Written at an undergraduate mathematical level, this book provides the essential theoretical tools and foundations required to develop basic models to explain collective phase transitions for a wide variety of ecosystems.
Laurence Ricard | : La notion d’autonomie personnelle joue un rôle central dans les théories politiques contemporaines et, plus spécifiquement, dans les théories de la justice. Or, dans le paradigme libéral dominant, elle est définie par une compréhension rationaliste de l’agent individuel. La présente étude défend la nécessité de redéfinir ce concept d’autonomie à la lumière des développements philosophiques et psychologiques qui ont complexifié notre compréhension de la subjectivité. L’emploi du concept d’autonomie relationnelle développé par certains auteurs féministes et (...) par certains théoriciens de la reconnaissance semble pour ce faire prometteur. Cet article cherche à montrer qu’une compréhension relationnelle de l’autonomie est nécessaire pour expliquer la motivation à la coopération sociale et pour redéfinir la justice et l’injustice de façon à ce qu’elles correspondent à l’expérience sociale vécue. | : The notion of personal autonomy plays a central role in contemporary political theories and especially in theories of justice. Generally speaking, the dominant liberal paradigm defines individual agency in a purely rationalistic manner. Against this tradition, the present study argues for the necessity of rethinking and redefining this rationalistic concept of autonomy in light of psychological and philosophical developments that have complicated our understanding of subjectivity. For this purpose, the concept of relational autonomy, developed by feminist authors and some theorists of recognition, is most promising. This article aims to show that a relational understanding of autonomy is necessary to explain motivations for social cooperation and to understand justice and injustice in a way that corresponds to lived social experience. (shrink)
Aspiration by Agnes Callard locates standing assumptions in the theory of rationality, moral psychology and autonomy that preclude the possibility of working to acquire new values. The book also explains what changes need to be made if we are to make room for this form of agency, which I call aspiration.
The aim of this book is to show how supramolecular complexity of cell organization can dramatically alter the functions of individual macromolecules within a cell. The emergence of new functions which appear as a consequence of supramolecular complexity, is explained in terms of physical chemistry. The book is interdisciplinary, at the border between cell biochemistry, physics and physical chemistry. This interdisciplinarity does not result in the use of physical techniques but from the use of physical concepts to study biological problems. (...) In the domain of complexity studies, most works are purely theoretical or based on computer simulation. The present book is partly theoretical, partly experimental and theory is always based on experimental results. Moreover, the book encompasses in a unified manner the dynamic aspects of many different biological fields ranging from dynamics to pattern emergence in a young embryo. The volume puts emphasis on dynamic physical studies of biological events. It also develops, in a unified perspective, this new interdisciplinary approach of various important problems of cell biology and chemistry, ranging from enzyme dynamics to pattern formation during embryo development, thus paving the way to what may become a central issue of future biology. (shrink)
Agnes Heller conversó con la Redacción de Areté el 24 de abril de 2003, durante una visita a la Universidad Católica para dictar la Lección Inaugural del Año Académico de la Facultad de Letras y Ciencias Humanas. En la conversación estuvieron presentes los profesores Pepi Patrón, Fidel Tubino y Miguel Giusti.
