Grief and its Transcendence: Memory, Identity, Creativity is a landmark contribution that provides fresh insights into the experience and process of mourning. It includes fourteen original essays by pre-eminent psychoanalysts, historians, classicists, theologians, architects, art-historians and artists, that take on the subject of normal, rather than pathological mourning. In particular, it considers the diversity of the mourning process; the bereavement of ordinary vs. extraordinary loss; the contribution of mourning to personal and creative growth; and individual, social, and cultural means of (...) transcending grief. The book is divided into three parts, each including two to four essays followed by one or two critical discussions. Co-editor _Adele Tutter’s_ Prologue outlines the salient themes and tensions that emerge from the volume. Part I juxtaposes the consideration of grief in antiquity with an examination of the contemporary use of memorials to facilitate communal remembrance. Part II offers intimate first-person accounts of mourning from four renowned psychoanalysts that challenge long-held psychoanalytic formulations of mourning. Part III contains deeply personal essays that explore the use of sculpture, photography, and music to withstand, mourn, and transcend loss on individual, cultural and political levels. Drawing on the humanistic wisdom that underlies psychoanalytic thought, co-editor _Léon Wurmser’s_ Epilogue closes the volume. Grief and its Transcendence will be a must for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and scholars within other disciplines who are interested in the topics of grief, bereavement and creativity. (shrink)
Explanations in the life sciences frequently involve presenting a model of the mechanism taken to be responsible for a given phenomenon. Such explanations depart in numerous ways from nomological explanations commonly presented in philosophy of science. This paper focuses on three sorts of differences. First, scientists who develop mechanistic explanations are not limited to linguistic representations and logical inference; they frequently employ diagrams to characterize mechanisms and simulations to reason about them. Thus, the epistemic resources for presenting mechanistic explanations are (...) considerably richer than those suggested by a nomological framework. Second, the fact that mechanisms involve organized systems of component parts and operations provides direction to both the discovery and testing of mechanistic explanations. Finally, models of mechanisms are developed for specific exemplars and are not represented in terms of universally quantified statements. Generalization involves investigating both the similarity of new exemplars to those already studied and the variations between them. (shrink)
Two widely accepted assumptions within cognitive science are that (1) the goal is to understand the mechanisms responsible for cognitive performances and (2) computational modeling is a major tool for understanding these mechanisms. The particular approaches to computational modeling adopted in cognitive science, moreover, have significantly affected the way in which cognitive mechanisms are understood. Unable to employ some of the more common methods for conducting research on mechanisms, cognitive scientists’ guiding ideas about mechanism have developed in conjunction with their (...) styles of modeling. In particular, mental operations often are conceptualized as comparable to the processes employed in classical symbolic AI or neural network models. These models, in turn, have been interpreted by some as themselves intelligent systems since they employ the same type of operations as does the mind. For this paper, what is significant about these approaches to modeling is that they are constructed specifically to account for behavior and are evaluated by how well they do so—not by independent evidence that they describe actual operations in mental mechanisms. (shrink)
Explaining the complex dynamics exhibited in many biological mechanisms requires extending the recent philosophical treatment of mechanisms that emphasizes sequences of operations. To understand how nonsequentially organized mechanisms will behave, scientists often advance what we call dynamic mechanistic explanations. These begin with a decomposition of the mechanism into component parts and operations, using a variety of laboratory-based strategies. Crucially, the mechanism is then recomposed by means of computational models in which variables or terms in differential equations correspond to properties of (...) its parts and operations. We provide two illustrations drawn from research on circadian rhythms. Once biologists identified some of the components of the molecular mechanism thought to be responsible for circadian rhythms, computational models were used to determine whether the proposed mechanisms could generate sustained oscillations. Modeling has become even more important as researchers have recognized that the oscillations generated in individual neurons are synchronized within networks; we describe models being employed to assess how different possible network architectures could produce the observed synchronized activity. (shrink)
A new theoretical approach to language has emerged in the past 10–15 years that allows linguistic observations about form–meaning pairings, known as ‘construc- tions’, to be stated directly. Constructionist approaches aim to account for the full range of facts about language, without assuming that a particular subset of the data is part of a privileged ‘core’. Researchers in this field argue that unusual constructions shed light on more general issues, and can illuminate what is required for a complete account of (...) language. (shrink)
Diagrams have distinctive characteristics that make them an effective medium for communicating research findings, but they are even more impressive as tools for scientific reasoning. Focusing on circadian rhythm research in biology to explore these roles, we examine diagrammatic formats that have been devised to identify and illuminate circadian phenomena and to develop and modify mechanistic explanations of these phenomena.
