Dysfunctions of the neural circuits that implement social behavior are necessary but not a sufficient condition to develop schizophrenia. We propose that schizophrenia represents a disease of general connectivity that impairs not only the “social brain” networks, but also different neural circuits related with higher cognitive and perceptual functions. We discuss possible mechanisms and evolutionary considerations.
During monitoring of the discourse, the detection of the relevance of incoming lexical information could be critical for its incorporation to update mental representations in memory. Because, in these situations, the relevance for lexical information is defined by abstract rules that are maintained in memory, results critical to understand how an abstract level of knowledge maintained in mind mediates the detection of the lower-level semantic information. In the present study, we propose that neuronal oscillations participate in the detection of relevant (...) lexical information, based on ‘kept in mind’ rules deriving from more abstract semantic information. We tested our hypothesis using an experimental paradigm that restricted the detection of relevance to inferences based on explicit information, thus controlling for ambiguities derived from implicit aspects. We used a categorization task, in which the semantic relevance was previously defined based on the congruency between a kept in mind category (abstract knowledge), and the lexical-semantic information presented. Our results show that during the detection of the relevant lexical information, phase synchronization of neuronal oscillations selectively increases in delta and theta frequency bands during the interval of semantic analysis. These increments were independent of the semantic category maintained in memory, had a temporal profile specific for each subject, and were mainly induced, as they had no effect on the evoked mean global field power. Also, recruitment of an increased number of pairs of electrodes was a robust observation during the detection of semantic contingent words. These results are consistent with the notion that the detection of relevant lexical information based on a particular semantic rule, could be mediated by increasing the global phase synchronization of neuronal oscillations, which may contribute to the recruitment of an extended number of cortical regions. (shrink)
In the Schrödinger equation, time plays a special role as an external parameter. We show that in an enlarged system where the time variable denotes an additional degree of freedom, solutions of the Schrödinger equation give rise to weights on the enlarged algebra of observables. States in the associated GNS representation correspond to states on the original algebra composed with a completely positive unit preserving map. Application of this map to the functions of the time operator on the large system (...) delivers the positive operator valued maps which were previously proposed by two of us as time observables. As an example we discuss the application of this formalism to the Wheeler-DeWitt theory of a scalar field on a Robertson-Walker spacetime. (shrink)
La epistemología de Kuhn ha inspirado investigaciones en el ámbito de la psicología del conocimiento. Del mismo modo los psicólogos investigadores de los procesos psico-cognitivos han tomado categorías kuhnianas para teorizar sus hallazgos. Finalmente, el mismo Kuhn se volvió hacia ellos para ilumin..
La nota entra in dialogo con il saggio di Francesco Emmolo e cerca di comprendere la proposta di Enzo Paci all’interno di una domanda sul “soggetto della conoscenza”. Di esso la storia della filosofia ha presentato molteplici immagini, che entrano in un confronto critico con la comprensione “quotidiana” della relazione conoscitiva.
