Pierre Maquet1,2,6, Steven Laureys1,2, Philippe Peigneux1,2,3, Sonia Fuchs1, Christophe Petiau1, Christophe Phillips1,6, Joel Aerts1, Guy Del Fiore1, Christian Degueldre1, Thierry Meulemans3, André Luxen1, Georges Franck1,2, Martial Van Der Linden3, Carlyle Smith4 and Axel Cleeremans5.
Economic logic impinges on contemporary political theory through both economic reductionism and economic methodology applied to political decision-making (through game theory). The authors argue that the sort of models used are based on mechanistic and linear methodologies that have now been found wanting in physics. They further argue that complexity based self-organization methods are better suited to model the complexities of economy and polity and their interactions with the overall social system.
The paper first introduces the concept of implicit and explicit temporality, referring to time as pre-reflectively lived vs. consciously experienced. Implicit time is based on the constitutive synthesis of inner time consciousness on the one hand, and on the conative–affective dynamics of life on the other hand. Explicit time results from an interruption or negation of implicit time and unfolds itself in the dimensions of present, past and future. It is further shown that temporality, embodiment and intersubjectivity are closely connected: (...) While implicit temporality is characterised by tacit bodily functioning and by synchronisation with others, explicit temporality arises with states of desynchronisation, that is, of a retardation or acceleration of inner time in relation to external or social processes. These states often bring the body to awareness as an obstacle as well. On this basis, schizophrenia and melancholic depression are investigated as paradigm cases for a psychopathology of temporality. Major symptoms of schizophrenia such as thought disorder, thought insertion, hallucinations or passivity experiences may be regarded as manifesting a disturbance of the constitutive synthesis of time consciousness, closely connected with a weakening of the underlying pre-reflective self-awareness or ipseity. This results in a fragmentation of the intentional arc, a loss of self-coherence and the appearance of major self-disturbances. Depression, on the other hand, is mostly triggered by a desynchronisation from the social environment and further develops into an inhibition of the conative–affective dynamics of life. As will be shown, both mental illnesses bear witness of the close connection of temporality, embodiment and intersubjectivity. (shrink)
Ever since the inception of its academic career, sociology has approached its subject-matter in two different ways; one positivist, the other critical. Important theories, such as those of Karl Marx or Emile Durkheim, have always emphasized either one of these perspectives, but could never completely ignore the other one. The result was that as an empirical science, sociology has been interested in latent structures, while as critical theory, it has pointed out that social reality is not what it seems to (...) be. Therefore, all attempts at building a unified theory of society on the basis of the critical/positivist distinction had to lead into the paradox of treating appearance and reality, or latent and manifest structures, as one and the same thing. This situation is now changing in radical ways which sociology has yet to appreciate. I am referring to recent interdisciplinary discussions about theories of self-referential systems, autopoietic system closure, the second-order cybernetics of observing systems, and constructivist epistemology and information processing. We can draw upon these recent discussions in order to understand society as a self-observing system that defines its own identity while, at the same time, leaving an "unmarked space" for the possibility to describe society in quite different ways. (shrink)
Critics have charged that John Stuart Mill''s discussion as of paternalism in On Liberty is internally inconsistent, noting, for example, the numerous instances in which Mill explicitly endorses examples of paternalistic coercion. Similarly, commentators have noted an apparent contradiction between Mill''s political liberalism – according to which the state should be neutral among competing conceptions of the good – and Mill''s condemnation of non-autonomous ways of life, such as that of a servile wife. More generally, critics have argued that while (...) Mill professes an allegiance to utilitarianism, he actually abandons it in favor of a view that values personal autonomy as the greatest intrinsic good. This paper presents an interpretation of Mill that provides a viable and consistent treatment of paternalism, thereby refuting each of the aforementioned critiques. Mill''s views, it argues, are consistently utilitarian. Moreover, the interpretation accounts for all of Mill''s departures from his otherwise blanket prohibition of paternalistic legislation. In particular, it explains his most notorious example, the condemnation of voluntary contracts for slavery. The interpretation emphasizes Mill''s conceptual linkage between autonomy and utility, noting his implicit use of at least three different senses of the notion of autonomy. (shrink)
The reason why agency/structure and micro/macro debates remain unresolved is the bad essentialist habit of treating such pairs as opposite natural kinds. Once variation is allowed, agency and structure, or micro and macro, are temporary poles bracketing a continuum, with social entities moving along this continuum over time. Explaining these transformations from agency into structure, or micro into macro, and vice versa is the challenge for explanatory theory. This challenge is met by switching to a constructivist level of second-order observing. (...) Then, agency and structure become variable devices or frames different observers might use to perform different sorts of cultural work. (shrink)
