In the wake of recent corporate scandals, this paper traces the growing power of pension funds to provide managerial oversight of the firms they hold in their investment portfolios. Increasingly pension funds are exercising their legitimate rights as owners to raise the corporate governance standards of the firms they invest in. Within corporate governance generally, pension funds are shifting their attention away from managerial accountability and toward measures that increase transparency in firm-level decision-making. Pension funds use transparency to ensure that (...) shareholders are the primary interest being served by the firm. Transparency not only aligns managers and owners, it also raises issues of firm behaviour that allow other stakeholders to engage the corporation more broadly. I contend that secrecy is economically inefficient. When organizations are opaque and interests are secret, decision-making can and does distort efficiency. I examine recent pension fund corporate governance campaigns with particular reference to the California Public Employees Retirement System. (shrink)
Donald Olding Hebb, referred to by American Psychologist as one of "the 20th century's most eminent and influential theorists in the realm of brain function and behavior," contributes greatly to the understanding of mind and thought in Essays on Mind. His objective was to learn about thought which he considered "the central problem of psychology -- but also, not less important, to learn how to think clearly about thought, which is philosophy." The volume is written for advanced undergraduates, graduates, (...) professionals, and lay people interested in or studying the mind. Hebb offers an increased understanding of the mind from a biological perspective that affects long-standing philosophical and psychological problems. "Psychology and Philosophy were divorced some time ago but, like other divorced couples, they still have problems in common," writes Hebb. The first three chapters establish the methodological and philosophical basis for his biologically centered theory of behavior, including the evolution of the mind, nature versus nurture, the origination and status of cell-assembly theory, and infant thought and language development. He concludes with a discussion of the workings of scientific thought from a practical rather than theoretical perspective. (shrink)
The correlative coactivation of sensory inputs, Hebb's “second rule,” probably plays a critical role in the formation of word representations in the neocortex. It is essential to the acquisition of word meaning. The acquisition of semantic memory is inseparable from that of individual memory, and therefore the two probably share the same neural connective substrate. Thus, “content” words are represented mainly in postrolandic cortex, where individual perceptual memories are also represented, whereas “action” words are represented in frontal cortex, with (...) executive memories. The activation of a memory network may not necessarily entail the high-frequency oscillatory firing of its cells, though reverberation remains a plausible mechanism of short-term memory. (shrink)
Introduction -- Historical essays -- The humanist brain : Alberti, Vitruvius, and Leonardo -- The enlightened brain : Perrault, Laugier, and Le Roy -- The sensational brain : Burke, Price, and Knight -- The transcendental brain : Kant and Schopenhauer -- The animate brain : Schinkel, Bötticher, and Semper -- The empathetic brain : Vischer, Wölfflin, and Göller -- The gestalt brain : the dynamics of the sensory field -- The neurological brain : Hayek, Hebb, and Neutra -- The (...) phenomenal brain : Merleau-Ponty, Rasmussen, and Pallasmaa -- Neuroscience and architecture -- Anatomy : architecture of the brain -- Ambiguity : architecture of vision -- Metaphor : architecture of embodiment -- Hapticity : architecture of the senses -- Epilogue: The architect's brain. (shrink)
Pulvermüller assumes that words are represented as associations of two cell assemblies formed according to Hebb's coincidence rule. This seems to correspond to the linguistic notion that words consist of lexemes connected to lemmas. Standard examples from theoretical linguistics, however, show that lemmas and lexemes have properties that go beyond coincidence-based assemblies. In particular, they are inherently disposed toward combinatorial operations; push-down storage, modelled by decreasing reverberation in cell assemblies, cannot capture this. Hence, even if the language capacity has (...) an associationist characterization at some level, it cannot just be co-occurrence-based assembly formation. (shrink)
In cognitive psychology there appears to be a creative tension between models that use connections of a network, and models that use rules for symbol manipulation. The idea of a connectionist network goes back to McCulloch & Pitts  and Hebb , and finds recent revival in the `parallel distributed processing' (PDP) models that have been extensively examined in the last few years (see e.g. Rumelhart et al. ). In the intervening years, however, the predominant explanations of psychology have (...) been in terms of rules for the manipulation of symbolic structures (e.g. since Newell & Simon ). Because of the tension between these different approaches (see e.g. Fodor & Pylyshyn ), there is great interest in the formulation of `hybrid systems' which combine connectionist components with traditional symbolic processing. I attempt below to outline the general architecture of such a hybrid system. (shrink)
Perceptual learning mechanisms derived from Hebb's theory of cell assemblies can generate prototypic representations capable of extending the representational power of TEC (Theory of Event Coding) event codes. The extended capability includes categorization that accommodates “family resemblances” and problem solving that uses cognitive maps.
