple-use CPRs. The article has five objectives. First, we define “collective action” in the context of this paper. Second, we discuss the importance of collective action in multiple-use CPRs. Third, we introduce the concept of platforms to coordinate collective action by multiple users. Fourth, we address some issues that emerge from evidence in the field regarding the role and potential of nested platforms for managing complex CPRs. Finally, we raise five discussion statements. These will form the basis for the collection of articles in this special issue. (shrink)
In this paper, I critically assess the enactive account of visual perception recently defended by Alva Noë (2004). I argue inter alia that the enactive account falsely identifies an object’s apparent shape with its 2D perspectival shape; that it mistakenly assimilates visual shape perception and volumetric object recognition; and that it seriously misrepresents the constitutive role of bodily action in visual awareness. I argue further that noticing an object’s perspectival shape involves a hybrid experience combining both perceptual and imaginative elements (...) – an act of what I call ‘make-perceive.’. (shrink)
Judging by our folk appraisals, then, knowledge and action are intimately related. The theories of rational action with which we are familiar leave this unexplained. Moreover, discussions of knowledge are frequently silent about this connection. This is a shame, since if there is such a connection it would seem to constitute one of the most fundamental roles for knowledge. Our purpose in this paper is to rectify this lacuna, by exploring ways in which knowing something is related to rationally acting (...) upon it, defending one particular proposal against anticipated objections. (shrink)
Affirmative action refers to positive steps taken to hire persons from groups previously and presently discriminated against. Considerable evidence indicates that this discrimination is intractable and cannot be eliminated by the enforcement of laws. Numerical goals and quotas are justified if and only if they are necessary to overcome the discriminatory effects that could not otherwise be eliminated with reasonable efficiency. Many past as well as present policies are justified in this way.
Within philosophy there is not yet an integrative account of unreflective skillful action. As a starting point, contributions would be required from philosophers from both the analytic and continental traditions. Starting from the McDowell-Dreyfus debate, shared Aristotelian-Wittgensteinian common ground is identified. McDowell and Dreyfus agree about the importance of embodied skills, situation-specific discernment and responsiveness to relevant affordances. This sheds light on the embodied and situated nature of adequate unreflective action and provides a starting point for the development of an (...) account that does justice to insights from both philosophical traditions. (shrink)
Affirmative action has been a particularly contentious policy issue that has polarised contributions to the debate. Over recent times in most western countries, support for affirmative action has, however, been largely snuffed out or beaten into retreat and replaced by the concept of ‹diversity management’. Thus, any contemporary study that examines the development of affirmative action would suggest that its opponents have won the battle. Nonetheless, this article argues that because the battle has been won on dubious ethical grounds it (...) is important that we do not allow affirmative action to sink unnoticed. This article explores and challenges the ethical and philosophical underpinnings of opponents’ views and finds their cases against affirmative action are not ethically sound. The article concludes there are strong ethical grounds for those organisations which seek to do well, to reassert affirmative action programmes in the global efforts to eradicate systemic discrimination and disadvantage. (shrink)