This paper contrasts three different schemes of reference relevant to understanding systems of perceptual representation: a location-based system dubbed "feature-placing", a system of "visual indices" referring to things called "proto-objects", and the full sortal-based individuation allowed by a natural language. The first three sections summarize some of the key arguments (in Clark, 2000) to the effect that the early, parallel, and pre-attentive registration of sensory features itself constitutes a simple system of nonconceptual mental representation. In particular, feature integration--perceiving something (...) as being both F and G, where F and G are sensible properties registered in distinct parallel streams--requires a referential apparatus. Section V. reviews some grounds for thinking that at these earliest levels this apparatus is location-based: that it has a direct and nonconceptual means of picking out places. Feature-placing is contrasted with a somewhat more sophisticated system that can identify and track four or five "perceptual objects" or "proto-objects", independently of their location, for as long as they remain perceptible. Such a system is found in Zenon Pylyshyn's fascinating work on "visual indices", in Dana Ballard's notion of deictic codes, and in Kahneman, Treisman, and Wolfe's accounts of systems of evanescent representations they call "object files". Perceptual representation is a layered affair, and I argue that it probably includes both feature-placing and proto-objects. Finally, both nonconceptual systems are contrasted with the full-blooded individuation allowed in a natural language. (shrink)
In this paper, we discuss the macroscopic quantum behavior of simple superconducting circuits. Starting from a Lagrangian for electromagnetic field with broken gauge symmetry, we construct a quantum circuit model for a superconducting weak link (SQUID) ring, together with the appropriate canonical commutation relations. We demonstrate that this model can be used to describe macroscopic excitations of the superconducting condensate and the localized charge states found in some ultrasmall-capacitance weak-link devices.
The statistical properties of a single quantum object and an ensemble of independent such objects are considered in detail for two-level systems. Computer simulations of dynamic zero-point quantum fluctuations for a single quantum object are reported and compared with analytic solutions for the ensemble case.
A substantial portion of the developed world's population is increasingly dependent on machines to make their way in the everyday world. For certain privileged groups, computers, cell phones, PDAs, Blackberries, and IPODs, all permitting the faster processing of information, are commonplace. In these populations, even exercise can be automated as persons try to achieve good physical fitness by riding stationary bikes, running on treadmills, and working out on cross-trainers that send information about performance and heart rate.
A number of distinct definitions ofsustainable agriculture have been proposed. In this paper we criticize two such definitions, primarily for conflating sustainability with other objectives such as economic viability and ecological integrity. Finally, we propose and defend a definition which avoids our objections to the other definitions.
Much ink has been spilt in consideration of the once pervasive reliance on military metaphors to depict the relationships between science and religion in the nineteenth century. This has resulted in historically sensitive treatments of secularization; and the realization that the relationship between science and religion was not a bloody war between intellectual nation states, but a protracted divorce of former partners. Moreover, historians of science have been encouraged to throw off the yoke of the internalism–externalism debate, and to explore (...) the cultural boundaries that impinged upon practitioners of a natural knowledge of the world. Within the historiography of nineteenth-century science, this has resulted in many new perspectives on science and natural knowledge in relation to cultural control and authority. (shrink)
Mechanical devices implanted in the body present implications for broad themes in religious thought and experience, including the nature and destiny of the human person, the significance of a person's embodied experience, including the experiences of pain and suffering, the person's relationship to ultimate reality, the divine or the sacred, and the vocation of medicine. Community-constituting convictions and narratives inform the method and content of reasoning about such conceptual questions as whether a moral line should be drawn between therapeutic or (...) enhancement interventions and/or between somatic and neural/cognitive interventions. By attending to these broader community-forming concepts, it is possible to identify three general orienting themes in religious perspectives on incorporated mechanical devices, which we shall designate as perspectives of “appropriation,” “ambivalence,” and “resistance.”. (shrink)
The use of Genetic Modification in food is the subject of deep political disagreement. Much of the disagreement involves different perceptions of the kinds of risks posed by pursuing GM food, and how these are to be tolerated and regulated. As a result, a primary institutional site of GM food politics is regulatory agencies tasked with risk assessment and regulation. Locating GM food politics in administrative areas of governance regimes produces unique challenges of democratic legitimacy, conventionally secured through legislative channels. (...) In particular, debate over the ends of a society’s policy on GM food inevitably continues in these institutional locations, despite conventional instrumental understandings of administrative legitimacy resting on effective application of ‘ends-means’ norms. This paper assesses the two major regulatory frameworks currently applied to GM food—the ‘precautious’ and ‘proof of harm’ approaches—and presents their respective limits in securing the procedural and substantive dimensions of the legitimacy of administrative deference in democratic societies. On the basis of these criticisms, a synthesized and emergent approach—‘experiential precaution’—is presented as having the resources to deepen the legitimacy of risk governance institutions in the case of GM food. It is characterized by deepened participatory practices of negotiated rulemaking and inclusion of further substantive requirements in approval criteria. (shrink)