Whoever paid the bill at the restaurant last night, will clearly remember doing it. Independently from the type of action, it is a common experience that being the agent provides a special strength to our memories. Even if it is generally agreed that personal memories (episodic memory) rely on separate neural substrates with respect to general knowledge (semantic memory), little is known on the nature of the link between memory and the sense of agency. In the present paper, we review (...) results from two experiments investigating the effects of agency on both explicit and implicit memory traces. Performance of normal subjects is compared to that of schizophrenic patients in order to explore the role of awareness of action on memory. It is proposed that reliable first-person information is necessary to create a stable and coherent motor memory trace. (shrink)
In this paper, I attempt to cast some light on the debate between Habermas and Rorty on the question of the possibility of rationality as a philosophical theory. My assessment of this debate proceeds from the perspective of their respective critiques of modern philosophy, defined as an epistemological discipline within the Cartesian- Kantian tradition of foundationalism. While both thinkers seem to be fairly clear on why they can no longer accept philosophical theories of rationality which have their roots in the (...) metaphysical tradition of modern philosophy, Rorty is convinced that Habermas, despite his linguistic turn, does not quite succeed in breaking with the transcendental problematic of the Kantian tradition. In what follows, I propose to investigate the accuracy of the charge of transcendentalism levelled by Rorty against Habermas. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.19(2) 2000: 95-117. (shrink)
The African debate on HIV/AIDS has been approached in terms that either foreground its biomedical implications, on the one hand, or its economic challenges, on the other. From the biomedical perspective, HIV/AIDS is a health problem, calling for appropriate behaviour modification strategies; from the economic perspective, however, HIV/AIDS in Africa is viewed as a structural effect of capitalist-induced poverty. This article aims at providing a philosophical basis for understanding the African debate on HIV/AIDS. Its primary contention is that, in order (...) to understand the African experience of HIV/AIDS, we need to overcome the crippling legacy of the modernist-colonialist discourse on Africa, in which “reason” is invariably regarded as the exclusive privilege of the (“white”) Western philosophical “mind”. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 26 (4) 2007: pp. 388-402. (shrink)
According to Jim Pryor’s dogmatism, when you have an experience with content p, you often have prima facie justification to believe p that does not rest on your independent justification to believe any proposition. Although dogmatism has an intuitive appeal and seems to have an antisceptical bite, it has been targeted by different objections. This paper principally aims to answer the objections by Roger White according to which dogmatism is inconsistent with the Bayesian account of how evidence affects our credences. (...) If this were true, the rational acceptability of dogmatism would be seriously questionable. I respond that these objections don’t get off the ground because they assume that our experiences and our introspective beliefs that we have experiences have the same evidential force, whereas the dogmatist is uncommitted to this assumption. I also consider the question whether dogmatism has an antisceptical bite. I suggest that the answer turns on whether or not the Bayesian can determine the priors of hypotheses and conjectures on the grounds of their extra-empirical virtues. If the Bayesian can do so, the thesis that dogmatism has an antisceptical bite is probably false. (shrink)
Knowledge Societies offers both a critical examination of existing social theory, and a new synthesis of social theory with the actual study of knowledge relations in advanced economies. Some of the elements explored are scientization: the penetration not only of production but of most social action by scientific knowledge; the transformation of access to knowledge through higher education; the growth of experts (managers, accountants, advisors, and counselors) and of corresponding institutions based on the deployment of specialized knowledge; and a shift (...) in the nature of societal conflict from struggles about income and property to claims and conflicts about generalized human needs. Nico Stehr's argument amply demonstrates not only that all social theories now need to take into account the changing nature of social relations around knowledge, but also the parameters within which this analysis should take place. This book is essential reading for all those interested in social theory, sociology of knowledge and science, and the general issue of knowledge in the late 20th century. (shrink)