This volume in honor of Miriam Griffin brings together seventeen international specialists. Their essays range from Socrates to late antiquity, with a particular focus on Cicero. Subjects covered include the Stoics and Cynics, Roman law, the formulation of imperial power, Jews and Christians, "performance philosophy," Augustine, late Platonism, and women philosophers.
Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) model is an innovative and important step in the study of naturalistic language. However, the simplicity of its mechanisms for dialogue coordination may be overstated and the hypothesized direct priming channel between interlocutors' situation models is questionable. A complete specification of the model will require more investigation of the role of top-down inhibition among representations.
The self, Joseph LeDoux tells us, is “the totality of the living organism”. Most disciplines in the natural sciences focus on only one or two levels of organization. Indeed, Dmitri Mendeleev figured out the periodic table of the elements without knowing any of the underlying quantum mechanics or stereochemistry. There are, however, at least a dozen levels of organization within the neurosciences — and, if we use a metaphor, we temporarily create yet another. This leads to considerable confusion and arguments (...) at cross purposes over whether learning is an alteration at the level of gene expression, ion channels, synapses, neurons or circuits. Each neuron has thousands of synapses, which produce currents that summate to form an impulse train. But only rarely is the activity of a single neuron sufficient to cause a perception or trigger an action. Neurons usually act as members of ‘committees’ — what Donald Hebb in 1949 called cellassemblies. Just as in academia, one individual may function in different committees on different occasions. A concept, including any explicit memory that we can talk about, is probably formed by such a committee. Implicit memories (the ones you can’t talk about) are less differentiated — they are part of the ‘feltwork’, together with motivations and emotions, that biases the choice of one’s next act. In this well-written 400-page appreciation of behavioural neuroscience, LeDoux argues that synapses are the seat of self. He says, in effect, that you are your memories; that it is the uniqueness of an array of synaptic strengths that distinguishes one twin from another. Fair enough, but why not instead focus on one’s unique array of ion channels? Or neurons, because a neuron is the closest thing we have to a computational unit (synapses have to reach a threshold before they have any influence at all)? Or one’s unique arrangement of those overlapping, redundant hebbian committees? None of these make for a catchy book title, but relating other things to the synapses proves to be a good way of covering a lot of fascinating material at the overlying levels, including a few updates to LeDoux’s earlier book The Emotional Brain (Simon & Schuster, 1996).. (shrink)
Donald Davidson argues that ‘the stabbing of Caesar’ and ‘the killing of Caesar’ are two descriptions of the one event whereas Jaegwon Kim contends events are more fine-grained and two events occurred, related by supervenience. I argue that neither solution is satisfactory and, inspired by Lynne Rudder Baker, I develop a constitution relation governing cooccurring, co-located events such that the stabbing of Caesar comes to constitute the killing of Caesar when the stabbing occurs in the appropriate circumstances. According to my (...) view, the stabbing of Caesar is metaphysically distinct from the killing of Caesar such that the killing is dependent on the stabbing, yet is not identical to it. (shrink)
We briefly review the long-standing ideas about the use of synchronicity in the brain, which rely on Donald Hebb's views on cell assemblies and synaptic plasticity. More recently the distinction among several timescales in the description of neural activity has become a focus of theoretical discussion. Phillips & Singer's target article is criticized mainly because it does not distinguish these timescales properly and hence does not really address the questions so intensely debated today.
Pulvermüller's work in extending Hebb's theory into the realm of language is exciting. However, we feel that what he characterizes as a single cell assembly is actually a set of cooperating cell assemblies that form parts of larger cognitive structures. These larger structures account more easily for a variety of phenomena, including the psycholinguistic.
The HIT model comes close to a view suggested by Donald Hebb, that cognitive representations are organized as distributed neuron webs, cell assemblies, whose components are mutually connected and whose internal connections provide continuous information exchange among sub-components of the representation. Two questions are asked related to (1) the organization of internal connections of a concept representation and (2) the conditions under which information exchange between components are assumed in the HIT model.
I begin by evaluating four theories: mereological essentialism, the occasional identity thesis, four-dimensionalism and the constitution view. I compare the solutions these theories offer to puzzles of material constitution with particular attention being paid to their treatment of Leibniz’s Law, the ontological status of objects and the distinction between objects and their matter. If a lump of clay constitutes a statue, the lump of clay and the statue are metaphysically distinct such that they are distinct kinds, but numerically one thing—the (...) statue as constituted by the lump of clay. I defend this view against criticism that it collapses into identity or substance dualism, exploding reality with unnecessary objects. I amend constitution to better account for cases of composite objects and to better solve puzzle cases involving change in parts over time. Finally, I go on to apply constitution to an unorthodox puzzle for theories of objects—the problem of the individuation of events. Events are things that happen. If we grant that events are in the same or similar ontological category to objects, there is a strong analogy between the problem of material constitution and the problem of events. In signing the US Constitution you may also do your bit to ratify it. However, the signing and the ratifying have different properties. I suggest that the signing and the ratifying are distinct in kind, but are not two separate events. I develop a constitution relation—a contingent, irreflexive, asymmetric and transitive relation—for events. This relation has the potential to be applied to the mind-body problem. (shrink)
Hebb's theory of cell assemblies is a precursor of the neural network approach used as an implicit hypothesis by most contemporary neuroscientists. Applying this model to language representation leads to demanding predictions about the organization of semantic categories. Other implications of a Hebbian approach to language representation, however, may prove problematic with respect to both neurolinguistic concepts and the results of neuroimaging studies.
