In this book, T. L. Short corrects widespread misconceptions of Peirce’s theory of signs and demonstrates its relevance to contemporary analytic philosophy of language, mind, and science. Peirce’s theory of mind, naturalistic but nonreductive, bears on debates of Fodor and Millikan, among others. His theory of inquiry avoids foundationalism and subjectivism, while his account of reference anticipated views of Kripke and Putnam. Peirce’s realism falls between ‘internal’ and ‘metaphysical’ realism and is more satisfactory than either. His pragmatism is not (...) verificationism; rather, it identifies meaning with potential growth of knowledge. Short distinguishes Peirce’s mature theory of signs from his better-known but paradoxical early theory. He develops the mature theory systematically on the basis of Peirce's phenomenological categories and concept of final causation. The latter is distinguished from recent and similar views, such as Brandon’s, and is shown to be grounded in forms of explanation adopted in modern science. (shrink)
: This response to my seven critics is organized under five topics: 1. The book's scope and approach; 2. Physicalism, idealism, anthropomorphism; 3. Final causation; 4. Peirce's development; 5. Signs, objects, interpretants. No ground is ceded, but I have found the interchange clarifying and hope that the reader will find it so, too.
Miller (1956) summarized evidence that people can remember about seven chunks in short-term memory (STM) tasks. However, that number was meant more as a rough estimate and a rhetorical device than as a real capacity limit. Others have since suggested that there is a more precise capacity limit, but that it is only three to five chunks. The present target article brings together a wide variety of data on capacity limits suggesting that the smaller capacity limit is real. Capacity (...) limits will be useful in analyses of information processing only if the boundary conditions for observing them can be carefully described. Four basic conditions in which chunks can be identified and capacity limits can accordingly be observed are: (1) when information overload limits chunks to individual stimulus items, (2) when other steps are taken specifically to block the recoding of stimulus items into larger chunks, (3) in performance discontinuities caused by the capacity limit, and (4) in various indirect effects of the capacity limit. Under these conditions, rehearsal and long-term memory cannot be used to combine stimulus items into chunks of an unknown size; nor can storage mechanisms that are not capacity-limited, such as sensory memory, allow the capacity-limited storage mechanism to be refilled during recall. A single, central capacity limit averaging about four chunks is implicated along with other, noncapacity-limited sources. The pure STM capacity limit expressed in chunks is distinguished from compound STM limits obtained when the number of separately held chunks is unclear. Reasons why pure capacity estimates fall within a narrow range are discussed and a capacity limit for the focus of attention is proposed. Key Words: attention; enumeration; information chunks; memory capacity; processing capacity; processing channels; serial recall; short-term memory; storage capacity; verbal recall; working memory capacity. (shrink)
The phrase "the meaning of life" for many seems a quaint notion fit for satirical mauling by Monty Python or Douglas Adams. But in this spirited Very Short Introduction, famed critic Terry Eagleton takes a serious if often amusing look at the question and offers his own surprising answer. Eagleton first examines how centuries of thinkers and writers--from Marx and Schopenhauer to Shakespeare, Sartre, and Beckett--have responded to the ultimate question of meaning. He suggests, however, that it is only (...) in modern times that the question has become problematic. But instead of tackling it head-on, many of us cope with the feelings of meaninglessness in our lives by filling them with everything from football to sex, Kabbala, Scientology, "New Age softheadedness," or fundamentalism. On the other hand, Eagleton notes, many educated people believe that life is an evolutionary accident that has no intrinsic meaning. If our lives have meaning, it is something with which we manage to invest them, not something with which they come ready made. Eagleton probes this view of meaning as a kind of private enterprise, and concludes that it fails to holds up. He argues instead that the meaning of life is not a solution to a problem, but a matter of living in a certain way. It is not metaphysical but ethical. It is not something separate from life, but what makes it worth living--that is, a certain quality, depth, abundance and intensity of life. Here then is a brilliant discussion of the problem of meaning by a leading thinker, who writes with a light and often irreverent touch, but with a very serious end in mind. (shrink)
Poststructuralism changes the way we understand the relations between human beings, their culture, and the world. Following a brief account of the historical relationship between structuralism and poststructuralism, this Very Short Introduction traces the key arguments that have led poststructuralists to challenge traditional theories of language and culture. Whilst the author discusses such well-known figures as Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan, she also draws pertinent examples from literature, art, film, and popular culture, unfolding the poststructuralist account of what it (...) means to be a human being. (shrink)
What is science? Is there a real difference between science and myth? Is science objective? Can science explain everything? This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. Beginning with a short history of science to set the scene, Samir Okasha goes on to investigate the nature of scientific reasoning, scientific explanation, revolutions in science, and theories such as realism and anti-realism. He also looks at philosophical issues in particular sciences, (...) including the problem of classification in biology, and the nature of space and time in physics. The final chapter touches on the conflicts between science and religion, and explores whether science is ultimately a good thing. (shrink)
: T.L. Short's book argues that Peirce's early theory of signs was flawed, and that the development of his mature theories required a new start and the rejection of some fundamental doctrines from the earlier view. While agreeing that Peirce's view of signs changed and agreeing on the new developments that were of most significance, I express some doubts about Short's diagnosis of why such changes were required. I argue that the changes were required, not by internal inconsistencies (...) in the earlier position, but rather by the need to come up with an adequate account of the role of experience in cognition. (shrink)
The controversy over short selling has continued unabated from the introduction of modern equity trading in Amsterdam in 1610 to the present day. Nevertheless, the business ethics literature has not really addressed short selling. Short sellers not only profit from the misery of others, they also create it through their selling activities. However, they also provide a socially useful service by making prices better reflect true values, protecting other investors from purchasing overpriced securities. Short sellers can (...) also help to provide liquidity in the markets. Recently, there has been a hue and cry against so called "naked" short selling, which involves not delivering the shares that have been sold. This gives manipulators a tool for depressing stock prices and deprives purchasers of voting rights and potential stock lending revenue. Naked short selling creates ethical issues for short sellers, buyers, brokers, market makers, and regulators. Is it ethical to exploit a legal loophole that permits sellers to sell stock and delay delivering shares indefinitely? (shrink)
Should the hard questions of philosophy matter to ordinary people? In this down-to-earth, nonhistorical guide, Thomas Nagel, the distinguished author of Mortal Questions and The View From Nowhere, brings philosophical problems to life, revealing in vivid, accessible prose why they have continued to fascinate and baffle thinkers across the centuries. Arguing that the best way to learn about philosophy is to tackle its problems head-on, Nagel turns to some of the most important questions we can ask about ourselves. Do we (...) really have free will? Why should we be moral? What is the relation between our minds and our brains? Is there life after death? How should we feel about death? In a universe so vast, billions of light years across, can anything we do with our lives really matter? And does it matter if it doesn't matter? These are perennial questions we ask about the human condition, and Nagel probes them, and others like them, thoughtfully, clearly, and with humor. He states his own opinions freely but with refreshing modesty, always leaving it open to readers to entertain other solutions, encouraging them to think for themselves. Nagel is eminently qualified to introduce the uninitiated to the world of philosophical inquiry. Singled out by the Chicago Literary Review as "one of the sharpest analytic philosophers in America today," he has been praised in the New York Times Book Review for writing "sensitively and elegantly" and in the Times Literary Supplement for his ability, rare among philosophers, to combine "profundity with clarity and simplicity of expression." Never rarefied, What Does It All Mean? opens our eyes to a side of the world we rarely consider, demonstrating that philosophy is no empty study but an indispensable key to understanding our lives. It challenges us to think hard and clearly, to ask questions, to try out ideas and raise possible objections to them--in short, to become philosophers ourselves. (shrink)
