Husserl made certain assumptions about the nature of the components of experienced phenomena derived from and similar to the assumptions of the psychologists of his time. I will present some of those assumptions, and argue, and support that argument with evidence, that they are incorrect. I claim that if that is true, then Husserlian methodology is flawed, to the extent that for certain investigations both the epoch? and the method of eidetic variation necessitate circularity which invalidates their utility. These arguments (...) and some of their implications are presented in detail. (shrink)
Background To determine (1) whether fetal care paediatric (FCP) and maternal–fetal medicine (MFM) specialists harbour differing attitudes about pregnancy termination for congenital fetal conditions, their perceived responsibilities to pregnant women and fetuses, and the fetus as a patient and (2) whether self-perceived primary responsibilities to fetuses and women and views about the fetus as a patient are associated with attitudes about clinical care. Methods Mail survey of 434 MFM and FCP specialists (response rates 60.9% and 54.2%, respectively). Results MFMs were (...) more likely than FCPs to disagree with these statements (all p values<0.005): (1) ‘the presence of a fetal abnormality is not an appropriate reason for a couple to consider pregnancy termination’ (MFM : FCP—78.4% vs 63.5%); (2) ‘the effects that a child born with disabilities might have on marital and family relationships is not an appropriate reason for a couple to consider pregnancy termination’ (MFM : FCP—80.5% vs 70.2%); and (3) ‘the cost of healthcare for the future child is not an appropriate reason for a couple to consider pregnancy termination’ (MFM : FCP—73.5% vs 55.9%). 65% MFMs versus 47% FCPs disagreed that their professional responsibility is to focus primarily on fetal well-being (p<0.01). Specialists did not differ regarding the fetus as a separate patient. Responses about self-perceived responsibility to focus on fetal well-being were associated with clinical practice attitudes. Conclusions Independent of demographic and sociopolitical characteristics, FCPs and MFMs possess divergent ethical sensitivities regarding pregnancy termination, pregnant women and fetuses, which may influence clinical care. (shrink)
End-of-life decision making is fraught with ethical challenges. Withholding or withdrawing life support therapy is widely considered ethical in patients with high treatment burden, poor premorbid status, or significant projected disability even when such treatment is not ?futile.? Whether such withdrawal of therapy in the aftermath of attempted suicide is ethical is not well established in the literature. We provide a clinical vignette and propose criteria under which such withdrawal would be ethical. We suggest that it is appropriate to withdraw (...) life support, regardless of the cause of the critical illness or disability, when the following criteria are met: (1) Surrogates request withdrawal of care and the adequacy of surrogates is confirmed, (2) an external reasonability standard is met, (3) passage of time, perhaps 72 hours, to allow certainty regarding the patient's wishes, and (4) psychiatric morbidity should be considered as grounds for withdrawal only in truly treatment-refractory cases. Fundamentally, we believe the question to ask is, ?If this were not an attempted suicide, would a request to withdraw care be reasonable?? We believe that under these circumstances, such withdrawal of life support, even in an individual who has attempted suicide, does not constitute physician assistance with suicide and is distinct from physician aid-in-dying in several important respects. (shrink)
Discrete choice experiments—selecting the best and/or worst from a set of options—are increasingly used to provide more efficient and valid measurement of attitudes or preferences than conventional methods such as Likert scales. Discrete choice data have traditionally been analyzed with random utility models that have good measurement properties but provide limited insight into cognitive processes. We extend a well-established cognitive model, which has successfully explained both choices and response times for simple decision tasks, to complex, multi-attribute discrete choice data. The (...) fits, and parameters, of the extended model for two sets of choice data (involving patient preferences for dermatology appointments, and consumer attitudes toward mobile phones) agree with those of standard choice models. The extended model also accounts for choice and response time data in a perceptual judgment task designed in a manner analogous to best–worst discrete choice experiments. We conclude that several research fields might benefit from discrete choice experiments, and that the particular accumulator-based models of decision making used in response time research can also provide process-level instantiations for random utility models. (shrink)
