The shapes of neurons and glial cells dictate many important aspects of their functions. In olfactory systems, certain architectural features are characteristics of these two cell types across a wide variety of species. The accumulated evidence suggests that these common features may play fundamental roles in olfactoryinformation processing. For instance, the primary olfactory neuropil in most vertebrate and invertebrate olfactory systems is organized into discrete modules called glomeruli. Inside each glomerulus, sensory axons and CNS neurons branch and synapse in patterns (...) that are repeated across species. In many species, moreover, the glomeruli are enveloped by a thin and ordered layer of glial processes. Theglomerular arrangement reflects the processing of odor information in modules that encode the discrete molecular attributes of odorant stimuli being processed. Recent studies of the mechanisms that guide the development of olfactory neurons and glial cells have revealed complex reciprocal interactions between these two cell types, which may be necessary for the establishment of modular compartments. Collectively, the findings reviewed here suggest that specialized cellular architecture plays key functional roles in the detection, analysis, and discrimination of odors at early steps in olfactory processing. (shrink)
We demonstrate by use of a simple one-dimensional model of a square barrier imbedded in an infinite potential well that decoherence is enhanced by chaotic-like behavior. We, moreover, show that the transition h→0 is singular. Finally it is argued that the time scale on which decoherence occurs depends, on the degree of complexity of the underlying quantum mechanical system, i.e., more complex systems decohere relatively faster than less complex ones.
Lynne Rudder Baker and many others think that paradigmatic instances of one object constituting another — a piece of marble constituting a statue, or an aggregate of particles constituting a living body — involve two distinct (i.e., not numerically identical) objects in the same place at the same time.1 Some who say this believe in the doctrine of temporal parts2; but others, like Baker, reject this doctrine.3 Such philosophers, whom one might call “coincidentalists”, cannot say that these objects manage (...) to share space in virtue of sharing a temporal part confined to just that place and time. But what can or should coincidentalists say about the nature of constitution? (shrink)
Lynne Rudder Baker’s Constitution View of human persons has come under much recent scrutiny. Baker argues that each human person is constituted by, but not identical to, a human animal. Much of the critical discussion of Baker’s Constitution View has focused upon this aspect of her account. Less has been said about the positive diachronic account of personal identity offered by Baker. Baker argues that it is sameness of what she labels ‘first-person perspective’ that is essential to understanding personal (...) identity over time . Baker claims that her account avoids the commitment to indeterminacy of personal identity entailed by the psychological account. Further, the psychological account, but not her account, is plagued by what Baker labels the ‘duplication problem’. In the end, I argue that neither of these considerations forces us to renounce the psychological account and adopt Baker’s favored account. (shrink)
In her recent book Persons and Bodies1, Lynne Rudder Baker has defended what she calls the constitution view of persons. On this view, persons are constituted by their bodies, where “constitution” is a ubiquitous, general metaphysical relation distinct from more familiar relations, such as identity and part-whole composition.
During the past couple of decades, philosophy of mind--with its siblings, philosophy of psychology and cognitive science--has been one of the most exciting areas of philosophy. Yet, in that time, I have come to think that there is a deep flaw in the basic conception of its object of study--a deep flaw in its conception of the so-called propositional attitudes, like belief, desire, and intention. Taking belief as the fundamental propositional attitude, scientifically-minded philosophers hold that beliefs, if there are any, (...) are brain states. I call this conception of belief. (shrink)
In "Was I Ever a Fetus?" I argued that, since each of us was once an unthinking fetus, psychological continuity cannot be necessary for us to persist through time. Baker claims that the argument is invalid, and that both the premise and the conclusion are false. I attempt to defend argument, premise, and conclusion against her objections.
This paper starts from the debate between proponents of a neo-Lockean psychological continuity view of personal identity, and defenders of the idea that we are simple mental substances. Each party has valid criticisms of the other; the impasse in the debate is traced to the Lockean assumption that substance is only externally related to its attributes. This suggests the possibility that we could develop a better account of mental substance if we thought of it as having an internal relation to (...) its states. I suggest that we may be able to do this by relying on the notion of expression. In developing this idea I draw heavily on aspects of Wittgenstein's philosophical psychology, while also developing and criticizing Strawson's account of persons and recent work by Lynne Baker. I conclude by arguing that mental substance, understood in this way, can only be grasped in narrative terms; substantialist and narrative accounts of personal identity, far from being opposed, are mutually supporting and require one another to be coherent. (shrink)
Locke’s view that continuants are numerically distinct from their constituting hunks of matter is popular enough to be called the “standard account”.1 It was given its definitive contemporary statement by David Wiggins in Sameness and Substance2, and has been defended by many since. Baker’s interesting book contributes new arguments for this view, a new definition of ‘constitution’, and a sustained application to persons and human animals. Much of what she says develops this view in new and important ways. But in (...) some cases she does not advance the position, and in others she takes steps backwards. According to Baker, a person is numerically distinct from her constituting animal. One of Baker’s leading arguments is surprisingly unconvincing. Persons differ in important ways from non-human animals. Only persons are moral agents, modify their goals, have wars, culture, etc. If persons were identical to animals—if we were “nothing but animals”, as she puts it—then the manifest discontinuity between humans and non-human animals would be located “within the domain of biology”. “But from a biological point of view, human animals…are biologically continuous with non-human animals.” (p. 17) The argument fails: why should identifying persons with animals preclude saying that these particular animals have radically distinctive features that are of little interest to biologists? The traditional case for non-identity (which Baker accepts) is more powerful: a person and her constituting animal differ by having different persistence conditions. If my memories were transferred to a new body and my old body destroyed, I the person might survive, but the human animal who constituted me would perish. Therefore, before the transfer, I and the animal that constituted me would be numerically distinct but extremely similar things located in exactly the same place. This consequence—the central thesis of the Wiggins view—is surprising: so surprising that some reject the Wiggins view on that basis.. (shrink)
One of the central problems of personal identity is to determine what we are essentially . In response to this problem, Lynne Rudder Baker espouses a psychological criterion, that is, she claims that persons are essentially psychological. Baker’s theory purports to bypass the problems of other psychological theories such as Dissociative Identity Disorder and the problem of individuating persons synchronically. I argue that the theory’s treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder leads to untenable results, is invalid, and consequently fails to (...) individuate persons. (shrink)
The topics that I shall consider are these: (1) Causal Explanatoriness of the Attitudes (Dretske, Elugardo); (2) The “Brain-Explain” Thesis and Metaphysical Constraints on Explanation (Antony, Elugardo); (3) Causal Powers of Beliefs (Meyering); (4) Microreduction (Beckermann); (5) Non-Emergent, Non-Reductive Materialism (Antony); (6) The Master Argument Against the Standard View (Dretske, Antony, Elugardo); (7) Practical Realism Extended (Meijers); (8) Alternative to Both the Standard View and Practical Realism (Newen).
