Cosmic explosions dissipate energy into their surroundings on a very wide range of time scales: producing shock waves and associated particle acceleration. The historical culprits for the acceleration of the bulk of Galactic cosmic rays are supernova remnants: explosions on approximately 104 year time scales. Increasingly, however, time-variable emission points to rapid and efficient particle acceleration in a range of different astrophysical systems. Gamma-ray bursts have the shortest time scales, with inferred bulk Lorentz factors of approximately 1000 and photons emitted (...) beyond 100 GeV, but active galaxies, pulsar wind nebulae and colliding stellar winds are all now associated with time-variable emission at approximately teraelectron volt energies. Cosmic photons and neutrinos at these energies offer a powerful probe of the underlying physical mechanisms of cosmic explosions, and a tool for exploring fundamental physics with these systems. Here, we discuss the motivations for high-energy observations of transients, the current experimental situation, and the prospects for the next decade, with particular reference to the major next-generation high-energy observatory, the Cherenkov Telescope Array. (shrink)
Although hierarchical approaches are evidently important to reinforcement learning, most existing hierarchical RL models either do not involve automatically developing hierarchies (i.e., using pre-determined hierarchies; e.g., Dayan and Hinton 1993, Sutton 1995, Pre-cup et al 1998, Parr and Russell 1997, Dietterich 1997), or involve only domain-speci c processes. Models in the latter category rely on domain-speci c knowledge or procedures and are thus not generic or autonomous; for example, Lin (1993), Moore and Atkeson (1994), and Singh (1994). The problems of (...) such hierarchies include in exibility (because the characteristics of the domain can change over time) and lack of generality (because domain-speci c hierarchies most likely vary from domain to domain). This is true even when limited learning is used to ne tune mostly pre-determined hierarchies (e.g., Parr and Russell 1997, Dietterich 1997). (shrink)
Mind body, not a pseudo-problem, by H. Feigl.--Is consciousness a brain process? by U. T. Place.--Sensations and brain processes, by J. J. C. Smart.--The nature of mind, by D. M. Armstrong.--Materialism as a scientific hypothesis, by U. T. Place.--Sensations and brain processes: a reply to J. J. C. Smart, by J. T. Stevenson.--Further remarks on sensations and brain processes, by J. J. C. Smart.--Smart on sensations, by K. Baier.--Brain processes and incorrigibility, by J. J. C. Smart.--Could mental states be brain (...) processes? by J. Shaffer.--The identity of mind and body, by J. Cornman.--Shaffer on the identity of mental states and brain processes, by R. Coburn.--Mental events and the brain, by J. Shaffer.--Comment: mental events and the brain, by P. Feyerabend.--Materialism and the mind-body problem, by P. Feyerabend.--Materialism, by J. J. C. Smart.--Scientific materialism and the identity theory, by N. Malcolm.--Professor Malcolm on scientific materialism and the identity theory, by E. Sosa.--Rejoinder to Mr. Sosa, by N. Malcolm.--Mind-body identity, privacy and categories, by R. Rorty.--Physicalism, by T. Nagel.--Mind-body identity, a side issue? by C. Taylor.--Illusions and identity, by J. M. Hinton.--Bibliography (p. -261). (shrink)
Gasking, D. A. T. The philosophy of John Wisdom.--Thomson, J. J. Moore's technique revisited.--Yalden-Thomson, D. C. The Virginia lectures.--Dilman, I. Paradoxes and discoveries.--Ayers, M. R. Reason and psycholinguistics.--Roberts, G. W. Incorrigibility, behaviourism and predictionism.--Hinton, J. M. "This is visual sensation."--Gunderson, K. The texture of mentality.--Newell, R. W. John Wisdom and the problem of other minds.--Lyon, A. The relevance of Wisdom's work for the philosophy of science.--Morris, H. Shared guilt.--Bambrough, R. Literature and philosophy.--Chronological list of published writings of John Wisdom, 1928-1972 (...) (p. -300). (shrink)
In 1991, I included a brief discussion of the Baldwin effect in my account of the evolution of human consciousness, thinking I was introducing to non-specialist readers a little-appreciated, but no longer controversial, wrinkle in orthodox neo-Darwinism. I had thought that Hinton and Nowlan (1987) and Maynard Smith (1987) had shown clearly and succinctly how and why it worked, and restored the neglected concept to grace. Here is how I put it then.
