To accept that cognition is embodied is to question many of the beliefs traditionally held by cognitive scientists. One key question regards the localization of cognitive faculties. Here we argue that for cognition to be embodied and sometimes embedded, means that the cognitive faculty cannot be localized in a brain area alone. We review recent research on neural reuse, the 1/f structure of human activity, tool use, group cognition, and social coordination dynamics that we believe demonstrates how the boundary between (...) the different areas of the brain, the brain and body, and the body and environment is not only blurred but indeterminate. In turn, we propose that cognition is supported by a nested structure of task-specific synergies, which are softly assembled from a variety of neural, bodily, and environmental components (including other individuals), and exhibit interaction dominant dynamics. (shrink)
We argue that the strengths of the Theory of Event Coding (TEC) can usefully be applied to a wider scope of cognitive tasks, and tested by more diverse methodologies. When allied with a theory of conceptual representation such as Barsalou's (1999a) perceptual symbol systems, and extended to data from eye-movement studies, the TEC has the potential to address the larger goals of an embodied view of cognition.
We commend the argument that perception and action are tightly coupled. We claim that the argument is not new, that uniting stimulus and response codes is not a problem for a cognitive system, only for psychologists who assume them, and that the Theory of Event Coding (TEC)'s event-codes are arbitrary and ungrounded. Affordances and information offer the common basis for perception-action (and even for event-codes).
Corballis's explanation for right-handedness in humans relies heavily on the gestural protolanguage hypothesis, which he argues for by a series of “intuition pumps.” Scrutinizing the mirror system hypothesis and modern gesture as components of the argument, we find that they do not provide the desired evidence of a gestural precursor to speech.
"This book, one of the most frequently cited works on Martin Heidegger in any language, belongs on any short list of classic studies of Continental philosophy. William J. Richardson explores the famous turn (Kehre) in Heidegger's thought after Being in Time and demonstrates how this transformation was radical without amounting to a simple contradiction of his earlier views." "In a full account of the evolution of Heidegger's work as a whole, Richardson provides a detailed, systematic, and illuminating (...) account of both divergences and fundamental continuities in Heidegger's philosophy, especially in light of recently published works. He demonstrates that the "thinking" of Being for the later Heidegger has exactly the same configuration as the radical phenomenology of the early Heidegger, once he has passed through the "turning" of his way." Including as a preface the letter that Heidegger wrote to Richardson and a new writer's preface and epilogue, the new edition of this valuable guide will be an essential resource for students and scholars for many years to come. (shrink)
[Alan W. Richardson] This essay explores the uses that Michael Friedman and Bas van Fraassen have recently made of the work of Hans Reichenbach. It uses Friedman's work to complicate van Fraassen's invocation of Reichenbach's voluntarism in support of empiricism. It uses van Fraassen's work to motivate a concern with Friedman's neo-Kantian reading of Reichenbach. We are, finally, left with questions about the status and content of the account of the epistemic subject available to an epistemological (...) voluntarist. /// [Thomas E. Uebel] This response considers the question whether empiricists are condemned to silence about the epistemic agency their theories attribute or presuppose. It is argued that, unlike Reichenbach or Carnap, Neurath allowed for and indeed provided specifications of the role of epistemic agency in scientific inquiry. If this is correct, it underscores once more the need to distinguish between the various strands of logical positivism which show different strengths and weaknesses. (shrink)
We will show that there is a strong form of emergence in cell biology. Beginning with C.D. Broad's classic discussion of emergence, we distinguish two conditions sufficient for emergence. Emergence in biology must be compatible with the thought that all explanations of systemic properties are mechanistic explanations and with their sufficiency. Explanations of systemic properties are always in terms of the properties of the parts within the system. Nonetheless, systemic properties can still be emergent. If the properties of the components (...) within the system cannot be predicted, even in principle, from the behavior of the system's parts within simpler wholes then there also will be systemic properties which cannot be predicted, even in principle, on basis of the behavior of these parts. We show in an explicit case study drawn from molecular cell physiology that biochemical networks display this kind of emergence, even though they deploy only mechanistic explanations. This illustrates emergence and its place in nature. (shrink)
Mechanistic models in molecular systems biology are generally mathematical models of the action of networks of biochemical reactions, involving metabolism, signal transduction, and/or gene expression. They can be either simulated numerically or analyzed analytically. Systems biology integrates quantitative molecular data acquisition with mathematical models to design new experiments, discriminate between alternative mechanisms and explain the molecular basis of cellular properties. At the heart of this approach are mechanistic models of molecular networks. We focus on the articulation and development of mechanistic (...) models, identifying five constraints which guide the articulation of models in molecular systems biology. These constraints are not independent of one another, with the result that modeling becomes an iterative process. We illustrate the use of these constraints in the modeling of the mechanism for bistability in the lac operon. (shrink)
It is becoming rather monotonous continually reading articles that tell us how the concept of and the requirements for the modern organization are changing, how these are more complex than ever, and how a paradigm shift is necessary in order to facilitate our continued analysis, and management, of such entities. We are told that we must distribute decision making, encourage individual autonomy, and strive to innovate in the rapidly changing environment that characterizes the apparent New World Order. The list is (...) as far reaching as it is impressive. These concepts coincide with a new, or at least emerging, description of organizations. This “paradigm” appears, from particular presentations at least, wholly to reject the long-held prevailing paradigm of the mechanistic, efficiency-driven, hierarchical, command-and-control organization. (We would question the “whollyness” of this position.) Complexity science has emerged from the field of possible candidates as a prime contender for the top spot in the next era of management science. (shrink)
Regulation must target the financial sector, which often funds and profits from environmentally unsustainable development. In an era of global financial markets, the financial sector has a crucial impact on the state of the environment. The long-standing movement for ethically and socially responsible investment (SRI) has recently begun to advocate environmental standards for financiers. While this movement is gaining more adherents, it has increasingly justified responsible financing as a path to be prosperous, rather than virtuous. This trend partly owes to (...) how financial institutions view their legal responsibilities. The business case motivations that now predominantly drive SRI are not sufficient to make the financial sector a means to sustainable development. Some modest legal reforms to improve the quality and extent of SRI have yet to make a tangible difference. A more ambitious strategy to promote SRI for environmental sustainability is possible, based on reforming the fiduciary duties of financial institutions. Such duties, tied to concrete performance standards, could make financiers invest in more ethically responsible ways. Other collateral reforms to financial markets, including improved corporate environmental reporting, are required to promote sustainability. (shrink)
Due process is the means by which ethical constraints are placed on administrative decision-making. I have developed a model of variation in due process and use this model to explore the implementation of “due process” norms by three standard-setting bodies that are created, funded, and overseen by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants – the Accounting Standards Board, the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, and the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board. I conducted two analyses: a comparative analysis of the implementation (...) of due process norms based on differences among the three cases; and, a critique of the due process norms followed by these boards based on their internal logic and a set of best practices identified in other contexts for due process by standard setters. I have presented evidence that due process norms are more fully developed, where standards are enforced by the state and the heterogeneity of users is greatest. (shrink)
The financial services sector has the potential to be an important driver for improved corporate social and environmental responsibility through its control over corporate financing. But, so far, only ad hoc policy initiatives have arisen in the European Union and other countries. Because the financial services sector is where wholesale decisions regarding future development, and thus pressures on the environment, arise, the reform of investment and banking services to promote long term investment and better consideration of environmental impacts may be (...) an effective way to promote sustainable development. Reforms such as corporate environmental reporting requirements and lender liability for borrowers’ environmental harm, are some of the ways by which an institutional framework for mobilising financial organizations as instruments of environmental regulation could be constructed. (shrink)