Dans le cadre d’une recherche plus vaste sur les origines françaises du débat italien sur la raison d’État à la fin du XVIe siècle, Enzo Baldini étudie les liens étroits des deux livres de Giovanni Botero et de René de Lucinge. L’auteur montre comment le dialogue que les deux hommes entretinrent durant les années 1580 fut décisif non seulement pour le traité que Lucinge consacra à la Naissance, durée et chute des Estats, mais aussi pour la réflexion de Botero (...) sur la « raison par laquelle on gouverne un État ». (shrink)
What do we talk about when we talk about ethical diversity as a challenge to the normative justifiability of liberal democracy? Many theorists claim that liberal democracy ought to be reformed or rejected for not being sufficiently ‘inclusive’ towards diversity; others argue that, on the contrary, liberalism is desirable because it accommodates (some level of) diversity. Moreover, it has been argued that concern for diversity should lead us to favour (say) neutralistic over perfectionist, universalistic over particularistic, participative over representative versions (...) of liberal democracy. This paper provides a conceptual framework to situate those debates, and argues that there are two fundamental ways in which diversity constitutes a challenge to the justificatory status of liberal democracy: consistency (whereby diversity causes clashes between the prescriptions generated by normative political theories), and adequacy (whereby diversity generates a rift between our experience of what is considered valuable and what the theory treats as such). (shrink)
One of the main challenges faced by realists in political philosophy is that of offering an account of authority that is genuinely normative and yet does not consist of a moralistic application of general, abstract ethical principles to the practice of politics. Political moralists typically start by devising a conception of justice based on their pre-political moral commitments; authority would then be legitimate only if political power is exercised in accordance with justice. As an alternative to that dominant approach I (...) put forward the idea that upturning the relationship between justice and legitimacy affords a normative notion of authority that does not depend on a pre-political account of morality, and thus avoids some serious problems faced by mainstream theories of justice. I then argue that the appropriate purpose of justice is simply to specify the implementation of an independently grounded conception of legitimacy, which in turn rests on a context- and practice-sensitive understanding of the purpose of political power. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that equal respect-based accounts of the normative basis of tolerance are self-defeating, insofar as they are unable to specify the limits of tolerance in a way that is consistent with their own commitment to the equal treatment of all conceptions of the good. I show how this argument is a variant of the long-standing ‘conflict of freedoms’ objection to Kantian-inspired, freedom-based accounts of the justification of systems of norms. I criticize Thomas Scanlon’s defence of ‘pure (...) tolerance’, Anna Elisabetta Galeotti’s work on the relationship between tolerance, equal respect and recognition, and Arthur Ripstein’s recent response to the ‘conflict of freedoms’ objection. The upshot of my argument is that, while valuing tolerance for its own sake may be an appealing ideal, it is not a feasible way of grounding a system of norms. I close with a thumbnail sketch of two alternative, instrumental (i.e. non-Kantian) approaches to the normative foundations of tolerance. (shrink)
Can political theory be action-guiding without relying on pre-political normative commitments? I answer that question affirmatively by unpacking two related tenets of Raymond Geuss’ political realism: the view that political philosophy should not be a branch of ethics, and the ensuing empirically-informed conception of legitimacy. I argue that the former idea can be made sense of by reference to Hobbes’ account of authorization, and that realist legitimacy can be normatively salient in so far as it stands in the correct relation (...) to a theory of justice and problematizes its sources of value through what Geuss terms ‘political imagination’. (shrink)
A critical discussion of Toula Nicolacopoulos' 'The Radical Critique of Liberalism'. I analyse her methodology of 'critical reconstructionism' and argue that considerations about the epistemic status of the inquiring practices leading to the formulation of liberal political theory need not affect the viability and desirability of liberal political practice, especially if we adopt a historically-informed realist account of the foundations of liberalism.
This thesis is a critique of the prominent strand of contemporary liberal political theory which maintains that liberal political authority must, in some sense, rest on the free consent of those subjected to it, and that such a consensus is achieved if a polity’s basic structure can be publicly justified to its citizenry, or to a relevant subset of it. Call that the liberal legitimacy view. I argue that the liberal legitimacy view cannot provide viable normative foundations for political authority, (...) for the hypothetical consensus it envisages cannot be achieved and sustained without either arbitrarily excluding conspicuous sectors of the citizenry or commanding a consent that is less than free. That is because the liberal legitimacy view’s structure is one that requires a form of consent that carries free-standing normative force (i.e. normative force generated by voluntariness), yet the particular form of hypothetical consent through public justification envisaged by the view does not possess such force, because of its built-in bias in favour of liberalism. I also argue that the liberal legitimacy view is the most recent instantiation of one of two main strands of liberal theory, namely the nowadays dominant contract-based liberalism, which seeks to ground liberal political authority in a hypothetical agreement between the citizens. My case against the liberal legitimacy view, then, contributes to the revitalisation of the other main approach to the normative foundations of liberalism, namely the substantivist one, which legitimates liberal political authority through an appeal to the substantive values and virtues safeguarded and promoted by liberal polities. (shrink)
A polity is grounded in a modus vivendi (MV) when its main features can be presented as the outcome of a virtually unrestricted bargaining process. Is MV compatible with the consensus-based account of liberal legitimacy, i.e. the view that political authority is well grounded only if the citizenry have in some sense freely consented to its exercise? I show that the attraction of MV for consensus theorists lies mainly in the thought that a MV can be presented as legitimated through (...) a realist account of public justification. Yet I argue that, because of persistent ethical diversity, that realism problematically conflicts with the liberal commitments that underpin the very ideas of consensus and public justification. Thus, despite the interest it has recently attracted from critics of political liberalism and deliberative democracy, MV is not an option for those wishing to ground liberal political authority in some form of consensus. So if realist and agonistic critiques are on target, then the fact that modus vivendi is not an option casts some serious doubt on the viability of the consensus view of liberal legitimacy. (shrink)
In this paper we describe the theory of subjectivity elaborated by Enzo Paci through his study of Husserl’s phenomenology. The investigation of the subject’s pre-categorial dimension brings the author to develop a concept of subjectivity as infinite aim ( telos ). This topic can be put in the wider context of a rethinking of philosophy as practice of transformation of reality.
