Human aesthetic experiences are pervasive; they are triggered by faces, art, natural scenery, foods, ideas, theories, and decision-making situations, among many sources, and seem to be a distinctive trait of our species. Our moral sense, understood as our capacity to judge events, actions, or people as good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate, also seems to be an exclusively human endowment (Ayala 2010). As part of the scientific efforts to characterize the biological foundations of our human uniqueness, recently there has been (...) interest in the brain’s underpinnings of aesthetic reactions to art on the one hand, and in the neural correlates of moral judgment and decision-making on the other (Greene and Paxton .. (shrink)
The issue of hemispheric processing of art works, either alone or in relation to a certain aspect of language, was investigated in normal subjects. Three experiments were performed. In the first, memory for surrealistic versus realistic pictures was investigated. In the second, memory for metaphoric versus literal titles of these pictures was measured. In the third, memory for the paintings was determined as a function of the same titles. The results of the first experiment showed a right visual field (RVF) (...) advantage for the surrealistic pictures. No field difference emerged for the realistic pictures. The results of the second experiment indicated a RVF advantage in memory for metaphoric titles. Moreover, in the RVF, there was an advantage for titles from surrealistic-metaphoric pairs over all other pairings. Results of experiment three showed a RVF advantage in remembering pictures from surrealistic-metaphoric pairs and in the left visual field (LVF) there was advantage for pictures with literal titles. Taken together, the results suggest left hemisphere advantage in processing meaningful, yet incongruous arrays, both pictorial and linguistic. The results are discussed in terms of hemispheric memory for art works, metaphors, and the relationship between the two in the brain. (shrink)
The time honoured philosophical issue of how to resolve the mind/body problem has taken a more scientific turn of late. Instead of discussing issues of the soul and emotion and person and their reduction to a physical form, we now ask ourselves how well-understood cognitive and social concepts fit into the growing and changing field of neuropsychology. One of the many projects that have come out of this new scientific endeavour is Zaidel’s (2005) inquiry into the neuropsychological bases of (...) art. (shrink)
Contrary to the claim that measurement standards are absolutely accurate by definition, I argue that unit definitions do not completely fix the referents of unit terms. Instead, idealized models play a crucial semantic role in coordinating the theoretical definition of a unit with its multiple concrete realizations. The accuracy of realizations is evaluated by comparing them to each other in light of their respective models. The epistemic credentials of this method are examined and illustrated through an analysis of the contemporary (...) standardization of time. I distinguish among five senses of ‘measurement accuracy’ and clarify how idealizations enable the assessment of accuracy in each sense. (shrink)
This paper draws attention to an increasingly common method of using computer simulations to establish evidential standards in physics. By simulating an actual detection procedure on a computer, physicists produce patterns of data (‘signatures’) that are expected to be observed if a sought-after phenomenon is present. Claims to detect the phenomenon are evaluated by comparing such simulated signatures with actual data. Here I provide a justification for this practice by showing how computer simulations establish the reliability of detection procedures. I (...) argue that this use of computer simulation undermines two fundamental tenets of the Bogen–Woodward account of evidential reasoning. Contrary to Bogen and Woodward’s view, computer-simulated signatures rely on ‘downward’ inferences from phenomena to data. Furthermore, these simulations establish the reliability of experimental setups without physically interacting with the apparatus. I illustrate my claims with a study of the recent detection of the superfluid-to-Mott-insulator phase transition in ultracold atomic gases. (shrink)
This work develops an epistemology of measurement, that is, an account of the conditions under which measurement and standardization methods produce knowledge as well as the nature, scope, and limits of this knowledge. I focus on three questions: (i) how is it possible to tell whether an instrument measures the quantity it is intended to? (ii) what do claims to measurement accuracy amount to, and how might such claims be justified? (iii) when is disagreement among instruments a sign of error, (...) and when does it imply that instruments measure different quantities? Based on a series of case studies conducted in collaboration with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), I argue for a model-based approach to the epistemology of physical measurement. To measure a physical quantity, I argue, is to estimate the value of a parameter in an idealized model of a physical process. Such estimation involves inference from the final state (‘indication’) of a process to the value range of a parameter (‘outcome’) in light of theoretical and statistical assumptions. Contrary to contemporary philosophical views, measurement outcomes cannot be obtained by mapping the structure of indications. Instead, measurement outcomes as well as claims to accuracy, error and quantity individuation can only be adjudicated relative to a choice of idealized modelling assumptions. (shrink)