This examination of what I have, with apologies to Régis Debray, chosen to call “the revolution in the revolution” may help us to place the process of peasant rebellion in a new and hopefully more realistic perspective. It implies, above all, that the historical evolution of peasant radicalism is more a process of addition than of substitution. That is, the growth of a radical revolutionary elite espousing modern creeds such as nationalism and communism does not so much displace the older (...) forms of rebellion or the values they embody, so much as it adds a new layer of leadership and doctrine at the revolutionary apex. The degree of interpenetration varies from place to place and over time, but we can expect to find, as we move toward the rank-and-file in the countryside, the expression of beliefs, values, and interests which distinguish the peasantry as an old and distinct, pre-capitalist class. Once again, the revolutionary amalgalm mimics the ritual amalgam which anthropologists have noted.While elements of the great tradition have become parts of local festivals, they do not appear to have entered village festival custom at the expense of much that is or was the little tradition. Instead, we see evidence of accretion and of transmutation of form without apparent replacement and without nationalization of the accumulated and transformed elements. Hilton makes much the same point about medieval peasant movements: that when they become regional rather than local they do not lose their local and particularist character but merely add on new layers of interest, op. cit., p. 64. What we confront, then, are at least two revolutions which occur simultaneously with a greater or lesser degree of integration. The nature of each would-be revolution is a product of the social location and therefore the concrete interests of its proponents - the revolutionary intelligentsia on the one hand and the peasantry on the other. Here I obviously oversimplify inasmuch as one might distinguish among sub-classes (e.g. small-holders, tenants, farm laborers, subsistence producers, market-oriented producers), each of which fosters a distinct vision of the revolutionary stakes. Thus the “Folk” variant of the French revolution will vary from region to region and from sub-class to sub-class. And ldthe revolution in the revolution,” considered as a whole, will vary depending on whether we are dealing with seventeenth century England, eighteenth century France, or twentieth century Mexico. Despite these critical variations, however, many of the themes I have developed seem remarkably durable, based, as they are, on salient features of the pre- and early capitalist peasantry. This is not to say that the relationship between the two revolutions is one of straightforward conflict. On the contrary, each is likely to share a series of aims on which their de facto coalition is based - eg. opposition to the existing elite, hatred of colonial rule, the redistribution of land and wealth. Beyond this common terrain, however, interests may diverge. This divergence may be a matter of merely separate interests. Thus the momentous issues for the revolutionary elite may be the nationalization of foreign firms and the creation of a strong state, while for the peasantry, the momentous issues may be land reform, subsistence and local justice. Here there is still scope for a coalition since the claims of each revolutionary sector are not necessarily at odds. At another level, however, there may be potential conflict, the revolutionary intelligentsia may envisage a collectivized agriculture while the peasantry may be fighting for its small-holdings; the party elite may want a centralized political order while the peasantry is wedded to local autonomy; the elite may wish to tax the countryside to industrialize while the peasantry is committed to a closed economy with no taxes. There is thus a level of shared interests, a level of divergent but not competing interests, and a level of conflicting interests. The last may not be sufficient to jeopardize the revolutionary coalition but it will find expression both in the revolutionary process and in post-revolutionary politics.To the extent that we accept these differences as the natural consequence of divergent, real interests, to the extent that we view them as an inevitable part of revolutionary praxis, it directs us away from an all too common definition of the revolutionary project. This definition implicitly or explicitly holds that the objective of the revolutionary party is to instruct or to socialize the peasantry (or the proletariat) away from its backward, petty-bourgeois, or adventurist (viz. Left-wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder) tendencies and toward a “true,” “advanced” understanding of the revolution. Thus Hobsbawm looks for the replacement of more primitive values and forms of rebellion with the modern secular creeds taught by the party. Thus Migdal elaborates a model of revolution in which peasants move from individual and local interests to an identity with party goals. See also, along these lines, Frank Parkin, Class Inequality and Political Order (New York: Praeger, 1971) and Georg Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness, translated by Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1971). Gramsci is a more interesting and complex case and his work permits of several interpretations. While it is true that some revolutionary parties do create a cadre that does, to some extent, mediate or bridge this gap, they do not by virtue of this mediation eliminate it. The gap remains, in nearly every case, as a permanent structural feature of the revolution. Little tradition politics in the countryside will never live up to the cadre's expectations; it will often continue to be more spontaneous and reflexive than the party's desire for serried ranks implies; it will continue to reflect the durable local interests which arise from the peasantry's location in the social structure. In this context, we would do well to heed E.P. Thompson's analysis of the English naval mutinies of 1797: It is foolish to argue that because the majority of the sailors had few clear political notions, this was a parochial affair of ship's biscuits and arrears of pay, and not a revolutionary movement. This is to mistake the nature of popular revolutionary crises which arise from exactly this kind of conjunction between the grievances of the majority and the aspirations articulated by a conscious minority.E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (New York: Vintage, 1966), p. 168.Barrington Moore has put the matter even more directly in his study of major revolutions: The intellectuals as such can do little politically unless they attach themselves to a massive form of discontent. The discontented intellectual with his soul searchings has attracted attention wholly out of proportion to his political importance, partly because these searchings leave behind them written records and also because those who write history are themselves intellectuals. It is a particularly misleading trick to deny that a revolution stems from peasant grievances because its leaders happen to be professional men or intellectuals. Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967).What this perspective suggests is that an appropriate and more historically accurate description of most peasant revolutions would focus on this conjunction of peasant grievances and aspirations and the activities of a revolutionary party. Such a conjunction does not necessarily imply complete integration either of the overall revolutionary forces or of ideological values. In fact, it is quite in keeping with the invariably divergent and contradictory forces at work in any peasant revolution. Party propaganda and Leninist aspirations to the contrary notwithstanding, the revolutionary party may, in a limited sense, “make” the revolution, but not just as it pleases.Quite apart from the descriptive superiority of this view of revolutionary conjunctions, it has a great deal of merit in normative terms as well. There is more than a trace of unwarranted arrogance in the assumption that only the party embodies “true historical consciousness” and that the vision of justice and order found among the peasantry are examples of “partial” or “false” consciousness. The concept of a vanguard party which has a monopoly on reality not only obviates the need for democracy in the revolution but it overlooks the very real possibility that the consciousness of the rank-and-file may not be inferior but simply different. The word “conscious” here seems to me unfortunate inasmuch as it is a question of a different consciousness, not a question of its presence or absence. A recognition that the values of a revolutionary peasantry are distinguishable from those of the party can form the basis for collaboration and learning rather than a one-way exercise in “consciousness-raising.” Peter Berger, with whose book I otherwise profoundly disagree, develops this argument against false consciousness and the elite project of “consciousness-raising.” Pyramids of Sacrifice (New York: Basic Books, 1974) Chs 3 and 4. This appears to be what Mao tse-tung had in mind in his report on the Hunan uprising in 1927 which was not begun at party initiative and which was taking a course of its own. The choice, Mao wrote, was: To march at their head and lead them? Or to follow at their rear, gesticulating at them and criticising them. Or face them as opponents?Hinton, op. cit., p. 517. An effective collaboration, a working conjunction, requires the party as much to adapt itself to the demands implicit in peasant action as to socialize the peasantry to its values. For there is no peasant protest that does not implicitly embody a political program. Even the original “jacquerie” of 1538, led by Jacques Bonhomme, was not at all the directionless madness which the term “jacquerie” and other self-serving terms applied by elites to peasant rebellions (e.g. “tumultos”, “mobs”, “riots”) are intended to convey. It was based on concrete grievances related to taxation and the failure of the nobility to perform its obligations of protection.