" By relating Berlin's thinking about freedom to competing contemporary views of the politics of freedom, this book will be significant for both scholars of Berlin as well as people who are interested in larger debates about the meaning and ...
Recognition that biological systems are stabilized far from equilibrium by self-organizing, informed, autocatalytic cycles and structures that dissipate unusable energy and matter has led to recent attempts to reformulate evolutionary theory. We hold that such insights are consistent with the broad development of the Darwinian Tradition and with the concept of natural selection. Biological systems are selected that re not only more efficient than competitors but also enhance the integrity of the web of energetic relations in which they are embedded. (...) But the expansion of the informational phase space, upon which selection acts, is also guaranteed by the properties of open informational-energetic systems. This provides a directionality and irreversibility to evolutionary processes that are not reflected in current theory.For this thermodynamically-based program to progress, we believe that biological information should not be treated in isolation from energy flows, and that the ecological perspective must be given descriptive and explanatory primacy. Levels of the ecological hierarchy are relational parts of ecological systems in which there are stable, informed patterns of energy flow and entropic dissipation. Isomorphies between developmental patterns and ecological succession are revealing because they suggest that much of the encoded metabolic information in biological systems is internalized ecological information. The geneological hierarchy, to the extent that its information content reflects internalized ecological information, can therefore be redescribed as an ecological hierarchy. (shrink)
The Darwinian concept of natural selection was conceived within a set of Newtonian background assumptions about systems dynamics. Mendelian genetics at first did not sit well with the gradualist assumptions of the Darwinian theory. Eventually, however, Mendelism and Darwinism were fused by reformulating natural selection in statistical terms. This reflected a shift to a more probabilistic set of background assumptions based upon Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Recent developments in molecular genetics and paleontology have put pressure on Darwinism once again. Current work (...) on self-organizing systems may provide a stimulus not only for increased problem solving within the Darwinian tradition, especially with respect to origins of life, developmental genetics, phylogenetic pattern, and energy-flow ecology, but for deeper understanding of the very phenomenon of natural selection itself. Since self-organizational phenomena depend deeply on stochastic processes, self-organizational systems dynamics advance the probability revolution. In our view, natural selection is an emergent phenomenon of physical and chemical selection. These developments suggest that natural selection may be grounded in physical law more deeply than is allowed by advocates of the autonomy of biology, while still making it possible to deny, with autonomists, that evolutionary explanations can be modeled in terms of a deductive relationship between laws and cases. We explore the relationship between, chance, self-organization, and selection as sources of order in biological systems in order to make these points. (shrink)
Using the evolution of the stickleback family of subarctic fish as a touchstone, we explore the effect of new discoveries about regulatory genetics, developmental plasticity, and epigenetic inheritance on the conceptual foundations of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. Identifying the creativity of natural selection as the hallmark of the Modern Synthesis, we show that since its inception its adherents have pursued a variety of research projects that at first seemed to conflict with its principles, but were accommodated. We situate challenges coming (...) from developmental biology in a dialectic between innovation and tradition, suggesting on the basis of past episodes that even if developmental plasticity and epigenetic inheritance are aligned with its principles the Modern Synthesis will be significantly affected. (shrink)
We trace the history of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, and of genetic Darwinism generally, with a view to showing why, even in its current versions, it can no longer serve as a general framework for evolutionary theory. The main reason is empirical. Genetical Darwinism cannot accommodate the role of development in many evolutionary processes. We go on to discuss two conceptual issues: whether natural selection can be the “creative factor” in a new, more general framework for evolutionary theorizing; and whether (...) in such a framework organisms must be conceived as self-organizing systems embedded in self-organizing ecological systems. (shrink)
Social movements are using education to generate critical consciousness regarding the social and environmental unsustainability of the current food system, and advocate for agroecological production. In this article, we explore results from a cross-case analysis of six social movements that are using education as a strategy to advance food sovereignty. We conducted participatory research with diverse rural and urban social movements in the United States, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, and Mexico, which are each educating for food sovereignty. We synthesize insights from (...) critical food systems education and the political ecology of education in analyzing these cases. We compare the thematic similarities and difference between these movements’ education initiatives in terms of their emergence, initial goals, expansion and institutionalization, relationship to the state, theoretical inspirations, pedagogical approach, educational topics, approach to student research, and outcomes. Among these thematic areas, we find that student-centered research on competing forms of production is an integral way to advance critical consciousness about the food system and the political potential of agroecological alternatives. However, what counts, as success in these programs, is highly case-dependent. For engaged scholars committed to advancing education for food sovereignty, it is essential to reflect upon the lessons learned and challenges faced by these movements. (shrink)
In this essay, Bruce Maxwell, David Waddington, Kevin McDonough, Andrée-Anne Cormier, and Marina Schwimmer compare two competing approaches to social integration policy, Multiculturalism and Interculturalism, from the perspective of the issue of the state funding and regulation of conservative religious schools. After identifying the key differences between Interculturalism and Multiculturalism, as well as their many similarities, the authors present an explanatory analysis of this intractable policy challenge. Conservative religious schooling, they argue, tests a conceptual tension inherent in Multiculturalism (...) between respect for group diversity and autonomy, on the one hand, and the ideal of intercultural citizenship, on the other. Taking as a case study Québec's education system and, in particular, recent curricular innovations aimed at helping young people acquire the capabilities of intercultural citizenship, the authors illustrate how Interculturalism signals a compelling way forward in the effort to overcome the political dilemma of conservative religious schooling. (shrink)
