This review evaluates pros and cons of the schema theory as a general framework for expressing what Arbib et al. call “systems neuroscience.” We discuss the software/hardware duality of the schema concept and the relative neglect of the mechanical properties of muscles. We propose a computational alternative to the functional decomposition in terms of schemas.
The sequence-in/sequence-out cerebellar machinery is considered from the computational point of view. We outline a learning framework which discriminates short-term from long-term learning and is able to explain single-trial adaptation to unexpected loads.
Fitts' law and the [Delta][Lambda] model are theories of motor control because they are limited to the kinematic aspects of movement and do not capture its essential dynamic nature. The internal source of that determines the speed/accuracy trade-off can be associated with the partial compensation of movement-generated forces.
Since the early decades of the sixteenth century, Pomponazzi has been a name to conjure with: to some, the first of the modern atheists; to others, a hero of the new philosophy. But how much direct influence did his work have? This question is explored in terms of the way in which oracular divination is treated. In the sixteenth century, the range of conceptual categories available to explain such phenomena was threefold: natural, supernatural or simply unreal. In some cases, such (...) as those of demonic possession, the person was able to be examined directly. But the same conceptual triad was also applied to another kind of case, one whose subject could not be examined, since she had long been consigned to history ? the Pythia or priestess of the ancient Delphic oracle, who had famously foamed and babbled during her prophetic frenzy. For some writers on divination, this subject was of particular interest, since it had been explicitly discussed by ancient sources: whether the Pythia's ravings were real or invented, natural or supernatural, could be analysed with categories borrowed from Cicero, Plutarch and, above all, Aristotle. Within the sixteenth?century territory disputes over Aristotle's corpus, the pagan oracles, represented above all by the Pythia, offered a test case for the broader problem of the place of divination within the natural world. The central antagonist in this tussle was Pietro Pomponazzi, whose treatment of the ancient oracles, although brief, played an important part in his radical interpretation of Aristotle. For many of his contemporary readers, it was this subject, with its specific historical dimension, that highlighted the faults in his positions on nature and divination. (shrink)
Summary In 1670, the Bolognese mathematician Pietro Mengoli published his Speculationi di musica, a highly original work attempting to found the mathematical study of music on the anatomy of the ear. His anatomy was idiosyncratic and his mathematics extraordinarily complex, and he proposed a unique double mechanism of hearing. He analysed in detail the supposed behaviour of the subtle part of the air inside the ear, and the patterns of strokes made on the eardrum by simultaneous sounds. Most strikingly, (...) he divided the musical octave into a continuous set of regions which he colour-coded to show their effects on a listener. His work did not find its way into the mainstream of seventeenth-century mathematical studies of music, but when examined in its context it has the potential to shed light on that discipline, as well as being of considerable interest in its own right. Here, I focus on the anatomical and mathematical basis of Mengoli's work. (shrink)
Wonder, miracle, occult science, poetry, and the epistemological implications in Renaissance authors: Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico, Pietro Pomponazzi, Agrippa of Nettesheim, Giordano Bruno, Francesco Patrizi, Tommaso Campanella, Francisco Suárez.
The relationship between body and mind was traditionally discussed in terms of immortality of the intellect, because immateriality was one necessary condition for the mind to be immortal. This appeared to be an issue of metaphysics and religion. But to the medieval and Renaissance thinkers, the essence of mind is thinking activity and hence an epistemological feature. Starting with John Searle’s worries about the existence of consciousness, I try to show some parallels with the Aristotelian Pietro Pomponazzi (1462–1525), and (...) eventually show the Neoplatonic approach in Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499). The guiding question is: how can one philosophically address the problem of cognition in terms of corporeality and incorporeality? Searle maintains there is mind, although essentially related to a biological basis, and he is comparable to the Renaissance thinkers for his taking the interaction of the mental and the corporeal seriously. (shrink)