Current theories of social cognition are mainly based on a representationalist view. Moreover, they focus on a rather sophisticated and limited aspect of understanding others, i.e. on how we predict and explain others’ behaviours through representing their mental states. Research into the ‘social brain’ has also favoured a third-person paradigm of social cognition as a passive observation of others’ behaviour, attributing it to an inferential, simulative or projective process in the individual brain. In this paper, we present a concept of (...) social understanding as an ongoing, dynamical process of participatory sense-making and mutual incorporation. This process may be described (1) from a dynamical agentive systems point of view as an interaction and coordination of two embodied agents ; (2) from a phenomenological approach as a mutual incorporation , i.e. a process in which the lived bodies of both participants extend and form a common intercorporality. Intersubjectivity, it is argued, is not a solitary task of deciphering or simulating the movements of others but means entering a process of embodied interaction and generating common meaning through it. This approach will be further illustrated by an analysis of primary dyadic interaction in early childhood. (shrink)
Recent years have seen the emergence of a new interdisciplinary field called embodied or enactive cognitive science. Whereas traditional representationalism rests on a fixed insideâoutside distinction, the embodied cognition perspective views mind and brain as a biological system that is rooted in body experience and interaction with other individuals. Embodiment refers to both the embedding of cognitive processes in brain circuitry and to the origin of these processes in an organismâs sensoryâmotor experience. Thus, action and perception are no longer interpreted (...) in terms of the classic physicalâmental dichotomy, but rather as closely interlinked. This paper describes the cycles of brainâorganism interaction, of sensoryâmotor interaction with the environment and of embodied interaction with others. The brain is then interpreted as an organ of modulation and transformation that mediates the cycles of organismâenvironment interaction. Finally, consequences of the embodied and enactive approach for psychiatry are pointed out, in particular for a circular concept of mental illness. (shrink)
There is a growing realization in cognitive science that a theory of embodied intersubjectivity is needed to better account for social cognition. We highlight some challenges that must be addressed by attempts to interpret ‘simulation theory’ in terms of embodiment, and argue for an alternative approach that integrates phenomenology and dynamical systems theory in a mutually informing manner. Instead of ‘simulation’ we put forward the concept of the ‘extended body’, an enactive and phenomenological notion that emphasizes the socially mediated nature (...) of embodiment. To illustrate the explanatory potential of this approach, we replicate an agent-based model of embodied social interaction. An analysis of the model demonstrates that the extended body can be explained in terms of mutual dynamical entanglement: inter-bodily resonance between individuals can give rise to self-sustaining interaction patterns that go beyond the behavioral capacities of isolated individuals by modulating their intra-bodily conditions of behavior generation. (shrink)
Given the technical feasibility, not only scientists but also moral philosophers approve of an intervention in the genetic basis of our intellectual dispositions. Among the features not related to illnesses, intelligence seems to be an especially promising candidate for genetic enhancement, for intelligence is valued in every culture. The paper presents some of the arguments for and against genetic enhancement of intelligence. The author analyses what kind of good increased intelligence is: an instrumental good for the wellbeing of mankind, a (...) positional good for a given society or an individual, or something that is appreciated by the individual subject because of the positive experience the subject has by making use of it. Since such experiences are not bad in themselves the means of genetic enhancement have to be assessed and compared with accepted practices like education. The author comes to the conclusion that there are morally significant differences between genetic enhancement and accepted practices to enhance intelligence. (shrink)
The structure of human embodiment is fundamentally characterized by a polarity or ambiguity between Leib and Körper, the subjective body and the objectified body, or between being-body and having-a-body. This ambiguity, emphasized, above all, by Helmuth Plessner and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, is also of crucial significance for psychopathology. Insofar as mental illnesses disturb or interrupt the unhindered conduct of one’s life, they also exacerbate the tension within embodiment that holds between being-body and having-a-body. In mental illnesses, there is a failure of (...) tacit mediations upon which one’s bodily being-toward-the-world is based. Instead of serving as a medium of relating to the world, the body makes .. (shrink)
As the above quote clearly highlights, it is the responsibility of researchers and research supervisors to be certain that their research staff and students assistants are very familiar with all of the ethical principles and current standards relevant to the research they are conducting. Indeed, they must take an active role in being certain that their research staff and students complete appropriate training in these ethical principles and standards, and how they apply them to the research context in which they (...) are working. This is especially important in areas in which there may be physical harm such as chronic pain research. (shrink)