continent. 1.3 (2011): 148. With this third issue of continent. we welcome you to join a conversation. The announced thematic for this issue, autonomy, evolved out of an interest to understand the contours of our being together, not necessarily those qualities or conditions that point towardsisolation. This summer brought some significant events and comminglings for our team: we sponsored a symposium, with Christian Hänggi at the historic Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich; we welcomed several new talented folks into our budding organisation; (...) and our dear Nico had major back surgery. Fortunately, Nico is recovering nicely, and new memberships allow us to emphasize significant contributions made by to issue 1.3 by our new friends Isaac Linder, Nina Jäger, Peggy Bloomer, and Ryland Johnson. Without their efforts this issue would not be available, as our publication is created and sustained through the good will and good fun of our Contributing Editors. We see continent. as an opportunity to bring our favorite people and projects together and thus this issue features conversations, between authors, between times, between topics. You are warmly welcomed to join these conversations and we encourage you to call in those topics, projects, and people close to your own heart, close to your own mind. Paul, Jamie, & Nico. (shrink)
In this issue we include contributions from the individuals presiding at the panel All in a Jurnal's Work: A BABEL Wayzgoose, convened at the second Biennial Meeting of the BABEL Working Group. Sadly, the contributions of Daniel Remein, chief rogue at the Organism for Poetic Research as well as editor at Whiskey & Fox , were not able to appear in this version of the proceedings. From the program : 2ND BIENNUAL MEETING OF THE BABEL WORKING GROUP CONFERENCE “CRUISING IN (...) THE RUINS: THE QUESTION OF DISCIPLINARITY IN THE POST/MEDIEVAL UNIVERSITY” SEPTEMBER 21ST, 2012: SESSION 13 MCLEOD C.322, CURRY STUDENT CENTER NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY, BOSTON, MA. Traditionally, a wayzgoose was a celebration at the end of a printer’s year, a night off in the late fall before the work began of printing by candlelight. According to the OED, the Master Printer would make for the journeymen “a good Feast, and not only entertains them at his own House, but besides, gives them Money to spend at the Ale-house or Tavern at Night.” Following in this line, continent. proposes in its publication(s) a night out and a good Feast, away from the noxious fumes of the Academy and into a night of revelry which begins, but does not end, at the alehouse or Tavern. continent. proposes that the thinking of the Academy be freed to be thought elsewhere, in the alleys and doorways of the village and cities, encountered not in the strictly defined spaces of the classroom and blackboard (now white) but anticipated and found where thinking occurs. Historically, academic journals have served a different purpose than the Academy itself. Journals (from the Anglo-Fr. jurnal , "a day," from O.Fr. jornel , "day, time; day's work," hence the journalist as writer of the news of the day ) have served as privileged sites for the articulation and concretization of specific modes of knowledge and control (insemination of those ideas has been formalized in the classroom, in seminar). In contrast, the academic journal is post-partum and has been an old-boys club, an insider trading network in which truths are (re)circulated against themselves, forming a Maginot Line against whatever is new, or the distinctly challenging. All in a Jurnal’s Work will discuss (in part) the ramifications of cheap start-up publications that are challenging the traditional ensconced-in-ivory academic journals and their supporting infrastructures. The panel will be seeking a questioning (as a challenging) towards the discipline of knowledge production/fabrication (of truth[s]) and the event of the Academy (and its publications) as it has evolved and continues to (d)evolve. Issues to be discussed will revolve around the power of academic publishing and its origins, hierarchical versus horizontal academic modules (is there a place for the General Assembly in academia?) and the evolving idea of the Multiversity as a site(s) of a (BABELing) multivocality in the wake of the University of Disaster. A CONTINUOUS ACT Nico Jenkins In Pierre Hadot’s extraordinary book, Philosophy as a Way of Life , the practices of philosophy—that is the exercise of what we can term pre-institionalized love of wisdom, what Philo of Alexandria described as a training towards wisdom—are described as, following the Stoics, “a continuous act, permanent and identical with life itself, which had to be renewed at each instant.” This renewal of thinking, this coming to be of being itself —meeting itself on its own ground, concerns the way philosophy is practiced, and more often, taught, or rather not taught. Hadot continues his thinking with a description of what happens to the structure of thought in the medieval ages as it becomes adopted—co-opted— by the university, and by extension, by the institution of the church. Philosophy becomes no longer a way of living, no longer a praxis as such but becomes a condition that is locked in a theoretical construct, one which was literally removed from life (and in life we read then love, wisdom, being etc, also the home, the market, the field, the street) and secured behind the high walls of the monastery (which were shortly replaced by the high walls of the Academy) where thinking unfortunately rests for the most part today. Hadot writes further that this dangerous movement of removal reduces thinking to a theoretical practice akin to the mythical Ouroborous; “education was thus no longer directed toward people who were to be educated with a view to becoming fully developed human beings, but to specialists, in order that they might learn how to train other specialists.” Thought then is trapped behind the walls of the academy, and with the exception of such thinkers as