Does the recent success of Podemos and Syriza herald a new era of inclusive, egalitarian left populism? Because leaders of both parties are former students of Ernesto Laclau and cite his account of populism as guiding their political practice, this essay considers whether his theory supports hope for a new kind of populism. For Laclau, the essence of populism is an “empty signifier” that provides a means by which anyone can identify with the people as a whole. However, the concept (...) of the empty signifier is not as neutral as he assumes. As I show by analyzing the role of race in his theory, some subjects are constituted in a way that prevents their unmediated identification with the people. Consequently, Laclau’s view should be read as symptomatic of the problems with populist logic if its adherents are to avoid reproducing its exclusions and practice a more inclusive politics. (shrink)
The greatest contemporary challenge in the arena of cognitive neuroscience concerns the relation between consciousness and the brain. Over recent years the focus of work in this area has switched from the analysis of diverse spatial regions of the brain to that of the timing of neural events. It appears that two conditions are necessary in order for neural events to become correlated with conscious experience. First, the firing of assemblies of neurones must achieve a degree of coherence, and, second, (...) reflexive (i.e. top-down, or reentrant) neural pathways must be activated. It does not, of course, follow that such neural activity causes consciousness; it may be, for example, that the neural activity formats the brain to interact with consciousness. The latter possibility is suggested by analysis of mystical texts suggesting that coherence and reflexivity constitute the conditions for the influx of “spirit.” Kabbalistic sources, for example, describe a hierarchy of “brains” in the human and divine realms through which the principles of coherence and reflexivity operate. Whilst the ontological assumptions of such a scheme place it beyond the realm of psychology, parallels with the picture deriving from the contemporary cognitive neuroscience of consciousness are striking. (shrink)
Employing a time-lagged sample of 371 North American individuals working full time in a wide range of industries, occupations, and levels, we contribute to research on employee outcomes of corporate social responsibility attributions as substantive or symbolic. Utilizing a mediated moderation model, our study extends previous findings by explaining how and why CSR attributions are related with work-related attitudes and subsequent individual performance. In support of our hypotheses, our findings indicate that the relationships between CSR attributions and individual performance are (...) mediated through person–organization fit and work-related attitudes. Additionally, when CSR is perceived as important, substantive CSR is positively related to, and symbolic CSR is negatively related to, perception of fit with the organization. These findings contribute toward our understanding of the complex effect CSR has on employees’ work outcomes. Practical implications and future research directions are discussed. (shrink)
Greek art and literature follow parallel courses through the long period from Homer to Euripides. Homer and Euripides, Dipylon vases and the latest white lekythoi are as far apart from each other as it is possible for works in the same medium to be. The distance can only be explained by a similar change in the views of artists, writers, and their public.
Conrad Hal Waddington was a British developmental biologist who mainly worked in Cambridge and Edinburgh, but spent the late 1930s with Morgan in California learning about Drosophila. He was the first person to realize that development depended on the then unknown activities of genes, and he needed an appropriate model organism. His major experimental contributions were to show how mutation analysis could be used to investigate developmental mechanisms in Drosophila, and to explore how developmental mutation could drive evolution, his other (...) deep interest. Waddington was, however, predominantly a thinker, and set out to provide a coherent framework for understanding the genetic bases of embryogenesis and evolution, developing his ideas in many books. Perhaps his best-known concept is the epigenetic landscape: here a ball rolls down a complex valley, making path choices. The rolling ball represents a cell’s development over time, while the topography represents the changing regulatory environment that controls these choices. In its later forms, the role of each feature in the landscape was controlled by the effects of sets of interacting genes, an idea underpinning contemporary approaches to systems biology. Waddington was the first developmental geneticist and probably the most important developmental biologist of the pre-molecular age. (shrink)