In this paper, we propose analogies between medical discourse and Edward Said's “Orientalism.” Medical discourse, like Orientalism, tends to favor institutional interests and can be similarly dehumanizing in its reductionism, textual representations, and construction of its subjects. To resist Orientalism, Said recommends that critics—“intellectuals”—adopt the perspective of exile. We apply Said's paradigm of intellectual-as-exile to better understand the work of key physician-authors who cross personal and professional boundaries, who engage with patients in mutually therapeutic relationships, and who take on the (...) public responsibility of representation and advocacy. We call these physician-authors “medical intellectuals” and encourage others to follow in their path. (shrink)
ExcerptThe Omens In November 1961, the Einaudi publishing house published Renzo De Felice's Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo.1 The Wiener Library in London and both the Yad Vashem Martyrs' and Heroes' Memorial Authority in Jerusalem and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research of New York City had just published (respectively, at the beginning and the end of 1960) two bibliographies concerning the persecution of Jews in Europe, one authored by Ilse R. Wolff and the other by Philip (...) Friedman and Jacob Robinson.2 According to their works (in particular, according to the latter, more extensive one),…. (shrink)
Regarding marriage, John Wyclif defends the following position: strictly speaking, no words or any kind of sensory signs would be needed, since the consensus of the spouses together with God's approbation would suffice for the accomplishment of marriage. But if words do have to be pronounced, then the appropriate formula should not be in the present, but in the future. In the following, I shall discuss Wyclif's arguments by comparing them with some other medieval positions, as well as with some (...) elements of contemporary theories of speech acts. It will appear that in his analysis of the only sacrament which is a “social act“ in the literal sense of the expression, Wyclif (i) clearly acknowledges the central role of individual intentions behind (linguistic) conventions, and (ii) carefully distinguishes between the different, chronologically disparate acts involved in marriage and their respective (semantic, psychological and factual) felicity conditions. (shrink)
In I Love to You , Luce Irigaray moves from the critique of patriarchy to an exploration of the ground for a possible inter-subjectivity between the two sexes. Continuing her rejection of demands for equality, Irigaray poses the question: how can we move to a new era of sexual difference in which women and men establish lasting relations with one another without reducing the other to the status of object? Drawing upon Hegel, Irigaray proposes a dialectic appropriate to each sex (...) as well as a dialectic of their relation. She argues for what she calls "sexed rights" and a right of persons based on the right to life, not the right to property. Using the results of her research into the sexing of language, Irigaray analyzes how women seek communication in discourse with the other--an other, pre-occupied with his abstract or concrete object, who does not respond. She proposes another syntax for communication, one that does not incorporate the other as the object of the subject but allows for an indirect relation. Thus "I love to you" replaces "I love you." In Irigaray's vision of the happiness possible in sexual difference, the love between a man and a woman finds its "reason" not in property or children, but in its own place within the couple. Arguing passionately for a new language of personal relations, I Love to You looks toward a future where nihilism can be overcome by "love in sexual difference.". (shrink)
Prodi's semiotics theory comes into being to answer a radical question: if a sign is a cross-reference, what guarantees the relation between the sign and the object to which it is referring? Prodi rebukes all traditional solutions: a subject's voluntary intention, a convention, the iconic relation between sign and object. He refutes the fIrst answer because the notion of intention, upon which it is based, is, indeed, a fully mysterious entity. The conventionalist answer is just as unsatisfactory for it does (...) nothing but extends to a whole group that which cannot be explained for a single component; the iconic one, finally, is rejected toosince in this case the notion of "likeliness", as the basis of the concept of "iconicity", is not explained. Prodi's answer is to locate the model of semiotic relations in the figure of the circle. The circle is life, which is nothing else but an infinite chain of translation and recognition relations amidst ever more complex systems. The circle has neither a beginning nor an end. It has no foundation, no established rule. It holds no cause that cannot become, in turn, effect. Semiosis, then, is based upon life for life, itself, is intrinsically semiotic. We can put the world in signs, that is we can come to know it, because we, ourselves, are a part of that very worldthat through us is made known. Finally, what this implies is that being inside the circle of semiosis-life, an issue arises what is beyond that circle: that is both an aesthetic and a religious problem. (shrink)
