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)
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)
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)
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)
The concept of 'social brain‘ is a hybrid, located somewhere in between politically motivated philosophical speculation about the mind and its place in the social world, and recently emerged inquiries into cognition, selfhood, development, etc., returning to some of the founding insights of social psychology but embedding them in a neuroscientific framework. In this paper I try to reconstruct a philosophical tradition for the social brain, a ‗Spinozist‘ tradition which locates the brain within the broader network of relations, including social (...) relations. This tradition runs from Spinoza to Lev Vygotsky in the early 20th century, and on to Gilles Deleuze, Toni Negri and Paolo Virno in recent European philosophy, as a new perspective on the brain. The concept of social brain that is articulated in this reconstruction – some early-20th century Soviet neuropsychologists spoke of socialism and the cortex as being ―on the same path‖ – overcomes distinctions between Continental thought and the philosophy of mind, and possibly gives a new metaphysical framework for social cognition. (shrink)
Learning is a changing phenomenon, depending on the advances in theory and research. This book presents a relatively new approach to learning, based on meaningful human activities in cultural practices and in collaboration with others. It draws extensively from the ideas of Lev Vygotsky and his recent followers. The book presents ideas that elaborate this learning theory and also gives recent developments and applications of this approach in a variety of educational situations in and outside of school. A core issue (...) in the research presented in this book consists of the way people learn to make sense of and give meaning to cultural instruments and practices in collaboration with others. (shrink)
The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) is an approach to quantum mechanics according to which, in addition to the world we are aware of directly, there are many other similar worlds which exist in parallel at the same space and time. The existence of the other worlds makes it possible to remove randomness and action at a distance from quantum theory and thus from all physics.
This is a philosophical paper in favor of the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum theory. The necessity of introducing many worlds is explained by analyzing a neutron interference experiment. The concept of the “measure of existence of a world” is introduced and some difficulties with the issue of probability in the framework of the MWI are resolved.
This volume offers a critical appreciation of the work of 16 leading curriculum theorists through critical expositions of their writings. Written by a leading name in Curriculum Studies, the book includes a balance of established curriculum thinkers and contemporary curriculum analysts from education as well as philosophy, sociology and psychology. With theorists from the UK, the US and Europe, there is also a spread of political perspectives from radical conservatism through liberalism to socialism and libertarianism. Theorists included are: John Dewey, (...) Lev Vygotsky, Ralph Tyler, Joseph Schwab, Jerome Bruner, Maxine Greene, Basil Bernstein, Micheal Foucault, Paul Hirst, Donald Schon, Lawrence Stenhouse, Elliott Eisner, John White, Michael Apple, Henry Giroux and Robin Usher. This book is ideal for students looking for an introduction to some of the key educational thinkers of our time. It can also be used as a companion volume to the Routledge four-volume set on Curriculum Theory , 2003, which is also edited by David Scott. (shrink)
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)