: The author investigates the notion of linguistic meaning in gender research. She approaches this basic problem by drawing upon two very different conceptions of language and meaning: (1) that of the logician Gottlob Frege and (2) that of the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. Motivated by the controversial response the Anglo-American sex/gender debate received within the German context, the author focuses on the connection between this epistemological controversy among feminists and two discursive traditions of linguistic meaning (analytic philosophy and poststructuralism), (...) to show how philosophy of language can contribute to current feminist debates. (shrink)
The notions of the cosmic city and the common law are central to early Stoic political thought. As Vogt shows, together they make up one complex theory. A city is a place governed by the law. Yet on the law pervading the cosmos can be considered a true law, and thus the cosmos is the only real city. A city is also a dwelling-place--in the case of the cosmos, the dwelling-place of all human beings. Further, a city demarcates who (...) belongs together as fellow-citizens. The thought that we should view all other human beings as belonging to us constitutes the core of Stoic cosmopolitanism. All human beings are citizens of the cosmic city in the sense of living in the world. But the demanding task of acquiring wisdom allows a person to become a citizen in the strict sense: someone who lives according to the law, as the gods do. The sage is the only citizen, relative, friend and free person; via these notions, the Stoics explore the political dimensions of the Stoic idea of wisdom. Vogt argues against two widespread interpretations of the common law--that it consists of rules, and that lawful action is what right reason prescribes. While she rejects the rules-interpretation, she argues that the prescriptive reason-interpretation correctly captures key ideas of the Stoics' theory, but misses the substantive side of their conception of the law. The sage fully understands what is valuable for human beings, and this makes her actions lawful. The Stoics emphasize the revisionary nature of their theory; whatever course of action perfect deliberation commands, even if it be cutting off one's limb and eating it, we should act on its command, and not be held back by conventional judgments. (shrink)
In this paper, it is argued the Stoics develop an account of corporeals that allows their theory of bodies to be, at the same time, a theory of causation, agency, and reason. The paper aims to shed new light on the Stoics' engagement with Plato's Sophist . It is argued that the Stoics are Sons of the Earth insofar as, for them, the study of corporeals - rather than the study of being - is the most fundamental study of reality. (...) However, they are sophisticated Sons of the Earth by developing a complex notion of corporeals. A crucial component of this account is that ordinary bodies are individuated by the way in which the corporeal god pervades them. The corporeal god is the one cause of all movements and actions in the universe. (shrink)
. Human capabilities theory has emerged as an important framework for measuring whether various social systems promote human flourishing. The premise of this theory is that human beings share some nearly universal capabilities; what makes a human life fulfilling is the opportunity to exercise these capabilities. This essay proposes that the use of human capabilities theory can be expanded to assess whether a company has organized the work environment in such a way that allows workers to develop a variety of (...) human capabilities. This mode of analysis is put forward as a complement to the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who has suggested that the key to promoting human well-being in the workplace is the maximization of flow experiences. (shrink)
There are various perspectives from which the meaning of historicism can be understood. Historically, the interpretation of historicism has predominantly been interested in either questions concerning historical methodology, or the relationship between the natural and human sciences, or the normative consequences of historicism. My intention is not to cast doubt upon the legitimacy of these different research approaches, but rather to supplement them by confronting the meaning of historicism from the perspective of a different question. Did historicism in the late (...) 18th and the early 19th centuries formulate a notion of historical chance or of historical contingency, a notion of what is neither necessary nor impossible in history but rather the result of accident and chance? To answer this question, I begin with Reinhart Koselleck's interpretation of historicism presented in two rather short essays, "Der Zufall als Motivationsrest in der Geschichtsschreibung" and "Über die Verfügbarkeit von Geschichte". In the next step of my analysis, I confront Koselleck's interpretation of the historicist sensibility for contingency and chance with Odo Marquard's conceptual distinction between two notions of contingency and chance. This line of argumentation gives rise to a definition of historicism as a theoretical sensibility for the "fatefully accidental" (Marquard). I further support this claim with an analysis of Savigny's legal history, of Schleiermacher's theology and of the "anti-Faustian" (Werner Busch) art of Caspar David Friedrich. Historicism ultimately teaches us that history is never the exact outcome of the intentions of historical actors. Though human beings undeniably act in history, they cannot make history or at least cannot make it as they please. It is in this regard that I find, in my concluding remarks, Hermann Lübbe's description of historicism as a "sermon of human finitude" to be wholly accurate. (shrink)
