It is commonly argued that the rules of language, as distinct from its semantic features, are the characteristics which most clearly distinguish language from the communication systems of other species. A number of linguists (e.g., Chomsky 1972, 1980; Pinker 1994) have suggested that the universal features of grammar (UG) are unique human adaptations showing no evolutionary continuities with any other species. However, recent summaries of the substantive features of UG are quite remarkable in the very general nature of the features (...) proposed. While the syntax of any given language can be quite complex, the specific rules vary so much between languages that the truly universal (i.e. innate) aspects of grammar are not complex at all. In fact, these features most closely resemble a set of general descriptions of our richly complex semantic cognition, and not a list of specific rules. General principles of the evolutionary process suggest that syntax is more properly understood as an emergent characteristic of the explosion of semantic complexity that occurred during hominid evolution. It is argued that grammatical rules used in given languages are likely to be simply conventionalized, invented features of language, and not the result of an innate, grammar-specific module. The grammatical and syntactic regularities that are found across languages occur simply because all languages attempt to communicate the same sorts of semantic information. (shrink)
Evolutionary change occurs most often through the modification of pre-existing structures. What were the pre-existing circuits in our primate ancestors that paved the way for human language, and how did they change in the lineages leading to our present condition? Among the neural modifications that were critical for human language, there are two of special interest: The origin and evolution of the remarkably rich conceptual world that humans share to the exclusion of other primates, and the origin of neural circuitry (...) that underlies various sequential and hierarchical aspects of language, as utilized for example in syntax and word morphology. The fossil record of brain evolution and the archaeological record provide intriguing clues about these processes. (shrink)
This study examined the effect of various antecedent variables on marketers’ perceptions of the role of ethics and socialresponsibility in the overall success of the firm. Variables examined included Hofstede’s cultural dimensions , as well as corporate ethical values and enforcement ofan ethics code. Additionally, individual variables such as ethical idealism and relativism were included. Results indicated that most ofthese variables impacted marketers’ perceptions of the importance of ethics and social responsibility, although to varying degrees.
What makes us conscious? Many theories that attempt to answer this question have appeared recently in the context of widespread interest about consciousness in the cognitive neurosciences. Most of these proposals are formulated in terms of the information processing conducted by the brain. In this overview, we survey and contrast these models. We first delineate several notions of consciousness, addressing what it is that the various models are attempting to explain. Next, we describe a conceptual landscape that addresses how the (...) theories attempt to explain consciousness. We then situate each of several representative models in this landscape and indicate which aspect of consciousness they try to explain. We conclude that the search for the neural correlates of consciousness should be usefully complemented by a search for the computational correlates of consciousness. (shrink)
The belief that syntax is an innate, autonomous, species-specific module is highly questionable. Syntax demonstrates the mosaic nature of evolutionary change, in that it made use of numerous preexisting neurocognitive features. It is best understood as an emergent characteristic of the explosion of semantic complexity that occurred during hominid evolution.
The existence of linked regularities in size among brain components across species is, by itself, not a strong argument against the importance of behavioral selection in brain evolution. A careful consideration of hominid brain evolution suggests that brain components can change their scaling relationships over time, and that behavioral selection was likely crucial. The best neuroanatomical index of a given behavioral ability can only be determined empirically, not through comparative analysis of brain anatomy alone.
Reconstructing the evolution of cognition requires maximal extraction of information from very sparse data. The role that archaeology plays in this process is important, but strong empirical tests of plausible hypotheses are absolutely critical. Quantitative measures of symmetry must be devised, a much deeper understanding of nonhuman primate spatial cognition is needed, and a better understanding of brain/behavior relationships across species is necessary to properly ground these hypotheses.