This paper sketches a concept of higher-level objective probability (“short-run mechanistic probability”, SRMP) inspired partly by a style of explanation of relative frequencies known as the “method of arbitrary functions”. SRMP has the potential to fill the need for a theory of objective probability which has wide application at higher levels and which gives probability causal connections to observed relative frequency (without making it equivalent to relative frequency). Though this approach provides probabilities on a space of event types, it (...) does not provide probabilities for outcomes on particular trials. This allows SRMP to coexist with lower-level probabilities which do govern individual trials. (shrink)
: This paper is a commentary on some topics discussed by Thomas Short in his recent book Peirce's Theory of Signs: Peirce's distinction between iconic and indexical signs, the objects of propositions, and different ways of interpreting the distinction between the immediate and dynamic objects of signs. Peirce's distinction between immediate and dynamic objects is in certain respects analogous to Alexius Meinong's distinction between the "auxiliary objects" and the "ultimate objects" ("target objects") of mental representations. It is suggested that (...) the models of a theory can be regarded as its immediate objects, and the real systems represented by the models are the dynamic objects of the theory. (shrink)
Is matter real? Are persons real? Is time real? This Very Short Introduction discusses what, if anything, is "real" by looking at a variety of arguments from philosophy, physics, and cognitive science. The book shows that the question "what is real?" is not some esoteric puzzle that only philosophers ponder. Scientists also ask this question when they investigate whether candidates for the fundamental constituents of matter are actually "out there" or just a mere abstraction from a successful theory and (...) cognitive scientists ask it when trying to find out which set of the bewildering array of data processed by our brain could constitute the basis for the self. -/- Contents: -/- Introduction 1. What is real? Dreams and simulations 2. Is matter real? 3. Are persons real? 4. Is time real? Conclusion. (shrink)
In this enlightening new Very Short Introduction, Simon Critchley shows us that Continental philosophy encompasses a distinct set of philosophical traditions and practices, with a compelling range of problems all too often ignored by the analytic tradition. He discusses the ideas and approaches of philosophers such as Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Habermas, Foucault, and Derrida. He also introduces key concepts such as existentialism, nihilism, and phenomology, by explaining their place in the Continental tradition. The perfect guide for (...) anyone interested in the great philosophers, this volume explains in lucid, straightforward language the split between Continental and Anglo-American philosophy and the importance of acknowledging Continental philosophy. (shrink)
Psychological egoists deny that men ever voluntarily act to promote the interests of others as an end in itself or ever act in such a way that they have the same regard for others as they have for themselves. [...] This theory has a long history and was supposedly decisively refuted by Butler. Yet it continues to haunt the scene. I want, in the tradition of Butler but not in his manner, to try to set out a short snappy (...) but definitive refutation of psychological egoism which will also show why it has such a hold on people. (shrink)
(A) Larry Shiner address some central issues about architecturein particular, he is interested in the extent to which architectural beauty is dependent on, or independent of, various functions of buildings. What role does or should our knowledge of the functions of a building play in our aesthetic appreciation of it? I would say that a building may have various functions in addition to its aesthetic functions. One crucial question is over the way that the aesthetic and nonaesthetic functions may (...) be interwoven, so that there may be the “aesthetic expression” of nonaesthetic functions, which is also an aesthetic function of the building. I think that there are important unsolved and unresolved issues here, of great importance in aesthetics. What exactly is it to be beautiful as something with a function. What, exactly, is the aesthetic realization of a nonaesthetic function? I hoped to make a start on these matters by invoking the notion of “dependent beauty”, roughly as Kant described it, but perhaps with some recasting. I am pleased that Shiner appreciates the utility of the Kantian dependent beauty framework for thinking about certain substantive debates about architecture. A theoretical framework should have fruitful and illuminating application in particular cases. Recasting the form/function debates in architecture as debates about different kinds of function, I think, is helpful, especially because the framework allows for more or less aesthetically significant interaction between pure aesthetic and nonaesthetic functions. Shiner pursues some architectural debates in this frameworkhe is especially insightful on issues about the reuse of buildings. (B) In Aesthetic Creation, I raised a worry about how to specify exactly which functions are relevant to the aesthetic assessment of architecture. Architectural assessment is broader than aesthetic assessment; leaking roofs are an architectural defect but not (usually) an aesthetic defect of a building.. (shrink)
Larry Horn is justifiably famous for his work on the semantics of the English conjunction or and both its relationship to the formal logic truth functions ∨ and @ (“inclusive” and “exclusive” disjunction respectively1) and its relationship to the ways people employ or in natural discourse. These interests have been present since his 1972 dissertation, where he argued for a “scalar implicature-based” account of many of these relationships as opposed to a presuppositional account. They have surfaced in his “Greek (...) Grice” paper (Horn 1973) as well as in his Negation book (Horn 1989) and his recent “Border Wars” paper (Horn, forthcoming) where he defends the position that there are two types of implicatures at work here: Q- implicatures based on Grice’s first maxim of Quantity (“Say Enough”) and R-implicatures based on Grice’s second maxim of Quantity (“Don’t Say Too Much”). In a nutshell, the idea is that when a speaker employs a sentence with a disjunction, the meaning (that is, the semantic value) of the or is inclusive. With careful and judicious use of the Q- and R-implicatures, Larry’s theory allows the hearer (often) to infer that the speaker wanted to convey an exclusive disjunction. (shrink)
: T. L. Short's Peirce's Theory of Signs offers a strong interpretation of semeiotic, advocating a developmental and naturalistic position. This commentary examines some of the main features of Short's approach, raising a number of critical questions concerning the growth of Peirce's thought and the problem of anthropomorphism. First, two possible weaknesses in Short's account of the development of semeiotic, connected to the treatment of the "New List of Categories" and the role of the index, are noted. (...) Next, the menace of anthropomorphism is placed in the context of Peirce's startling affirmation of this point of view. Finally, the article draws attention to Short's bold claim that Peirce's theory of signs needs to be modified in order to accommodate a plurality of final interpretants in view of varying purposes. (shrink)
Augustine was arguably the greatest early Christian philosopher. His teachings had a profound effect on Medieval scholarship, Renaissance humanism, and the religious controversies of both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. Here, Henry Chadwick places Augustine in his philosophical and religious context and traces the history of his influence on Western thought, both within and beyond the Christian tradition. A handy account to one of the greatest religious thinkers, this Very Short Introduction is both a useful guide for the one (...) who seeks to know Augustine and a fine companion for the one who wishes to know him better. (shrink)
Global Health Needs and the Short-Term Medical Volunteer: Ethical Considerations Content Type Journal Article Pages 71-78 DOI 10.1007/s10730-011-9158-5 Authors Michele K. Langowski, Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, Salus Center, Saint Louis University, 3545 Lafayette, 5th Floor, St. Louis, MO 63104-1314, USA Ana S. Iltis, Department of Philosophy and Center for Bioethics, Health and Society, Wake Forest University, P.O. Box 7332, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 23 Journal (...) Issue Volume 23, Number 2. (shrink)
Doren Recker has criticized the prevailing accounts of Darwin's argument for the theory of natural selection in the Origin of Species. In this note I argue that Recker fails to distinguish between a deductive short argument for the principle of natural selection, and a non-deductive, long argument which aims at establishing that the principle has explanatory power in the various domains of application. I shall try to show that the semantic view of theories, especially in its structuralist form, makes (...) it easy to distinguish between the two arguments and to explain how Darwin's long argument counts as one argument. I also raise a question about Recker's views on Darwin's mid-Victorian background, arguing that Newton's First Rule of Reasoning was not just a constraint on hypotheses involving unobservables, but a general request to keep conjecture and certainty apart. (shrink)
This paper is a commentary on some topics discussed by Thomas Short in his recent book Peirce's Theory of Signs: Peirce's distinction between iconic and indexical signs, the objects of propositions, and different ways of interpreting the distinction between the immediate and dynamic objects of signs. Peirce's distinction between immediate and dynamic objects is in certain respects analogous to Alexius Meinong's distinction between the "auxiliary objects" and the "ultimate objects" ("target objects") of mental representations. It is suggested that the (...) models of a theory can be regarded as its immediate objects, and the real systems represented by the models are the dynamic objects of the theory. (shrink)