Clinical neuroethics and neuroskepticism are recent entrants to the vocabulary of neuroethics. Clinical neuroethics has been used to distinguish problems of clinical relevance arising from developments in brain science from problems arising in neuroscience research proper. Neuroskepticism has been proposed as a counterweight to claims about the value and likely implications of developments in neuroscience. These two emergent streams of thought intersect within the practice of neurology. Neurologists face many traditional problems in bioethics, like end of life care in the (...) persistent vegetative state, determination of capacity in progressive dementia, and requests for assisted suicide in cognition-preserving neurodegenerative disease (like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Neurologists also look to be at the forefront of downstream clinical applications of neuroscience, like pharmacological enhancement of mental life. At the same time, the practice of neurology, concerned primarily with the structure, function, and treatment of the nervous system, has historically fostered a kind of skeptical attitude toward its own subject matter. Not all problems that appear primarily neurological are primarily neurological. This disciplinary skepticism is generally clinical in orientation and limited in scope. The rise of interest in clinical neuroethics and in neuroskepticsim generally suggests a possible broader application. The clinical skepticism of neurology provides impetus for thinking about the appropriate role for skepticism in clinical areas of neuroethics. After a brief review of neuroskepticism and clinical neuroethics, a taxonomy of clinical neuroskepticism is offered and reasons why a stronger rather than weaker form of clinical neuroskepticism is currently warranted. (shrink)
Ornamentality is pervasive in the new media and it is related to their essential characteristics: dispersal, hypertextuality, interactivity, digitality and virtuality. I utilize Kendall Walton's theory of ornamentality in order to construe a puzzle pertaining to the new media. the ornamental erosion of information. I argue that insofar as we use the new media as conduits of real life, the excessive density of ornamental devices which is prevalent in certain new media environments, forces us to conduct our inquiries under conditions (...) of neustic uncertainty, that is, uncertainty concerning the kind of relationship we, the users, have to the propositional content mediated. I suggest that this puzzle calls upon us to consider what would be a viable logic of virtual discovery. (shrink)
This paper is an elaborate response to Stanely Cavell's suggestion that Schoenberg's idea of the 12-tone row is a serviceable image of Wittgenstein's idea of grammar. I argue that this suggestion underplays what must be a major premise in any argument for yoking Wittgenstein and Schoenberg: Wittgenstein's philosophically entrenched rejection of modern music. I consider this omission in the context of Wittgenstein's idiosyncratic emulation of Schenker's theory of music in order to facilitate a direct comparison between Wittgenstein's and Schoenberg's sharply (...) contrasted visions of the music of the future. I conclude that Cavell's suggestion is ultimately misleading. (shrink)
This article challenges a widespread assumption, arguing that Wittgenstein and the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg had little in common beyond their shared cultural heritage, overlapping social circles in fin-de-ciecle Vienna. The article explores Wittgenstein's aesthetic inclinations and the intellectual and philosophical influences that may have reinforced them. The article culminates in an attempt to form a Wittgensteinian response to Schoenberg's dodecaphonic language and to answer the question as to why Wittgenstein and Schoenberg arrived at very different ideas about contemporary music (...) and the music of the future. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s thinking on music is intimately linked to core issues in his work on the philosophy of psychology. I argue that inasmuch musical experience exemplifies the kind of grammatical complexity that is indigenous to aspect perception and, in general, to concepts that are based on physiognomy, it is rendered by Wittgenstein as a form of knowledge, namely, knowledge of mankind.
In this paper I analyse the role of naturalism and objectivism in everyday life according to Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. Whereas Husserl attributes the naturalistic attitude mainly to science, he defines the objectivist attitude as a naiveté which equally applies to the natural attitude of everyday life. I analyse the relationship between the natural attitude and lived experience and show Husserl's hesitation regarding the task of phenomenology in describing the lived experience of everyday life, since he considers this experience to be (...) too objectivistic. I use Merleau-Ponty's work to argue that objectivism is an essential characteristic of lived experience and that phenomenology should therefore find ways to integrate it into its descriptions while simultaneously suggesting ways to overcome its rigidity in order to renew perception. I finally propose that the project of the naturalisation of phenomenology could be one of the ways to connect lived experience to the objectivism of everyday life. (shrink)
This introduction to aesthetics provides a layered treatment of both the historical background and contemporary debates in aesthetics. Extensive cross-referencing shows how issues in aesthetics intersect with other branches of philosophy and other fields that study the arts. Aesthetics A-Z is an ideal guide for newcomers to the field of aesthetics and a useful reference for more advanced students of philosophy, art history, media studies and the performing arts.
