The Cell Ontology (CL) is designed to provide a standardized representation of cell types for data annotation. Currently, the CL employs multiple is_a relations, defining cell types in terms of histological, functional, and lineage properties, and the majority of definitions are written with sufficient generality to hold across multiple species. This approach limits the CL’s utility for cross-species data integration. To address this problem, we developed a method for the ontological representation of cells and applied this method to develop a (...) dendritic cell ontology (DC-CL). DC-CL subtypes are delineated on the basis of surface protein expression, systematically including both species-general and species-specific types and optimizing DC-CL for the analysis of flow cytometry data. This approach brings benefits in the form of increased accuracy, support for reasoning, and interoperability with other ontology resources. 104. Barry Smith, “Toward a Realistic Science of Environments”, Ecological Psychology, 2009, 21 (2), April-June, 121-130. Abstract: The perceptual psychologist J. J. Gibson embraces a radically externalistic view of mind and action. We have, for Gibson, not a Cartesian mind or soul, with its interior theater of contents and the consequent problem of explaining how this mind or soul and its psychological environment can succeed in grasping physical objects external to itself. Rather, we have a perceiving, acting organism, whose perceptions and actions are always already tuned to the parts and moments, the things and surfaces, of its external environment. We describe how on this basis Gibson sought to develop a realist science of environments which will be ‘consistent with physics, mechanics, optics, acoustics, and chemistry’. (shrink)
The Plant Ontology (PO) (http://www.plantontology.org) (Jaiswal et al., 2005; Avraham et al., 2008) was designed to facilitate cross-database querying and to foster consistent use of plant-specific terminology in annotation. As new data are generated from the ever-expanding list of plant genome projects, the need for a consistent, cross-taxon vocabulary has grown. To meet this need, the PO is being expanded to represent all plants. This is the first ontology designed to encompass anatomical structures as well as growth and developmental stages (...) across such a broad taxonomic range. While other ontologies such as the Gene Ontology (GO) (The Gene Ontology Consortium, 2010) or Cell Type Ontology (CL) (Bard et al., 2005) cover all living organisms, they are confined to structures at the cellular level and below. The diversity of growth forms and life histories within plants presents a challenge, but also provides unique opportunities to study developmental and evolutionary homology across organisms. (shrink)
To enhance the treatment of relations in biomedical ontologies we advance a methodology for providing consistent and unambiguous formal definitions of the relational expressions used in such ontologies in a way designed to assist developers and users in avoiding errors in coding and annotation. The resulting Relation Ontology can promote interoperability of ontologies and support new types of automated reasoning about the spatial and temporal dimensions of biological and medical phenomena.
A wide variety of ontologies relevant to the biological and medical domains are available through the OBO Foundry portal, and their number is growing rapidly. Integration of these ontologies, while requiring considerable effort, is extremely desirable. However, heterogeneities in format and style pose serious obstacles to such integration. In particular, inconsistencies in naming conventions can impair the readability and navigability of ontology class hierarchies, and hinder their alignment and integration. While other sources of diversity are tremendously complex and challenging, agreeing (...) a set of common naming conventions is an achievable goal, particularly if those conventions are based on lessons drawn from pooled practical experience and surveys of community opinion. We summarize a review of existing naming conventions and highlight certain disadvantages with respect to general applicability in the biological domain. We also present the results of a survey carried out to establish which naming conventions are currently employed by OBO Foundry ontologies and to determine what their special requirements regarding the naming of entities might be. Lastly, we propose an initial set of typographic, syntactic and semantic conventions for labelling classes in OBO Foundry ontologies. Adherence to common naming conventions is more than just a matter of aesthetics. Such conventions provide guidance to ontology creators, help developers avoid flaws and inaccuracies when editing, and especially when interlinking, ontologies. Common naming conventions will also assist consumers of ontologies to more readily understand what meanings were intended by the authors of ontologies used in annotating bodies of data. (shrink)