Spinoza, Descartes, and Liebnitz as well as others who think from an outside in, thought remains, in the form of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, a practice reduced or removed from life and restricted to what Schopenhauer will call “mere fencing in front of the mirror.” This is of course the tendency today and philosophy remains, for the most part, a discourse produced and thought inside the academy and disseminated, in seminated through university presses and of course the academic journal. It seems necessary to me that we have to have a place, a return, to a thinking which is closer to the Stoics, closer to the pre-Socratics, to a thinking which is a practice of becoming, a training to think, to live, to die. this is not south romantic than imperative . This thinking is one of a deep ir responsibility because it is not known, it is not figured out. It requires a risk and what Heidegger calls a leap (for there is no bridge to it). I call it irresponsible because for too long sanctioned thought has had as its premise the idea that thinking has a goal, a direction, a telos ; that it is not an activity but a process which gives a product; that the responsibility of thinking in turn demand an answer. In my mind, only freed from that goal can thinking, in contrast, bask in its own thinking, bask in a state in which the unknown can remain unknown, that mystery can rest as mystery. This is not to say that the world needs no answers, or to promote a Whitmanesque “leaning and loafing” as the only valid practice. It is only to say that for too long, thinking has been validated by the academy, by the answerable, by the already decided. To me, this requires—as an answer— the ir responsibility of thought, what Nancy calls, “a world for which all is not already done (played out, finished, enshrined in a destiny), nor entirely still to do (in the future for always future tomorrows).” This is a thinking not sanctified by the academy, made sacred by the church or the palace but rather it takes place on the périphérie , beyond the ring road, in alleyways behind the marketplace, in cafes stained with the syphilitic patina of irresponsible talk, of loose talk, the kind of talk made loose not only by the tankard and the goblet by the practice and training of attuned thinking. continent. was formed as a collective of thinkers coming out of the European Graduate School (also known as the University of Disaster) three years ago, in an effort to combat, or challenge, the dominant paradigm which isolates thinking from the street, from life, from where perhaps wisdom tends to emerge. We feel that not only is the university herself no longer the privileged site of where true thinking takes place—and where only official thought can take place—but that the very artificiality of the academy denies thinking—at times—authentic, thought. Our goal at continent. is to create a media agnostic publication which is rigorous in its intellectual underpinnings but which will remain permanently beyond and out of reach of the academy. Though many of us butter our bread with academic paychecks (maid!) we attempt to keep continent. as a refuge—and a refugee—from the University in ruins, from the University as a site of preformed and institutionalized pre-set dialogues. In concert with other publications-both cyber and print—as well as various blogs we are attempting to re-dialogize the dialogue of thinking. We are attempting both to speak to— as well as with and against —the university as a site of accreted knowledge. We have not been utterly successful and continue to attempt to define what that role of being perpetually beyond is (while still trying to maintain rigorous intellectual standards) but it is just that, a goal, which is perpetually opening, perpetually unanswered, perhaps even by design, perpetually unanswerable. (shrink)
Liberals claim that some perceptual experiences give us immediate justification for certain perceptual beliefs. Conservatives claim that the justification that perceptual experiences give us for those perceptual beliefs is mediated by our background beliefs. In his recent paper ?Basic Justification and the Moorean Response to the Skeptic?, Nico Silins successfully argues for a non-Moorean version of Liberalism. But Silins's defence of non-Moorean Liberalism leaves us with a puzzle: why is it that a necessary condition for our perceptual experiences to (...) justify us in holding certain perceptual beliefs is that we have some independent justification for disbelieving various sceptical hypotheses? I argue that the best answer to this question involves commitment to Crispin Wright's version of Conservatism. In short, Wright's Conservatism is consistent with Silins's Liberalism, and the latter helps to give us grounds for accepting the former. (shrink)
