Neuroeconomics is a research programme founded on the thesis that cognitive and neurobiological data constitute evidence for answering economic questions. I employ confirmation theory in order to reject arguments both for and against neuroeconomics. I also emphasize that some arguments for neuroeconomics will not convince the skeptics because these arguments make a contentious assumption: economics aims for predictions and deep explanations of choices in general. I then argue for neuroeconomics by appealing to a much more restrictive (and thereby skeptic-friendly) characterization (...) of the aims of economics. (shrink)
This paper explores the conduct of performance appraisals of nurses in a New Zealand hospital, and how fairness is perceived in such appraisals. In the health sector, performance appraisals of medical staff play a key role in implementing clinical governance, which, in turn, is critical to containing health care costs and ensuring quality patient care. Effective appraisals depend on employees perceiving their own appraisals to be fair both in terms of procedure and interaction with their respective appraiser. We examine qualitative (...) data from interviews and focus groups, involving 22 nurses in a single department, to determine whether perceived injustices impact on the effective implementation of the appraisal system. Our results suggest that particular issues had been causing some sense of injustice, and most of these were procedural. Potential solutions focus on greater formalisation of the performance appraisal process, and more training for appraisers and appraisees. (shrink)
Several fields contributing to psychiatric advances, such as psychology, biology, and the humanities, have not yet met to produce a cohesive and integrated picture of human function and dysfunction, strength and vulnerability, etc., despite advances in their own areas. The failure may have its roots in a disagreement on what we mean by the human person and his or her relationship with the world, for which the incommensurate language of these disciplines may be partly to blame. Turns taken by western (...) philosophy over the past 400 years may help to explain this. Language is such an important tool for psychiatrists, that examination of it may afford an insight into the reasons for divisions in the field. This paper aims to examine and compare psychologies (and hence psychiatries) derived from modern western philosophy, with similar concepts in other cultures, through the study of developments in terminology, in terms of the simplest facts about what it means to be human. Terminology used in mental health in western cultures is examined, with particular consideration of the term “self” as it has come to be used in a technical sense. Analogous terms from non-English speaking European languages, and some non-western cultures are studied. Western philosophy and psychology have evolved a meaning for the term “self” which is quite different from equivalent terms in non-western cultures. It is a moot point whether or not the development in western psychiatry of what are now technical terms to describe normal human experience has become needlessly obscure and ambiguous. It is not evident that this “new” language represents a genuine advance in understanding; it distances mental health professionals from those who are not familiar with it; and it makes transcultural dialogue difficult. (shrink)
Some have contested the Industrial Revolution’s status as a climactic event bringing social and political upheaval. However, the abolishment of slavery, the destruction of traditional ways of life, and the rise of class-consciousness confirm the climactic nature of this period. In analyzing the dramatic changes in the social organization of British society, this paper aims to reclaim the title of the Industrial Revolution as just that--revolutionary.
An account is given of a recent proposal to complete modern quantum theory by adding a characterisation of consciousness. The resulting theory is applied to give mechanisms for typical parapsychological phenomena, and ways of testing it are discussed.
I argue that a dual-aspect theory of consciousness, associated with a particular class of quantum states, can provide a consistent account of consciousness. I illustrate this with the use of coherent states as this class. The proposal meets Chalmers 'requirements of allowing a structural correspondence between consciousness and its physical correlate. It provides a means for consciousness to have an effect on the world (it is not an epiphenomenon, and can thus be selected by evolution) in a way that supplements (...) and completes conventional physics, rather than interfering with it. I draw on the work of Hameroff and Penrose to explain the consistency of this proposal with decoherence, while adding details to this work. The proposal is open to extensive further research at both theoretical and experimental levels. (shrink)
The editorial stance of this book is that mysticism and science offer a way forward here, but only if they abandon the idol of a single logical synthesis and acknowledge the diversity of different ways of knowing. The contributors from disciplines as diverse as music, psychology, mathematics and religion, build a vision that honours diversity while pointing to an implicit unity.
This article arises from the remarkably multi-faceted book Brain and Being edited by Gordon Globus and others, hereafter referred to as B&B. It raises questions (though not unusually, few answers) about several related areas: the way in which quantum theory might endow the physical matter of the brain with surprising, though still essentially classical, properties; the possibility that quantum field theory might shed a wholly new light on aspects of consciousness, in both the subjective and neurological approaches; and, at the (...) most speculative, the suggestion that the nature of being, as disclosed subjectively, can be understood in the light of one or other of the interpretations of quantum theory. I will consider these in turn. (shrink)
An example is presented of a model of consciousness based on a description of the world which integrates the material and psychological aspects from the start. An indication is given of work under way to test the model.
The dominance in normal awareness of visual percepts, which are linked to space, obscures the fact that most thoughts are non-spatial. It is argued that the mind is intrinsically non-spatial, though in perception can become compresent with spatial things derived from outside the mind. The assumption that the brain is entirely spatial is also challenged, on the grounds that there is a perfectly good place for the non-spatial in physics. A quantum logic approach to physics, which takes non-locality as its (...) starting point, offers a non-reductive way of reconciling the experience of mind with the world description of physics. For further progress it is necessary to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe. (shrink)
Experiments are described, using electroencephalography (EEG) and simple tests of performance, which support the hypothesis that collapse of a quantum field is of importance to the functioning of the brain. The theoretical basis of our experiments is derived from Penrose (1989) who suggested that conscious decision-making is a manifestation of the outcome of quantum computation in the brain involving collapse of some relevant wave function. He also proposed that collapse of any wave function depends on a gravitational criterion. As different (...) brain areas are known to subserve different functions, we argue that `Penrose collapse' must occur in a particular brain area when performing a task that uses it. Further, taking an EEG from the area should amplify the gravitational prerequisite for collapse, so affecting task performance. There are no non-quantum theories which could lead one to expect that taking an EEG could directly affect task performance by subjects. The results of both pilot and main experiments indicated that task performance was indeed influenced by taking an EEG from relevant brain areas. Control experiments suggested that the influence was quantum mechanical in origin, and was not due to any experimental artefact. The results are statistically significant and merit attempts at replication in an independent laboratory, preferably with more sophisticated equipment than was available to us. (shrink)
Interpretations, or generalizations, of quantum theory that are applicable to cosmology are of interest because they must display and resolve the "paradoxes" directly. The Everett interpretation is reexamined and compared with two alternatives. Its "metaphysical" connotations can be removed, after which it is found to be more acceptable than a theory which incorporates collapse, while retaining some unsatisfactory features.
The author examines "the prelude" by wordsworth in order to illuminate precisely how wordsworth believed the spirit, Particularly as it manifested itself in the works of nature, Could influence and shape the mind of man. (staff).