The mechanistic perspective has dominated biological disciplines such as biochemistry, physiology, cell and molecular biology, and neuroscience, especially during the 20th century. The primary strategy is reductionist: organisms are to be decomposed into component parts and operations at multiple levels. Researchers adopting this perspective have generated an enormous body of information about the mechanisms of life at scales ranging from the whole organism down to genetic and other molecular operations.
Developing models of biological mechanisms, such as those involved in respiration in cells, often requires collaborative effort drawing upon techniques developed and information generated in different disciplines. Biochemists in the early decades of the 20th century uncovered all but the most elusive chemical operations involved in cellular respiration, but were unable to align the reaction pathways with particular structures in the cell. During the period 1940-1965 cell biology was emerging as a new discipline and made distinctive contributions to understanding the (...) role of the mitochondrion and its component parts in cellular respiration. In particular, by developing techniques for localizing enzymes or enzyme systems in specific cellular components, cell biologists provided crucial information about the organized structures in which the biochemical reactions occurred. Although the idea that biochemical operations are intimately related to and depend on cell structures was at odds with the then-dominant emphasis on systems of soluble enzymes in biochemistry, a reconceptualization of energetic processes in the 1960s and 1970s made it clear why cell structure was critical to the biochemical account. This paper examines how numerous excursions between biochemistry and cell biology contributed a new understanding of the mechanism of cellular respiration. (shrink)
We explore the crucial role of diagrams in scientific reasoning, especially reasoning directed at developing mechanistic explanations of biological phenomena. We offer a case study focusing on one research project that resulted in a published paper advancing a new understanding of the mechanism by which the central circadian oscillator in Synechococcus elongatus controls gene expression. By examining how the diagrams prepared for the paper developed over the course of multiple drafts, we show how the process of generating a new explanation (...) vitally involved the development and integration of multiple versions of different types of diagrams, and how reasoning about the mechanism proceeded in tandem with the development of the diagrams used to represent it. (shrink)
We contend that diagrams are tools not only for communication but also for supporting the reasoning of biologists. In the mechanistic research that is characteristic of biology, diagrams delineate the phenomenon to be explained, display explanatory relations, and show the organized parts and operations of the mechanism proposed as responsible for the phenomenon. Both phenomenon diagrams and explanatory relations diagrams, employing graphs or other formats, facilitate applying visual processing to the detection of relevant patterns. Mechanism diagrams guide reasoning about how (...) the parts and operations work together to produce the phenomenon and what experiments need to be done to improve on the existing account. We examine how these functions are served by diagrams in circadian rhythm research. (shrink)
Cognitive science is, more than anything else, a pursuit of cognitive mechanisms. To make headway towards a mechanistic account of any particular cognitive phenomenon, a researcher must choose among the many architectures available to guide and constrain the account. It is thus fitting that this volume on contemporary debates in cognitive science includes two issues of architecture, each articulated in the 1980s but still unresolved: " • Just how modular is the mind? – a debate initially pitting encapsulated mechanisms against (...) highly interactive ones. • Does the mind process language-like representations according to formal rules? – a debate initially pitting symbolic architectures against less language-like architectures. " Our project here is to consider the second issue within the broader context of where cognitive science has been and where it is headed. The notion that cognition in general—not just language processing—involves rules operating on language-like representations actually predates cognitive science. In traditional philosophy of mind, mental life is construed as involving propositional attitudes—that is, such attitudes towards propositions as believing, fearing, and desiring that they be true—and logical inferences from them. On this view, if a person desires that a proposition be true and believes that if she performs a certain action it will become true, she will make the inference and perform the action. (shrink)
Scientific authorship serves to identify and acknowledge individuals who “contribute significantly” to published research. However, specific authorship norms and practices often differ within and across disciplines, labs, and cultures. As a consequence, authorship disagreements are commonplace in team research. This study aims to better understand the prevalence of authorship disagreements, those factors that may lead to disagreements, as well as the extent and nature of resulting misbehavior. Methods include an international online survey of researchers who had published from 2011 to (...) 2015. Of the 6673 who completed the main questions pertaining to authorship disagreement and misbehavior, nearly half reported disagreements regarding authorship naming; and discipline, rank, and gender had significant effects on disagreement rates. Paradoxically, researchers in multidisciplinary teams that typically reflect a range of norms and values, were less likely to have faced disagreements regarding authorship. Respondents reported having witnessed a wide range of misbehavior including: instances of hostility, undermining of a colleague’s work during meetings/talks, cutting corners on research, sabotaging a colleague’s research, or producing fraudulent work to be more competitive. These findings suggest that authorship disputes may contribute to an unhealthy competitive dynamic that can undermine researchers’ wellbeing, team cohesion, and scientific integrity. (shrink)