This article introduces a new model of the relationship between growth and learning and tests a set of hypotheses related to the development of adult competency using time allocation, anthropometric, and experimental task performance data collected between 1992 and 1997 in a multiethnic community in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Building on seminal work in life history theory by Hawkes, Blurton Jones and associates, and Kaplan and associates, the punctuated development model presented here incorporates the effects of both growth (...) and learning constraints on age-specific task performance. In addition, the payoff to investment in two forms of embodied capital, growth-based and learning-based, are examined in relation to features of the socioecology, including subsistence economy and family composition.The three main findings are:The development of adult competency in specific tasks entails a steplike relationship between growth- and experience-based forms of embodied capital in the ontogeny of ability acquisition.There is a trade-off between the acquisition of experience-based embodied capital in the form of skills and knowledge and immediate productivity among children. Time allocation to these alternatives is primarily determined by the short- and long-term costs and benefits to parents of investment in children’s embodied capital.The availability of laborers and the overall labor requirements of the household are major determinants of investment in alternate forms of embodied capital and resulting variation in children’s time allocation. The value of children’s labor to their parents is dependent upon the opportunity costs to engaging in other activities not only for the child in question but also for potential substitute laborers.These results have important implications for our understanding of the role of growth and learning in the evolution of the human juvenile period, as well as for our understanding of cross-cultural variation in child growth and development and patterns of work and play. (shrink)
Ramon Llull (1232-1316), born on Majorca, was one of the most remarkable lay intellectuals of the thirteenth century. He devoted much of his life to promoting missions among unbelievers, the reform of Western Christian society, and personal spiritual perfection. He wrote over 200 philosophical and theological works in Catalan, Latin, and Arabic. Many of these expound on his "Great Universal Art of Finding Truth," an idiosyncratic dialectical system that he thought capable of proving Catholic beliefs to non-believers. This study offers (...) the first full-length analysis of his theories about rhetoric and preaching, which were central to his evangelizing activities. It explains how Llull attempted to synthesize commonplace advice about courtly speech and techniques of popular sermons into a single program for secular and sacred eloquence that would necessarily promote love of God and neighbor. Llull's work is remarkable testimony to the diffusion of clerical culture among educated lay-people of his era, and to their enthusiasm for applying that knowledge in the pursuit of learning and piety. This book should find a place on the shelf of every scholar of medieval history, religion, and rhetoric. (shrink)
Between 1100 and 1600, the emphasis on reason in the learning and intellectual life of Western Europe became more pervasive and widespread than ever before in the history of human civilization. Of crucial significance was the invention of the university around 1200, within which reason was institutionalized and where it became a deeply embedded, permanent feature of Western thought and culture. It is therefore appropriate to speak of an Age of Reason in the Middle Ages, and to view (...) it as a forerunner and herald of the Age of Reason that was to come in the seventeenth century. The object of this study is twofold: to describe how reason was manifested in the curriculum of medieval universities, especially in the subjects of logic, natural philosophy and theology; and to explain how the Middle Ages acquired an undeserved reputation as an age of superstition, barbarism, and unreason. (shrink)
The scholar and his public in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.--Thomism and the Italian thought of the Renaissance.--The contribution of religious orders to Renaissance thought and learning.--Bibliography (p. -120).
Ex-Jew, eternal Jew: early representations of the Jewish Spinoza -- Refining Spinoza: Moses Mendelssohn's response to the Amsterdam heretic -- The first modern Jew: Berthold Auerbach's Spinoza and the beginnings of an image -- A rebel against the past, a revealer of secrets: Salomon Rubin and the east European Maskilic Spinoza -- From the heights of Mount Scopus: Yosef Klausner and the Zionist rehabilitation of Spinoza -- Farewell, Spinoza: I. B. Singer and the tragicomedy of the Jewish Spinozist.