The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is a consortium that comprises leading informaticians, biologists, clinicians, and ontologists, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap, to develop innovative technology and methods that allow scientists to record, manage, and disseminate biomedical information and knowledge in machine-processable form. The goals of the Center are (1) to help unify the divergent and isolated efforts in ontology development by promoting high quality open-source, standards-based tools to create, manage, and use ontologies, (2) to create (...) new software tools so that scientists can use ontologies to annotate and analyze biomedical data, (3) to provide a national resource for the ongoing evaluation, integration, and evolution of biomedical ontologies and associated tools and theories in the context of driving biomedical projects (DBPs), and (4) to disseminate the tools and resources of the Center and to identify, evaluate, and communicate best practices of ontology development to the biomedical community. Through the research activities within the Center, collaborations with the DBPs, and interactions with the biomedical community, our goal is to help scientists to work more effectively in the e-science paradigm, enhancing experiment design, experiment execution, data analysis, information synthesis, hypothesis generation and testing, and understand human disease. (shrink)
The Common Anatomy Reference Ontology (CARO) is being developed to facilitate interoperability between existing anatomy ontologies for different species, and will provide a template for building new anatomy ontologies. CARO has a structural axis of classification based on the top-level nodes of the Foundational Model of Anatomy. CARO will complement the developmental process sub-ontology of the GO Biological Process ontology, using it to ensure the coherent treatment of developmental stages, and to provide a common framework for the model organism communities (...) to classify developmental structures. Definitions for the types and relationships are being generated by a consortium of investigators from diverse backgrounds to ensure applicability to all organisms. CARO will support the coordination of cross-species ontologies at all levels of anatomical granularity by cross-referencing types within the cell type ontology (CL) and the Gene Ontology (GO) Cellular Component ontology. A complete cross-species CARO could be utilized in other ontologies for cross-product generation. (shrink)
The Planteome project provides a suite of reference and species-specific ontologies for plants and annotations to genes and phenotypes. Ontologies serve as common standards for semantic integration of a large and growing corpus of plant genomics, phenomics and genetics data. The reference ontologies include the Plant Ontology, Plant Trait Ontology, and the Plant Experimental Conditions Ontology developed by the Planteome project, along with the Gene Ontology, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest, Phenotype and Attribute Ontology, and others. The project also provides (...) access to species-specific Crop Ontologies developed by various plant breeding and research communities from around the world. We provide integrated data on plant traits, phenotypes, and gene function and expression from 95 plant taxa, annotated with reference ontology terms. (shrink)
Vaccine research, as well as the development, testing, clinical trials, and commercial uses of vaccines involve complex processes with various biological data that include gene and protein expression, analysis of molecular and cellular interactions, study of tissue and whole body responses, and extensive epidemiological modeling. Although many data resources are available to meet different aspects of vaccine needs, it remains a challenge how we are to standardize vaccine annotation, integrate data about varied vaccine types and resources, and support advanced vaccine (...) data analysis and inference. To address these problems, the community-based Vaccine Ontology (VO) has been developed through collaboration with vaccine researchers and many national and international centers and programs, including the National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO), the Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO) Initiative, and the Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI). VO utilizes the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) as the top ontology and the Relation Ontology (RO) for definition of term relationships. VO is represented in the Web Ontology Language (OWL) and edited using the Protégé-OWL. Currently VO contains more than 2000 terms and relationships. VO emphasizes on classification of vaccines and vaccine components, vaccine quality and phenotypes, and host immune response to vaccines. These reflect different aspects of vaccine composition and biology and can thus be used to model individual vaccines. More than 200 licensed vaccines and many vaccine candidates in research or clinical trials have been modeled in VO. VO is being used for vaccine literature mining through collaboration with the National Center for Integrative Biomedical Informatics (NCIBI). Multiple VO applications will be presented. (shrink)
