We consider several ways in which a good understanding of modern techniques and principles in physics can elucidate ecology. We focus on analogical reasoning between these two branches of science. This style of reasoning requires an understanding of both sciences and an appreciation of the similarities and points of contact between the two. In the current ecological literature on the relationship between ecology and physics, there has been some misunderstanding about the nature of modern physics and its methods. Physics is (...) seen as being much cleaner and tidier than ecology. When ecology is compared to this idealised, fictional version of physics, ecology looks very different, and the prospect of ecology and physics learning from one another is questionable. We argue that physics, once properly appreciated, is more like ecology than ecologists have thus far appreciated. Physicists and ecologists can and do learn from each other, and in this paper we outline how analogical reasoning can facilitate such exchanges. (shrink)
The standard mathematical models in population ecology assume that a population's growth rate is a function of its environment. In this paper we investigate an alternative proposal according to which the rate of change of the growth rate is a function of the environment and of environmental change. We focus on the philosophical issues involved in such a fundamental shift in theoretical assumptions, as well as on the explanations the two theories offer for some of (...) the key data such as cyclic populations. We also discuss the relationship between this move in population ecology and a similar move from first-order to second-order differential equations championed by Galileo and Newton in celestial mechanics. (shrink)
The main focus of the book is the presentation of the 'inertial' view of population growth. This view provides a rather simple model for complex population dynamics, and is achieved at the level of the single species without invoking species interactions. An important part of this account is the maternal effect. Investment of mothers in the quality of their daughters makes the rate of reproduction of the current generation depend not only on the current environment, but also on the environment (...) experienced by the previous generation. (shrink)
Participants were required to switch among randomly ordered tasks, and instructional cues were used to indicate which task to execute. In Experiments 1 and 2, the participants indicated their readiness for the task switch before they received the target stimulus; thus, each trial was associated with two primary dependent measures: (1) readiness time and (2) target reaction time. Slow readiness responses and instructions emphasizing high readiness were paradoxically accompanied by slow target reaction time. Moreover, the effect of task switching on (...) readiness time was an order of magnitude smaller then the (objectively estimated) duration required for task preparation (Experiment 3). The results strongly suggest that participants have little conscious awareness of their preparedness and challenge commonly accepted assumptions concerning the role of consciousness in cognitive control. (shrink)
The paper is in two parts. In Part I, a semantics for embedded and query uses of interrogatives is put forward, couched within a situation semantics framework. Unlike many previous analyses,questions are not reductively analysed in terms of their answers. This enables us to provide a notion of ananswer that resolves a question which varies across contexts relative to parameters such as goals and inferential capabilities. In Part II of the paper, extensive motivation is provided for an ontology that distinguishes (...) propositions, questions, and facts, while at the same time the semantics provided captures an important commonality between questions and propositions: factsprove propositions andresolve questions. This commonality is exploited to provide an explanation for why predicates such as know carry presuppositions such as factivity and for a novel account of the behaviour of adverbially modified predicates with interrogative, declarative and fact-nominal arguments. (shrink)
Traditionally, biomedical research has been devoted to improvement in the understanding and treatment or prevention of disease. Building on the knowledge generated by the long history of disease-oriented research, the next few decades will witness an explosion of biomedical enhancements to make people faster, stronger, smarter, less forgetful, happier, prettier, and live longer (Turner et al. 2003; Vastag 2004; Rose 2002). As with other biomedical interventions, research to assess the safety and efficacy of these enhancements in humans should be conducted (...) before their introduction into clinical practice.1 However, various concerns regarding the ethics of enhancement research could be raised. Those who .. (shrink)
The paper investigates an elliptical construction, Clarification Ellipsis, that occurs in dialogue. We suggest that this provides data that demonstrates that updates resulting from utterances cannot be defined in purely semantic terms, contrary to the prevailing assumptions of existing approaches to dynamic semantics. We offer a computationally oriented analysis of the resolution of ellipsis in certain cases of dialogue clarification. We show that this goes beyond standard techniques used in anaphora and ellipsis resolution and requires operations on highly structured, linguistically (...) heterogeneous representations. We characterize these operations and the representations on which they operate. We offer an analysis couched in a version of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar combined with a theory of information states (IS) in dialogue. We sketch an algorithm for the process of utterance integration in IS which leads to grounding or clarification. The account proposed here has direct applications to the theory of attitude reports, an issue which is explored briefly in the concluding remarks of the paper. (shrink)
This article concerns a silver beaker (now at the Residenzmuseum, Munich) decorated with scenes which seem to be related to the Spanish conquest of Mexico. On the basis of stylistic, iconographic and archival evidence the silversmith is here tentatively identified with an Italian-born artist, Stefano Capello, who is thought to have added a decoration to a pre-existing beaker on the eve of the treaty of Cambrai (3 August 1529). Margaret of Austria, aunt of the emperor Charles V, might have given (...) the beaker as a gift to Louise of Savoy, mother of Francis I, king of France. The article argues, relying upon Warburg’s notion of Pathosformeln (formulas of emotion), that in the early 16th century the New World was perceived and made familiar through an Old World idiom, based on visual formulas taken from classical antiquity and mediated by the Italian Renaissance. (shrink)
We offer a computational analysis of the resolution of ellipsis in certain cases of dialogue clarification. We show that this goes beyond standard techniques used in anaphora and ellipsis resolution and requires operations on highly structured, linguistically heterogeneous representations. We characterize these operations and the representations on which they operate. We offer an analysis couched in a version of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar combined with a theory of information states (IS).