: According to T.L. Short, Peirce's early thought-sign account of semeiotic engenders fatal flaws. On the one hand, it entails an infinite regressus of representation that cannot feasibly explain the connection between signs and objects and, on the other, an infinite progressus, leaving Peirce's theory without the wherewithal to account for the sign's meaning and significance. According to Short, Peirce overcomes the first flaw through the robust development of the notion of the index and the concept of collateral (...) experience. The second flaw is overcome through the pragmatic theory of meaning, connected as it is to the notion of purpose and, ultimately, a complex theory of teleology. My commentary focuses primarily on Short's important analysis of Peirce's teleology. I argue that he is successful in giving a plausible, naturalistic account of Peirce's theory without straying from the spirit of Peirce's systematic thought. Although, in my view, the book is the best account of Peirce's semiotic grammar in print, it fails to give a sufficient systematic analysis of the other two branches of Peirce's semeiotic—critical logic and formal rhetoric. (shrink)
Series Copy Oxford's celebrated Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Each volume provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject developed in its own right and how it (...) influenced society. Whatever the area of study one deems important or appealing, whatever topic fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introduction series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable. (shrink)
Games are everywhere: Drivers manoeuvring in heavy traffic are playing a driving game. Bargain hunters bidding on eBay are playing an auctioning game. A firm negotiating next year's wage is playing a bargaining game. The opposing candidates in an election are playing a political game. The supermarket's price for corn flakes is decided by playing an economic game. -/- Game theory is about how to play such games in a rational way. Even when the players have not thought everything out (...) in advance, game theory often works for the same reason that mindless animals sometimes end up behaving very cleverly: evolutionary forces eliminate irrational play because it is unfit. -/- Game theory has seen spectacular successes in evolutionary biology and economics, and is beginning to revolutionize other disciplines from psychology to political science. This Very Short Introduction introduces the fascinating world of game theory, showing how it can be understood without mathematical equations, and revealing that everything from how to play poker optimally to the sex ratio among bees can be understood by anyone willing to think seriously about the problem. (shrink)
It is not only in our dark hours that scepticism, relativism, hypocrisy, and nihilism dog ethics. Whether it is a matter of giving to charity, or sticking to duty, or insisting on our rights, we can be confused, or be paralysed by the fear that our principles are groundless. Many are afraid that in a Godless world science has unmasked us as creatures fated by our genes to be selfish and tribalistic, or competitive and aggressive. Simon Blackburn, author of the (...) best-selling Think, structures this short introduction around these and other threats to ethics. Confronting seven different objections to our self-image as moral, well-behaved creatures, he charts a course through the philosophical quicksands that often engulf us. Then, turning to problems of life and death, he shows how we should think about the meaning of life, and how we should mistrust the sound-bite sized absolutes that often dominate moral debates. Finally he offers a critical tour of the ways the philosophical tradition has tried to provide foundations for ethics, from Plato and Aristotle through to contemporary debates. (shrink)
Scholars have largely misunderstood Soren Kierkegaard, remembering him chiefly in connection with the development of existentialist philosophy in this century. In a short and unhappy life, he wrote many books and articles on literary, satirical, religious and psychological themes, but the diversity and idiosyncratic style of his writing have contributed to a misunderstanding of his ideas. In this book--the only introduction to the full range of Kierkegaard's thought--Patrick Gardiner demonstrates how Kierkegaard developed his ideas and examines his thoughts in (...) light of the doctrines on society developed by his contemporaries Marx and Feuerbach. Finally, he assesses the profound importance of Kierkegaard's ideas on the development of modern ways of thinking. (shrink)
Abstract I am honoured that you asked me to give the Kohlberg Memorial Lecture and grateful for this occasion to remember Larry and speak about his work. For me, it means coming back into a conversation that I was intensely involved in a long time ago. I have not talked publicly about Larry or my relationship with him since the time of his death, and it has now been over 10 years. I want to say how I remember (...)Larry and also how it came to pass that I became involved in a conversation with him and how my work flowed through the area of moral development for a period of time. In doing so, I will bring my first?person voice into a place where I have tended to appear in the third person, as ?Gilligan?, I will talk about Carol and Larry and Kohlberg and Gilligan, but first I want to begin in the present, with where I am now and with an observation about boys that led me back to the beginning of Larry's theory. (shrink)
The famous first aphorism of Hippocrates, "Life is short, the art is long" was long considered a perfect summary of medical ethics. Modern physicians find the words impossible to understand. But it can be interpreted as a fundamental insight into the ethical problems of modern medicine. The technology of modern scientific medicine can sustain life, even when life is losing its vitality. How should decisions be made about the use of technology and by whom? This is the incessant question (...) of modern medical ethics. (shrink)
Using explicit memory measures, Cowan predicts a new circumstance in which the central capacity limit of 4 chunks should obtain. Supporting results for such an experiment, using continuous old-new recognition, are described. With implicit memory measures, Cowan assumes that short-term repetition priming reflects the central capacity limit. I argue that this phenomenon instead reflects limits within individual perceptual processing modules.
: My contribution to the present symposium on Short's book is an assessment of it as an attempt to provide a reliable starting understanding of Peirce's semeiotic for anyone interested in its relevance to contemporary philosophy of mind and philosophy of science, which is the special (but somewhat limited) perspective from which Short himself views Peirce's work. I suggest that although the central core of the book—meaning those chapters (3 through 9) which present the basic conceptions of Peirce's (...) theory of thought as representation—is successful in providing an unusually lucid account of its basic process conceptions (subject to important qualification), and is clearly of special interest in that part of it in which Short applies Peirce's conceptions in the context of current problematics in analytic philosophy (Chs. 10–12), it is seriously flawed as a book by the gratuitous inclusion (in Ch. 2) of a methodologically unsound and implausibly argued thesis about the development of Peirce's thought which serves no useful purpose relative to the rest of the book. As regards the qualification referred to above the one provided here concerns his account of Peirce's conception of symbolism in particular, which is based on a misunderstanding of its proper interpretant. (shrink)
Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference. -/- In this Very Short Introduction the renowned philosopher Roger Scruton explores the concept of beauty, asking what makes an object - either in art, in nature, or the human form - beautiful, and examining how we can compare differing judgements of beauty when it is evident all around (...) us that our tastes vary so widely. Is there a right judgement to be made about beauty? Is it right to say there is more beauty in a classical temple than a concrete office block, more in a Rembrandt than in last year's Turner Prize winner? -/- Forthright and thought-provoking, and as accessible as it is intellectually rigorous, this introduction to the philosophy of beauty draws conclusions that some may find controversial, but, as Scruton shows, help us to find greater sense of meaning in the beautiful objects that fill our lives. (shrink)
Atheism is often considered to be a negative, dark, and pessimistic belief which is characterized by a rejection of values and purpose and a fierce opposition to religion. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful, and moral. It also confronts the failure of officially atheist states in the Twentieth Century. The book presents an intellectual case for atheism that rests as (...) much upon positive arguments for its truth as on negative arguments against religion. (shrink)
What is agnosticism? Is it just the 'don't know' position on God, or is there more to it than this? Is it a belief, or merely the absence of belief? Who were the first to call themselves 'agnostics'? -/- These are just some of the questions that Robin Le Poidevin considers in this Very Short Introduction. He sets the philosophical case for agnosticism and explores it as a historical and cultural phenomenon. What emerges is a much more sophisticated, and (...) much more interesting, attitude than a simple failure to either commit to, or reject, religious belief. Le Poidevin challenges some preconceptions and assumptions among both believers and non-atheists, and invites the reader to rethink their own position on the issues. -/- . (shrink)
Consistent with Ruchkin and colleagues' proceduralist account, recent research on grouping and verbal-spatial binding in immediate memory shows continuity across short- and long-term retention, and activation of classes of information extending beyond those typically allowed in modular models. However, Ruchkin et al.'s account lacks well-specified mechanisms for the retention of serial order, binding, and the control of activation through attention.