While recognising the power and fundamental importance of Wickham’s Framing the Early Middle Ages, this essay explores some of the problems associated with the relative silence within the text about the issue of the forces of production and their development. By contrast, Harman suggests that Wickham’s most important contribution to our understanding of the period, his concept of a peasant-mode of production, is best understood against the backdrop of prior developments of the forces of production. Moreover, the peasant-mode’s temporality is (...) itself best understood against the background of further developments of the forces of production. (shrink)
Sciabarra replies to the seven respondents to his Fall 2002 essay on Rand, Rush, and progressive rock music. He defends the view that Rand's dialectical orientation underlies a fundamentally radical perspective. Rand shared with the counterculture—especially its libertarian progressive rock representatives—a repudiation of authoritarianism, while embracing the "unknown ideal" of capitalism. Her ability to trace the interrelationships among personal, cultural, and structural factors in social analysis and her repudiation of false alternatives is at the heart of that ideal vision, which (...) transcends left and right. (shrink)
The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods contains twenty-six original and substantive papers examining a wide selection of philosophical methods. Drawing upon an international range of leading contributors, this Handbook will help shape future debates about how philosophy should be done. Topics explored include philosophical disagreement, thought experiments, intuitions, rational reflection, conceptual analysis, explanation, parsimony, and experimental philosophy. Written in a clear and accessible form, and drawing upon the most recent thinking in the field, the papers will be of particular interest (...) to researchers and high-level undergraduates. (shrink)
People can laugh at almost anything. What’s the deal with that? What makes something funny? -/- This essay reviews some theories of what it is for something to be funny. Each theory offers insights into this question, but no single approach provides a comprehensive answer.
Presenting a thorough examination of the sacred forests of Asia, this volume engages with dynamic new scholarly dialogues on the nature of sacred space, place, landscape, and ecology in the context of the sharply contested ideas of the Anthropocene. Given the vast geographic range of sacred groves in Asia, this volume discusses the diversity of associated cosmologies, ecologies, traditional local resource management practices, and environmental governance systems developed during the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial periods. Adopting theoretical perspectives from political ecology, (...) the book views ecology and polity as constitutive elements interacting within local, regional, and global networks. Readers will find the very first systematic comparative analysis of sacred forests that include the karchall mabhuy of the Katu people of Central Vietnam, the leuweng kolot of the Baduy people of West Java, the fengshui forests of southern China, the groves to the goddess Sarna Mata worshiped by the Oraon people of Jharkhand India, the mauelsoop and bibosoop of Korea, and many more. Comprising in-depth, field-based case study, each chapter shows how the forest's sacrality must not be conceptually delinked from its roles in common property regimes, resource security, spiritual matters of ultimate concern, and cultural identity. This volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of indigenous studies, environmental anthropology, political ecology, geography, religion and heritage, nature conservation, environmental protection, and Asian Studies. (shrink)
Oppression is easily recognized. That is, at least, when oppression results from overt, consciously professed racism, for example, in which violence, explicit exclusion from economic opportunities, denial of adequate legal access, and open discrimination perpetuate the subjugation of a group of people. There are relatively clear legal remedies to such oppression. But this is not the case with covert oppression where the psychological harms and resulting legal and economic exclusion are every bit as real, but caused by concealed mechanisms subtly (...) and systematically employed. In many cases, those with power and privilege use cultural stereotypes in order to sustain an unjust status quo. This is so even if the biases are implicit, automatic, and contrary to the consciously professed beliefs of the stereotyper. Furthermore, since many of these biases are not consciously reasoned into one's system of beliefs, and since they are notoriously difficult to bring to consciousness and dislodge via direct, logical confrontation, some other creative means of resistance is needed. I argue that an indirect and imaginative route through subversive humor offers a means to raise consciousness about