When witnessing someone else's action people often take advantage of the same motor cognition that is crucial to successfully perform that action themselves. But how deeply is motor cognition involved in understanding another's action? Can it be selectively modulated by either the agent's or the witness's being actually in the position to act? If this is the case, what does such modulation imply for one's making sense of others? The paper aims to tackle these issues by introducing and discussing a (...) series of experimental studies showing how body and space may constrain one's own motor cognition reuse in understanding another's action. These findings, I shall argue, may shed new light on the mechanisms underlying the primary ways of identifying ourselves with other people and of being connected to them . (shrink)
Is the negligence standard in accident law acceptable to the egalitarian? The egalitarian - the egalitarian who would compensate only losses for which the actor was not responsible - cannot accept either a system of strict liability for all accidents or a system of social insurance for all accidents. A system of tort law acceptable to the responsibility - egalitarian must be a system based on negligence. But what will negligence mean? A negligence system in which the notion of reasonableness (...) is based on efficiency, I argue, is a system that redistributes wealth from the less well off to those better off. I consider alternative notions of reasonableness, ending up with a principle of proportional responsibility and distinguishing between commercial and non-commercial cases. (shrink)
Ability and achievement are not traits: they are relations. Mistaking traits for relations has a history even in science (our understanding of gravity). This mistake is possibly responsible for the lackluster performance of the results of our educational research when we have tried to use it to inform policy. It is particularly troublesome for interventions that target “children at risk.” The paper provides a quasi-formal outline of achievement as a relation and it then uses the outline to explain some problematic (...) research findings. (shrink)
There is a lot of material in this book, and Duff handles most of it very well. It is unfortunate that he felt the need to tie his discussion of serious philosophical questions in the criminal law to larger overarching questions of philosophy. It is possible that current conceptions of intentional action implicate dualism (or Dualism), I suppose, but that would be a book-length discussion all of its own. It would begin with a careful discussion of just what dualism is, (...) and would track down the various ways in which particular substantive positions on intentional action rule out alternatives to dualism. Such a work might be interesting indeed. It would be interesting, for example, to see a discussion of a type of conceptual dualism that I suspect Duff would find congenial: a dualism that insisted upon the autonomy of purposive notions and rejected the causal analysis of intentional action. Would that sort of dualism make any difference at all for the criminal law? It might, and it might not. But in any event that is not what we find in this book, which, for all of its healthy enthusiasm for the place of philosophy in the law shows an excessive tolerance for makeweight arguments about the great questions. (shrink)
It has been proposed that, Under the restriction of singular terms to proper names, Singular de re propositions would be equivalent to certain de dicto propositions. But that is so only if a certain thesis--A thesis which is itself irreducibly de re--Is true of proper names. The conclusion is that the restriction to proper names is not, By itself, Sufficient to render the de re and de dicto equivalent.
