A large body of literature agrees that persons with schizophrenia suffer from a Theory of Mind (ToM) deficit. However, most empirical studies have focused on third-person, egocentric ToM, underestimating other facets of this complex cognitive skill. Aim of this research is to examine the ToM of schizophrenic persons considering its various aspects (first vs. second order, first vs. third person, egocentric vs. allocentric, beliefs vs. desires (...) vs. positive emotions vs. negative emotions and how each of these mental state types may be dealt with), to determine whether some components are more impaired than others. We developed a Theory of Mind Assessment Scale (Th.o.m.a.s.) and administered it to 22 persons with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia and a matching control group. Th.o.m.a.s. is a semi-structured interview which allows a multi-component measurement of ToM. Both groups were also administered a few existing ToM tasks and the schizophrenic subjects were administered the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale and the WAIS-R. The schizophrenic persons performed worse than control at all the ToM measurements; however, these deficits appeared to be differently distributed among different components of ToM. Our conclusion is that ToM deficits are not unitary in schizophrenia, which also testifies to the importance of a complete and articulated investigation of ToM. (shrink)
Following closely the footprint of the traditional New Testament reflection in Rom. 10,16 and in Io. 12,37 (= Is. 53,1), Justin inserts the poem of the SufferingServant (Is. 52,13-53,12) within his account of the paradoxical and problematic refusal of Israel (1 apol. 50,2.3-11; 51,1-5; 52,3), and within a impressive baptismal catechesis (dial. 13,2-9), the most primitive echo of which is seen in Act. 8,26-40. Notwithstanding the view offered by other scholars, the Christian hermeneutics of Is. 53, has played an incisive (...) role in the theological reflection of the first Christian community. Justin witnesses to its use within a reflection that takes into consideration the tension and negativity among early Christians surrounding the relationship between the two Testaments. He overcomes this tension by pointing out the perfect harmony between them, the essence of which is found in the prophecy of the Servant of YHWH. (shrink)
Evidence of relaxation has been observed in ferromagnetic Ni?Mn?Ga single crystals. The relaxation may be explained by a change in symmetry-conforming short-range ordering according to Ren and Otsuka in this off-stoichimetric ordered alloy. Martensite stabilization has also been found after martensite ageing.
The desire to use established corporate law skill sets in the pro bono context has lead some lawyers to extend pro bono services to charitable and non-profit organisations. But does the provision of free legal services to well-funded organisations constitute pro bono work, and how can providers of pro bono legal services best prioritise among competing organisations? The author surveys various sources of formal and informal regulation in Singapore and selected Asian and other common law jurisdictions (...) and suggests that when distinguishing between non-profit organisations with different levels of funding, a coherent guideline would evaluate whether the payment of legal fees would deplete economic resources to the extent of significantly impairing organisation programmes. (shrink)
The discussion of ethics, corporate responsibility and its educational dimensions focuses primarily on CSR, corporate citizenship and philanthropic theory and practise. The partnership between Microsoft Corporation and UNHCR was launched to help the victims of the Kosovo crisis, at the same time as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gained momentum, and in particular, at the same time as Microsoft experienced a decrease in stock value. This case study sheds light on a decade of Microsoft Corp. efforts to align business (...) objectives with refugee aid, by use of corporate expertise and company revenues. As a leader in technology and corporate citizenship, can Microsoft bridge the digital divide for the disadvantaged and arouse the unlimited potential of tomorrow’s leaders, as the company claims in its communications? Is the partnership beneficial to UNHCR, in line with corporate objectives of “doing big things” and “doing good”? (shrink)
Recently, Julian Savulescu and Guy Kahane have defended the Principle of Procreative Beneficence (PB), according to which prospective parents ought to select children with the view that their future child has ‘the best chance of the best life’. I argue that the arguments Savulescu and Kahane adduce in favour of PB equally well support what I call the Principle of General Procreative Beneficence (GPB). GPB states that couples ought to select children in view of maximizing the overall expected value in (...) the world, not just the welfare of their future child. I further argue that Savulescu and Kahane's claim that PB has significantly more weight than competing moral principles, such as GPB, lacks justification. A possible argument for PB having significant weight builds on a principle of parental partiality towards one's own children. But this principle does not support PB; it supports a Principle of Sibling-Oriented Procreative Beneficence (SPB), according to which parents selecting a child should maximize the benefit of all their children. Indeed, PB itself will in some cases be self-effacing in favour of SPB. (shrink)
We present the case of a six-year-old child with a fatal brainstem tumour, who was left in a ‘locked-in state’ post-decompressive biopsy. A discussion of the ethical dilemma this situation presents, together with the deliberations of the ethics service when consulted about the optimal course of action, follow. The issues raised highlight an important conflict between the parental view of what is in the child's best interests and what may appear, prima facie, to clinical staff, to be in that child's (...) best interests. We discuss how creative ethical thinking may facilitate resolution of seemingly insoluble situations. (shrink)
The thesis that Dennett argues for in Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon has a double aspect. First, religion being but one natural phenomenon among many should be subject to scientific investigation. Resistance to this notion constitutes the first spell or taboo and is in complicity with the second “master” spell, that of the phenomenon of religion itself. Dennett’s tentative naturalistic recommendation is two-pronged: he primarily deploys an evolutionary biology perspective, and derivatively a highly suggestive appeal to memetics. (...) To acknowledge that religion is natural “is only the beginning of the answer, not the end”. Religion as a natural phenomenon has to answer to Dennett’s Darwinist refrain — cui bono? (to whose advantage?). And derivatively, how or why highly exotic and implausible supernatural religious ideas (or memes) are transmitted and sustained? Humankind, naturally disposed cause-seeking creatures, are inclined to hypostasize all manner of beliefs (virtual agents free to evolve to amplify our yearnings or our dreads — when explanation of some phenomenon is not forthcoming — this constitutes the “master” spell. (shrink)
Cognitive science is, more than anything else, a pursuit of cognitive mechanisms. To make headway towards a mechanistic account of any particular cognitive phenomenon, a researcher must choose among the many architectures available to guide and constrain the account. It is thus fitting that this volume on contemporary debates in cognitive science includes two issues of architecture, each articulated in the 1980s but still unresolved:
• Just how modular is the mind? (section 1) – a debate initially pitting encapsulated (...) mechanisms (Fodorian modules that feed their ultimate outputs to a nonmodular central cognition) against highly interactive ones (e.g., connectionist networks that continuously feed streams of output to one another). • Does the mind process language-like representations according to formal rules? (this section) – a debate initially pitting symbolic architectures (such as Chomsky’s generative grammar or Fodor’s language of thought) against less language-like architectures (such as connectionist or dynamical ones).