The stop-signal paradigm is frequently used to study response inhibition. In this paradigm, participants perform a two-choice response time task where the primary task is occasionally interrupted by a stop-signal that prompts participants to withhold their response. The primary goal is to estimate the latency of the unobservable stop response (stop signal reaction time or SSRT). Recently, Matzke, Dolan, Logan, Brown, and Wagenmakers (in press) have developed a Bayesian parametric approach that allows for the estimation of the entire distribution of (...) SSRTs. The Bayesian parametric approach assumes that SSRTs are ex-Gaussian distributed and uses Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling to estimate the parameters of the SSRT distri- bution. Here we present an efficient and user-friendly software implementa- tion of the Bayesian parametric approach —BEESTS— that can be applied to individual as well as hierarchical stop-signal data. BEESTS comes with an easy-to-use graphical user interface and provides users with summary statistics of the posterior distribution of the parameters as well various diag- nostic tools to assess the quality of the parameter estimates. The software is open source and runs on Windows and OS X operating systems. In sum, BEESTS allows experimental and clinical psychologists to estimate entire distributions of SSRTs and hence facilitates the more rigorous analysis of stop-signal data. (shrink)
The ability to imagine objects undergoing rotation (mental rotation) improves markedly with practice, but an explanation of this plasticity remains controversial. Some researchers propose that practice speeds up the rate of a general-purpose rotation algorithm. Others maintain that performance improvements arise through the adoption of a new cognitive strategy—repeated exposure leads to rapid retrieval from memory of the required response to familiar mental rotation stimuli. In two experiments we provide support for an integrated explanation of practice effects in mental rotation (...) by combining behavioral and EEG measures in a way that provides more rigorous inference than is available from either measure alone. Before practice, participants displayed two well-established signatures of mental rotation: Both response time and EEG negativity increased linearly with rotation angle. After extensive practice with a small set of stimuli, both signatures of mental rotation had all but disappeared. In contrast, after the same amount of practice with a much larger set both signatures remained, even though performance improved markedly. Taken together, these results constitute a reversed association, which cannot arise from variation in a single cause, and so they provide compelling evidence for the existence of two routes to expertise in mental rotation. We also found novel evidence that practice with the large but not the small stimulus set increased the magnitude of an early visual evoked potential, suggesting increased rotation speed is enabled by improved efficiency in extracting three-dimensional information from two-dimensional stimuli. (shrink)
Archaeology is a powerful tool for the provision of a cultural identity to a population. This same power often makes it also the target of manipulation by a state in the process of nation-building. This paper will study the darker political nature of archaeology by examining the effects of state-control over archaeological resources and research, in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The aim of this paper is to highlight the dangers posed to the public world- view of a nation in (...) which the only accepted interpretation of the classical past is that of the Party. (shrink)
The nature of a semiotic system is inherently complex. In the course of this paper, we will examine that nature through the application of linguistic anthropological theory. In so-doing, an interpretive methodology will be elucidated with particular attention given to the religious iconography of the Mithraic Mysteries found in imperial Rome. This multi-disciplinary approach to interpretation seeks to combine classical learning with the applied scientific approach of anthropology in the interest of providing a fresh perspective to an old question: “What (...) does it mean?”. (shrink)
For decisions between many alternatives, the benchmark result is Hick's Law: that response time increases log-linearly with the number of choice alternatives. Even when Hick's Law is observed for response times, divergent results have been observed for error rates—sometimes error rates increase with the number of choice alternatives, and sometimes they are constant. We provide evidence from two experiments that error rates are mostly independent of the number of choice alternatives, unless context effects induce participants to trade speed for accuracy (...) across conditions. Error rate data have previously been used to discriminate between competing theoretical accounts of Hick's Law, and our results question the validity of those conclusions. We show that a previously dismissed optimal observer model might provide a parsimonious account of both response time and error rate data. The model suggests that people approximate Bayesian inference in multi-alternative choice, except for some perceptual limitations. (shrink)
This commentary on Isabelle Stengers's article, “Comparison as a Matter of Concern” is an assessment of her stance toward experimental psychology. At the various points in her work where she considers that discipline, she tends to accuse it of failing to embrace the “risk” that she sees as defining the “collective games” of science. Brown invokes the behavioral approach to experimental psychology of the early to mid-twentieth century to contextualize Stengers's treatment of continuous comparison conducted by scientists around “matters of (...) concern.” Her use of the metaphor of predator/prey relationships between practices is seen as reversing the usual direction of critique within psychology, such that experimental psychology appears to have, in the Wistar rat, an object grounding a community that is capable of performing continuous comparison, which its critics contrastingly lack. Stengers's ecological view of practices may then ultimately lead to a reappraisal of branches of the human sciences, such as experimental psychology, which she tends, on occasion, to dismiss. (shrink)