Critics of appraisal theory have difficulty accepting appraisal (with its constructive flavor) as an automatic process, and hence as a potential cause of most emotions. In response, some appraisal theorists have argued that appraisal was never meant as a causal process but as a constituent of emotional experience. Others have argued that appraisal is a causal process, but that it can be either rule-based or associative, and that the associative variant can be automatic. This article first proposes empirically investigating whether (...) rule-based appraisal can also be automatic and then proposes investigating the automatic nature of constructive (instead of rule-based) appraisal because the distinction between rule-based and associative is problematic. Finally, it discusses experiments that support the view that constructive appraisal can be automatic. (shrink)
A lively debate in the literature on moral progress concerns the role of practical reasoning: Does it enable or subvert moral progress? Rationalists believe that moral reasoning enables moral progress, because it helps enhance objectivity in thinking, overcome unruly sentiments, and open our minds to new possibilities. By contrast, skeptics argue that moral reasoning subverts moral progress. Citing growing empirical research on bias, they show that objectivity is an illusion and that moral reasoning merely rationalizes pre-existing biased moral norms. In (...) this article, I argue that both the rationalists and the skeptics fail to understand fully the role of practical reasoning by focusing exclusively on moral reasoning to the neglect of social reasoning. In the first half of the article, I argue against the skeptics by vindicating moral reasoning. I identify a Democratic Model of moral reasoning which is reliable and effective in overcoming bias. In the second part of the article, I argue against the rationalists. Drawing on a paradigmatic case of moral progress, i.e., the British abolition of the slave trade, I illustrate that moral reasoning, even when sound, is insufficient to motivate progressive action. The explanation for this puzzling phenomenon is not that the moral norm against cruelty is inert, as skeptics might suggest. Rather, it is that the moral norm against cruelty was overridden by the social norm of slavery which was tied to the British joint commitments to freedom and national honour. The debate between rationalists and skeptics centers around the moral rationality of human action, failing to recognize that human action is in fact primarily about social rationality. I defend a joint commitment account of social rationality, and offer a novel Communitarian Model of social reasoning which follows the logic of social rationality to revise social norms. I defend the reliability and efficacy of the Communitarian Model of social reasoning by applying it to the abolitionist social movement to show how Britons gave fellow Britons social reasons grounded in their joint commitments to freedom and national honour to end slavery. (shrink)
Standard dual-process models in the action domain postulate that stimulus-driven processes are responsible for suboptimal behavior because they take them to be rigid and automatic and therefore the default. We propose an alternative dual-process model in which goal-directed processes are the default instead. We then transfer the dual- process logic from the action domain to the emotion domain. This reveals that emotional behavior is often attributed to stimulus-driven processes. Our alternative model submits that goal-directed processes could be the primary determinant (...) of emotional behavior instead. We evaluate the type of empirical evidence required for validating our model and we consider implications of our model for behavior change, encouraging strategies focused on the expectancies and values of action outcomes. (shrink)
Many appraisal theories claim that appraisal causes emotion. Critics have rejected this claim because they believe (a) it is incompatible with the claim that appraisal is a part of emotion, (b) it is not empirically supported, (c) it is circular and hence nonempirical, and (d) there are alternative causes. I reply that (a) the causal claim is incompatible with the part claim on some but not all interpretations of the causal claim and the part claim, (b) the lack of empirical (...) support can be remedied, (c) there may even be ways to cope with the circularity problem, and (d) it is unclear to what extent the alternative causes differ from appraisal. (shrink)
Appraisal theories of emotion have two fundamental assumptions: that there are regularities to be discovered between situations and components of emotional episodes, and that the influence of these situations on these components is causally mediated by a mental process called appraisal. Appraisal theories come in different flavors, proposing different to-be-explained phenomena and different underlying mechanisms for the influence of appraisal on the other components.
Agnes Arber's international reputation is due in part to her exceptional ability to interpret the German tradition of scholarship for the English-speaking world. The Mind and the Eye is an erudite book, revealing its author's familiarity with philosophy from Plato and Aristotle through Aquinas to Kant and Hegel; but it is not dull, because the quiet enthusiasm of the author shines through. In this book she turns from the work of a specialist in one science to those wider questions which (...) any scientist must ask at intervals. What, in short, is the relationship between the eye that sees and the mind that weighs and pronounces? An important feature of this Cambridge Science Classics reissue is the introduction provided by Professor P. R. Bell, who as a Cambridge botany student at the time that Agnes Arber was writing The Natural Philosopby of Plant Form, is uniquely able to set The Mind and the Eye in the context of contemporary biological research. (shrink)
In this paper, I take scientific models to be epistemic representations of their target systems. I define an epistemic representation to be a tool for gaining information about its target system and argue that a vehicle’s capacity to provide specific information about its target system—its informativeness—is an essential feature of this kind of representation. I draw an analogy to our ordinary notion of interpretation to show that a user’s aim of faithfully representing the target system is necessary for securing this (...) feature. (shrink)
In this paper, I characterize visual epistemic representations as concrete two- or three-dimensional tools for conveying information about aspects of their target systems or phenomena of interest. I outline two features of successful visual epistemic representation: that the vehicle of representation contain sufficiently accurate information about the phenomenon of interest for the user’s purpose, and that it convey this information to the user in a manner that makes it readily available to her. I argue that actual epistemic representation may involve (...) tradeoffs between these and is successful to the extent that they are present. (shrink)
Written by one of the most influential figures in post-World-War-II social thought, _A Theory of Modernity_ is a comprehensive analysis of the main dynamics of modernity, which discusses the technological, social and political elements of modernism.