We discuss two problems for a general scientific understanding of language, sequences and synergies: how language is an intricately sequenced behavior and how language is manifested as a multidimensionally structured behavior. Though both are central in our understanding, we observe that the former tends to be studied more than the latter. We consider very general conditions that hold in human brain evolution and its computational implications, and identify multimodal and multiscale organization as two key characteristics of emerging cognitive function in (...) our species. This suggests that human brains, and cognitive function specifically, became more adept at integrating diverse information sources and operating at multiple levels for linguistic performance. We argue that framing language evolution, learning, and use in terms of synergies suggests new research questions, and it may be a fruitful direction for new developments in theory and modeling of language as an integrated system. (shrink)
British society is becoming increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse. This poses a major challenge to mental health services charged with the responsibility to work in ways that respect cultural and linguistic difference. In this paper we investigate the problems of interpretation in the diagnosis of depression using a thought experiment to demonstrate important features of language-games, an idea introduced by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his late work, Philosophical investigations. The thought experiment draws attention to the importance of culture and contexts in (...) understanding the meaning of particular utterances. This has implications not only for how we understand the role of interpreters in clinical settings, and who might best be suited to function in such a role, but more generally it draws attention to the importance of involving members of black minority ethnic (BME) communities in working alongside mainstream mental health services. We conclude that the involvement of BME community development workers inside, alongside and outside statutory services can potentially improve the quality of care for people from BME communities who use these services. (shrink)
Central to Thomas Sprat's History of the Royal Society was the description and justification of the method adopted and advocated by the Fellows of the Society, for it was thought that it was their method which distinguished them from ancients, dogmatists, sceptics, and contemporary natural philosophers such as Descartes. The Fellows saw themselves as furthering primarily a novel method, rather than a system, of philosophy, and the History gave expression to this corporate self-perception. However, the History's description of their (...) method was not necessarily accurate. Rather, as will be argued below, by a combination of subtle misrepresentation and selective exposition, Sprat portrayed a method which would further the aims of social and ecclesiastical stability and material prosperity, essential for the Royal Society since its continued existence depended upon the creation of a social basis for the institutionalized pursuit of natural philosophy. Some link had to be forged between the activities of the Society and the intellectual and social aspirations of the Restoration. To understand the intent and meaning of Sprat's History and the method there portrayed, we must therefore look to the institutional needs which it fulfilled. (shrink)
Nineteenth-century spiritism was a blend of religious elements, the philosophy of mind, science and popular science and contacts with extraterrestrials were a commonplace phenomenon during spiritistic séances. Using the example of Carl du Prel I show how his comprehensive mystic philosophy originated in a theory of extraterrestrial life. Carl du Prel used a Darwinian and monistic framework, theories of the unconscious and a Neo-Kantian epistemology to formulate a philosophy of astronomy and extraterrestrial life. He claimed that the mechanism of Darwinian (...) selection is responsible for the distribution of stars and the orbits of the planets. In his speculations on the nature of extraterrestrial life he used the concept of organ projection to argue that technical solutions on earth will be realized organically on other planets and claimed that superior extraterrestrials have quantitatively and qualitatively different senses and thus different forms of intuition. A comparison with Camille Flammarion, spiritist and populariser of astronomy, demonstrates the contextual complexities of spiritism. In contrast to du Prel’s sober Neo-Kantian philosophical speculations, Flammarion was a late proponent of a French esoteric tradition that was rooted in romantic socialism, painted grand cosmological vistas and emphasized reincarnation. I put forward the hypothesis that current discourses on extraterrestrial life are affected by the spiritist tradition mainly through the ‘Golden Age’ science fiction literature of the 1940s and 50s and its successors. However, neither Carl du Prel nor Camille Flammarion contributed significantly to this tradition, which is mainly shaped by the psychical research of J. B. Rhine.Keywords: Spiritism; Carl du Prel; Camille Flammarion; Organ projection; Science fiction. (shrink)