This paper provides an interpretation of the licensing provisions envisaged under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 as a model for a rule and exemption-based procedural strategy for the adjudication of potential ethical controversies, and it offers an account of the liberal-democratic legitimacy of the procedure’s outcomes as well as of the legal procedure itself. Drawing on a novel articulation of the distinction between exceptions and exemptions, the paper argues that such a rule and exemption mechanism, while not devoid (...) of attractions, is not immune from the criticisms often levied against procedural approaches to the management of pluralism: it either has to fall back on substantive justification in ways that are not helpful when trying to arbitrate a moral controversy, or it appears justificatorily groundless. (shrink)
Public justification-based accounts of liberal legitimacy rely on the idea that a polity’s basic structure should, in some sense, be acceptable to its citizens. In this paper I discuss the prospects of that approach through the lens of Gerald Gaus’ critique of John Rawls’ paradigmatic account of democratic public justification. I argue that Gaus does succeed in pointing out some significant problems for Rawls’ political liberalism; yet his alternative, justificatory liberalism, is not voluntaristic enough to satisfy the desiderata of a (...) genuinely democratic theory of public justification. So I contend that—pace Gaus, but also Rawls—rather than simply amending political liberalism, the claims of justificatory liberalism bring out fatal tensions between the desiderata of any theory of liberal-democratic legitimacy through public justification. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that Sen's defence of liberal democracy suffers from a moralistic and pro-liberal bias that renders it unable to take pluralism as seriously as it professes to do. That is because Sen’s commitment to respecting pluralism is not matched by his account of how to individuate the sorts of preferences that ought to be included in democratic deliberation. Our argument generalises as a critique of the two most common responses to the fact of pluralism in contemporary (...) (i.e. post-Rawls) liberalism: a broadly procedural understanding of autonomy and the idea of deliberative democracy. That is to say, the difficulties with pluralism we identify can be traced back to the particular version of Kantian deontology prevalent in contemporary liberalism, and to the equally prevalent aspiration to ground political legitimacy in a moralised consensus. (shrink)
Most contemporary political philosophers take justice—rather than legitimacy—to be the fundamental virtue of political institutions vis-à-vis the challenges of ethical diversity. Justice-driven theorists are primarily concerned with finding mutually acceptable terms to arbitrate the claims of conflicting individuals and groups. Legitimacy-driven theorists, instead, focus on the conditions under which those exercising political authority on an ethically heterogeneous polity are entitled to do so. But what difference would it make to the management of ethical diversity in liberal democratic societies if legitimacy (...) were prior to or independent from justice? -/- This question identifies a widely underexplored issue whose theoretical salience shows how the understanding of what constitutes the primary question of political philosophy has a deep impact on how practical political questions are interpreted and addressed. What difference would it make, for example, whether the difficulties concerning the safeguard of human rights were couched in terms of the justice or of the legitimacy of the documents and treaties sanctioning their implementation. How should the issue of the quality of democracies be addressed whether one assigned priority to the justice or legitimacy of democratic institutions? Addressing these and other topical questions, the book offers a new theoretical angle from which to consider a number of pressing social and political issues. (shrink)