As the above quote clearly highlights, it is the responsibility of researchers and research supervisors to be certain that their research staff and students assistants are very familiar with all of the ethical principles and current standards relevant to the research they are conducting. Indeed, they must take an active role in being certain that their research staff and students complete appropriate training in these ethical principles and standards, and how they apply them to the research context in which they (...) are working. This is especially important in areas in which there may be physical harm such as chronic pain research. During the past decade, there has been a great increase in research of chronic pain, with breakthroughs in better understanding its etiology, assessment, and treatment (1,2). Obviously, much of this research was conducted using humans and animals as subjects. As a consequence, there were a number of ethical issues that investigators have to be cognizant of when conducting their studies. In this chapter, we will discuss such ethical issues in three major areas: (i) laboratory research with human subjects; (ii) laboratory research with animals; and (iii) translating these laboratory research ﬁndings to ‘‘real world’’ applications in the clinical treatment arena. (shrink)
The task of this paper is to ground the notion of cyberethics of co-operation. The evolution of modern society has resulted in a shift from industrial society towards informational capitalism. This transformation is a multidimensional shift that affects all aspects of society. Hence also the ethical system of society is penetrated by the emergence of the knowledge society and ethical guidelines for the information age are needed. Ethical issues and conflicts in the knowledge society are connected to topics of ecological (...) and social sustainability. For information ethics and cyberethics, the sustainable design of society, social, and socio-technological systems is important. In this context the notions of sustainability and co-operation are discussed. Based on these categories, the approach of cyberethics of co-operation can be theoretically grounded. (shrink)
Can events that take place after an individual’s death affect that person’s weIl-being? Aristotle apparently thought that they could, but Mark Overvold disagrees. Like other contemporary moral theorists, Overvold analyzes the notion of a person’s utility or welfare in terms of the fulfillment of the individual’s desires, but he adds the important qualification that the desites must be for states-of-affairs in which the agent is an essential constituent. The clear implication of such a view is that our welfare cannot be (...) affected by the post-mortem satisfaction of any of the interests which we had while alive.I shall defend Overvold against his critics who insist that at least some posthumous satisfactions can contribute to a person’s welfare. I shall also argue against Brad Hooker’s proposal that we revise Overvold’s theory in order to account for such cases. (shrink)
We formalise the notion of those infinite binary sequences z that admit a single program P which expresses the entire algorithmical structure of z. Such a program P minimizes the information which must be used in a relative computation for z. We propose two concepts with different strength for this notion, the learnable and the super-learnable sequences. We establish three different equivalent characterizations of learnable (super-learnable, resp.) sequences. In particular, we prove that a sequences z is learnable (super-learnable, resp.) if (...) and only if there is a computable probability measure p such that p is Schnorr (Martin-Lof, resp.) p-random. There is a recursively enumerable sequence which is not learnable. The learnable sequences are invariant with respect to all total and effective transformations of infinite binary sequences. (shrink)
waC provides a variety of different graphical notification mechanisms which can be coupled to specific working situations using the AREA model. We also report on the evaluation of the system under real-life conditions in a German federal ministry.
In an analysis of Fichte’s theoretical reflections read in the light of decisive biographical events, the present paper examines the following question: to what extent are we to assent to Fichte’s own assertion that his system is from the very outset a system of freedom? Kant’s philosophy provided the catalyst for the young Fichte because it promised a way out of the impasse of determinism. I will argue that the ultimate goal of Fichte’s lifelong struggle was to furnish a foundation (...) for genuine freedom. In reaction to both Jacobi and Schelling, Fichte’s philosophical and political investigations pursue at once the problem of grounding the “Absolute” and the relationship between individual freedom and reason as a whole.—These tensions are especially visible in Fichte’s path from the Addresses To the German Nation to the virtually unknown “Philosophical Diaries” of the final days of his life. (shrink)
We extend the results of Hamkins and Thomas concerning the malleability of automorphism tower heights of groups by forcing. We show that any reasonable sequence of ordinals can be realized as the automorphism tower heights of a certain group in consecutive forcing extensions or ground models, as desired. For example, it is possible to increase the height of the automorphism tower by passing to a forcing extension, then increase it further by passing to a ground model, and then decrease it (...) by passing to a further forcing extension, and so on, transfinitely. We make sense of the limit models occurring in such a sequence of models. At limit stages, the automorphism tower height will always be 1. (shrink)
This article investigates three technological developments that are related to spatial determinations and that influence behavior in both the public and the private spheres of life. Examined are the changing relative size of movie screens and their venues, the seeming conflicting dynamic of entertainment and communication screens in the private sphere both increasing and decreasing in size, and the influence of action-at-a-distance technology.