This volume brings historians of science and social historians together to consider the role of "little tools"--such as tables, reports, questionnaires, dossiers, index cards--in establishing academic and bureaucratic claims to authority and objectivity. From at least the eighteenth century onward, our science and society have been planned, surveyed, examined, and judged according to particular techniques of collecting and storing knowledge. Recently, the seemingly self-evident nature of these mundane epistemic and administrative tools, as well as the prose in which they are (...) cast, has demanded historical examination. The essays gathered here, arranged in chronological order by subject from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century, involve close readings of primary texts and analyses of academic and bureaucratic practices as parts of material culture. The first few essays, on the early modern period, largely point to the existence of a "juridico-theological" framework for establishing authority. Later essays demonstrate the eclipse of the role of authority per se in the modern period and the emergence of the notion of "objectivity." Most of the essays here concern the German cultural space as among the best exemplars of the academic and bureaucratic practices described above. The introduction to the volume, however, is framed at a general level the closing essays also extend the analyses beyond Germany to broader considerations on authority and objectivity in historical practice. The volume will interest scholars of European history and German studies as well as historians of science. Peter Becker is Professor of Central European History, European University Institute. William Clark is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University. (shrink)
Jewish learning and thought in Languedoc -- 1250-1300: implications of original philosophic work and the diffusion of philosophic learning in Languedoc -- 1250-1300: Jewish contacts with Christian intellectuals and Jewish thought regarding Christianity -- Meiri's transformation of Talmud study: philosophic spirituality in a halakhic key -- 1300: on the eve of the controversy -- 1300-1304: knowledge and authority in dispute -- 1304-1306: the controversy peaks -- The effects of the expulsion: Jewish philosophic culture in Roussillon and Provence.
Beginning in the Southern Sung, one Confucian sect gradually came to dominate literati culture and, by the Ming dynasty, was canonized as state orthodoxy. This book is a historical and textual critique of the process by which claims to exclusive possession of the truth came to serve power. The author analyzes the formation of the Confucian canon and its role in the civil service examinations, the enshrinement of worthies in the Confucian temple, and the emergence of the Confucian anthology, activities (...) that canonized one conception of the Confucian tradition as orthodox by selecting among persons who shaped the tradition. This lineage became 'the genealogy of the way'. The author draws on contemporary cultural and literary theory to help situate Confucian anthologies in ritual, institutional, sectarian, and ideological contexts. (shrink)
This paper is a cross-cultural examination of the development of hunting skills and the implications for the debate on the role of learning in the evolution of human life history patterns. While life history theory has proven to be a powerful tool for understanding the evolution of the human life course, other schools, such as cultural transmission and social learning theory, also provide theoretical insights. These disparate theories are reviewed, and alternative and exclusive predictions are identified. (...) This study of cross-cultural regularities in how children learn hunting skills, based on the ethnographic literature on traditional hunters, complements existing empirical work and highlights future areas for investigation. (shrink)
Michalinos Zembylas examines how history education can be reconceived in terms of Jacques Derrida's notion of “hauntology,” that is, as an ongoing conversation with the “ghost” — in the case of this essay, the ghosts of disappeared victims of war and dictatorship. Here, Zembylas uses hauntology as both metaphor and pedagogical methodology for deconstructing the orthodoxies of academic history thinking and learning about “the disappeared.” As metaphor, hauntology evokes the figure of the ghost in order both to (...) trouble the hegemonic status of representational modes of knowledge in remembrance practices and to undermine their ontological frames and ideological histories. As pedagogical methodology, hauntology reframes histories of loss and absence and uses them as points of departure to acknowledge the complexities and contradictions that emerge from haunting. Pedagogies of hauntology are constituted as responses to “spectacle pedagogy” in teaching about the disappeared, that is, a ubiquitous form of representation that manifests the ghosts in a sensationalized and ideological manner. (shrink)
The eight short explorations in the first part of this paper attempt to identify some crucial developments in the history of Western learning which eclipsed pluralist educational practices in their (Socratic) infancy and thereafter, and which contributed to the widespread employment of education as a force for cultural uniformity, or assumed superiority. Drawing together the lessons of the first part with contemporary insights from hermeneutic philosophy, the second part sets forth briefly the promising educational possibilities for human self-understanding (...) and co-existence which are furnished by a newly-inspired reclamation of the long-eclipsed heritage. (shrink)
Recently there has been a renewed interest in moral inquiry among American scholars in a variety of disciplines. This collection of accessible essays by scholars in philosophy, political theory, psychology, history, literary studies, sociology, religious studies, anthropology, and legal studies affords a view of the current state of moral inquiry in the American academy, and it offers fresh departures for ethically informed, interdisciplinary scholarship. Seeking neither to reduce values to facts nor facts to values, these essays aim to (...) foster discussion about inquiry and moral judgment, and demonstrate that moral inquiry need not be either dispassionate and value-free or moralistic and preachy. (shrink)
The Sophists, and the Socratic response they provoked, are considered in order to elucidate issues raised by present-day skill-talk. These issues include: whether skills avoid questions of ends and truth; the existence of general skills, such as critical thinking; the importance of knowledge; skills and the personality; and some implications for teaching and philosophy.