Neuronal aggregates involved in conscious awareness are not evenly distributed throughout the CNS but comprise key components referred to as the neural network correlates of consciousness (NNCC). A critical node in this network is the posterior cingulate, precuneal, and retrosplenial cortices. The cytological and neurochemical composition of this region is reviewed in relation to the Brodmann map. This region has the highest level of cortical glucose metabolism and cytochrome c oxidase activity. Monkey studies suggest that the anterior thalamic projection likely (...) drives retrosplenial and posterior cingulate cortex metabolism and that the midbrain projection to the anteroventral thalamic nucleus is a key coupling site between the brainstem system for arousal and cortical systems for cognitive processing and awareness. The pivotal role of the posterior cingulate, precuneal, and retrosplenial cortices in consciousness is demonstrated with posterior cingulate epilepsy cases, midcingulate lesions that de-afferent this region and are associated with unilateral sensory neglect, observations from stroke and vegetative state patients, alterations in blood ﬂow during sleep, and the actions of general anesthetics. Since this region is critically involved in self reﬂection, it is not surprising that it is similarly a site for the NNCC. Interestingly, information processing during complex cognitive tasks and during aversive sensations such as pain induces efforts to terminate self reﬂection and result in decreased processing in posterior cingulate and precuneal cortices. (shrink)
Cross-situational learning has recently gained attention as a plausible candidate for the mechanism that underlies the learning of word-meaning mappings. In a recent study, Blythe and colleagues have studied how many trials are theoretically required to learn a human-sized lexicon using cross-situational learning. They show that the level of referential uncertainty exposed to learners could be relatively large. However, one of the assumptions they made in designing their mathematical model is questionable. Although they rightfully assumed that words are distributed according (...) to Zipf's law, they applied a uniform distribution of meanings. In this article, Zipf's law is also applied to the distribution of meanings, and it is shown that under this condition, cross-situational learning can only be plausible when referential uncertainty is sufficiently small. It is concluded that cross-situational learning is a plausible learning mechanism but needs to be guided by heuristics that aid word learners with reducing referential uncertainty. (shrink)
Research into child language reveals that it takes a long time for children to learn the correct mapping of colour words. Steels & Belpaeme's (S&B's) guessing game, however, models fast learning of words. We discuss computational studies based on cross-situational learning, which yield results that are more consistent with the empirical child language data than those obtained by S&B.
Over the last 20 years, the topics of action observation (AO) and motor imagery (MI) have been largely studied in isolation from each other, despite the early integrative account by Jeannerod (1994, 2001). Recent neuroimaging studies demonstrate enhanced cortical activity when AO and MI are performed concurrently ('AO+MI'), compared to either AO or MI performed in isolation. These results indicate the potentially beneficial effects of AO+MI, and they also demonstrate that the underlying neurocognitive processes are partly shared. We separately review (...) the evidence for MI and AO as forms of motor simulation, and present two quantitative literature analyses that indeed indicate rather little overlap between the two bodies of research. We then propose a spectrum of concurrent AO+MI states, from congruent AO+MI where the contents of AO and MI widely overlap, over coordinative AO+MI, where observed and imagined action are different but can be coordinated with each other, to cases of conflicting AO+MI. We believe that an integrative account of AO and MI is theoretically attractive, that it should generate novel experimental approaches, and that it can also stimulate a wide range of applications in sport, occupational therapy, and neurorehabilitation. (shrink)
We share the authors' general approach to the study of perception and action, but rather than singling out a particular level of “late perceptual” and “early motor” processing for sensorimotor interactions, we argue that these can arise at multiple levels during action preparation and execution. Recent data on action-perception transfer are used to illustrate this perspective.