covert oppression and the mechanisms underlying it, reveal the errors of those with power who complacently sustain systematic oppression, and even open those people up to changing their minds. Subversive humor confronts serious matters, but in a playful manner that fosters creative and critical thinking, and cultivates a desire and skill for recognizing incongruities between our professed ideals and a reality that does not meet those standards. Successful subversive wits create fictional scenarios that highlight such moral incongruities, but, like philosophical thought experiments, they reveal a moral truth that also holds in the real world. Such humor offers opportunities for "border crossing" where the audience is encouraged to see from the perspectives of marginalized people who, because they inhabit ambiguous spaces in between the dominant and subordinate spheres, are in an epistemically privileged position with respect to matters of oppression. Subversive humorists open their audiences to the lived experiences of others, uncover the absurdities of otherwise covert oppression, and appeal to our desire to be truthful and just. (shrink)
Recent clinical trials show that psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin can be given safely in controlled conditions, and can cause lasting psychological benefits with one or two administrations. Supervised psychedelic sessions can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and addiction, and improve well-being in healthy volunteers, for months or even years. But these benefits seem to be mediated by "mystical" experiences of cosmic consciousness, which prompts a philosophical concern: do psychedelics cause psychological benefits by inducing false or implausible beliefs about (...) the metaphysical nature of reality? This book is the first scholarly monograph in English devoted to the philosophical analysis of psychedelic drugs. Its central focus is the apparent conflict between the growing use of psychedelics in psychiatry and the philosophical worldview of naturalism. Within the book, Letheby integrates empirical evidence and philosophical considerations in the service of a simple conclusion: this "Comforting Delusion Objection" to psychedelic therapy fails. While exotic metaphysical ideas do sometimes come up, they are not, on closer inspection, the central driver of change in psychedelic therapy. Psychedelics lead to lasting benefits by altering the sense of self, and changing how people relate to their own minds and lives-not by changing their beliefs about the ultimate nature of reality. The upshot is that a traditional conception of psychedelics as agents of insight and spirituality can be reconciled with naturalism (the philosophical position that the natural world is all there is). Controlled psychedelic use can lead to genuine forms of knowledge gain and spiritual growth-even if no Cosmic Consciousness or transcendent divine Reality exists. Philosophy of Psychedelics is an indispensable guide to the literature for researchers already engaged in the field of psychedelic psychiatry, and for researchers-especially philosophers-who want to become acquainted with this increasingly topical field. (shrink)
This paper begins by taking seriously former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ response in his What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? to systematic violence and oppression. He claims that direct argumentation is not the ideal mode of resistance to oppression: “At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.” I will focus on a few elements of this playful mode of resistance that conflict with the more straightforward strivings for abstract, universal, objective, convergent, absolute (...) thinking that champions reason over emotion, logic over narrative, and science over lived experience. In contrast, the type of protest employed by people like Douglass can utilize aesthetics and logic, playfulness and seriousness, emotion, even anger, and reason. Douglass provides examples of humorous, sincere parrhesia, oscillating between the lexicon of the dominant sphere and the critical reflection from a trickster on the margins. This will require an analysis of Michel Foucault’s conception of parrhesia: courageous truth-telling in the face of powerful people or institutions. It is a study of humor in the parrhesiastes, an element I think neglected by Foucault. I argue that the humorous parrhesiastes offers a mode of resistance which can subvert oppressive power structures that perpetuate injustice, revealing the fact that humor can be integral in courageous truth-telling. (shrink)