Derek Parfit's “reductionist” account of personal identity (including the rejection of anything like a soul) is coupled with the rejection of a commonsensical intuition of essential self-unity, as in his defense of the counter-intuitive claim that “identity does not matter.” His argument for this claim is based on reflection on the possibility of personal fission. To the contrary, Simon Blackburn claims that the “unity reaction” to fission has an absolute grip on practical reasoning. Now David Lewis denied Parfit's claim that (...) reductionism contravenes common sense, so I revisit the debate between Parfit and Lewis, showing why Parfit wins it. Is reductionism about persons then inherently at odds with the unity reaction? Not necessarily; David Velleman presents a reductionist theory according to which fission does not conflict with the unity reaction. Nonetheless, relying on the distinction between person level descriptions of first-person states and the first-person perspective itself, I argue that Velleman's theory does not eliminate fission-based conflict with the unity reaction. Footnotesa * Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the philosophy departments at Rutgers University and Bowling Green State University. I am indebted to many members of these audiences, and to the other contributors to this volume, for their comments—especially Frank Arntzenius, Michael Bradie, David Copp, John Finnis, Jerry Fodor, Brian Loar, Barry Loewer, Colin McGinn, Fred Miller, Mark Moyer, David Oderberg, Marya Schechtman, David Schmidtz, David Sobel, and Sara Worley. Special thanks to David Sanford. I am also grateful to graduate students in my seminar at Bowling Green during the spring of 2003, for urging me to take seriously the grip of the unity reaction; I am especially grateful for the comments of Nico Maloberti, Jonathan Miller, John Milliken, Robyn Peabody, Jennifer Sproul, Jessica Teaman, and Sherisse Webb. (shrink)
Nico Silins has proposed and defended a form of Liberalism about perception that, he thinks, is a good compromise between the Dogmatism of Jim Pryor and others, and the Conservatism of Roger White, Crispin Wright, and others. In particular, Silins argues that his theory can explain why having justification to believe the negation of skeptical hypotheses is a necessary condition for having justification to believe ordinary propositions, even though (contra the Conservative) the latter is not had in virtue of (...) the former. I argue that Silins's explanation is unsuccessful, and hence that we should prefer either White/Wright-style Conservatism (which can explain this necessary condition) or Pryor-style Dogmatism (which denies that this is a necessary condition). (shrink)
The book contains a masterly review of Rolls's single-neuron research reflecting rewards. It places that research in the context of the neo-behaviorist theory of emotions. That theory provides a useful first approximation to emotion-eliciting conditions but has little to tell about emotions as motivational states or response dispositions: nor does it give a rationale for what are considered to be primary rewarding stimuli.
A functional interpretation of facial expressions of pain is welcome. Facial expressions of pain may be useful not only for communication, such as inviting help. They may also be of direct use, as parts of writhing pain behavior patterns, serving to get rid of pain stimuli and/or to suppress pain sensations by something akin to hyperstimulation analgesia.
A review of the literature was conducted to better understand the (potential) role of mental health professionals in physician-assisted suicide. Numerous studies indicate that depression is one of the most commonly encountered psychiatric illnesses in primary care settings. Yet, depression consistently goes undetected and undiagnosed by nonpsychiatrically trained primary care physicians. Noting the well-studied link between depression and suicide, it is necessary to question giving sole responsibility of assisting patients in making end-of-life treatment decisions to these physicians. Unfortunately, the use (...) of mental health consultation by these physicians is not a common occurrence. Greater involvement of mental health professionals in this emerging and debated area is advocated. Beyond describing mental health professionals' role in the assessment of patient competency or decision making capacity, other areas of potential involvement are described. A discussion of ethical principles relevant to this area follows, along with comments on the training necessary to adequately serve patient needs. (shrink)
We study the SIS and SIRI epidemic models discussing different approaches to compute the thresholds that determine the appearance of an epidemic disease. The stochastic SIS model is a well known mathematical model, studied in several contexts. Here, we present recursively derivations of the dynamic equations for all the moments and we derive the stationary states of the state variables using the moment closure method. We observe that the steady states give a good approximation of the quasi-stationary states of the (...) SIS model. We present the relation between the SIS stochastic model and the contact process introducing creation and annihilation operators. For the spatial stochastic epidemic reinfection model SIRI, where susceptibles S can become infected I, then recover and remain only partial immune against reinfection R, we present the phase transition lines using the mean field and the pair approximation for the moments. We use a scaling argument that allow us to determine analytically an explicit formula for the phase transition lines in pair approximation. (shrink)
The proposed dynamic systems model of emotion generation indeed appears considerably more plausible and descriptively adequate than traditional linear models. It also comes much closer to the complex interactions observed in neurobiological research. The proposals regarding self-organization in emerging appraisal-emotion interactions are thought-provoking and attractive. Yet, at this point they are more in the nature of promises than findings, and are clearly in need of corroborating psychological evidence or demonstrated theoretical desirability.