Objectives: To foster the development of a privacy-protective, sustainable cross-border information system in the framework of a European public health project. Materials and methods: A targeted privacy impact assessment was implemented to identify the best architecture for a European information system for diabetes directly tapping into clinical registries. Four steps were used to provide input to software designers and developers: a structured literature search, analysis of data flow scenarios or options, creation of an ad hoc questionnaire and conduction of a (...) Delphi procedure. Results: The literature search identified a core set of relevant papers on privacy (n = 11). Technicians envisaged three candidate system architectures, with associated data flows, to source an information flow questionnaire that was submitted to the Delphi panel for the selection of the best architecture. A detailed scheme envisaging an “aggregation by group of patients” was finally chosen, based upon the exchange of finely tuned summary tables. Conclusions: Public health information systems should be carefully engineered only after a clear strategy for privacy protection has been planned, to avoid breaching current regulations and future concerns and to optimise the development of statistical routines. The BIRO (Best Information Through Regional Outcomes) project delivers a specific method of privacy impact assessment that can be conveniently used in similar situations across Europe. (shrink)
Despite the impressive body of evidence supporting the existence of a mirror neuron (MN) system for action, the original claim regarding its crucial role in action understanding remains controversial. Emma Borg has recently launched a sharp attack on this claim, with the aim of demonstrating that neither the original version nor the subsequent revisions of the MN hypothesis tell us very much about how intentional attribution actually works. In this article I take up the challenge she issues in the title (...) of her paper (If Mirror Neurons are the Answer, What was the Question?) and argue that what MNs offer is not as Borg claims 'an extremely limited' picture of action understanding but rather an enriched picture that brings to light aspects of social cognition hitherto ignored in the mind-reading literature, showing how intentional motor components of action can shape social cognition prior to and apart from any forms of deliberate mentalizing. (shrink)
In his work, Jules Coleman has held that the rule of recognition, if conceived of as a shared cooperative activity, should be the gateway through which to incorporate moral constraints on the content of law. This analysis, however, leaves unanswered two important questions. For one thing, we do not know when or even why morality becomes a criterion of legality. And, for another thing, we still do not know what conception of morality it is that we are dealing with. In (...) this article, we will attempt to clarify in greater depth what relations there are between the social practice of law and morality. We will thus see how the cooperative nature of social practices imbues law with a moral force, and how this makes it possible to establish a "weak" connection between law and morality: To see this, we will need to single out some basic features of cooperative social practices, thus setting out a suitable framework for the view just mentioned. (shrink)
It has been widely demonstrated that dreaming occurs throughout human sleep. However, we once again are facing new variants of the equation “REM sleep = Dreaming.” Nielsen proposes a model that assumes covert REM processes in NREM sleep. I argue against this possibility, because dream research has shown that REM sleep is not a necessary condition for dreaming to occur. [Nielson].
The so-called ‘morning-after pill’ is a drug that prevents pregnancy if taken no later than 72 hours after presumably fertile sexual intercourse. This article argues against a right of conscientious objection for pharmacists with regard to dispensing this drug. Some arguments that might be advanced in support of this right will be considered and rejected. Section 2 argues that from a philosophical point of view, the most relevant question is not whether the morning-after pill prevents implantation nor is it whether (...) preventing implantation is tantamount to abortion. Section 3 suggests a more general philosophical question as most pertinent, namely whether and to what extent a pharmacist can justifiably be exempted from dispensing the morning-after pill when to do so would entail participating in something that goes against his or her deepest moral or religious convictions. Section 4 explains why, within liberal institutions, pharmacists should not have the right to conscientious objection to dispensing the morning-after pill. (shrink)
In the present article we discuss the relevance of the mirror mechanism for our sense of self and our sense of others. We argue that, by providing us with an understanding from the inside of actions, the mirror mechanism radically challenges the traditional view of the self and of the others. Indeed, this mechanism not only reveals the common ground on the basis of which we become aware of ourselves as selves distinct from other selves, but also sheds new light (...) on the content of our self and other experience, showing that we primarily experience ourselves and the others in terms of our own and of their motor possibilities respectively. -/- . (shrink)
