This paper presents an account of empathy as the form of experience directed at embodied unities of expressive movement. After outlining the key differences between simulation theory and the phenomenological approach to empathy, the paper argues that while the phenomenological approach is closer to respecting a necessary constitutional asymmetry between first-personal and second-personal senses of embodiment, it still presupposes a general concept of embodiment that ends up being problematic. A different account is proposed that is neutral on the explanatory role (...) of the first-person sense of embodiment, which leads to an emphasis on the transformative nature of empathy and a broadening of the scope of possible targets of empathic awareness. (shrink)
Hannah Arendt is widely regarded as a political theorist who sought to rescue politics from ‘society’, and political theory from the social sciences. This conventional view has had the effect of distracting attention from many of Arendt’s most important insights concerning the constitution of ‘society’ and the significance of the social sciences. In this article, I argue that Hannah Arendt’s distinctions between labor, work and action, as these are discussed in The Human Condition and elsewhere, are best understood as a (...) set of claims about the fundamental structures of human societies. Understanding Arendt in this way introduces interesting parallels between Arendt’s work and both classical and contemporary sociology. From this I draw a number of conclusions concerning Arendt’s conception of ‘society’, and extend these insights into two contemporary debates within contemporary theoretical sociology: the need for a differentiated ontology of the social world, and the changing role that novel forms of knowledge play in contemporary society as major sources of social change and order. (shrink)
Asperger syndrome (AS) is an autistic spectrum condition that shares the range of social impairments associated with classic autism widely regarded as disabling, while also often giving rise to high levels of ability in areas such as maths, science, engineering and music. The nature of this striking duality of disability and ability is examined, along with its implications for our thinking about disability and the relevance of levels and kinds of disability to reproductive choices. In particular, it may be seen (...) as posing a challenge to John Harris's influential position in reproductive ethics relating to disability. The paper argues that if, as Harris maintains, there is a quite general moral obligation to avoid bringing disabled lives into the world regardless of the level of disability, then AS must be seen as having a strong claim to be exempt from such an obligation. However, a broader critique of Harris's position leads to the conclusion that, in fact, this putative obligation does not exist. (shrink)
This book examines the issue of philosophical skepticism in the light of its relevance for the critique of modernity associated with the Frankfurt School. It situates the problem of skepticism in the context of the history of philosophy and explores its significance for the modern crisis of reason, as manifested in post-Kantian philosophy, which presaged the critical turn toward social theory.
When positionally cloned in late 1989, it was anticipated that mutations within the Wilms' tumour suppressor gene (WT1) would prove responsible for this common solid kidney cancer of childhood. Characterisation of the WT1 expression pattern and of the structure of the encoded protein isoforms and their mode of action has now spanned almost a decade. WT1 proteins act as nucleic acid-binding zinc finger-containing transcription factors involved in both transactivation and repression. These activities are facilitated and constrained by interactions with other (...) proteins. Expression analyses and knockout mice indicate that WT1 protein plays a critical role in normal kidney and gonad development. Specific constitutional WT1 mutations results in several urogenital anomaly syndromes. While only 10% of sporadic Wilms' tumours do display WT1 mutation, WT1 is mutated in other cancers, including acute myeloid leukaemia. Much is still to be determined in WT1 biology. The next decade will see at least three streams of attention. The first two, elucidation of the role of WT1 in RNA metabolism and the characterisation of further protein partners, may together explain the distinct tissue-specific functions of WT1. Finally, further research into the role of WT1 in haematopoiesis will improve our understanding of WT1 in leukaemia. BioEssays 21:191-202, 1999. (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (shrink)