The origin of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) is one of the most interesting puzzles in recent astronomy. During the last decade a consensus has formed that long GRBs (LGRBs) arise from the collapse of massive stars, and that short GRBs (SGRBs) have a different origin, most likely neutron star mergers. A key ingredient of the collapsar model that explains how the collapse of massive stars produces a GRB is the emergence of a relativistic jet that penetrates the stellar envelope. The (...) condition that the emerging jet penetrates the envelope imposes strong constraints on the system. Using these constraints we show the following. (i) Low-luminosity GRBs (llGRBs), a subpopulation of GRBs with very low luminosities (and other peculiar properties: single-peaked, smooth and soft), cannot be formed by collapsars. llGRBs must have a different origin (most likely a shock breakout). (ii) On the other hand, regular LGRBs must be formed by collapsars. (iii) While for BATSE the dividing line between collapsars and non-collapsars is indeed at approximately 2 s, the dividing line is different for other GRB detectors. In particular, most Swift bursts longer than 0.8 s are of a collapsar origin. This last result requires a revision of many conclusions concerning the origin of Swift SGRBs, which were based on the commonly used 2 s limit. (shrink)
The contribution of the Ancient Greeks to modern western culture is incalculable. In the worlds of art, architecture, myth, literature, and philosophy, the world we live in would be unrecognizably different without the formative influence of Ancient Greek models. -/- Ancient Greek civilization was defined by the city - in Greek, the polis, from which we derive 'politics'. It is above all this feature of Greek civilization that has formed its most enduring legacy, spawning such key terms as aristocracy, oligarchy, (...) tyranny and - last but by no means least - democracy. -/- This stimulating Very Short Introduction to Ancient Greece takes the polis as its starting point. Paul Cartledge uses the history of eleven major Greek cities to illuminate the most important and informative themes in Ancient Greek history, from the first documented use of the Greek language around 1400 BCE, through the glories of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, to the foundation of the Byzantine empire in around CE 330. Covering everything from politics, trade, and travel to slavery, gender, religion, and philosophy, it provides the ideal concise introduction to the history and culture of this remarkable civilization that helped give birth to the world as we know it. (shrink)
Global short-term medical volunteerism is growing, and properly conducted, is a tool in the fight for greater global health equity. It is intrinsically ethical (i.e., it involves ethics at every step) and depends upon ethical conduct for its success. At present, ethical guidelines remain in their infancy, which presents a unique opportunity. This paper presents a set of basic ethical principles, building on prior work in this area and previously developed guidelines for international clinical research. The content of these (...) principles, and the benchmarks used to evaluate them, remain intentionally vague and can only be filled by collaboration with those on-the-ground in local communities where this work occurs. Ethical review must additionally take into consideration the different obligations arising from the type of institution, type of intervention, and type of relationship involved. This paper argues that frequent and formalized ethical review, conducted from the beginning with the local community (where this community helps define the terms of debate), remains the most important ethical safeguard for this work. (shrink)
Preference for partners with low fluctuating asymmetry (FA) may produce “good gene” benefits. However, Gangestad & Simpson's analysis does not exclude immediate benefits of fertility. Low FA is related to fertility in men and women. Short-term changes in FA are correlated with fertility in women. It is not known whether temporal fluctuations in the FA of men are related to short-term fertility status.
Memory and forgetting are inextricably intertwined. Any account of short-term memory (STM) should address the following question: If three, four, or five chunks are being held in STM, what happens after attention is diverted?
Were it not for the Marquis de Sade's explicit use of language and complete disregard for the artificially constructed taboos of a religious morality he despised, the novelty and profundity of his thought, and above all, its fundamental modernity, would have long since secured him a place alongside the greatest authors and thinkers of the European Enlightenment. -/- This Very Short Introduction aims to disentangle the 'real' Marquis de Sade from his mythical and demonic reputation of the past two (...) hundred years. Phillips examines Sade's life and work: his libertine novels, his championing of atheism, and his uniqueness in bringing the body and sex back into philosophy. (shrink)
Cowan argues that the true short-term memory (STM) capacity limit is about 4 items. Functional neuroimaging data converge with this conclusion, indicating distinct neural activity patterns depending on whether or not memory task-demands exceed this limit. STM for verbal information within that capacity invokes focal prefrontal cortical activation that increases with memory load. STM for verbal information exceeding that capacity invokes widespread prefrontal activation in regions associated with executive and attentional processes that may mediate chunking processes to accommodate STM (...) capacity limits. (shrink)
Rene Descartes had a remarkably short working life, yet his contribution to philosophy and physics have endured to this day. He is perhaps best known for his statement, "Cogito, ergo sum," the cornerstone of his metaphysics. Descartes did not intend the metaphysics to stand apart from his scientific work, which included important investigations into physics, mathematics, and optics. In this book, Sorell shows that Descarates was, above all, an advocate and practitioner of the new mathematical approach to physics, and (...) that he developed his philosophies to support his discoveries in the sciences. (shrink)
The law within each legal system is a function of the practices of some social group. In short, law is a kind of socially grounded norm. H.L.A Hart famously developed this view in his book, The Concept of Law, by arguing that law derives from a social rule, the so-called “rule of recognition.” But the proposition that social facts play a foundational role in producing law is a point of consensus for (...) all modern jurisprudents in the Anglo-American tradition: not just Hart and his followers in the positivist school, most prominently Joseph Raz and Jules Coleman, but also the anti-positivist Ronald Dworkin, who argues that law necessarily synthesizes moral considerations with social facts. But which group’s practices ground each legal system? In particular, which group’s practices undergird U.S. law? Positivists since Hart have universally pointed to either officials or judges as the “recognitional community” (my term): the group such that its rules, conventions, cooperative activities, or practices in some other sense are the social facts from which the law of a given legal system derives. So Hart and all other positivists would identify either U.S. officials or U.S. judges as the recognitional community for U.S. law. This Article grapples with the tension between the positivist’s official- or judge-centered account of the recognitional community and the “popular constitutionalism” now so widely defended by constitutional scholars such as Larry Kramer, Robert Post, Reva Siegel, Mark Tushnet, Jeremy Waldron, and many others. Surely the popular constitutionalist would want to claim that U.S. citizens, not judges or officials, are the recognitional community for U.S. law. I term this position “deep popular constitutionalism.” Indeed, it turns out that Dworkin’s account of law, in its ambition to generate associative moral obligations for the citizenry as a whole, implies deep popular constitutionalism. Here there is a disagreement, hitherto unnoticed, between Dworkin and the positivists. My solution to this disagreement – to the debate between deep popular constitutionalists and deep official or judicial supremacists -- is to dissolve it by providing a group-relative account of law. Social norms, such as norms of dress or eating, are clearly group-relative. A particular dressing or eating behavior may be socially appropriate relative to one group’s norms, yet socially inappropriate relative to another’s. This Article extends the group-relative view from social norms to law itself, with a particular focus on U.S. law and constitutionalism. Part I surveys the jurisprudential literature. It shows how Hart and successor positivists identify the rule of recognition as a social practice engaged in by officials or some subset of officials (judges), rather than citizens generally, and argues that Dworkin by contrast sees the citizenry as a whole as his recognitional community. Parts II and III defend a group-relative account of law. Part II argues, with reference to the U.S. experience, that multiple groups can simultaneously instantiate the kind of social fact that undergirds law, be it a convention, a social norm, a “shared cooperative activity” (SCA), or something else. At many points in U.S. constitutional history, multiple official or citizen groups, defined along departmental, partisan, regional, state-federal, religious, or other lines, have accepted competing rules of recognition for U.S. law. Part III argues that “law” functions, primarily, as either an explanatory or a normative construct, and that insisting on a single recognitional community for each legal system would be arbitrary, both for explanatory purposes and for normative purposes. Part IV considers the many implications of the group-relative account for U.S. constitutional theory – in particular, for popular constitutionalism. (shrink)
In its essence, Critical Theory is Western Marxist thought with the emphasis moved from the liberation of the working class to broader issues of individual agency. Critical Theory emerged in the 1920s from the work of the Frankfurt School, the circle of German-Jewish academics who sought to diagnose--and, if at all possible, cure--the ills of society, particularly fascism and capitalism. In this book, Stephen Eric Bronner provides sketches of famous and less famous representatives of the critical tradition (such as George (...) Lukács and Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas) as well as many of its seminal texts and empirical investigations. -/- Though they shared a Marxist bent, the Frankfurt School's scholars came from a variety of fields--philosophy, economics, psychoanalysis, and even music--and they initially sought not only to do interdisciplinary work but also to combine theory with practice, criticism with empirical data. Forced by the rise of Hitler to flee to the United States, by the late 1930s the Frankfurt School left behind the emphasis on empiricism, beginning instead to specialize in philosophical inquiry into the nature of social control, which combined the work of Hegel, Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. This VSI is ultimately organized around the cluster of concepts and themes that set critical theory apart from its more traditional philosophical competitors. Bronner explains and discusses concepts such as method and agency, alienation and reification, the culture industry and repressive tolerance, non-identity and utopia. He argues for the introduction of new categories and perspectives for illuminating the obstacles to progressive change and focusing upon hidden transformative possibilities. Only a critique of critical theory can render it salient for a new age. That is precisely what this very short introduction seeks to provide. (shrink)
Today it is usually not long before a problem gets expressed as a human rights issue. An appeal to human rights in the face of injustice can be a heartfelt and morally justified demand for some, while for others it remains merely an empty slogan. -/- Taking an international perspective and focusing on highly topical issues such as torture, arbitrary detention, privacy, health and discrimination, this Very Short Introduction will help readers to understand for themselves the controversies and complexities (...) behind this vitally relevant issue. Looking at the philosophical justification for rights, the historical origins of human rights and how they are formed in law, Andrew Clapham explains what our human rights actually are, what they might be, and where the human rights movement is heading. (shrink)
Cuban cure falls short Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9620-7 Authors Katherine Hirschfeld, Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma, 455 West Lindsey, Dale Hall Tower, Norman, OK 73019, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The view that short-term memory should be conceived of as being a process based on the activation of long-term memory is inconsistent with neuropsychological evidence. Data from brain-damaged patients, showing specific patterns of impairment, are compatible with a vision of memory as a multiple-component system, whose different aspects, in neurologically unimpaired subjects, show a high degree of interaction.