Our project here is to consider the second issue within the broader context of where cognitive science has been and where it is headed. The notion that cognition in general—not just language processing—involves rules operating on language-like representations actually predates cognitive science. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental life is construed as involving propositional attitudes—that is, such attitudes towards propositions as believing, fearing, and desiring that they be true—and logical inferences from them. On this view, if a person desires that a proposition be true and believes that if she performs a certain action it will become true, she will make the inference and (absent any overriding consideration) perform the action. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate the philosophical developments at the heart of what appears to be the earliest systematic formulation of the doctrine of the transcendentals by comparing the first questions of Philip the Chancellor''sSumma de bono (the so-called first treatise on the transcendentals — ca. 1230) with its immediate ancestor, a small group of questions from William of Auxerre''sSumma aurea (ca. 1220). I argue that Philip''s innovative position on the relation between being and goodness, the centerpiece of his (...) doctrine of the transcendentals, is motivated by an Aristotelian conception of theoretical knowledge that grounds inquiry in metaphysical classification and definition understood in terms of Aristotle''s doctrine of the categories. The concerns about taxonomy and definition that Philip introduces into the early thirteenth-century discussion of the metaphysics of goodness lead him to the theses that are the foundations of the medieval doctrine of the transcendentals, among them that being and goodness are conceptually distinct but the same in reality. (shrink)
In the context of mechanistic explanation, reductionistic research pursues a decomposition of complex systems into their component parts and operations. Using research on circadian rhythms and memory consolidation as exemplars, we consider the gains to be made by finding genes and proteins that figure in mechanisms underlying behavioral phenomena. However, we also show that such research is insufficient to explain the initial phenomenon. Accordingly, researchers have increasingly recognized the need to consider higher-level organization and integration with other systems. This illustrates (...) a common need to complement reductionistic inquiry with investigations at higher levels and identifies a trajectory whereby cognitive science can embrace molecular neuroscience without surrendering its own contributions. (shrink)
Explaining the complex dynamics exhibited in many biological mechanisms requires extending the recent philosophical treatment of mechanisms that emphasizes sequences of operations. To understand how nonsequentially organized mechanisms will behave, scientists often advance what we call dynamic mechanistic explanations. These begin with a decomposition of the mechanism into component parts and operations, using a variety of laboratory-based strategies. Crucially, the mechanism is then recomposed by means of computational models in which variables or terms in differential equations correspond to properties of (...) its parts and operations. We provide two illustrations drawn from research on circadian rhythms. Once biologists identified some of the components of the molecular mechanism thought to be responsible for circadian rhythms, computational models were used to determine whether the proposed mechanisms could generate sustained oscillations. Modeling has become even more important as researchers have recognized that the oscillations generated in individual neurons are synchronized within networks; we describe models being employed to assess how different possible network architectures could produce the observed synchronized activity. (shrink)
We contrast reactive and endogenously active perspectives on brain activity. Both have been pursued continuously in neurophysiology laboratories since the early 20thcentury, but the endogenous perspective has received relatively little attention until recently. One of the many successes of the reactive perspective was the identification, in the second half of the 20th century, of the distinctive contributions of different brain regions involved in visual processing. The recent prominence of the endogenous perspective is due to new findings of ongoing oscillatory activity (...) in the brain at a wide range of time scales, exploiting such techniques as single-cell recording, EEG, and fMRI. We recount some of the evidence pointing to ways in which this endogenous activity is relevant to cognition and behavior. Our major objective is to consider certain implications of the contrast between the reactive and endogenous perspectives. In particular, we relate these perspectives to two different characterizations of explanation in the new mechanistic philosophy of science. In a basic mechanistic explanation, the operations of a mechanism are characterized qualitatively and as functioning sequentially until a terminating condition is realized. In contrast, a dynamic mechanistic explanation allows for non-sequential organization and emphasizes quantitative modeling of the mechanisms's behavior. For example, with appropriate parameter values a set of differential equations can be used to demonstrate ongoing oscillations in a system organized with feedback loops. We conclude that the basic conception of mechanistic explanation is adequate for reactive accounts of brain activity, but dynamical accounts are required to explain sustained, endogenous activity. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is two?fold. I start by contrasting three versions of externalist arguments based on etiological considerations, whose differences are not often appreciated. My purpose in doing so is to isolate one of these versions of externalism as most supportive of current anti?individualist attitudes toward the mental. My second aim is to show that this version, which I call (for reasons soon to be clear) Dialectal Etiology , is marred to a greater extent than the other two (...) by an important problem of language individuation.ii.. (shrink)