Crespi & Badcock (C&B) provide a novel hypothesis outlining a role for imprinted genes in mediating brain functions underlying social behaviours. The basic premise is that maternally expressed genes are predicted to promote hypermentalistic behaviours, and paternally expressed genes hypomentalistic behaviours. The authors provide a detailed overview of data supporting their ideas, but as we discuss, caution should be applied in interpreting these data.
Neuroscientists are searching for the engram within the conceptual framework established by John Locke's theory of mind. This framework was elaborated before the development of information theory, before the development of information processing machines and the science of computation, before the discovery that molecules carry hereditary information, before the discovery of the codon code and the molecular machinery for editing the messages written in this code and translating it into transcription factors that mark abstract features of organic structure such as (...) anterior and distal. The search for the engram needs to abandon Locke's conceptual framework and work within a framework informed by these developments. The engram is the medium by which information extracted from past experience is transmitted to the computations that inform future behavior. The information-conveying symbols in the engram are rapidly generated in the course of computations, which implies that they are molecules. (shrink)
Gottlob Schulze has been almost totally neglected by English-speaking philosophers and historians of philosophy. His German commentators have been almost unanimous in their claim that his "positivism" arises out of a misunderstanding of Kant’s transcendental method and an ability to connect the various subdivisions of his own philosophical system. The present study will probably do little to set aside that verdict. Schulze’s "positivism" is more Comtean than Kantian, though the general architectonic of his "system," however ill-fitted its parts, owes much (...) to the critical philosophy. (shrink)
The Augustan Age in Scotland was the half-century between the publication of Hume's Treatise on Human Nature and the death of Robert Burns in 1796. In this period Edinburgh was at her height as a cultural centre. This is a 1956 study of eminent Scot Adam Smith - author of The Wealth of Nations - and the Scotland in which he lived and wrote. It also examines the contribution which he and his fellow-countrymen made to the accomplishment of the eighteenth (...) century in many fields. Dr Fay begins with a brief account of Smith's life, and goes on to describe the eighteenth-century Kirkcaldy where he spent his youth, the Glasgow where he matured, and the Edinburgh which gave him fulfilment. We are told of the part Smith played in the development of Political Economy as a science, and the book closes with an account of his relationships with such men as Townshend, Gibbon and Benjamin Franklin. (shrink)