Miriam Griffin is unrivalled as a bridge-builder between historians of the Graeco-Roman world and students of its philosophies. This volume in her honour brings togetherseventeen international specialists. Their essays range from Socrates to late antiquity, extending to Diogenes, Cicero, Pliny the Elder, Marcus Aurelius, the Second Sophistic, Ulpian, Augustine, the Neoplatonist tradition, women philosophers, provision for basic human needs, the development of law, the formulation of imperial power, and the interpretation of Judaism and early Christianity. Emperors and drop-outs, media stars (...) and administrators, top politicians and abstruse professionals, even ordinary citizens in their epitaphs, were variously called philosophers. Philosophy could offer those in power moral support or confrontation, a language for making choices or an intellectual diversion, but they might disregard philosophy and get on with the exercise of power. 'Philosophy' means 'love of wisdom', but what was the power of philosophy? (shrink)
Quartz & Sejnowski's (Q&S's) main accomplishment is the presentation of increasing complexity in the developing brain. Although this cuts a colorful swath through current theories of learning, it leaves the central question untouched: How does the environment direct neural structure? In answer, Q&S offer us only Hebb's half-century-old suggestion once again.
Introduction; "One surely will be found one day to make an ontology with what I am telling you": the road to a post-Lacanian materialism -- Part One. Jacques Lacan: between the sacred and the secular -- 1. Conflicted matter: the challenge of secularizing materialism -- 2. Turning the sciences inside out: revisiting "Science and truth" -- 3. On deep history and psychoanalysis: phylogenetic time in Lacanian theory --Part Two. Alain Badiou: between form and matter -- 4. What matter(s) in ontology: (...) the Hebb-event and materialism split from within -- 5. Phantom of consistency: Kant troubles -- Part Three. Quentin Meillassoux: between faith and knowledge -- 6. The world before worlds: the ancestral and Badiou's anti-Kantian transcendentalism -- 7. Hume's revenge: a Dieu, Meillassoux? -- Postface: from critique to construction: toward a transcendental materialism. (shrink)
Nunez is to be applauded for putting forward a theoretical brain model. In order to improve any model it needs to be experimentally testable. The model presented in the target article suffers from insufficient clarity as to how new experimental designs could be derived. This is a consequence of neglecting the purpose of the brain, which is to produce effective and adaptive behavior. It might be possible to overcome this drawback by including Hebb-based modeling.
Tessa Rajak (2003). The Ancient Synagogue. In David T. Runia, Gregory E. Sterling & Hindy Najman (eds.), Laws Stamped with the Seals of Nature: Laws and Nature in Hellenistic Philosophy and Philo of Alexandria. Brown University.score: 3.0
Introduction to sensory psychology, by C. Mueller.--Some reflections on brain and mind, by R. Brain.--In search of the engram, by K. Lashly.--Cerebral organization and behavior, by R. W. Sperry.--Relations between the central nervous system and the peripheral organs, by E. von Holst.--Effects of the Gestalt revolution, by J. E. Hochberg.--Seeing in depth, by R. L. Gregory.--The stimulus variables for visual depth perception, by J. J. Gibson.--The elaboration of the universe, by J. Piaget.--Visual perception approached by the method of stabilized images, (...) by R. M. Pritchard, W. Heron, and D. O. Hebb.--Philosophy as rigorous science, by E. Husserl.--The "sensation" as a unit of experience, by M. Merleau-Ponty.--The phenomenology of perception: perceptual implications, by A. Gurwitsch.--The expression of thinking, by E. W. Straus.--The concept of group and the theory of perception, by E. Cassirer.--Norm and pathology of I-world relations, by E. W. Straus.--The metaphysical in man, by M. Merleau-Ponty.--Cultural differences in the perception of geometric illusions, by M. H. Segall, D. T. Campbell, and M. J. Herskovits.--The interpretive cortex, by W. Penfield.--Recovery from early blindness: a case study, by R. L. Gregory and J. G. Wallace.--Visual disturbances after perceptual isolation, by W. Heron, B. K. Doane, and T. H. Scott. (shrink)