“Rodney Hilton, Bond Men Made Free (London: Temple Smith, 1973), p. 131. Similarly, the violent crowds who staged market riots in eighteenth century England were enacting an economic program; they saw themselves as “setting the price” and called themselves, in one instance, “The Regulators.”E.P. Thompson, “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century,” Past and Present, No. 50, 1971, pp. 108–110.I do not mean to ascribe a privileged truth status to the political consciousness of the peasantry. Peasant rebellions, after all, have their full complement of such human weaknesses as opportunism, personalism, and ethnic prejudice. Neither, however, does the “consciousness” of the party have any necessary claim to superior truth status at the level of values or even at the level of strategy. It is remarkable how often it has been the precipitate action of the peasants or workers, with their limited vision and limited goals, rather than party strategy, that has created a revolutionary situation. Without the rural and sans culottes uprisings, the seizure of power by a revolutionary elite in Paris would have been inconceivable. If the Bolsheviks, weak though they were, found power “lying in the street” it was largely because the spontaneous action of workers and peasants (i.e. factory and land seizures) had put it there. Despite, or perhaps because, the peasantry operates within a narrower purview, their action can have, and has had, revolutionary consequences. Only when there is a prolonged period of revolutionary warfare does the party's claim to superior strategic vision become plausible. And even then, it may well be that such warfare is better carried out by local units with great autonomy. The argument for the party as the progenitor of revolution is thus most persuasive at the level of the consolidation of the revolutionary state after power has been won. Although locally-based popular revolts have created revolutionary situations they have not, without the leadership and assistance of non-peasant elites, been able to consolidate a revolutionary state. This brings us to the question of how power and initiative are distributed after the revolution.In the interest of collaboration between the two sectors of a peasant revolution, there is something to be said for a revolutionary process in which the party is, initially at least, rather weak. If the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutionary elites have been particularly attentive to genuine peasant demands, it is in no small measure attributable to the fact that each party was, for an extended period, dependent for its very survival on the peasant enthusiasm it could elicit voluntarily. Learning, like much else, follows power, and both parties had to learn from their rural base or perish. Thus the way in which a revolution is made - whether by a Leninist putsch at the center or by a mass peasant mobilization at the periphery - will influence the character of the post-revolutionary order. An accommodation or partnership in the revolutionary process will favor a post-revolutionary regime that learns as much from its base as it teaches. Party domination or isolation in the revolutionary process will favor a post-revolutionary regime that attempts to impose its will. Just as one might prefer a cultural system in which the “little tradition” percolates up as much as the “great tradition” percolates down, so one may prefer a revolutionary process in which peasant values inform the elite vision rather than one in which the elite always has the last word. In terms of Marxist thought, this notion of revolutionary praxis implies that the position of Rosa Luxemburg and Trotsky is to be preferred over that of Lenin and applied to the peasantry as well as the proletariat: [Luxemburg and Trotsky] remained faithful to the hypothesis of the revolutionary proletariat, took as its point of departure the dialectical idea of the identity of subject and object and of the spontaneous tendency of the proletariat toward an authentic, non-integrated consciousness and called for a democratic party whose fundamental core must be the proletarian base - even if its revolutionary consciousness was less developed than that of the leading cadres. It was this base that should control the party machine, made up of professional revolutionaries who had more experience and more complete political education, but who were always in danger of becoming bureaucratic, furthering their own interests rather than those of the working class.... Lucien Goldmann, “Reflections on History and Class Consciousness,” in Istvan Meszaros, ed., Aspects of History and Class Consciousness (London: Routledge, Kegan Paul, 1971), pp. 69–70.It is well worth remembering that, whatever else they do, successful revolutions almost always issue in a vastly larger and more hegemonic state apparatus. In this context, the continued vitality of the peasant values of localism, egalitarianism and autonomy may well represent a humanizing force. So too may the ancient peasant weapons of scepticism, evasion, and deception prove the best defense in depth against a state which seeks to recast everything in its image. In the Third World, at least, peasants are the main consumers and, presumably, the main beneficiaries of the revolution. The new order thus succeeds or fails to the extent that the needs and values of this vast class are directly incorporated into the revolutionary process. Should it fail, we may well have reason to applaud the fact that peasant resistance and “primitive rebellion” can frustrate revolutionaries as well as reactionaries. (shrink)