A naturalistic account of the strengths and limitations of cladistic practice is offered. The success of cladistics is claimed to be largely rooted in the parsimony-implementing congruence test. Cladists may use the congruence test to iteratively refine assessments of homology, and thereby increase the odds of reliable phylogenetic inference under parsimony. This explanation challenges alternative views which tend to ignore the effects of parsimony on the process of character individuation in systematics. In a related theme, the concept of homeostatic property (...) cluster natural kinds is used to explain why cladistics is well suited to provide a traditional, verbal reference system for the evolutionary properties of species and clades. The advantages of more explicitly probabilistic approaches to phylogenetic inference appear to manifest themselves in situations where evolutionary homeostasis has for the most part broken down, and predictive classifications are no longer possible. (shrink)
Constitutional pluralism has become a principal model for understanding the legal and political structure of the European Union. Yet its variants are highly diverse, ranging from moderate “institutional” forms, closer to constitutionalist thinking, to “radical” ones which renounce a common framework to connect the different layers of law at play. Neil MacCormick, whose work was key for the rise of constitutional pluralism, shifted his approach from radical to institutional pluralism over time. This paper reconstructs the reasons for this shift—mainly concerns (...) about political stability that also underlie many others' skepticism vis-à-vis radical pluralist ideas. It then seeks to show why such concerns are likely overdrawn. In the fluid, contested space of postnational politics, a common, overarching frame is problematic as it might inflame, rather than tame, tensions. Leaving fundamental issues open along radical pluralist lines may help to work around points of highly charged contestation and provide opportunities for resistance from less powerful actors. (shrink)
As its title suggests, this anthology is a collection of papers presented at a conference on feelings and emotions held in Amsterdam in 2001. One of the symposiumâ€™s main goals was to draw some of the most prominent researchers in emotion research together and provide a multi-disciplinary â€˜snap shotâ€™ of the state of the art at the turn of the century. In that respect it is truly a cognitive science success story. There are articles from a wide range of fields, (...) encompassing, e.g., philosophy, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Another.. (shrink)
It is often difficult to balance the conflicting interests of freedom and equality in the public domain. This article attempts to provide a Christian perspective on freedom and equality that might help to reconcile some of the conflicts between freedom and equality that are likely to arise. The first section discusses the significance of religious ethics for social justice, the second section attempts to provide a conceptual framework for freedom and equality from a theological perspective. The third section offers a (...) societal framework within which conflicts between freedom and equality can be resolved. The conclusion arrived at is that freedom and equality are compatible values as long as they are used in a conceptually correct manner which upholds the inherent principles governing societal processes. (shrink)
From the beginning of the scientific revolution, scientists, philosophers, and laypersons have been concerned about the effects of knowledge on social relations. Although views differ about the details of this knowledge-society interface, most observers have understood that the kind of knowledge that emanates from establishedscience can indeed be quite powerful in practice. In exploring both the nature of race science discourse and selected features of the practical context within which it resonates effectively, the authors' investigationsof this field and its contribution (...) to the Holocaust represent an effort to specify some of the things that make knowledge powerful. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that the modern economy, as it transforms itself into a knowledge-based economy, loses much of the immunity from societal influences it once enjoyed, at least in advanced societies. This implies that the boundaries of the economy as a social system become more porous and fluid. Among the traffic that increasingly moves across the system-specific boundaries of the economy, from the opposite direction as it were, are cultural practices and beliefs that were heretofore perceived as (...) alien to taken-for-granted conventions of economic conduct and the kinds of preferences immanent within the economic system. The enlargement of the economy is examined with reference to biotechnological products and processes. I will call these changes the "moralization" or "de-commercialization" of the production and consumption process. The moralization of the market and of production ultimately depends on the growing role of knowledge in economic affairs as well as the exceptional rise in affluence and, in its course, consumer sovereignty. (shrink)
Attempts to define life should focus on the transition from molecules to cells and the “closure” aspects of this event. Rather than classifying existing objects into living and non-living entities I believe the challenge is to understand how the transition from non-life to life can take place, that is, the how the closure in Jagers op Akkerhuis’s hierarchical classification of operators, comes about.
Emotion experience reflects some of the outcomes of the mostly nonconscious processes that compose emotions. In my view, the major processes are appraisal, affect, action readiness, and autonomic arousal. The phenomenology of emotion experience varies according to mode of consciousness (nonreflective or reflective consciousness), and to direction and mode of attention. As a result, emotion experience may be either ineffable or articulate with respect to any or all of the underlying processes. In addition, emotion experience reflects the degree to which (...) the emotion processes control perception, thought, action and bodily arousal. (shrink)