"O'Meara masterfully situates Pryzwara in relation to the traditional and contemporary theological, philosophical, ecclesial, cultural, and social contexts within which he wrote." --_William P. Loewe, professor of religious studies, Catholic University of America_ Erich Przywara, S.J. is one of the important Catholic intellectuals of the twentieth century. Yet, in the English-speaking world Przywara remains largely unknown. Few of his sixty books or six hundred articles have been translated. In this engaging new book, Thomas O'Meara offers a comprehensive study of (...) the German Jesuit Erich Przywara and his philosophical theology. Przywara's scholarly contributions were remarkable. He was one of three theologians who introduced the writings of John Henry Cardinal Newman into Germany. From his position at the Jesuit journal in Munich, _Stimmen der Zeit_, he offered an open and broad Catholic perspective on the cultural, philosophical, and theological currents of his time. As one of the first Catholic intellectuals to employ the phenomenologies of Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler, he was also responsible for giving an influential, more theological interpretation of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. Przywara was also deeply engaged in the ideas and authors of his times. He was the first Catholic dialogue partner of Karl Barth and Paul Tillich. Edmund Husserl was counted among Przywara's friends, and Edith Stein was a close personal and intellectual companion. Through his interactions with important figures of his age and his writings, ranging from speculative systems to liturgical hymns, Przywara was of marked importance in furthering a varied dialogue between German Catholicism and modern culture. Following a foreword by Michael Fahey, S.J., O'Meara presents a chapter on Pryzwara's life and a chronology of his writings. O'Meara then discusses Pryzwara's philosophical theology, his lecture-courses at German universities on Augustine and Aquinas, his philosophy of religion, and his influence on important intellectual contemporaries. O'Meara concludes with an in-depth analysis of Pryzwara's theology, focusing particularly on his Catholic views of person, liturgy, and church. (shrink)
When do people say that they are moved, and does this experience constitute a unique emotion? We review theory and empirical research on being moved across psychology and philosophy. We examine feeling labels, elicitors, valence, bodily sensations, and motivations. We find that the English lexeme being moved typically refers to a distinct and potent emotion that results in social bonding; often includes tears, piloerection, chills, or a warm feeling in the chest; and is often described as pleasurable, though sometimes as (...) a mixed emotion. While we conclude that it is a distinct emotion, we also recommend studying it in a more comprehensive emotion framework, instead of using the ambiguous vernacular term being moved as a scientific term. (shrink)
In the final analysis, sustainable agriculture must derive from applied ecology, especially the principle of the regulation of the abundance and distribution of species (and, secondarily, their activities) in space and time. Interspecific competition in natural ecosystems has its counterparts in agriculture, designed to divert greater amounts of energy, nutrients, and water into crops. Whereas natural ecosystems select for a diversity of species in communities, recent agriculture has minimized diversity in favour of vulnerable monocultures. Such systems show intrinsically less stability (...) and resilience to perturbations. Some kinds of crop rotation resemble ecological succession in that one crop prepares the land for successive crop production. Such rotations enhance soil organic processes such as decomposition and material cycling, build a nutrient capital to sustain later crop growth, and reduce the intensity of pest buildup. Species in natural communities occur at discrete points along the r-K continuum of reproductive maturity. Clearing forested land for agriculture, rotational burning practices, and replacing perennial grassland communities by cereal monocultures moves the agricultural community towards the r extreme. Plant breeders select for varieties which yield at an earlier age and lower plant biomass, effectively moving a variety towards the r type. Features of more natural landscapes, such as hedgerows, may act as physical and biological adjuncts to agricultural production. They should exist as networks in agricultural lands to be most effective. Soil is of major importance in agroecosystems, and maintaining, deliberately, its vitality and resilience to agricultural perturbations is the very basis of sustainable land use. (shrink)
We present a theoretical and an empirical challenge to Cushman's claim that rationalization is adaptive because it allows humans to extract more accurate beliefs from our non-rational motivations for behavior. Rationalization sometimes generates more adaptive decisions by making our beliefs about the world less accurate. We suggest that the most important adaptive advantage of rationalization is instead that it increases our predictability as potential partners in cooperative social interactions.