Each person is perceived by others and by herself as an individual in a very strong sense, namely as a unique individual. Moreover, this supposed uniqueness is commonly thought of as linked with another character that we tend to attribute to persons (as opposed to stones or chairs and even non-human animals): a kind of depth, hidden to sensory perception, yet in some measure accessible to other means of knowledge. I propose a theory of strong or essential individuality. This theory (...) is introduced by way of a critical discussion of Van Inwagen’s and Baker’s ontologies of persons. Composition Theory and Constitution Theory are shown to be complementary, in their opposite strong and weak points. I argue that both theories have unsatisfactory consequences concerning personal identity, a problem which the proposed theory seems to solve more faithfully both to folk intuitions and the phenomenology of personal life. (shrink)
Traditionally, constitutionalists have offered just one notion of constitution to analyse the relation that an object, such as a statue or a chain, bears to the object/s from which it is made: let us say, a piece of marble in the first case or a piece of metal in the second. Robert Wilson proposes to differentiate two notions of constitution and, in this way, to offer constitutionalists a more varied range of metaphysical tools. To justify the introduction of the difference, (...) he presents several phenomena and problems, the explanation of which would justify the distinction he makes. In this paper I argue that Wilson’s proposal would not increase the explanatory power of a theory of constitution as it has traditionally been understood, only its complexity. Increasing the complexity without increasing the explanatory power of a theory, I defend, goes against one, at least prima facie, basic theoretical virtue: parsimony. In my argumentation I crucially use, for the case of Wilson’s first three arguments, the existence of principles of existence−persistence, which constitutionalists, Wilson among them, usually accept. In arguing against Wilson’s fourth argument I use a slightly modified version of Lynne Rudder Baker’s theory of constitution. (shrink)
Each person is perceived by others and by herself as an individual in a very strong sense, namely as a unique individual. Moreover, this supposed uniqueness is commonly thought of as linked with another character that we tend to attribute\nto persons (as opposed to stones or chairs and even non-human animals): a kind of depth, hidden to sensory perception, yet in some measure accessible to other means of knowledge. I propose a theory of strong or essential individuality. This theory is (...) introduced by way of a critical discussion of Van Inwagen’s and Baker’s ontologies of persons. Composition\nTheory and Constitution Theory are shown to be complementary, in their opposite strong and weak points. I argue that both\ntheories have unsatisfactory consequences concerning personal identity, a problem which the proposed theory seems to solve\nmore faithfully both to folk intuitions and the phenomenology of personal life. (shrink)
Maybe they have been made, but I missed them because I don’t read and listen enough, as most of my energies are focused elsewhere. Apologies if this is all old hat. Don’t feel you have to read on. In case others are interested, I shall put this on my web site at http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/˜axs/gov/ My main point is that it is just silly to talk so much about universities and top-up fees without putting universities in the context of a complete policy (...) on post-school education. What I am offering is not a detailed policy, but a framework for thinking about the problem. Perhaps someone has already done this but I have never heard it mentioned in any of the public debates. I suspect that’s because this top-up fees issue is not part of a coherent policy but just a sort of religious commitment to a “new way”, like other things done by this government. I start with some comments on the fees issue, then go on to talk about how to think about post-school education, distinguishing several categories that need to be separated and funded differently as part of a joined-up system. (shrink)
Meu objetivo é mostrar que as teses externalistas “os significados não estão na cabeça” e “os pensamentos não estão na cabeça” não implicam, necessariamente, a tese mais radical “a mente não está na cabeça”. Trato dessa questão no âmbito do Externalismo Social de Tyler Burge e Lynne Baker, argumentando que a importância que esses pensadores atribuem à linguagem nas questões relativas à mente não significa, como uma leitura apressada poderia sugerir, a redução da mente à linguagem e, muito menos, (...) a eliminação da mente. A minha conclusão é que o externalismo social linguístico não se constitui como uma estratégia eficaz de enfrentamento dos problemas da natureza da mente e de sua relação com o corpo. (shrink)