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)
Institutional investors and corporations increasingly recognize that extra-financial determinants of business performance can both create value and uncover significant risks within a business or investment portfolio. For companies that invest in, develop, own, or operate commercial real estate assets, this awareness of extrafinancial impacts has led to a significant interest in what has been called "responsible property investment (RPI)". Within the field of RPI, green real estate — real estate investment and management that seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of (...) building construction and operations — has begun to receive attention. This attention has been extended over the past decade to community property development projects, where both social and environmental considerations related not only to the building, but also the project site and surrounding community are integrated into management and investment decisions. Some examples of these projects include affordable and workforce housing, urban revitalization and brownfield redevelopment. More social-focussed issues such as labour and workplace considerations are also key components of responsible property investing, yet to date labour issues have received little attention in the RPI literature and workplace considerations are reflected indirectly through environmental considerations in the green building literature. This paper explores responsible real estate investment in Canada by taking an integrated approach in examining both environmental and social factors and their potential impact on such investments. A series of semi-structured interviews are conducted with key stakeholders in Canada to gain insight into how using environmental and social factors may influence long-term risk and financial returns in real estate investment in Canada with particular emphasis on institutional investors engaged in these practices. Data is used to analyse the impact that ESG considerations have on financial performance of these assets. Jantzi-Sustainalytics ESG ratings are used along with the stock price changes of fourteen real estate companies and REITs to interrogate this question. (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)
Brain rhythms are more than just passive phenomena in visual cortex. For the first time, we show that the physiology underlying brain rhythms actively suppresses and releases cortical areas on a second-to-second basis during visual processing. Furthermore, their influence is specific at the scale of individual gyri. We quantified the interaction between broadband spectral change and brain rhythms on a second-to-second basis in electrocorticographic (ECoG) measurement of brain surface potentials in five human subjects during a visual search task. Comparison of (...) visual search epochs with a blank screen baseline revealed changes in the raw potential, the amplitude of rhythmic activity, and in the decoupled broadband spectral amplitude. We present new methods to characterize the intensity and preferred phase of coupling between broadband power and band-limited rhythms, and to estimate the magnitude of rhythm-to-broadband modulation on a trial-by-trial basis. These tools revealed numerous coupling motifs between the phase of low frequency (δ, θ, α, β, and γ band) rhythms and the amplitude of broadband spectral change. In the θ and β ranges, the coupling of phase to broadband change is dynamic during visual processing, decreasing in some occipital areas and increasing in others, in a gyrally specific pattern. Finally, we demonstrate that the rhythms interact with one another across frequency ranges, and across cortical sites. (shrink)
The correlative coactivation of sensory inputs, Hebb's 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, words are represented mainly in postrolandic cortex, where individual perceptual memories are also represented, whereas 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)
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)
Abstract Many projects in contemporary philosophy are artifactual puzzles of no abiding significance, but it is treacherously easy for graduate students to be lured into devoting their careers to them, so advice is proffered on how to avoid this trap.
This article is the second step in our research into the Symbol Grounding Problem (SGP). In a previous work, we defined the main condition that must be satisfied by any strategy in order to provide a valid solution to the SGP, namely the zero semantic commitment condition (Z condition). We then showed that all the main strategies proposed so far fail to satisfy the Z condition, although they provide several important lessons to be followed by any new proposal. Here, we (...) develop a new solution of the SGP. It is called praxical in order to stress the key role played by the interactions between the agents and their environment. It is based on a new theory of meaning—Action-based Semantics (AbS)—and on a new kind of artificial agents, called two-machine artificial agents (AM²). Thanks to their architecture, AM2s implement AbS, and this allows them to ground their symbols semantically and to develop some fairly advanced semantic abilities, including the development of semantically grounded communication and the elaboration of representations, while still respecting the Z condition. (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.
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)
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.
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)