In this paper I utilize Martin Beck Matuštík’s intellectual biography of Habermas as a means for reflecting on the meaning that criticaltheory has for us in the wake of September 11. I argue that the significant contribution of Matuštík’s book is that it fruitfully continues theconversation about the meaning of critical theory by underscoring the sociohistorical contexts that frame Habermas’s intellectual engagements. Matuštík’s figure of the critical theorist as witness refocuses attention on the critical theorist in context, nevertheless as critical (...) theorists we also need to be mindful of the plurality of disastrous events that continue to shape our world. (shrink)
Recent theoretical models suggest that the difference between human and nonhuman primate life-history patterns may be due to a reliance on complex foraging strategies requiring extensive learning. These models predict that children should reach adult levels of efficiency faster when foraging is cognitively simple. We test this prediction with data on Meriam fishing, spearfishing, and shellfishing efficiency. For fishing and spearfishing, which are cognitively difficult, we can find no significant amount of variability in return rates because of experiential (...) factors correlated with age. However, for shellfish collecting, which is relatively easy to learn, there are strong age-related effects on efficiency. Children reach adult efficiency more quickly in fishing as compared to shellfish collecting, probably owing to the size and strength constraints of the latter. (shrink)
Critics of the computational connectionism of the last decade suggest that it shares undesirable features with earlier empiricist or associationist approaches, and with behaviourist theories of learning. To assess the accuracy of this charge the works of earlier writers are examined for the presence of such features, and brief accounts of those found are given for Herbert Spencer, William James and the learning theorists Thorndike, Pavlov and Hull. The idea that cognition depends on associative connections among large networks (...) of neurons is indeed one with precedents, although the implications of this for psychological issues have been interpreted variously — not all versions of connectionism are alike. (shrink)
In recent years philosophers of science have turned away from positivist programs for explicating scientific rationality through detailed accounts of scientific procedure and turned toward large-scale accounts of scientific change. One important motivation for this was better fit with the history of science. Paying particular attention to the large-scale theories of Lakatos and Laudan I argue that the history of science is no better accommodated by the new large-scale theories than it was by the earlier positivist philosophies of (...) science; both are, in their different ways, parochial to our conception of rationality. I further argue that the goal of scientific methodology is not explaining the past but promoting good scientific practice, and on this the large-scale methodologies have no obvious a priori advantages over the positivist methodologies they have tried to replace. (shrink)
We describe a methodology for learning a disambiguation model for deep pragmatic interpretations in the context of situated task-oriented dialogue. The system accumulates training examples for ambiguity resolution by tracking the fates of alternative interpretations across dialogue, including subsequent clariﬁcatory episodes initiated by the system itself. We illustrate with a case study building maximum entropy models over abductive interpretations in a referential communication task. The resulting model correctly resolves 81% of ambiguities left unresolved by an initial handcrafted baseline. A (...) key innovation is that our method draws exclusively on a system’s own skills and experience and requires no human annotation. (shrink)
Questions about learning and discovery have fascinated philosophers from Plato onwards. Does the mind bring innate resources of its own to the process of learning or does it rely wholly upon experience? Plato was the first philosopher to give an innatist response to this question and in doing so was to provoke the other major philosophers of ancient Greece to give their own rival explanations of learning. This book is the first to examine these theories of (...) class='Hi'>learning in relation to each other. It presents an entirely new interpretation of the theory of recollection which also changes the way we understand the development of ancient philosophy after Plato. The final section of the book compares ancient theories of learning with the seventeenth-century debate about innate ideas, and finds that the relation between the two periods is far more interesting and complete than is usually supposed. (shrink)
Abstract This essay takes up the fundamental question of the proper place of history in the study of political thought through critical engagement with Mark Bevir's seminal work, The Logic of the History of Ideas . While I accept the claim of Bevir, as well as of other exponents of the so-called “Cambridge School,“ that there is a conceptual difference between historical and non-historical modes of reading past works of political philosophy, I resist the suggestion that this conceptual (...) differentiation itself justifies the specialization, among practicing intellectuals, between historians of ideas and others who read political-philosophical texts non-historically. Over and against the figure of the historian of ideas, who interprets political thought only in the manner of a historian, I defend the ideal of the pupil, who in studying past traditions of political thought also seeks to extend and modify them in light of contemporary problems and concerns. Against Bevir, I argue that the mixture of historical and non-historical modes of learning, in the manner of the pupil, need not do damage to the historian of ideas' commitment to scholarship that is non-anachronistic, objective, and non-indeterminate. (shrink)