In this paper we investigate the use of machine learning techniques to classify a wide range of non-sentential utterance types in dialogue, a necessary ﬁrst step in the interpretation of such fragments. We train different learners on a set of contextual features that can be extracted from PoS information. Our results achieve an 87% weighted f-score—a 25% improvement over a simple rule-based algorithm baseline.
Health behaviors such as tobacco use contribute significantly to poor health. It is widely recognized that efforts to prevent poor health outcomes should begin in early childhood. Biomedical enhancements, such as a nicotine vaccine, are now emerging and have potential to be used for primary prevention of common diseases. In anticipation of such enhancements, it is important that we begin to consider the ethical and policy appropriateness of their use with children. The main ethical concerns raised by enhancing children relate (...) to their impact on children’s well-being and autonomy. These concerns are significant, however they do not appear to apply in the case of the nicotine vaccine; indeed the vaccine could even further these goals for children. Nevertheless, concerns about broadly applying this enhancement may be more challenging. The vaccine may be less cost-effective than alternative public efforts to prevent tobacco use, utilizing it could distract from addressing the foundational causes of smoking and it might not be publically acceptable. Empirical research about these concerns is needed to ascertain their likelihood and impact as well as how they could be minimized. This research could help determine whether behavior-related enhancements hold promise for improving children’s health. (shrink)
Prominent thinkers such as Jurgen Habermas and Michael Sandel are warning that biomedical enhancements will undermine fundamental political values. Yet whether biomedical enhancements will undermine such values depends on how biomedical enhancements will function, how they will be administered and to whom. Since only few enhancements are obtainable, it is difficult to tell whether these predictions are sound. Nevertheless, such warnings are extremely valuable. As a society we must, at the very least, be aware of developments that could have harmful (...) consequences. Indeed, if important values were to be jeopardized, we should take appropriate measures to protect them. This paper focuses on four central values: solidarity, personal responsibility, equality and autonomy. It delineates the conditions under which biomedical enhancements would undermine these values. It also details the circumstances under which these values would be unaffected by enhancements as well as those under which they would be promoted. Specifying these conditions is valuable; it would enable society to prepare appropriate ethical guidelines and policy responses in advance. (shrink)
Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) claim that conversationalists do not explicitly keep track of their interlocuters' information states is important. Nonetheless, via alignment, they seem to create a virtually symmetrical view of the information states of speaker and addressee – a key component of their accounts of collaborative utterances and of self-monitoring. As I show, there is significant evidence for intrinsic contextual misalignment between conversationalists that can persist across turns.
