We begin by distinguishing computationalism from a number of other theses that are sometimes conflated with it. We also distinguish between several important kinds of computation: computation in a generic sense, digital computation, and analog computation. Then, we defend a weak version of computationalism—neural processes are computations in the generic sense. After that, we reject on empirical grounds the common assimilation of neural computation to either analog or digital computation, concluding that neural computation is sui generis. Analog computation requires continuous (...) signals; digital computation requires strings of digits. But current neuroscientific evidence indicates that typical neural signals, such as spike trains, are graded like continuous signals but are constituted by discrete functional elements (spikes); thus, typical neural signals are neither continuous signals nor strings of digits. It follows that neural computation is sui generis. Finally, we highlight three important consequences of a proper understanding of neural computation for the theory of cognition. First, understanding neural computation requires a specially designed mathematical theory (or theories) rather than the mathematical theories of analog or digital computation. Second, several popular views about neural computation turn out to be incorrect. Third, computational theories of cognition that rely on non-neural notions of computation ought to be replaced or reinterpreted in terms of neural computation. (shrink)
This paper samples the large body of neuroscientific evidence suggesting that each mental function takes place within specific neural structures. For instance, vision appears to occur in the visual cortex, motor control in the motor cortex, spatial memory in the hippocampus, and cognitive control in the prefrontal cortex. Evidence comes from neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, brain stimulation, neuroimaging, lesion studies, and behavioral genetics. If mental functions take place within neural structures, mental functions cannot survive brain death. Therefore, there is no mental (...) life after brain death. -/- 1. The Neural Localization of Mental Functions - 1.1 Perception and Motor Control - 1.2 Memory - 1.3 Emotion - 1.4 Language - 1.5 Thinking - 1.6 Attention and Consciousness - 1.7 Spirituality -- 2. Objections - 2.1 Linguistic Dualism - 2.2 Mere Correlation - 2.3 Neural Plasticity - 2.4 Intentionality - 2.5 Phenomenal Consciousness - 2.6 Subjectivity - 2.7 Self-Knowledge - 2.8 Free Will - 2.9 Are We Just Indulging in Physicalistic Wishful Thinking? -- 3. Conclusion -- Appendix: Physicalism and the Afterlife. (shrink)
This essay examines why the recent recognition of human rights violations against women, as exemplified by Amnesty International's 1995 report on women, remains bound to the limitations of traditional approaches to human rights. The essay argues that despite Amnesty International's commitment to incorporating violations against women into its activities, it nevertheless upholds questionable assumptions about the gendered subject, gender relations within the family, and the relationship between the family and the state.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Islam as a religion and culture on Turkish women’s health. The study included 138 household members residing in the territory of three primary health care centers in Turkey: Güzelbahçe, Fahrettin Altay and Esentepe. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire prepared by a multidisciplinary team that included specialists from the departments of public health, psychiatric nursing and sociology. We found that the women’s health behavior changed from traditional to (...) rational as education levels increased, and that religious and traditional attitudes and behaviors were predominant in the countryside, especially practices related to pregnancy, delivery, the postpartum period, induced abortion and family planning. One of the most important prerequisites for the improvement of women’s health is that nurses should know the religious practices and culture of the society for which they provide care, so that their efforts to protect and improve women’s health will be effective. (shrink)
In recent years, issues of childhood obesity, unsafe toys, and child labor have raised the question of corporate responsibilities to children. However, business impacts on children are complex, multi-faceted, and frequently overlooked by senior managers. This article reports on a systematic analysis of the reputational landscape constructed by the media, corporations, and non-government organizations around business responsibilities to children. A content analysis methodology is applied to a sample of more than 350 relevant accounts during a 5-year period. We identify seven (...) core responsibilities that are then used to provide a framework for enabling businesses to map their range of impacts on children. We set out guidelines for how to identify and manage the firm’s strategic responsibilities in this arena, and identify the␣constraints that corporations face in meeting such responsibilities. (shrink)
An increasing number of philosophers have promoted the idea that mechanism provides a fruitful framework for thinking about the explanatory contributions of computational approaches in cognitive neuroscience. For instance, Piccinini and Bahar :453–488, 2013) have recently argued that neural computation constitutes a sui generis category of physical computation which can play a genuine explanatory role in the context of investigating neural and cognitive processes. The core of their proposal is to conceive of computational explanations in cognitive neuroscience as a (...) subspecies of mechanistic explanations. This paper identifies several challenges facing their mechanistic account and sketches an alternative way of thinking about the epistemic roles of computational approaches used in the study of brain and cognition. Drawing on examples from both low-level and systems-level computational neuroscience, I argue that at least some computational explanations of neural and cognitive processes are partially independent from mechanistic constraints. (shrink)
Background Genuine uncertainty on superiority of one intervention over the other is called equipoise. Physician-investigators in randomized controlled trials need equipoise at least in studies with more than minimal risks. Ideally, this equipoise is also present in patient-participants. In pediatrics, data on equipoise are lacking. We hypothesize that 1) lack of equipoise at enrolment among parents may reduce recruitment; 2) lack of equipoise during participation may reduce retention in patients assigned to a less favoured treatment-strategy. Methods We compared preferences of (...) parents/patients at enrolment, documented by a questionnaire, with preferences developed during follow-up by an interview-study to investigate equipoise of child-participants and parents in the BeSt-for-Kids-study. This trial in new-onset Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis-patients consists of three strategies. One strategy comprises initial treatment with a biological disease-modifying-antirheumatic-drug, currently not standard-of-care. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 parents and 7 patients, median 11 months after enrolment. Results Initially most parents and children were not in equipoise. Parents/patients who refused participation, regularly declined due to specific preferences. Many participating families preferred the biological-first-strategy. They participated to have a chance for this initial treatment, and would even consider stopping trial-participation when not randomized for it. Their conviction of superiority of the biological-first strategy was based on knowledge from internet and close relations. According to four parents, the physician-investigator preferred the biological-first-strategy, but the majority stated that she had no preferred strategy. In phase 2, preferences tended to change to the treatment actually received. Conclusions Lack of equipoise during enrolment did not reduce study recruitment, mainly due to the fact that preferred treatment was only available within the study. Still, when developing a trial it is important to evaluate whether the physicians’ research question is in line with preferences of the patient-group. By exploring so-called ‘informed patient-group’-equipoise, successful recruitment may be enhanced and bias avoided. In our study, lack of equipoise during trial-participation did not reduce retention in those assigned to a less favoured option. We observed a change for preference towards treatment actually received, possibly explained by comparable outcomes in all three arms. (shrink)