T. L. Short's Peirce's Theory of Signs offers a strong interpretation of semeiotic, advocating a developmental and naturalistic position. This commentary examines some of the main features of Short's approach, raising a number of critical questions concerning the growth of Peirce's thought and the problem of anthropomorphism. First, two possible weaknesses in Short's account of the development of semeiotic, connected to the treatment of the "New List of Categories" and the role of the index, are noted. Next, (...) the menace of anthropomorphism is placed in the context of Peirce's startling affirmation of this point of view. Finally, the article draws attention to Short's bold claim that Peirce's theory of signs needs to be modified in order to accommodate a plurality of final interpretants in view of varying purposes. (shrink)
At a poignant juncture early in Brideshead Revisited, Sebastian, after briefly recounting for Charles his family's rather checkered performance with regard to its Catholicism, remarks, "I wish I liked Catholics more." When Charles replies, "They seem just like other people," Sebastian rebukes him: "My dear Charles, that's exactly what they're not ... It's not just that they're a clique-- as a matter of fact, they're at least four cliques all blackguarding each other half the time--but they've got an entirely different (...) outlook on life; everything they think important is different from other people. They try and hide it as much as they can, but it comes out all the time. It's quite natural, really, that they should. But you see it's difficult for semi-heathens like ... me." Outsiders are often distracted and even mesmerized by the blackguarding. In discussions of the elusive "Catholic character" we have come to expect comments like, "You can't even agree among yourselves what 'Catholic' means; is it any wonder that the rest of us get edgy when we hear of efforts to reinforce the Catholic character of Notre Dame?" Larry's paper helps us to understand a bit better both the significance of these internal disagreements and the fervor with which they are carried on. As he suggests, a true catholicity is marked by a kind of "coincidence of opposites," a plurality within a unity, or perhaps better, a creative anarchy within fixed limits, a volatile mixture of the hierarchical and the charismatic, of the stabilizing and the spontaneous, of St. Peter and St. Paul. Chesterton characterized it as an equilibrium in which the duelling opposites are allowed to become exaggerated just short of the point where the one would wipe out the other: "St. Francis, in praising all good, could be a more shouting optimist than Walt Whitman. St. Jerome, in denouncing all evil, could paint the world blacker than Schopenauer.. (shrink)
Foucault is one of those rare philosophers who has become a cult figure. Born in 1926 in France, over the course of his life he dabbled in drugs, politics, and the Paris SM scene, all whilst striving to understand the deep concepts of identity, knowledge, and power. -/- From aesthetics to the penal system; from madness and civilisation to avant-garde literature, Foucault was happy to reject old models of thinking and replace them with versions that are still widely debated today. (...) A major influence on Queer Theory and gender studies (he was openly gay and died of an AIDS-related illness in 1984), he also wrote on architecture, history, law, medicine, literature, politics and of course philosophy, and even managed a best-seller in France on a book dedicated to the history of systems of thought. -/- Because of the complexity of his arguments, people trying to come to terms with his work have desperately sought introductory material that makes his theories clear and accessible for the beginner. Ideally suited for the Very Short Introductions series, Gary Gutting presents a comprehensive but non-systematic treatment of some highlights of Foucault's life and thought. Beginning with a brief biography to set the social and political stage, he then tackles Foucault's thoughts on literature, in particular the avant-garde scene; his philosophical and historical work; his treatment of knowledge and power in modern society; and his thoughts on sexuality. (shrink)
Future work is needed to establish that pure short-term memory is a coherent individual difference attribute that is separable from traditional compound short-term memory measures. Psychometric support for latent pure short-term memory capacity will provide an important starting point for future fine-grained analyses of the intrinsic factors that influence individual differences in math skills.
What are angels? Where were they first encountered? Can we distinguish angels from gods, fairies, ghosts, and aliens? And why do they remain so popular? -/- This Very Short Introduction outlines some of the more prominent stories and speculations about angels in Judaism, Islam, Christianity and post-Christian spiritualities. It reflects on the way that angels have been portrayed in art, whether as young men in the Hebrew Scriptures, androgynous winged creatures of the pre-Raphaelites or the masculine statue of the (...) Angel of the North. It will also consider angels in films such as Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, and Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, as well as angels in literature. -/- From the idea of the angel as a messenger, through to the image of angels sent to protect and help those in need, this is an examination of the implications of angels. It will ask why people find the idea of angels attractive, helpful or consoling, and why they remain so powerful in modern culture. -/- It advances the view that reflecting on angels can teach us something about human existence and whether or not we believe that they exist in their own right, the angels can still illuminate our thoughts. (shrink)
: T.L. Short's book is a major achievement in Peirce's scholarship and probably one of the best books on Peirce ever written. However, it does not take the impact of evolutionary metaphysics on the development of semiotics into account. Furthermore, it blends out the specific conditions that final causation is subject to in the development of culture and morality.
'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it' This slogan, attributed to Voltaire, is frequently quoted by defenders of free speech. Yet it is rare to find anyone prepared to defend all expression in every circumstance, especially if the views expressed incite violence. So where do the limits lie? What is the real value of free speech? Here, Nigel Warburton offers a concise guide to important questions facing modern society about (...) the value and limits of free speech: Where should a civilized society draw the line? Should we be free to offend other people's religion? Are there good grounds for censoring pornography? Has the Internet changed everything? This Very Short Introduction is a thought-provoking, accessible, and up-to-date examination of the liberal assumption that free speech is worth preserving at any cost. (shrink)
What is Romanticism? In this Very Short Introduction Michael Ferber answers this by considering who the romantics were and looks at what they had in common -- their ideas, beliefs, commitments, and tastes. He looks at the birth and growth of Romanticism throughout Europe and the Americas, and examines various types of Romantic literature, music, painting, religion, and philosophy. -/- Focusing on topics, Ferber looks at the 'Sensibility' movement, which preceded Romanticism; the rising prestige of the poet; Romanticism as (...) a religious trend; Romantic philosophy and science; Romantic responses to the French Revolution; and the condition of women. Using examples and quotations he presents a clear insight into this very diverse movement, and offers a definition as well as a discussion of the word 'Romantic' and where it came from. (shrink)
We discuss the role of short-term auditory verbal storage within a working memory system. Data from single case studies of patients with left parietal lesions and selective impairment of memory span are discussed in order to address the question of the functions of short-term memory in language processing. The backup resource of auditory verbal short-term memory is required for those tasks that necessitate backtracking in order to integrate a verbal message within a developing central cognitive representation.
Although we find Gangestad & Simpson's argument intriguing, we question some of its underlying assumptions, including: (1) that fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is consistently heritable; (2) that symmetry is driving the effects; (3) that use of parametric tests with FA is appropriate; and (4) that a short-term mating strategy produces more offspring than a long-term strategy.
Although visual long-term memory (VLTM) and visual short-term memory (VSTM) can be distinguished from each other (and from visual sensory storage [SS]), they are embodied within the same modality-specific brain regions, but in very different ways: VLTM as patterns of connectivity and VSTM as patterns of activity. Perception and VSTM do not “activate” VLTM. They use VLTM to create novel patterns of activity relevant to novel circumstances.