This introduction to the Common Knowledge symposium titled “Comparative Relativism” outlines a variety of intellectual contexts where placing the unlikely companion terms comparison and relativism in conjunction offers analytical purchase. If comparison, in the most general sense, involves the investigation of discrete contexts in order to elucidate their similarities and differences, then relativism, as a tendency, stance, or working method, usually involves the assumption that contexts exhibit, or may exhibit, radically different, incomparable, or incommensurable traits. Comparative studies are required to (...) treat their objects as alike, at least in some crucial respects; relativism indicates the limits of this practice. Jensen argues that this seeming paradox is productive, as he moves across contexts, from Lévi-Strauss's analysis of comparison as an anthropological method to Peter Galison's history of physics, and on to the anthropological, philosophical, and historical examples offered in symposium contributions by Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Marilyn Strathern, and Isabelle Stengers. Comparative relativism is understood by some to imply that relativism comes in various kinds and that these have multiple uses, functions, and effects, varying widely in different personal, historical, and institutional contexts that can be compared and contrasted. Comparative relativism is taken by others to encourage a “comparison of comparisons,” in order to relativize what different peoples—say, Western academics and Amerindian shamans—compare things “for.” Jensen concludes that what is compared and relativized in this symposium are the methods of comparison and relativization themselves. He ventures that the contributors all hope that treating these terms in juxtaposition may allow for new configurations of inquiry. (shrink)
William of Ockham discussed the fallacy of amphiboly twice in his writings. The first treatment was in his Expositio super libros Elenchorum, where he simply presents Aristotle’s treatment, updates it with some Latin examples, and tells us it is not too important, since we do not often run into cases of ambiguity of thiskind. Later, in his Summa logicae, however, he extends his treatment appreciably. He here includes under ambiguous statements philosophical and theological sentences which are improperly stated. Led by (...) Aristotle, Augustine and Anselm, Ockham finds that in their writings they give us instances of improper statements which need to be restated properly before they can be evaluated as true or false. These leads provide for Ockham a key to unlocking the teaching treasures of the Ancients. (shrink)
This new book proposes a way out of the crisis by letting go of the idea that psychology needs ‘new’ foundations or a new identity, whether biological, discursive, or cognitive. The psychological is not narrowly confined to any one aspect of human experience; it is quite literally ‘everywhere’. Drawing on a range of influential thinkers including Michel Serres, Michel Foucault, AN Whitehead, and Gilles Deleuze, the book proposes a strong process-oriented approach to the psychological, which studies ‘events’ or ‘occasions.’.
Prior information biases the decision process: actions consistent with prior information are executed swiftly, whereas actions inconsistent with prior information are executed slowly. How is this bias implemented in the brain? To address this question we conducted an experiment in which people had to decide quickly whether a cloud of dots moved coherently to the left or to the right. Cues provided probabilistic information about the upcoming stimulus. Behavioral data were analyzed with the linear ballistic accumulator (LBA) model, confirming that (...) people used the cue to bias their decisions. The fMRI data showed that presentation of the cue differentially activated orbitofrontal cortex, hippocampus, and the putamen. Directional cues selectively activated the contralateral putamen. The fMRI analysis yielded results only when the LBA bias parameter was included as a covariate, highlighting the practical benefits of formal modeling. Our results suggest that the human brain uses prior information by increasing cortico-striatal activation to selectively disinhibit preferred responses. (shrink)
Husserlian phenomenology depends upon a particular and limited set of related methodologies, which assume not merely abilities and results on the part of phenomenologists which have been severely criticized, but more profoundly, that mental contents are atomistic and independently manipulable. I will show not only that this assumption is mistaken and that questioning it undermines traditional phenomenological method, but that it leads to a paradox when turned upon itself which forces the rejection of a purely Husserlian phenomenology. More generally, any (...) theory whose data is confined to the results of particular and limited methodologies is by that fact unable to investigate those methodologies, and is thus at best only able to function in a severely restricted realm. (shrink)
We support the ambitious goal of unification within the behavioral sciences. We suggest that Darwinian evolution by means of natural selection can provide the integrative glue for this purpose, and we review our own work on selective investment theory (SIT), which is an example of how other-regarding preferences can be accommodated by a gene-centered account of evolution. (Published Online April 27 2007).