Para los puritanos del siglo XVII, la costa este de América del Norte, las áreas silvestres o wilderness eran abominables y lacerantes. En el siglo XVIII, el predicador y teólogo puritano Jonathan Edwards inició el proceso de transformación de las áreas silvestres estadounidenses en un recurso estético y espiritual, un proceso que completó en el siglo XIX Ralph Waldo Emerson. Henry David Thoreau fue el primer estadounidense en recomendar la preservación de las áreas silvestres (wilderness) para propósitos de recreación (...) trascendental (soledad y una experiencia estética y espiritual). En el siglo XX, Theodore Roosevelt y Aldo Leopold abogaron por la preservación de las áreas silvestres para un tipo diferente de recreación (la caza, la pesca y la excursión) con el propósito de preservar el singular carácter estadounidense y sus instituciones. Entre estas tres concepciones históricas de la preservación de las áreas silvestres, la tercera constituye el mejor modelo para los ecosistemas de frontera del Cono Austral de América. (shrink)
Fue Baudelaire quien advirtió que, en el juguete, podemos encontrar materia de reflexión. En un texto publicado en el Monde Littéraire del 17 de abril de 1853 con el título de “Moral del juguete”, cuenta la visita hecha siendo niño a casa de Mme. Panckoucke: Me tomó de la mano y cruzamos así juntos varias habitaciones; después abrió la puerta de una estancia que me ofreció un espectáculo extraordinario y verdaderamente fabuloso. Los muros no eran yavisibles hasta tal punto (...) estaban recubiertos de juguetes. El desván desaparecía bajo una floritura de juguetes que colgaban como estalactitas maravillosas. El piso dejaba apenas un pequeño paso sobre el que posar los pies… Es a causa de esta aventura si no puedo detenerme delante de una tienda de juguetes y recorrer con la mirada la inextricable muchedumbre de sus formas extrañas y de sus colores dispares, sin pensar en la señora vestida de terciopelo y de pieles, que se me a apareció como el Hada del juguete. (shrink)
Los niños con malformaciones congénitas que antes eran incompatibles con la vida, ahora pueden mantenerse en vida, pero habitualmente el defecto subyacente y sus consecuencias no pueden mejorarse. Durante este periodo surge el dilema de reanimar, continuar un tratamiento agresivo, o bien no tomarninguna actitud activa ante un determinado caso. Por eso, muchos neonatólogos se plantean ahora una aplicación selectiva de las opciones terapéuticas (lo que algunos llaman tratamiento selectivo). Sin embargo, algunos problemas estrictamente médicos hacen dificil la aplicación (...) de un tratamiento selectivo neonatal. En primer lugar, es complicado establecer un diagnóstico preciso en un rn. En segundo lugar, el pronóstico es muchas veces incierto. En tercerlugar, la actuación médica es en muchas ocasiones urgente y no puede demorarse salvo a costa de disminuir las posibilidades de supervivencia o aumentar el riesgo de secuelas posteriores en el niño. Por ahora , no hay critérios médicos fiables para valorar en la sala de parto si un prematuro extremo de bajo peso (PEBP) en concreto sobrevivirá. Si sobrevive es poco posible predecir si será normal o quedará leve o gravemente dañado. Por consihuiente, por una parte,para algunos niños un tratamiento agresivo no sólo no se puede probar que sea beneficioso, sino que incluso puede serles perjudicial. Por otra parte podemos pensar que un bebé no tratado enérgicamente podría haber sobrevivido razonablemente intacto con la aplicación de una terapia más agresiva. Es un dilema cruél. Las opciones pueden estar no tanto entre "correctos" e "incorrectos" absolutos, como entre bienes y daños mayores o menores. (shrink)