'When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from troubled dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous insect ...' So begins Franz Kafka's most famous story Metamorphosis. -/- Franz Kafka (1883-1924) is among the most intriguing and influential writers of the twentieth century. During his lifetime he worked as a civil servant and published only a handful of short stories, the best known being The Transformation. All three of his novels, The Trial, The Castle, and The Man (...) Who Disappeared [America], were published after his death and helped to found Kafka's reputation as a uniquely perceptive interpreter of the twentieth century. -/- Kafka's fiction vividly evokes bizarre situations: a commercial traveller is turned into an insect, a banker is arrested by a mysterious court, a fasting artist starves to death in the name of art, a singing mouse becomes the heroine of her nation. Attending both to Kafka's crisis-ridden life and to the subtleties of his art, Ritchie Robertson shows how his work explores such characteristically modern themes as the place of the body in culture, the power of institutions over people, and the possibility of religion after Nietzsche had proclaimed 'the death of God'. The result is an up-to-date and accessible portrait of a fascinating author which shows us ways to read and make sense of his perplexing and absorbing work. (shrink)
This article reviews experimental evidence for a specific sensorimotor function which can be dissociated from higher level representations of space. It attempts to delineate this function on the basis of results obtained by psychophysical experiments performed with brain damaged and healthy subjects. Eye and hand movement control exhibit automatic features, such that they are incompatible with conscious control. In addition, they rely on a reference frame different from the one used by conscious perception. Neuropsychological cases provide a strong support for (...) this specific motor representation of space, which can be spared in patients with lesions of primary sensory systems who have lost conscious perception of visual, tactile or proprioceptive stimuli. Observation of these patients also showed that their motor behavior can be ''attracted'' by a goal only under specific conditions, that is, when the response is immediate and when no cognitive representation of this goal is elaborated at the same time. Beyond the issue of the dissociation between an implicit motor representation and more cognitive processing of spatial information, the issue of the interaction between these two systems is thus a matter of interest. It is suggested that the conscious, cognitive representation of a stimulus can contaminate or override the short-lived motor representation, but no reciprocal influence seem to occur. The interaction observed in patients can also be investigated in normals. The literature provides examples of interaction between sensorimotor and cognitive framing of space, which confirm that immediate action is not mediated by the same system as delayed action, and that elaborating a categorial representation of the action goal prevents the expression of the short-lived sensorimotor representation. It is concluded that action can be controlled by a sensory system which is specialized for on-line processing of relevant goal characteristics. The temporal constraints of this system are such that it can affect the action before a full sensory analysis of this goal has been completed. The performance obtained on the basis of this spatial sensory processing suggests that short-lived motor representations may rather be considered as real ''presentation'' of the action world, which share its metric properties. (shrink)
Professor Raymond Wacks is a leading international expert on privacy. For more than three decades he has published numerous books and articles on this controversial subject. Privacy is a fundamental value that is under attack from several quarters. Electronic surveillance, biometrics, CCTV, ID cards, RFID codes, online security, the monitoring of employees, the uses and misuses of DNA, - to name but a few - all raise fundamental questions about our right to privacy. This Very Short Introduction also analyzes (...) the tension between free speech and privacy generated by intrusive journalism, photography, and gratuitous disclosures by the media of the private lives of celebrities. Professor Wacks concludes this stimulating introduction by considering the future of privacy in our society. (shrink)
On 5 May 1957, Leopold Löwenheim passed away in a Berlin hospital following a short but severe illness, unnoticed by the community of mathematical logicians who believed that he had perished in a Nazi concentration camp in or shortly after 1940 (the year of publication in the Journal of Symbolic Logic of his last paper before the end of World War II). The 50th anniversary of his death seems an appropriate date for the posthumous publication of a paper that (...) was supposed to appear in Fundamenta Mathematicae in 1939, the galley proofs of which Löwenheim had already seen and corrected when German troops invaded Poland on 1 September 1939. Löwenheim managed to save the proofs through the War, despite the loss of most of his possessions during the bombing of Berlin in 1943 and 1944. By another lucky chance, a copy of the proofs survived in the present author's possession, when the originals were lost during a flat clearing in Berlin as part of the estate of Johannes Teichert (1904?1994), Löwenheim's step-son, when his widow moved into a nursing-home in May 1999. Later, I will expand these short remarks slightly but seize the present opportunity to resume (and in some places add to) the extant data on Löwenheim's life and writings. (shrink)
This acclaimed short study, originally published in 1983, and now thoroughly updated, elucidates the varied theoretical contributions of Roland Barthes (1915-80), the 'incomparable enlivener of the literary mind' whose lifelong fascination was with the way people make their world intelligible. He has a multi-faceted claim to fame: to some he is the structuralist who outlined a 'science of literature', and the most prominent promoter of semiology; to others he stands not for science but pleasure, espousing a theory of literature (...) which gives the reader a creative role. This book describes the many projects, which Barthes explored and which helped to change the way we think about a range of cultural phenomena - from literature, fashion, wrestling, and advertising to notions of the self, of history, and of nature. (shrink)
This is the first part of a two part work on the monadic theory of short orders (embedding neither ω 1 nor ω 1 * ). This part provides the technical groundwork for decidability results. Other applications are possible.
We challenge Ruchkin et al.'s claim in reducing short-term memory (STM) to the active part of long-term memory (LTM), by showing that their data cannot rule out the possibility that activation of posterior brain regions could also reflect the contribution of a verbal STM buffer.
We provide additional support for Cowan's claim that short term memory (STM) involves a range of 3–5 tokens, on the basis of language correlational analyses. If language is at least partly learned, linguistic dependency structure should reflect properties of the cognitive components mediating learning; one such component is STM. In this view, the range over which statistical regularity extends in ordinary text would be suggestive of STM span. Our analyses of eight languages are consistent with STM span being about (...) four chunks. (shrink)
Homer, Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy; Curie, Darwin, Einstein, Galileo, and Newton. What do these world-famous artists and scientists have in common?- apart from the fact that their achievements predate our own time by a century or more. Most of us would probably answer: all ten possessed something we call genius, which in each instance permanently changed the way that humanity perceived the world. But pressed to be more precise, we find it remarkably hard to define genius. -/- (...) Genius is highly individual and unique, of course, yet it shares a compelling, inevitable quality for professionals and the general public alike. Darwin's ideas are still required reading for every working biologist; they continue to generate fresh thinking and experiments around the world. So do Einstein's theories among physicists. Shakespeare's plays and Mozart's melodies and harmonies continue to move people in languages and cultures far removed from their native England and Austria. Contemporary 'geniuses' may come and go, but the idea of genius will not let go of us. Genius is the name we give to a quality of work that transcends fashion, celebrity, fame, and reputation: the opposite of a period piece. Somehow, genius abolishes both the time and the place of its origin. -/- This Very Short Introduction uses the life and work of familiar geniuses-and some less familiar-to illuminate both the individual and the general aspects of genius. In particular: the roles of talent, heredity, parenting, education, training, hard work, intelligence, personality, mental illness, inspiration, eureka moments, and luck, in the making of genius. (shrink)
Cowan defines a chunk as “a collection of concepts that have strong associations to one another and much weaker associations to other chunks currently in use.” This definition does not impose any constraints on the nature and number of elements that can be bound into a chunk. We present an experiment to demonstrate that such limitations exist for visual short-term memory, and that their analysis may lead to important insights into properties of visual memory.