It's easy and reflexive to view our online presence as fake, to see the internet as a space we enter when we aren't living our real, offline lives. Yet so much of who we are and what we do now happens online, making it hard to know which parts of our lives are real. IRL, Chris Stedman's personal and searing exploration of authenticity in the digital age, shines a light on how age-old notions of realness--who we are and where (...) we fit in the world--can be freshly understood in our increasingly online lives. Stedman offers a different way of seeing the supposed split between our online and offline selves: the internet and social media are new tools for understanding and expressing ourselves, and the not-always-graceful ways we use these tools can reveal new insights into far older human behaviors and desires. IRL invites us to consider how we use the internet to fulfill the essential human need to feel real--a need many of us once met in institutions, but now seek to do on our own, online--as well as the ways we edit or curate ourselves for digital audiences. The digital search for meaning and belonging presents challenges, Stedman suggests, but also myriad opportunities to become more fully human. In the end, he makes a bold case for embracing realness in all of its uncertainty, online and off, even when it feels risky. -- from jacket. (shrink)
Users of psychedelic drugs often report that their sense of being a self or ‘I’ distinct from the rest of the world has diminished or altogether dissolved. Neuroscientific study of such ‘ego dissolution’ experiences offers a window onto the nature of self-awareness. We argue that ego dissolution is best explained by an account that explains self-awareness as resulting from the integrated functioning of hierarchical predictive models which posit the existence of a stable and unchanging entity to which representations are bound. (...) Combining recent work on the ‘integrative self' and the phenomenon of self-binding with predictive processing principles yields an explanation of ego dissolution according to which self-representation is a useful Cartesian fiction: an ultimately false representation of a simple and enduring substance to which attributes are bound which serves to integrate and unify cognitive processing across levels and domains. The self-model is not a mere narrative posit, as some have suggested; it has a more robust and ubiquitous cognitive function than that. But this does not mean, as others have claimed, that the self-model has the right attributes to qualify as a self. It performs some of the right kinds of functions, but it is not the right kind of entity. Ego dissolution experiences reveal that the self-model plays an important binding function in cognitive processing, but the self does not exist. (shrink)
In this book, Chris Boesel argues that Derrida’s misreading of Fear and Trembling is the source of a blind spot in deconstructive engagements with “confessional faith,” erasing the Kierkegaardian possibility of a “deconstructive deconstructibility” that disrupts human mastery over God and neighbor and calls for concrete commitments to justice.
This paper is an enquiry into the logical, metaphysical, and physical possibility of time travel understood in the sense of the existence of closed worldlines that can be traced out by physical objects. We argue that none of the purported paradoxes rule out time travel either on grounds of logic or metaphysics. More relevantly, modern spacetime theories such as general relativity seem to permit models that feature closed worldlines. We discuss, in the context of Gödel's infamous argument for the ideality (...) of time based on his eponymous spacetime, what this apparent physical possibility of time travel means. Furthermore, we review the recent literature on so-called time machines, i.e., of devices that produce closed worldlines where none would have existed otherwise. Finally, we investigate what the implications of the quantum behaviour of matter for the possibility of time travel might be and explicate in what sense time travel might be possible according to leading contenders for full quantum theories of gravity such as string theory and loop quantum gravity. (shrink)
This book takes concepts developed by researchers in theoretical computer science and adapts and applies them to the study of natural language meaning. Summarizing over a decade of research, Chris Barker and Chung-chieh Shan put forward the Continuation Hypothesis: that the meaning of a natural language expression can depend on its own continuation.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Killing Our Way Out of ViolenceEngaging Wrangham's The Goodness ParadoxChris Haw (bio) and Richard Wrangham (bio)Wrangham's Goodness Paradox (GP) offers excellent anthropological research for mimetic theorists interested in the questions of human evolution and violence. It theorizes a framework of how group killing played a selective function in the emergence of our species, but it leaves open plenty of questions and concerns for productive, critical dialogue. Wolfgang Palaver has (...) written a short affirmation of the book, and Melvin Konner reviewed it for The Atlantic.1 But as one who has taken keen interest in the evolutionary and theological dimensions of mimetic theory,2 I offer here a longer engagement with the book and the author. I begin by extrapolating Wrangham's argument, I offer some critique, and then I share an edited version of my extended conversation with him.Wrangham's overall paradox is that humanity emerged through killing our