Recent work with infants suggests that plant foraging throughout evolutionary history has shaped the design of the human mind. Infants in Germany and the US avoid touching plants and engage in more social looking toward adults before touching them. This combination of behavioral avoidance and social looking strategies enables safe and rapid social learning about plant properties within the first two years of life. Here, we explore how growing up in a context that requires frequent interaction with plants shapes children’s (...) responses with the participation of communities in rural Fiji. We conducted two interviews with adults and a behavioral study with children. The adult interviews map the plant learning landscape in these communities and provide context for the child study. The child study used a time-to-touch paradigm to examine whether 6- to 48-month-olds in participating communities exhibit avoidance behaviors and social looking patterns that are similar to, or different from, those of German and American infants. Our adult interview results confirmed that knowledge about daily and medicinal uses of plants is widely known throughout the communities, and children are given many opportunities to informally learn about plants. The results of the child behavioral study suggest that young Fijian children, like German and American infants, are reluctant to reach for novel artificial plants and are fastest to interact with familiar household items and shells. In contrast to German and American infants, Fijian children also quickly reached for familiar real plants and did not engage in differential social looking before touching them. These results suggest that cultural contexts flexibly shape the development of plant-relevant cognitive design. (shrink)
From an early age, humans intuitively expect physical objects to obey core principles, including continuity (objects follow spatiotemporally continuous paths) and solidity (two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time). These 2 principles are sometimes viewed as deriving from a single overarching “persistence” principle. Indeed, violations of solidity where one solid object seemingly passes through another could theoretically be interpreted as a violation of continuity, with an object “teleporting” to switch places rather than passing through a (...) solid obstacle. However, it is an empirical issue whether the two principles are processed distinctly or identically to one another. Here, adult participants tracked objects during dynamic events in a novel location detection task, which sometimes involved violations of the principles of continuity or solidity. Although participants explicitly noticed both types of violations and reported being equally surprised at both, they made more errors and answered more slowly after continuity violations than after solidity violations. Our results demonstrate that the two principles show different signature patterns and are thus represented distinctly in the mind. (shrink)
Describing a cognitive system at a mechanistic level requires an engineering task analysis. This involves identifying the task and developing models of possible solutions. Evolutionary psychology and Bayesian modeling make complimentary contributions: Evolutionary psychology suggests the types of tasks that human brains were designed to solve, while Bayesian modeling provides a rigorous description of possible computational solutions to such problems.
Siopis has always engaged in a critical and controversial way with the concepts of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ in South Africa. For politically sensitive artists whose work has involved confronting the injustices of apartheid, the current post-apartheid situation has forced a reassessment of their practice and the terms on which they might engage with the fundamental changes which are now affecting all of South African society. Where mythologies of race and ethnicity have been strategically foregrounded in the art of any engaged (...) artist, to the exclusion of many other concerns, the demise of apartheid offers the possibility of exploring other dimensions of lived experience in South Africa. For feminists, this is potentially a very positive moment when questions of gender – so long subordinated to the structural issue of ‘race’ under apartheid – can now be explored. Penny Siopis’ work has long been concerned with the lived and historical relations between black and white women in South Africa. The discussion focuses on the ambivalent and dependent relationships formed between white middle-class women and black domestic labour during apartheid. Siopis’ work engages with how the appropriation of black women's time, lives, labour and bodies has shaped her ‘own’ history. (shrink)
This article contains the notes made by the Italian poetess Antonia Pozzi while attending the university courses held by Antonio Banfi during 1931-1932 and 1932-1933. They are useful for an understanding not only of her academic studies but also of Banfi’s thinking on aesthetics in the 1930s. In two appendices, the Author describes the content of the Italian philosopher’s courses on aesthetics between 1931-1932 and 1934-1935 and Antonia Pozzi’s university career. Unpublished until now, these notes by a student are the (...) only existing record of those courses since Banfi’s lecture notes never appeared in print. (shrink)
In June 1927, the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg celebrated "forty years of bibliophily". On the occasion of the sixtieth birthday of his brother Max, Aby Warburg organized a guided tour of his library and a photographic exhibition presented with original documents: one example of the practical side of the "Bild und Wort" method. These two terms were used by Aby Warburg to describe a theme of his research, namely the complex relation between iconographic and textual tradition and the theory of the (...) function of the human visual memory. At the same time, "image and word" were research tools, experimented by Warburg in structuring his lectures as reading plus slideshow plus guided visit of the panels and in creating a photographic collection in his Library. It was from this lecturing and exhibiting practice, and from the desire to collect and disseminate his research in a suitable manner, that Warburg’s project for an atlas-book, entitled Mnemosyne, took its origin and form. "The" Mnemosyne was intended to be a work dedicated to the investigation of the dynamics of the Western tradition and its cultural memory, focusing on the examples provided by the "posthumous life" of antiquity during the Renaissance. (shrink)
This is a sequel to our dialogue "Che cosa c'è e che cos'è (2003), focusing on the interplay between what there is and what there could be—between actuality and possibility—from the perspective of Hylas (here: the realist philosopher) and from the perspective of Philonous (here: the conventionalist anti-realist).
In questo saggio si esamina il modo in cui viene concepito il rapporto tra pluralità del bene e universalità della giustizia all'interno del dibattito filosofico politico di matrice liberale dell'ultimo decennio. Vengono ricostruite tre diverse strategie concettuali con cui è stata sviluppata una concezione "situata" della giustizia come imparzialità fra concezioni del bene concorrenti -- la strategia del perfezionismo liberale , quella del proceduralismo e quella della ragione pubblica -- e in particolare il modo in cui dalle diverse ottiche è (...) affrontato il problema della giustificazione politica ovvero della legittimazione. Per ciascuna di queste strategie vengono indicati punti di forza ed elementi di debolezza e viene infine sostenuta la superiorità della strategia rawlsiana della ragione pubblica relativamente alle altre. (shrink)