In the present paper we address the issue of the role of the body in shaping our basic self-awareness. It is generally taken for granted that basic bodily self-awareness has primarily to do with proprioception. Here we challenge this assumption by arguing from both a phenomenological and a neurophysiological point of view that our body is primarily given to us as a manifold of action possibilities that cannot be reduced to any form of proprioceptive awareness. By discussing the notion of (...) affordance and the spatiality of the body we show that both have to be construed in terms of the varying range of our power for action. Finally, we posit that the motor roots of our bodily self-awareness shed new light on both the common ground for and the distinguishing criterium between self and other. The properties of the mirror mechanism indicate that the same action possibilities constituting our bodily self also allow us to make sense of other bodily selves inasmuch as their action possibilities can be mapped onto our own ones. Our proposal may pave the way towards a general deconstruction of the different layers at the core of our full-fledged sense of self and others. (shrink)
By way of conclusion we may add the following three items to A. Maier's and G. Federici-Vescovini's investigations: 1. The Questiones super libris Physicorum in the ms. Cesena, B. Malatestiana S.VIII.5 have been incorrectly attributed to John Buridan. Their real author is Albert of Saxony. 2. The ms. Cesena, B. Malatestiana S.VIII.5 ff. 4ra-4vb contains the Prologue and the tabula questionum of the Questions on De gen. et corr., whereas the ms. Vat. lat. 3097 ff. 103ra-146rb has the complete (...) text. This Prologue and the questions 1 and 3 can also be found in Vat. lat. 2185 ff. 50ra-50vb. This text certainly cannot be considered as another copy of Buridan's well known Questions on De gen. et corr. Neither is it certain that Nicole Oresme is their author, as A. Maier seems to believe. There are indications pointing in the direction of a redaction other than the one known, of Buridan's Questions. In any case this possibility cannot be ruled out by the material that has been presented here. 3. The ms. Cesena, B. Malatestiana S.VIII.5 has at one time had the same owner as the codices Vat. lat. 2159, 2160, 2185 and 3066, and the codices Cesena, B. Malatestiana S.VII.5 and S.VIII.2. This owner was in all probability Bernardus a Campanea of Verona, a physician. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate the role of performative contradictions in legal discourse. First of all we identify the argumentative roles of performative contradictions and two possible interpretations of them. With this done, we show that one use of performative contradictions can be fruitfully applied in analysing normative speech acts implementing norm enactment, namely, those speech acts that are designed to produce new legal norms. We conclude the paper by showing that our analysis provides strong support for Robert Alexy's claim-to-correctness (...) thesis, according to which speech acts of the norm-enacting kind raise a claim to correctness. (shrink)
This paper investigates the objections that were raised by the philosopher ‘Abd al-La[tdotu ]if al-Baghdadi (d. ca. 1231 CE) against al-[Hdotu ]asan ibn al-Haytham’s (Alhazen; d. after 1041 CE) geometrisation of place. In this line of enquiry, I contrast the philosophical propositions that were advanced by al-Baghdadi in his tract: Fi al-Radd ‘ala Ibn al-Haytham fi al-makan (A refutation of Ibn al-Haytham’s place), with the geometrical demonstrations that Ibn al-Haytham presented in his groundbreaking treatise: Qawl fi al-Makan (Discourse on place). (...) In examining the particulars of al-Baghdadi’s fragile defence of Aristotle’s definition of topos as delineated in Book IV of the Physics, which was rejected on mathematical grounds by Ibn al-Haytham, a special attention is also given to highlighting the systemic distinctions between the entities that are studied within the speculative physical doctrines of common sense and immediate experience, and the postulated ‘objects’ of scientific and mathematical research. (Published Online February 12 2007) Footnotes1 An earlier concise version of this paper was presented on 18 February 2006 in Florence, under the title: ‘The physical or the mathematical? interrogating al-Baghdadi's critique of Ibn al-Haytham's geometrisation of place’, as part of the Colloque de la Société Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences et des Philosophies Arabes et Islamiques (Circulation des savoirs autour de la Méditerranée, IXe–XVIe siècles), which was held in association with the University of Florence. This text will be published as part of the Proceedings of the Colloquium (Les Actes du Colloque), under the editorship of Graziella Federici Vescovini (Florence). (shrink)
Are there distinct roles for intention and motor representation in explaining the purposiveness of action? Standard accounts of action assign a role to intention but are silent on motor representation. The temptation is to suppose that nothing need be said here because motor representation is either only an enabling condition for purposive action or else merely a variety of intention. This paper provides reasons for resisting that temptation. Some motor representations, like intentions, coordinate actions in virtue of representing outcomes; but, (...) unlike intentions, motor representations cannot feature as premises or conclusions in practical reasoning. This implies that motor representation has a distinctive role in explaining the purposiveness of action. It also gives rise to a problem: were the roles of intention and motor representation entirely independent, this would impair effective action. It is therefore necessary to explain how intentions interlock with motor representations. The solution, we argue, is to recognise that the contents of intentions can be partially determined by the contents of motor representations. Understanding this content-determining relation enables better understanding how intentions relate to actions. (shrink)