way out of violence. More precisely, proactive coalitionary killing against aggressive, alpha-male individuals selected out, in a genetic pressure over hundreds of thousands of years, the more temperamental threads of Homo, resulting in a species (sapiens) who are relatively more domesticated and docile.3 [End Page 63]The argument proceeds as follows. First: Domestication is a real, genetic thing. Various domesticated species tend to share an odd, seemingly unrelated set of features called a "domestication syndrome." This refers to some combination of phenotype differences as compared to nondomesticated cousins: reduced skeleton mass, reduced/rounder cranium sizes and jaw lines, floppier ears, white patches of fur, extended juvenility, more frequent fertile periods, males with greater approximation to female characteristics, and so on. Beneath all these is a genetic reduction in "reactive aggression," which is the propensity for violence related to irascibility and short-fused tempers.Two: Domestication can happen intentionally or just randomly in nature. Humans have domesticated foxes in quick succession, breeding only ones with reduced reactive aggression, resulting in a domestication syndrome.4 The same seems to have happened slowly, with increasing intentionality over time, in the domestication of wolves into dogs. (This perhaps first began with the natural selection of wolves who were least aggravated by getting near humans to eat their camp detritus.) But domestication can also happen outside the human sphere, as in bonobos, who are basically a domesticated cousin of chimpanzees—evidenced not only in their reduced aggression but in their own domestication syndrome.5 This happened, he argues, largely through contingent, niche ecological features related to landscape, dramatic climate variations, and changes in competition over food.Three: It has long been asked whether humans are a "domesticated" species or whether such a thought is just anthropocentrism. The answer is definitely yes, but who domesticated us? A traditional answer, of course, was that God made us (or that some humans are properly domesticated, and others savage); but what if we ask in a more specifically scientific, causal framework? One early anthropologist posed that perhaps some now-extinct super-species domesticated us.6 Wrangham's answer is that we unintentionally domesticated ourselves by persistently killing off the genetic lines of the most aggressive individuals. This has resulted in Homo sapiens being basically a domesticated version of Homo neanderthalensis, erectus, and so on. Girard's not-unrelated answer is that religion domesticated us. By "religion" Girard means an integrated pattern of chaotic/exceptional and ordered/normal behaviors that contain violence, mediated through our mimetic capacity: chaotic mimetic violence restrained and channeled through mimetic ritual, taboo, and myth. This created an increasing feedback loop that exercised and intensified our mimetic capacity while protecting against its dangerous excess. Whatever the case, compared with our hominin cousins, the human phenotype shows strong signs of a domestication [End Page 64] syndrome: reduced cranium and jaw sizes, smaller skeleton mass, and a likely decreased reactive aggression in comparison to previous Homo.Fourth, and finally: Wrangham argues this domestication is related to a long, prehuman arc of transition, throughout the mid-Pleistocene (the Pleistocene ranges from about 2 million years ago to the thawing of the last ice age, 12,000 years ago), from older alpha-dominance patterns to tyrannies of egalitarian patriarchy. Wrangham draws upon hunter... (shrink)
In this book, Chris W. Surprenant puts forward an original position concerning Kant’s practical philosophy and the intersection between his moral and political philosophy. Although Kant provides a detailed account of the nature of morality, the nature of human virtue, and how right manifests itself in civil society, he does not explain fully how individuals are able to become virtuous. This book aims to resolve this problem by showing how an individual is able to cultivate virtue, the aim of (...) Kant’s practical philosophy. Through an examination of Kant’s accounts of autonomy, the state, and religion, and their effects on the cultivation of virtue, Surprenant develops a Kantian framework for moral education, and ultimately raises the question of whether or not Kantian virtue is possible in practice. (shrink)
In this paper, on the basis of psychological research concerning psychopathy, I argue against one claim a moral rationalist—such as Michael Smith —might make. First, I distinguish three rationalist claims the moral rationalist might make: the rationalists' conceptual claim, the rationalists' substantial claim, and the practicality requirement. Then, I go on to discuss some of the subtle relations between these claims. I argue that, if we have reason to reject the rationalists' substantial claim, this gives us prima facie reason to (...) reject the rationalists' conceptual claim as well, or else to accept the view that there are no substantial truths of morality. Next, I present evidence from psychological research on psychopaths, and argue that these considerations undermine the rationalists' substantial claim. Lastly, I consider a few replies on behalf of Smith, and conclude that they are not successful in defeating my arguments against the rationalists' substantial claim. (shrink)