This book is the first attempt to think philosophically about the comic phenomenon in literature, art, and life. Working across a substantial collection of comic works author Agnes Heller makes seminal observations on the comic in the work of both classical and contemporary figures. Whether she's discussing Shakespeare, Kafka, Rabelais, or the paintings of Brueghel and Daumier Heller's Immortal Comedy makes a characteristic contribution to modern thought across the humanities.
Humans seem to readily track their conspecifics’ mental states, such as their goals and beliefs from early infancy. However, the underlying cognitive architecture that enables such powerful abilities remains unclear. Here I will propose that a basic representational structure, the belief file, could provide the foundation for efficiently encoding, and updating information about, others’ beliefs in online social interactions. I will discuss the representational possibilities offered by the belief file and the ways in which the repertoire of mental state reasoning (...) is shaped by the characteristics of its constituents. A series of questions will be outlined concerning the representational skeleton of the belief file, sketching a possible structure that supports the rapid encoding and re-identification of belief related information. After analyzing the possible limitations of the belief attribution system, I will examine some of its characteristics that might enable a flexibility that is often neglected. I will suggest that operations involving belief files are not impeded by the absence of precise first-person information regarding their contents. In fact, the system permits manipulations with “empty” belief files, allowing humans to ascribe beliefs to conspecifics based on little or no direct information regarding the content of the mental state. Such an analysis aims to advance our understanding of how spontaneous belief attribution may be performed, and to provide an insight into the possible mechanisms that allow humans to successfully navigate the social world. (shrink)
Objections to the use of historical case studies for philosophical ends fall into two categories. Methodological objections claim that historical accounts and their uses by philosophers are subject to various biases. We argue that these challenges are not special; they also apply to other epistemic practices. Metaphysical objections, on the other hand, claim that historical case studies are intrinsically unsuited to serve as evidence for philosophical claims, even when carefully constructed and used, and so constitute a distinct class of challenge. (...) We show that attention to what makes for a canonical case can address these problems. A case study is canonical with respect to a particular philosophical aim when the features relevant to that aim provide a reasonably complete causal account of the results of the historical process under investigation. We show how to establish canonicity by evaluating relevant contingencies using two prominent examples from the history of science: Eddington’s confirmation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity using his data from the 1919 eclipse and Watson and Crick’s determination of the structure of DNA. (shrink)
The acquisition of complex motor, cognitive, and social skills, like playing a musical instrument or mastering sports or a language, is generally associated with implicit skill learning . Although it is a general view that SL is most effective in childhood, and such skills are best acquired if learning starts early, this idea has rarely been tested by systematic empirical studies on the developmental pathways of SL from childhood to old age. In this paper, we challenge the view that childhood (...) and early school years are the prime time for skill learning by tracking age-related changes in performance in three different paradigms of SL. We collected data from participants between 7 and 87 years for a Serial Reaction Time Task testing the learning of motor sequences, an Artificial Grammar Learning task testing the extraction of regularities from auditory sequences, and Probabilistic Category Learning in the Weather Prediction task , a non-sequential categorization task. Results on all three tasks show that adolescence and adulthood are the most efficient periods for skill learning, since instead of becoming less and less effective with age, SL improves from childhood into adulthood and then later declines with aging. (shrink)
From the point of view of reflected postmodernity, Ágnes Heller constructs her own discourse of aesthetics on the basis of György Lukács’s contribution. She locates aesthetics in her social philosophy, philosophy of history, and ethics, transforming aesthetics from a ‘Marxist Renaissance’ to a ‘post-Marxist’ position, and points out that the paradoxes of modern culture can be avoided by a personality that is autonomous and moral in action. The notion of the beautiful character in everyday life is a symbol of the (...) ideal type of society and of the good life in contrast to the God-forsaken world of modern dilemmas and the domination of the sublime in postmodernism. It is the expression of freedom and democracy in the contemporary age. Heller’s neo-humanist aesthetics is in essence the presentation of her cultural politics as a Great Republic. (shrink)