The author describes his research experience in the 1960s, as an apprentice historian, in the Warburg Library. His work on witchcraft trials in early modern Italy, he argues, was deeply affected by the Library's unique character. Aby Warburg's law of the “good neighbour” (the book we need is placed next to the one we are looking for) is illustrated through a specific example: the encounter with a forgotten tract dealing with some anomalous Bavarian witchcraft trials — a book that would (...) have been very difficult (if not impossible) to come across anywhere but Warburg's Library. (shrink)
In this introduction to a Common Knowledge special issue on the Warburg Institute, the authors argue that the Institute remains today — as it has been, in different forms, for almost a century — one of Europe's central institutions for the study of cultural history. At once a rich and uniquely organized library, a center for doctoral and postdoctoral research, and a teaching faculty, the Institute was first envisioned by Aby Warburg, a pioneering historian of art and culture from a (...) wealthy Jewish family in Hamburg. Warburg rejected the traditional view that the classical tradition was a simple, purely rational Greek creation, inherited by modern Europe. He argued that it was as much Mesopotamian as Greek in origin, as at home in the Islamic as in the European world, and as often irrational as rational in its content — and on the basis of this rich vision he devised brilliant new interpretations of medieval and Renaissance symbols and ideas. Warburg's chosen associate Fritz Saxl put his creation on a firm institutional base, first in Hamburg and then, after a narrow escape from the Nazi regime, in London. For all the changes the Institute has undergone over the decades since then, it continues to ask the questions that Warburg was the first to raise and to build on the methods that he created. (shrink)
The importance of an author can be evaluated by the extent to which his theoretical contribution transforms a certain area of knowledge: major researchers create new vistas. This certainly applies to Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934), one of the most brilliant authors of contemporary psychology. His work, owing to its originality, is of epistemological interest to several areas of knowledge. In fact, Vygotsky was at the center of a historical time of change in twentieth-century Russia, in which Mikhail Bakhtin, Roman Jakobson, Serguei (...) Eisenstein, Alexander Luria, and Yuri Lotman took part. Their theoretical proposals had repercussions in several areas of knowledge: in literature, semiotics, film, and .. (shrink)
The Russian-Jewish religious thinker Lev Shestov (1866–1938) has returned from obscurity in the post-Soviet revival of religious and philosophical thought in Russia. Despite his reputation as an anti-modern irrationalist, his heritage is of key relevance to contemporary currents in Russia and the wider world; we here explore the implications of his contribution in religious, social, philosophical and literary-cultural contexts. In particular, we trace Shestov's relation to post-modernism in various settings. We explore the connection between his thought and the conflict between (...) moral principles and scientific advance, and argue that his existential perspective is a precursor to anti-globalism. We expose a link between the apophatic theology that underlies modern Russian religiosity and the Hassidic tradition which, arguably, influenced Shestov's thought, and show the relevance of his premonitions to contemporary religious developments in Russia. (shrink)
In an article published in 1930, Lev Vygotsky refers explicitly to the seventeenth century Dutch philosopher Benedictus de Spinoza. From a close reading of Vygotsky’s remarkable piece, ‘The socialist transformation of man,’ the extraordinary parallels in the lives and philosophies of Vygotsky and Spinoza are revealed. Then the strengths and weaknesses are assessed of the analytical approach Vygotsky may have inherited from Spinoza. It is suggested that there are analytical ramifications arising from Vygotsky’s possible reliance on Spinoza’s nuanced but essentially (...) dualistic philosophy. The conclusion is that the key limitation of this methodology is the elision of radical doubting with radical unknowability. (shrink)
Summary Russian intellectuals like to appeal to examples of foreign history. Lev Gumilev's views on history are a good example. Gumilev was one of the most well-known representatives of Eurasianism, which was in turn one of the most interesting intellectual constructs in Russian historiography. Gumilev believed that Russia was born not from Kievan Rus?the view of the majority of Russian historians of his time?but from the empire of the Mongols. While Gumilev saw Europe as a hostile entity to Russia/Eurasia, this (...) was not the case with the neo-Eurasianists of the Yeltsin era. This article examines Gumilev's Eurasianism and its influence on modern Russian national identity. (shrink)
Plotinus represent a constant reference in all of Šestov's philosophy. For the Russian philosopher Plotinus is, on the one hand, the one who thought up thesynthesis of Greek philosophy, on the other, the one who first broke with that same tradition precisely when it was at its peak. However, Šestov does lift from the Enneadi certain passages which he marries - as if in a sort of contrapuntal rewriting exercise - to others in which Plotinus seems to contradict himself. What (...) interests Šestov are precisely those discontinuities in the thought of the last great philosopher of old in an anti-Greek function. That of Šestov is once again a marked criticism of Rationalism as creator of an autonomous set of ethics that he judges according to an intellect which everything is subject to. Autonomousethics, affirms Šestov, is a fruit of Greek schools of thought to the extent that it shows distrust for what is mutable, unforeseen and arbitrary, of everything which, in short, is irrational, as it is not inserted in the One/All necessitating, justifying, regulating. In the alternative between Athens and Jerusalem, between the Rationalism and the Bible, Šestov opts to assume a stance, in no uncertain terms, on the side Jerusalem, taking with him the Plotinus of the awakening andheading towards a greater reality capable of overturning the throne occupied for too long by reason. That Plotinus who at a certain point was obliged to say thatin this other dimension "the intellect before God represents a reckless, ungodly apostate" (VI.9.5). That Plotinus, who ultimately, in one of those most particularmoments, realized that he was predestined for something loftier with respect to the world of evil and death. (shrink)