Siyaves Azeri (2020) quite well shows that arithmetical thinking emerges on the basis of specific social practices and material engagement (clay tokens for economic exchange practices beget number concepts, e.g.). But his discussion here is relegated mostly to Neolithic and Bronze Age practices. While surely such practices produced revolutions in the cognitive abilities of many humans, much of the cognitive architecture that allows normative conceptual thought was already in place long before this time. This response, then, is an attempt to (...) sketch the deep prehistory of human cognition in order to show the inter-social bases of normative thought in general. To do this, I will look first to the work of Vygotsky and Leontiev, two often neglected psychologists whose combined efforts culminate in a developmental account of human cognitive origins. Then, I will review some key insights from the contemporary comparative psychologist Michael Tomasello—whose project is admittedly a Vygotskian one—in order to further shed light on the social-practical basis of abstract thought, of which mathematical cognition is surely a part. (shrink)
L.S. Vygotsky’s “regulative” account of the development of human thinking hinges on the centralization of “directive” speech acts (commands or imperatives). With directives, one directs the activity of another, and in turn begins to “self-direct” (or self-regulate). It’s my claim that Vygotsky’s reliance on directives de facto keeps his account stuck at Tomasello's level of individual intentionality. Directive speech acts feature prominently in Tomasello’s developmental story as well. But Tomasello has the benefit of accounting for a functional differentiation in directive (...) communication—i.e., in collaborative activity, the command gives way to both the request and informational assertion. Lacking such differentiation, Vygotsky’s account runs the risk of playing to a rather strident conception of the socius, one more Machiavellian than Marxist. (shrink)
This article explores the arguments for architecture having an identifiable essence equivalent to Heidegger's concept of 'dwelling' and place identity, versus those who claim it is no more than a 'hybrid' collection of many different technical, social and cultural practices. The opposing positions in architecture are compared by analogy with the opposing theories of language which underly them, the latter position being associated with the universalist theory of language propagated by Chomsky, while the purpose of architecture in identity formation is (...) compared with Wittgenstein's theory of the interdependence between language and human behaviour as a 'form of life'. As an example, the author points to colonial architecture as a clear case where people retain 'that part of their identity which is their architecture'. The author concludes that, in so far as objects also have meanings, then the physical environment must also be taken into account in the evolution of mind. (shrink)
Psychedelic ingestion and meditative practice are both ancient methods for altering consciousness that became widely known in Western society in the second half of the 20th century. Do the similarities begin and end there, or do these methods – as many have claimed over the years – share some deeper common elements? In this chapter I take a neurophilosophical approach to this question and argue that there are, indeed, deeper commonalities. Recent empirical studies show that psychedelics and meditation modulate overlapping (...) brain networks involved in the sense of self, salience, and attention; moreover, psychedelics can occasion lasting increases in “mindfulness-related capacities” for taking a non-reactive stance on one’s inner experience (e.g. Sampedro et al. 2017). The self-binding theory of psychedelic ego dissolution (Letheby and Gerrans 2017) offers a plausible explanation of these findings: by disrupting self-related beliefs implemented in high-level cortical networks, both psychedelics and meditation can “unbind” mental contents from one’s self-model, moving these contents along the continuum from phenomenal transparency to opacity (cf. Metzinger 2003). In other words, both psychedelics and meditation can expose and weaken our foundational beliefs about our own identity, allowing us to disidentify with these beliefs and see them as “just thoughts”. There are connections between these ideas and recent arguments suggesting that psychedelic use may have epistemic benefits consistent with philosophical naturalism (Letheby 2015, 2016, 2019). I conclude with a proposal: these connections may help in thinking about the putative epistemic benefits of meditation practice from a naturalistic perspective. (shrink)