In this essay, Bruce Maxwell, David Waddington, Kevin McDonough, Andrée‐ Anne Cormier, and Marina Schwimmer compare two competing approaches to social integration policy, Multiculturalism and Interculturalism, from the perspective of the issue of the state funding and regulation of conservative religious schools. After identifying the key differences between Interculturalism and Multiculturalism, as well as their many similarities, the authors present an explanatory analysis of this intractable policy challenge. Conservative religious schooling, they argue, tests a conceptual tension inherent in (...) Multiculturalism between respect for group diversity and autonomy, on the one hand, and the ideal of intercultural citizenship, on the other. Taking as a case study Québec's education system and, in particular, recent curricular innovations aimed at helping young people acquire the capabilities of intercultural citizenship, the authors illustrate how Interculturalism signals a compelling way forward in the effort to overcome the political dilemma of conservative religious schooling. (shrink)
We argue that current discussions of criteria for actual causation are ill-posed in several respects. (1) The methodology of current discussions is by induction from intuitions about an infinitesimal fraction of the possible examples and counterexamples; (2) cases with larger numbers of causes generate novel puzzles; (3) "neuron" and causal Bayes net diagrams are, as deployed in discussions of actual causation, almost always ambiguous; (4) actual causation is (intuitively) relative to an initial system state since state changes are relevant, but (...) most current accounts ignore state changes through time; (5) more generally, there is no reason to think that philosophical judgements about these sorts of cases are normative; but (6) there is a dearth of relevant psychological research that bears on whether various philosophical accounts are descriptive. Our skepticism is not directed towards the possibility of a correct account of actual causation; rather, we argue that standard methods will not lead to such an account. A different approach is required. (shrink)
BĪRŪNĪ, ABŪ RAYḤĀN MOḤAMMAD b. Aḥmad (362/973- after 442/1050), scholar and polymath of the period of the late Samanids and early Ghaznavids and one of the two greatest intellectual figures of his time in the eastern lands of the Muslim world, the other being Ebn Sīnā.
Although research has found that long-term mindfulness meditation practice promotes executive functioning and the ability to sustain attention, the effects of brief mindfulness meditation training have not been fully explored. We examined whether brief meditation training affects cognition and mood when compared to an active control group. After four sessions of either meditation training or listening to a recorded book, participants with no prior meditation experience were assessed with measures of mood, verbal fluency, visual coding, and working memory. Both interventions (...) were effective at improving mood but only brief meditation training reduced fatigue, anxiety, and increased mindfulness. Moreover, brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning. Our findings suggest that 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators. (shrink)
We argue that current discussions of criteria for actual causation are ill-posed in several respects. (1) The methodology of current discussions is by induction from intuitions about an infinitesimal fraction of the possible examples and counterexamples; (2) cases with larger numbers of causes generate novel puzzles; (3) “neuron” and causal Bayes net diagrams are, as deployed in discussions of actual causation, almost always ambiguous; (4) actual causation is (intuitively) relative to an initial system state since state changes are relevant, but (...) most current accounts ignore state changes through time; (5) more generally, there is no reason to think that philosophical judgements about these sorts of cases are normative; but (6) there is a dearth of relevant psychological research that bears on whether various philosophical accounts are descriptive. Our skepticism is not directed towards the possibility of a correct account of actual causation; rather, we argue that standard methods will not lead to such an account. A different approach is required. Once upon a time a hungry wanderer came into a village. He filled an iron cauldron with water, built a fire under it, and dropped a stone into the water. “I do like a tasty stone soup” he announced. Soon a villager added a cabbage to the pot, another added some salt and others added potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was a meal for all. (shrink)
It is argued that “human-centredness” will be an important characteristic of systems that learn tasks from human users, as the difficulties in inductive inference rule out learning without human assistance. The aim of “programming by example” is to create systems that learn how to perform tasks from their human users by being shown examples of what is to be done. Just as the user creates a learning environment for the system, so the system provides a teaching opportunity for the user, (...) and emphasis is placed as much on facilitating successful teaching as on incorporating techniques of machine learning. If systems can “learn” repetitive tasks, their users will have the power to decide for themselves which parts of their jobs should be automated, and teach the system how to do them — reducing their dependence on intermediaries such as system designers and programmers.This paper presents principles for programming by example derived from experience in creating four prototype learners: for technical drawing, text editing, office tasks, and robot assembly. A teaching metaphor (a) enables the user to demonstrate a task by performing it manually, (b) helps to explain the learner's limited capabilities in terms of a persona, and (c) allows users to attribute intentionality. Tasks are represented procedurally, and augmented with constraints. Suitable mechanisms for attention focusing are necessary in order to control inductive search. Hidden features of a task should be made explicit so that the learner need not embark on the huge search entailed by hypothesizing missing steps. (shrink)
America's research universities, approximately 125 in number,play important roles in the nation's research system, and help toset the tone for all institutions of research and higherlearning. As the research universities have formed closer linkswith industry, new problems have arisen that have precipitated amajor debate. The academic medical centres and related lifescience departments present some of the most challenging newissues, which are analysed in this paper within the framework ofthe biomedical research system that has evolved in the UnitedStates since the Second (...) World War. (shrink)
David V. Ciavatta: Spirit, the family, and the unconscious in Hegel’s philosophy Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11007-012-9222-0 Authors Bruce Gilbert, Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke (Lennoxville), QC, Canada Journal Continental Philosophy Review Online ISSN 1573-1103 Print ISSN 1387-2842.