The last two centuries have been the centuries of the discovery of the cell evolution: in the XIX century of the germinal cells and in the XX century of two groups of somatic cells, namely those of the brain-mind and of the immune systems. Since most cells do not behave in this way, the evolutionary character of the brain-mind and of the immune systems renders human beings formed by two different groups of somatic cells, one with a deterministic and another (...) with an indeterministic (say Darwinian) behavior. An inherent consequence is that of the generation, during ontogenesis, of a dual biological identity. The concept of the dual biological identity may be used to explain the Kantian concept of the two metaphysical worlds, namely of the causal necessity and of the free will (Azzone, 2001). Two concepts, namely those of complex adaptive systems (CAS) and of emergence (Holland, 2002), are useful tools for understanding the mechanisms of adaptation and of evolution. The concept of complex adaptive systems indicates that living organisms contain series of stratified components, denoted as building blocks, forming stratified layers of increasing complexity. The concept of emergence implies the use of repeating patterns and of building blocks for the generation of structures of increasing levels of complexity, structures capable of exchanging communications both in the top-down and in the bottom-up direction. Against the concept of emergence it has been argued that nothing can produce something which is really new and endowed of causal efficacy. The defence of the concept of emergence is based on two arguments. The first is the interpretation of the variation-selection mechanism as a process of generation of information and of optimization of free energy dissipation in accord with the second principle of thermodynamics. The second is the objective evidence of the cosmological evolution from the Big Bang to the human mind and its products. Darwin has defended the concept of the continuity of evolution. However evolution should be considered as continuous when there is no increase of information and as discontinuous when there is generation of new information. Examples of such generation of information are the acquisition of the innate structures for language and the transition from absence to presence of morality. There are several discontinuity thresholds during both phylogenesis and ontogenesis. Morality is a relational property dependent on the interactions of human beings with the environment. Piaget and Kohlberg have shown that the generation of morality during childhood occurs through several stages and is accompanied by reorganization of the child mental organization. The children respect the conventions in the first stage and gradually generate their autonomous morality. The transition from absence to presence of morality, a major adaptive process, then, not only has occurred during phylogenesis but it occurs again in every human being during ontogenesis. The religious faith does not provide a logical justification of the moral rules (Ayala, 1987) but rather a psychological and anthropological justification of two fundamental needs of human beings: that of rendering Nature an understandable entity, and that of increasing the cooperation among members of the human societies. The positive effects of the altruistic genes in the animal societies are in accord with the positive effects of morality for the survival and development of the human societies. (shrink)
Object identity, the apprehension that two glimpses refer to the same object, is offered as an example of combining generality, mathematics, and evolution. We argue that it applies to glimpses in time (apparent motion), modality (ventriloquism), and space (Gestalt grouping); that it has a mathematically elegant solution of nested geometries (Euclidean, Similarity, Affine, Projective, Topology); and that it is evolutionarily sound despite our Euclidean world. [Shepard].
Beyond impressionistic observations, little is known about the role and influence of scientific societies on research conduct. Acknowledging that the influence of scientific societies is not easily disentangled from other factors that shape norms and practices, this article addresses how best to study the promotion of research integrity generally as well as the role and impact of scientific societies as part of that process. In setting forth the parameters of a research agenda, the article addresses four issues: (1) how to (...) conceptualize research on scientific societies and research integrity; (2) challenges and complexities in undertaking basic research; (3) strategies for undertaking basic research that is attentive to individual, situational, organizational, and environmental levels of analysis; and (4) the need for evaluation research as integral to programmatic change and to assessment of the impact of activities by scientific societies. (shrink)