This article examines the prospects for an authentic regional architecture in the light of alternative development paradigms. It is argued that the failure of orthodox development strategies and the domination of western culture, including architecture, over non-Western cultures, is due to fundamental imbalances between northern and southern economic structures. By contrast, ecodevelopment, appropriate technology and regional architecture all represent significant devolutionary movements toward a global “eco-culture.” A cultural typology placing eco-culture in historical perspective is outlined. It is concluded that, to (...) be fully effective, changes in development patterns in the south have to be matched by equivalent cultural changes in the North. (shrink)
Author of _The Fountainhead_ and _Atlas Shrugged_, Ayn Rand is one of the most widely read philosophers of the twentieth century. Yet, despite the sale of over thirty million copies of her works, there have been few serious scholarly examinations of her thought. _Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical_ provides a comprehensive analysis of the intellectual roots and philosophy of this controversial thinker. It has been nearly twenty years since the original publication of Chris Sciabarra’s _Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical_. (...) Those years have witnessed an explosive increase in Rand sightings across the social landscape: in books on philosophy, politics, and culture; in film and literature; and in contemporary American politics, from the rise of the Tea Party to recent presidential campaigns. During this time Sciabarra continued to work toward the reclamation of the dialectical method in the service of a radical libertarian politics, culminating in his book _Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism_. This new edition of _Ayn Rand_ adds two chapters that provide in-depth analysis of the most complete transcripts to date documenting Rand’s education at Petrograd State University. It includes a new preface that places the book in the context of Sciabarra’s own research and the recent expansion of interest in Rand’s beliefs. And finally, this edition adds a postscript that answers a recent critic of Sciabarra’s historical work on Rand. Shoshana Milgram, Rand’s biographer, has tried to cast doubt on Rand’s own recollections of having studied with the famous Russian philosopher N. O. Lossky. Sciabarra shows that Milgram’s analysis fails to cast doubt on Rand’s recollections—or on Sciabarra’s historical thesis. (shrink)
Can there be phenomenal consciousness without self-consciousness? Strong intuitions and prominent theories of consciousness say “no”: experience requires minimal self-awareness, or “subjectivity”. This “subjectivity principle” faces apparent counterexamples in the form of anomalous mental states claimed to lack self-consciousness entirely, such as “inserted thoughts” in schizophrenia and certain mental states in depersonalization disorder. However, Billon & Kriegel have defended SP by arguing that while some of these mental states may be totally selfless, those states are not phenomenally conscious and thus (...) do not constitute genuine counterexamples to SP. I argue that this defence cannot work in relation to certain experiences of ego dissolution induced by potent fast-acting serotonergic psychedelics. These mental states jointly instantiate the two features whose co-instantiation by a single mental state SP prohibits: phenomenal consciousness and total lack of self-consciousness. One possible objection is that these mental states may lack “me-ness” and “mineness” but cannot lack “for-me-ness”, a special inner awareness of mental states by the self. In response I propose a dilemma. For-me-ness can be defined either as containing a genuinely experiential component or as not. On the first horn, for-me-ness is clearly absent from my counterexamples. On the second horn, for-me-ness has been defined in a way that conflicts with the claims and methods of its proponents, and the claim that phenomenally conscious mental states can totally lack self-consciousness has been conceded. I conclude with some reflections on the intuitive plausibility of SP in light of evidence from altered states. (shrink)
the smallest scales-why a molecule of water gets hot in a microwave oven, or how a uranium atom splits in a nuclear reactor. The rules of quantum mechanics are often counterintuitive and seem incompatible with our everyday experiences. Over the past century, deeper understanding of quantum mechanics has given scientists better control of the quantum world and quantum effects. This control provides technologists with new ways to acquire, process, and transmit information as part of a new scientific field known as (...) quantum information science (QIS). (shrink)
Provides a comprehensive overview of the philosophy of propositions, from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Comprising 33 original chapters by an international team of scholars, the volume addresses both traditional and emerging questions concerning the nature of propositions.