There are over 800 seventh to tenth grade students at the College d’Enseignment Generale (CEG) School in Azové, Benin. Like most children in the developing world, these students lack access to clean water and basic sanitation facilities. These students suffer from parasitic infection and health ailments which could be directly offset with short term aid to supply water and medical aid. Promoting proper sanitation and providing the technology to implement water and wastewater treatment in the community will decrease childhood (...) and maternal disease and mortality rates in Azové. However, these measures may take several years to implement and will require a significant investment in the infrastructure of the school. Is it ethical to spend $10,000 towards the long-term goals of providing water and sanitation to the students of CEG Azové, compared to spending the same amount on short-term relief efforts? (shrink)
Is a tower block, your unmade bed, your lavatory basin, or the bicycle chained to the gate next door a work of art? Why should a novel have a beginning, a middle, and an end; or even a story? Whether we recognise it or not, virtually every aspect of our life today has been influenced in part by the aesthetic legacy of Modernism. -/- In this Very Short Introduction Christopher Butler examines how and why Modernism began, explaining what it (...) is and showing how it has gradually informed all aspects of 20th and 21st century life. -/- Butler considers several aspects of modernism including some modernist works; movements and notions of the avant garde; and the idea of 'progress' in art. Butler looks at modernist ideas of the self, subjectivity, irrationalism, people and machines, and political definitions of modernism as a whole. (shrink)
Steven Rose regards oversimplification of biology as the supreme sin, inevitably leading to evil consequences, and requiring an unique distortion of scientific practice to avoid it. To avoid this, he proposes a short-cut to scientific knowledge by defining certain areas of biology that are intrinsically flawed. But this achieves only a subordination of science to politics. There are no general-purpose shortcuts for evaluating the validity of theories, and no substitutes for testing specific theories using relevant evidence.
Witchcraft is a subject that fascinates us all, and everyone knows what a witch is - or do they? From childhood most of us develop a sense of the mysterious, malign person, usually an old woman. Historically, too, we recognize witch-hunting as a feature of pre-modern societies. But why do witches still feature so heavily in our cultures and consciousness? From Halloween to superstitions, and literary references such as Faust and even Harry Potter, witches still feature heavily in our society. (...) In this Very Short Introduction Malcolm Gaskill challenges all of this, and argues that what we think we know is, in fact, wrong. -/- Taking a historical perspective from the ancient world to contemporary paganism, Gaskill reveals how witchcraft has meant different things to different people and that in every age it has raised questions about the distinction between fantasy and reality, faith and proof. -/- Telling stories, delving into court records, and challenging myths, Gaskill examines the witch-hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and explores the reinvention of witchcraft - as history, religion, fiction, and metaphor. (shrink)
Donald Davidson was one of the 20th Century's deepest analytic thinkers. He developed a systematic picture of the human mind and its relation to the world, an original and sustained vision that exerted a shaping influence well beyond analytic philosophy of mind and language. At its center is an idea of minded creatures as essentially rational animals: Rational animals can be interpreted, their behavior can be understood, and the contents of their thoughts are, in principle, open to others. The combination (...) of a rigorous analytic stance with aspects of humanism so distinctive of Davidsonian thought finds its maybe most characteristic expression when this central idea is brought to bear on the relation of the mental to the physical: Davidson defended the irreducibility of its rational nature while acknowledging that the mental is ultimately determined by the physical. -/- Davidson made contributions of lasting importance to a wide range of topics -- from general theory of meaning and content over formal semantics, the theories of truth, explanation, and action, to metaphysics and epistemology. His writings almost entirely consist of short, elegant, and often witty papers. These dense and thematically tightly interwoven essays present a profound challenge to the reader. -/- This book provides a concise, systematic introduction to all the main elements of Davidson's philosophy. It places the theory of meaning and content at the very center of his thought. By using interpretation, and the interpreter, as key ideas it clearly brings out the underlying structure and unified nature of Davidson's work. Kathrin Gluer carefully outlines his principal claims and arguments, and discusses them in some detail. The book thus makes Davidson's thought accessible in its genuine depth, and acquaints the reader with the main lines of discussion surrounding it. (shrink)
Issues in medical ethics are rarely out of the media and it is an area of ethics that has particular interest for the general public as well as the medical practitioner. This short and accessible introduction provides an invaluable tool with which to think about the ethical values that lie at the heart of medicine. Tony Hope deals with the thorny moral questions such as euthanasia and the morality of killing, and also explores political questions such as: how should (...) health care resources be distributed fairly? Each chapter in this book considers a different issue: genetics, modern reproductive technologies, resource allocation, mental health, medical research, and discusses controversial questions such as: -/- · Who should have access to reproductive technology? Who should pay? · Is it right to fund expensive drug treatment for individuals? · Should active euthanasia be legalized? · Should treatment for mental illness be imposed on patients without their consent? · Who should have access to information from genetic testing? · Should we require consent for the use of dead bodies or organs in medical research? (shrink)
This commentary focuses on how bottom-up neocortical models can be developed into eigenfunction expansions of probability distributions appropriate to describe short-term memory in the context of scalp EEG. The mathematics of eigenfunctions are similar to the top-down eigenfunctions developed by Nunez, despite different physical manifestations. The bottom-up eigenfunctions are at the local mesocolumnar scale, whereas the top-down eigenfunctions are at the global regional scale. Our respective approaches have regions of substantial overlap, and future studies may expand top-down eigenfunctions into (...) the bottom-up eigenfunctions, yielding a model of scalp EEG expressed in terms of columnar states of neocortical processing of attention and short-term memory. Footnotes1 The author is also affiliated with DRW Investments LLC, 311 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606. (shrink)
The Roman Empire was a remarkable achievement. It had a population of sixty million people spread across lands encircling the Mediterranean and stretching from drizzle-soaked northern England to the sun-baked banks of the Euphrates in Syria, and from the Rhine to the North African coast. It was, above all else, an empire of force - employing a mixture of violence, suppression, order, and tactical use of power to develop an astonishingly uniform culture. -/- This Very Short Introduction covers the (...) history of the Empire from Augustus (the first Emperor) to Marcus Aurelius, describing how the empire was formed, how it was run, its religions and its social structure. It examines how local cultures were "romanised" and how people in far away lands came to believe in the emperor as a god. The book also examines how the Roman Empire has been considered and depicted in more recent times, from the writings of Edward Gibbon, to the differing attitudes of the Victorians and recent Hollywood blockbuster films. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to reconstruct the essential content and main sources of Larry Laudan's position in the philosophy of science. A background for the reconstruction is provided by the controversy about the nature of changes in science and by the controversy about so called „scientific realism”.
This paper discusses the introduction of a short ethics component into a first-year undergraduate accounting information systems course at a UK university. The influence of this ethics component on students’ ethical perceptions—where ethical perceptions are represented by the extent to which students’ conclusions regarding unethical actions coincide with those of experts in the field—is then assessed using computer-based scenarios to represent seven categories of ethicalnorms. The ethical perceptions in each of the scenarios are then statistically compared between two groups (...) of students, namely those who have studied the ethics component and those who have not. Results indicate no significant difference in ethical perceptions between the two groups across all of the ethical norms. Possible explanations for this result are discussed and implications for future ethics teaching are considered. (shrink)
Intuitionistic logic is presented here as part of familiar classical logic which allows mechanical extraction of programs from proofs. to make the material more accessible, basic techniques are presented first for propositional logic; Part II contains extensions to predicate logic. This material provides an introduction and a safe background for reading research literature in logic and computer science as well as advanced monographs. Readers are assumed to be familiar with basic notions of first order logic. One device for making this (...) book short was inventing new proofs of several theorems. The presentation is based on natural deduction. The topics include programming interpretation of intuitionistic logic by simply typed lambda-calculus (Curry-Howard isomorphism), negative translation of classical into intuitionistic logic, normalization of natural deductions, applications to category theory, Kripke models, algebraic and topological semantics, proof-search methods, interpolation theorem. The text developed from materal for several courses taught at Stanford University in 1992-1999. (shrink)
In this accessible and comprehensive work, Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins cover the entire history of philosophy--ancient, medieval, and modern, from cultures both East and West--in its broader historical and cultural contexts. Major philosophers and movements are discussed along with less well-known but interesting figures. The authors examine the early Greek, Indic, and Chinese philosophers and the mythological traditions that preceded them, as well as the great religious philosophies, including Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Taoism. Easily understandable to students without specialized (...) knowledge of philosophy, A Short History of Philosophy demonstrates the relevance of philosophy to our times, illuminating the impact of the revolutions wrought by science, industry, colonialism, and sectarian warfare; the two world wars and the Holocaust; and the responses of philosophy in the schools of existentialism, postmodernism, feminism, and multiculturalism. In addition, the authors provide their own twists and interpretations of events, resulting in a broad view of the nature of philosophy as an intellectual discipline and its sometimes odd and dramatic consequences. (shrink)
Studies on music in the area of cognitive sciences – quite varied despite their short history – meet with scepticism. The author of this introduction, presenting some spectacular examples of research on musical improvisation, tries to demonstrate that they enrich rather than reduce our understanding of this phenomenon.