There are certain traits that make us good human beings by enabling us to realize our natural ends. From the perspective of such a naturalized virtue ethics, there is nothing obviously unethical or imprudent about the capacity for same-sex love. Moreover, given the resources of this theory, such questions are empirical ones. If the capacity for same-sex love is a trait the possession of which makes one a good human being, then the just state will promote and encourage it, or (...) at least not stand in its way. It can do so by allowing same-sex marriage. (shrink)
The perpetual music track is a new concept that describes a condition of constant or near-constant musical imagery. This condition appears to be very rare even among composers and musicians. I present here a detailed self-analysis of musical imagery for the purpose of defining the psychological features of a perpetual music track. I have music running through my head almost constantly during waking hours, consisting of a combination of recently-heard pieces and distant pieces that spontaneously pop into the head. (...) Imagery consists mainly of short musical fragments that get looped repeatedly upon themselves. Corporeal manifestations of imagery occur in the form of unconscious finger movements whose patterns correspond to the melodic contour of the imagined piece. Musical dreams occur every week or two, and contain a combination of familiar and originally- composed music. These results are discussed in light of theories of imagery, consciousness, hallucination, obsessive cognition, and most especially the notion that acoustic consciousness can be split into multiple parallel streams. (shrink)
Agricultural commercialization as a mechanism to alleviate rural poverty raises concerns about small land-holders, non-adopters, and inequity in the distribution of benefits within transforming economies. Farm gross margins were calculated to assess the economic status and impact of cash cropping on the economic well-being of agrarian households in the Mid-hills of Nepal. On an individual crop basis, tomatoes and potatoes were the most profitable. On a per farm basis, 50 of the households with positive farm gross margins grew at least (...) one vegetable crop, while only 25 of households with negative farm gross margins included vegetable crops in their rotation. Farmers have been hesitant to produce primarily for the market given the rudimentary infrastructure and high variability in prices. Farmers reported selling more crops, but when corrected for inflation, gross revenues declined over time. The costs and benefits of developing markets have been unevenly distributed with small holders unable to capitalize on market opportunities, and wealthier farmers engaging in input intensive cash cropping. Farms growing vegetables had an average gross margin of US$137 per year compared to US$12 per year for farms growing only staple crops. However, the area under production is small, and while vegetable production is likely to continue increasing, sensitivity analysis and scenarios suggest high variability and limited short-term impact on poverty alleviation. (shrink)
Depue & Morrone-Strupinsky (D&M-S) do not address how a reward system accommodates the motivational dilemmas associated with (a) the decision to approach versus avoid conspecifics, and (b) self versus other tradeoffs inherent in behaving altruistically toward bonded relationship partners. We provide an alternative evolutionary view that addresses motivational conflict, and discuss implications for the neurobiological study of affiliative bonds.
The proponent of the epistemological gap maintains that value claims are justified in a different way than are nonvalue claims. I show that a neo-Aristotelian naturalized virtue ethics does not fall prey to this gap. There are ethical claims concerning human beings that are epistemically justified in a way logically identical to the way in which are justified certain nonethical claims about human and nonhuman organisms. This demonstration (1) lends credibility to naturalized virtue ethics, (2) calls into question the very (...) notion of an epistemological gap, and (3) confronts antinaturalists with a dilemma. (shrink)