The design argument was rebutted by David Hume. He argued that the world and its contents (such as organisms) were not analogous to human artifacts. Hume further suggested that there were equally plausible alternatives to design to explain the organized complexity of the cosmos, such as random processes in multiple universes, or that matter could have inherent properties to self-organize, absent any external crafting. William Paley, writing after Hume, argued that the functional complexity of living beings, however, defied naturalistic (...) explanations. In effect he dared anyone to come up with an alternative to his inference to design, and hence a designer, outside of nature. Charles Darwin explained the apparent design of functional complexity by his theory of natural selection. Asa Gray, however, in essays as well as in correspondence with Darwin argued that natural selection allowed for a type of ' evolutionary teleology' in which design at most could be considered the result of universal principles. F. E. Hicks updated Hume by specifically objecting to the use of design arguments by Paley. Hicks argued that the apparent design seen in nature reflected order at a deep level in nature. The design argument was briefly revived by Lawrence Henderson early in the twentieth century but he ultimately concluded that design and teleology were not necessarily mutually entailing and he retracted his design argument in favor of one that he termed ' natural teleology'. The current claims of ' intelligent design' have the same logical problems that have beset previous design arguments. If design is divorced from teleology and its discontents put behind us, then there is a possibility that the latter can have a place in the development of theories to explain the phenomena of emergent complexity. (shrink)
What is the status of belief in God? Must a rational case be made or can such belief be properly basic? Is it possible to reconcile the concept of a good God with evil and suffering? In light of great differences among religions, can only one religion be true? The most comprehensive work of its kind, Reason and Religious Belief, now in its fourth edition, explores these and other perennial questions in the philosophy of religion. Drawing from the best in (...) both classical and contemporary discussions, the authors examine religious experience, faith and reason, the divine attributes, arguments for and against the existence of God, divine action (in various forms of theism), Reformed epistemology, religious language, religious diversity, religion and science, and much more. Retaining the engaging style and thorough coverage of previous editions, the fifth edition features revised treatments of omnipotence, miracles, and providence and updated suggestions for further reading. A sophisticated yet accessible introduction, Reason and Religious Belief, Third Edition, is ideally suited for use with the authors' companion anthology, Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings, Fifth Edition (OUP, 2015). (shrink)
Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better to be immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Since Life, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions first appeared, David Benatar's distinctive anthology designed to introduce students to the key existential questions of philosophy has won a devoted following among users in a variety of upper-level and even introductory courses.
In ’Abortion and deprivation: a reply to Marquis’, Anna Christensen contends that Don Marquis’ influential ’future like ours’ argument for the immorality of abortion faces a significant challenge from the Epicurean claim that human beings cannot be harmed by their death. If deprivation requires a subject, then abortion cannot deprive a fetus of a future of value, as no individual exists to be deprived once death has occurred. However, the Epicurean account also implies that the wrongness of murder is also (...) not grounded in the badness of death, which is strongly counterintuitive. There is an alternative: we can save our intuitions by adopting a more moderate Epicurean account such as that proposed by David Hershenov, who grounds the wrongness of killing in the prevention of the benefit of further good life rather than in the badness of death. Hershenov’s account, however, is equally applicable to Marquis’ argument: abortion similarly prevents a fetus from enjoying the benefit of a future like ours. Consequently, we conclude that Christensen’s criticism of Marquis’ argument fails to undermine his reasoning. (shrink)
Plato believes in the existence of Forms—eternal models or exemplars of which objects in our world in time and space are copies, and his Theory of Forms lies at the center of his philosophy. But according to the common wisdom, Plato raised the Third Man objection against his own Theory of Forms in the Parmenides. According to this objection, each Form is supposed to have the very characteristic it is supposed to be , and this leads to an infinite regress (...) of each Form . This book defends the view that a mysterious plural phrase at Phaedo 74 shows that the Self-Predication Assumption is both plausible and leads to no infinite regress of Forms. The Self-Predication Assumption in Plato is an essential resource for scholars, specialists, and students with an interest in ancient philosophy and classics. (shrink)