This is a presentation about joint work between Hector Zenil and Jean-Paul Delahaye. Zenil presents Experimental Algorithmic Theory as Algorithmic Information Theory and NKS, put together in a mixer. Algorithmic Complexity Theory defines the algorithmic complexity k(s) as the length of the shortest program that produces s. But since finding this short program is in general an undecidable question, the only way to approach k(s) is to use compression algorithms. He shows how to use the Compress function in Mathematica (...) to give an idea about the compressibility of various sequences. However, the idea of applying a compression algorithm breaks down for very short sequences. This is true not only for the Compress function, but also for any other compression algorithm. Zenil's approach is to construct a metric of algorithmic complexity for short sequences from scratch. He defines the algorithmic probability as the probability that an arbitrary program produces a sequence. The basic idea is to run a whole class of computational devices such as Turing Machines or Cellular Automata, and compute the distributions of the sequences they generate. Zenil presents a comparison of frequency distributions of sequences generated by 2-state 3-color Turing Machines and 2-color radius 1 Cellular Automata. He also compared these distributions to distributions found in data from the real world, and found that not only there is correlation across different systems, but also that the distributions are rather stable, and the difference between the distributions in abstract systems and real-world data can be attributed to noise. In his paper Zenil elaborates on the nature of the noise he has encountered. Zenil conjectures that the correlation distances between different systems decreases with a larger number of steps, and converge in the infinite limit case. (shrink)
For the past four decades, Anglo-American legal philosophy has been preoccupied – some might say obsessed – with something called the “Hart-Dworkin” debate. Since the appearance in 1967 of “The Model of Rules I,” Ronald Dworkin’s seminal critique of H.L.A. Hart’s theory of legal positivism, countless books and articles have been written either defending Hart against Dworkin’s objections or defending Dworkin against Hart’s defenders. My purpose in this essay is not to declare an ultimate victor; rather it is to identify (...) precisely the core issue around which the debate is organized. Is the Hart-Dworkin debate, for example, about whether the law contains principles, as well as rules? Or does it concern whether judges have discretion in hard cases? Is it about the proper way to interpret legal texts in the American legal system? Or is it about the very possibility of conceptual jurisprudence? Although trying to capture the essence of a philosophical debate can be tricky, I think that there is an important unity to the Hart-Dworkin debate that can be described in a relatively straightforward manner. I suggest that the debate is organized around one of the most profound issues in the philosophy of law, namely, the relation between legality and morality. Dworkin’s basic strategy throughout the course of the debate has been to argue that, in one form or another, legality is ultimately determined not by social facts alone, but by moral facts as well. This contention directly challenges, and threatens to undermine, the positivist picture about the nature of law, in which legality is never determined by morality, but solely by social practice. As one might expect, the response by Hart and his followers has been to argue that this dependence of legality on morality is either merely apparent or does not, in fact, undermine the social foundations of law. The Hart-Dworkin debate, I also try to show, is not a monolithic entity. In the second half of the paper, I describe how Dworkin modified his critique to circumvent the responses of Hart’s followers, thereby inaugurating a new phase in the debate. Virtually no attention, however, has been paid to this latter challenge, which is especially surprising given that none of the previous positivistic defenses are helpful against it. I then sketch out a possible response positivists might offer to this extremely powerful objection. (shrink)
This is the only complete English translation of one of the most significant and fascinating works of the great philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860). The Parerga (Volume 1) are six long essays; the Paralipomena (Volume 2) are shorter writings arranged under thirty-one different subject-headings. These works won widespread attention with their publication in 1851, helping to secure lasting international fame for Schopenhauer. Indeed, their intellectual vigor, literary power, and rich diversity are still extraordinary even today.
One of the leading philosophical movements of the twentieth century, existentialism has had more impact on literature and the arts than any other school of thought. Focusing on the leading figures of existentialism, including Sartre, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, and Camus, Thomas Flynn offers a concise account of existentialism, explaining the key themes of individuality, free will, and personal responsibility, which marked the movement as a way of life, not just a way of thinking. Flynn sets the philosophy (...) of existentialism in context, from the early phenomenologists, to its rise in the 40's and 50's, and the connections with National Socialism, Communism, and Feminism. He identifies the original definition of "existentialism," which tends to be obscured by misappropriation, and highlights how the philosophy is still relevant in our world today. (shrink)
This volume provides a general overview of the basic ethical and philosophical issues of animal rights. It asks questions such as: Do animals have moral rights? If so, what does this mean? What sorts of mental lives do animals have, and how should we understand welfare? By presenting models for understanding animals' moral status and rights, and examining their mental lives and welfare, David DeGrazia explores the implications for how we should treat animals in connection with our diet, zoos, and (...) research. Animal Rights distinguishes itself by combining intellectual rigor with accessibility, offering a distinct moral voice with a non-polemical tone. (shrink)
I’ve known about conversational implicature a lot longer than I’ve known Larry. In 1967 I read Grice’s “Logical and Conversation” in mimeograph, shortly after his William James lectures, and I read its precursor “(Implication),” section III of “The Causal Theory of Perception”, well before that. And I’ve thought, read, and written about implicature off and on ever since. Nevertheless, I know a lot less about it than Larry does, and that’s not even taking into account everything he has (...) uncovered about what was said on the subject long before Grice, even centuries before. So, now that I’ve betrayed my ignorance, I’ll display my insolence. I’m going to identify the most pervasive and pernicious misconceptions about implicature that I’ve noticed over the years. (shrink)
0. Relativistic Content In standard semantics, propositional content, whether it be the content of utterances or mental states, has a truth-value relative only to a possible world. For example, the content of my utterance of ‘Jim is sitting now’ is true just in case Jim is sitting at the time of utterance in the actual world, and the content of my belief that Alice will give a talk tomorrow is true just in case Alice will give a talk on the (...) day following the occurrence of my belief state in the actual world. Let us call propositional content which has a truth-value relative only to a possible world ‘non-relativistic content’. Non-relativistic content can be treated as either structured or unstructured. On the unstructured-content view, non-relativistic content is a set of possible worlds and bears the truth-value true just in case the actual world is a member of that set. For example, the content of my utterance of ‘Jim is working now’ at time t is the set of worlds in which Jim is working at t, and this content is true just in case the actual world is among those worlds. On the structured-content view, non-relativistic content is a set or conglomeration of properties and/or objects, where properties are features which objects possess regardless of who considers or observes them and regardless of when they are being considered or observed. Such properties are said to be (or represent) functions from possible worlds to extensions. Relative to a possible world they determine a set of objects instantiating the property. For example, relative to the actual world the property of being human determines the set of actual humans. Not all content is non-relativistic. Let us say that propositional content is relativistic just in case it possesses a truth-value only relative to a centered world. A centered world is a possible world in which an individual and a time are marked, where the marked individual.. (shrink)
Every day we seem to make and act upon all kinds of free choices: some trivial, others so consequential that they change the course of one's life, or even the course of history. But are these choices really free, or are we compelled to act the way we do by factors beyond our control? Is the feeling that we could have made different decisions just an illusion? And if our choices are not free, is it legitimate to hold people morally (...) responsible for their actions? Pink looks at the fundamental philosophical question of free will, Engaging in discussion of the claim: 'If our actions are causally determined by events beyond our control, that means that we can never act freely, and so can never be held responsible for our actions. (shrink)
Hume is one of the greatest of all British philosophers, and even in his own lifetime was celebrated as one of the pivotal figures of the Enlightenment. A central theme of his philosophy is the conviction that questions traditionally thought of as completely independent of the scientific realm--questions about the mind, about morality, and about God, for example--are actually best explained using the experimental methods characteristic of the natural sciences. Hume's 'naturalist' approach to a wide variety of philosophical topics resulted (...) in highly original theories about perception, self-identity, causation, morality, politics, and religion, all of which are discussed in this stimulating introduction by A J Ayer, himself one of the twentieth century's most important philosophers. Ayer also gives an account of Hume's fascinating life and character, and includes generous quotations from Hume's lucid and often witty writings. (shrink)