This article explores the formation of a tranimal, hippopotamus alter-ego. Confronting transgender with transpecies, the author claims that his hippopotamus “identity” allowed him to escape, all at once, several sets of categorization that govern human bodies. He starts with an account of how his metaphorical hippo-self is collectively produced and performed, distinguishing the subjective, the intersubjective and the social. The article then investigates the politics of equating transgender and transpecies, critically examining the question of the inclusion of “xenogenders” in the (...) trans political movement. Finally, the author returns to the magical power of metaphors, arguing that metaphors do materialize insofar as the flesh does not remain unchanged by them. Analogizing his hippo-self to a “cut” as theorized by Eva Hayward – a regeneration of the boundaries of the self – he offers a final crossing to the world of fiction by showing how the His Dark Materials trilogy outlines an aesthetics of porosity, which suggests that the self is, as much as a novel, a work of fiction. (shrink)
Of all the things we do and say, most will never be repeated or reproduced. Once in a while, however, an idea or a practice generates a chain of transmission that covers more distance through space and time than any individual person ever could. What makes such transmission chains possible? For two centuries, the dominant view was that humans owe their cultural prosperity to their powers of imitation. In this view, modern cultures exist because the people who carry them are (...) gifted at remembering, storing and reproducing information. How Traditions Live and Die proposes an alternative to this standard view. What makes traditions live is not a general-purpose imitation capacity. Cultural transmission is partial, selective, often unfaithful. Some traditions live on in spite of this, because they tap into widespread and basic cognitive preferences. These attractive traditions spread, not by being better retained or more accurately transferred, but because they are transmitted over and over. This theory is used to shed light on various puzzles of cultural change and to explain the special relation that links the human species to its cultures. Morin combines recent work in cognitive anthropology with new advances in quantitative cultural history, to map and predict the diffusion of traditions. This book is both an introduction and an accessible alternative to contemporary theories of cultural evolution. (shrink)
been recently proposed (Morin, 2003; 2004). The model takes into account most known mechanisms and processes leading to self-awareness, and examines their multiple and complex interactions. Inner speech is postulated to play a key-role in this model, as it establishes important connections between many of its ele- ments. This paper first reviews past and current references to a link between self-awareness and inner speech. It then presents an analysis of the nature of the relation between these two concepts. It (...) is suggested that inner speech can inter- nally reproduce and expand social and physical (ecological) sources of self- awareness. Inner speech can also create a psychological distance between the self and mental events it experiences (thus facilitating self-observation) it can act as a problem-solving device where the self represents the problem and self-information the solution, and can label aspects of one’s inner life that would otherwise be difficult to objectively perceive. Empirical evidence supporting the role of inner speech in self-awareness is also presented. (shrink)
Jean-Luc Nancy is one of the leading contemporary thinkers in France today. Through an inventive reappropriation of the major figures in the continental tradition, Nancy has developed an original ontology that impacts the way we think about religion, politics, community, embodiment, and art. Drawing from a wide range of his writing, Marie-Eve Morin provides the first comprehensive and systematic account of Nancy’s thinking, all the way up to his most recent work on the deconstruction of Christianity. Without losing sight (...) of the heterogeneity of Nancy’s work, Morin presents a concise articulation of the organizing concepts, which structure Nancy’s body of work. The guiding thread is that of an essential rift at the heart of any “self” by which this self is exposed and relates to itself and other selves. Nancy’s ontology undercuts dichotomies between individual and community, interior and exterior, matter and spirit, thing and thought, not in the name of mere deconstruction, but in seeking to open a thinking of the “limit” or the “edge” as the locus of sense. While Nancy’s work has often been presented in relation to Heidegger or Derrida, Morin demonstrates the originality of Nancy’s work and argues that, despite the variety of its preoccupations and topics, it possesses its own rigorous internal logic. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of philosophy and related fields who seek a systematic and critical understanding of one of the most original contemporary thinkers. (shrink)
The real, thought of as human reality, that is, a mixture of the imaginary, mythology, emotions, flesh, passions, suffering, love, is always surprising, full of possibilities and hard to grasp. A thinking adapted to the complex reality of our earthly homeland cannot be a trivial realism content with the established order and accepting the victory of the victorious. On the contrary, understanding of reality, lucidity are often the result of an ethical revolt against the fait accompli, against certainty. The thinking (...) suggested by Morin attempts to move beyond the alternatives between, on the one hand, the worst option: the utopia that thinks it is realistic, and on the other the utopia that knows it is utopia, and is therefore harmless, outside the real. The hope is to introduce the poetry of intensity into reality, to resist the oppressive forces of pseudo-realism by cultivating the garden of our earthly homeland. (shrink)
Dans cet entretien avec Dominique Wolton, Edgar Morin évoque la naissance des recherches sur la communication, à partir de son propre itinéraire de chercheur.In this interview by Dominique Wolton, Edgar Morin evokes the emergence of French research into communication, making particular reference to his own research career.
Self-awareness represents the capacity of becoming the object of one’s own attention. In this state one actively identifies, processes, and stores information about the self. This paper surveys the self-awareness literature by emphasizing definition issues, measurement techniques, effects and functions of self-attention, and antecedents of self-awareness. Key self-related concepts (e.g., minimal, reflective consciousness) are distinguished from the central notion of self-awareness. Reviewed measures include questionnaires, implicit tasks, and self-recognition. Main effects and functions of self-attention consist in selfevaluation, escape from the (...) self, amplification of one's subjective experience, increased self-knowledge, self-regulation, and inferences about others' mental states (Theory-of-Mind). A neurocognitive and socioecological model of self-awareness is described in which the role of face-to-face interactions, reflected appraisals, mirrors, media, inner speech, imagery, autobiographical knowledge, and neurological structures is underlined. (shrink)
Quite a few recent models are rapidly introducing new concepts describing diﬀerent levels of consciousness. This situation is getting confusing because some theorists formulate their models without making reference to existing views, redundantly adding complexity to an already diﬃcult problem. In this paper, I present and compare nine neurocognitive models to highlight points of convergence and divergence. Two aspects of consciousness seem especially important: perception of self in time and complexity of self-representations. To this I add frequency of self-focus, amount (...) of self-related information, and accuracy of self-knowledge. Overall, I conclude that many novel concepts (e.g., reﬂective, primary, core, extended, recursive, and minimal consciousness) are useful in helping us distinguish between delicate variations in consciousness and in clarifying theoretical issues that have been intensely debated in the scientiﬁc literature—e.g., consciousness in relation to mirror self-recognition and language. Ó 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Little is known with regard to the precise cognitive tools the self uses in acquiring and processing information about itself. In this article, we underline the possibility that inner speech might just represent one such cognitive process. Duval and Wicklund’s theory of self-awareness and the selfconsciousness, and self-knowledge body of work that was inspired by it are reviewed, and the suggestion is put forward that inner speech parallels the state of self-awareness, is more frequently used among highly self-conscious persons, and (...) represents an effective, if not indispensable, tool involved in the formation of the self-concept. The possibility is also raised that the extent to which one uses inner speech could partially explain individual differences in self-consciousness and self-knowledge. A selective review of the private and inner speech literature is presented, and some possible ways of testing the hypothesis by using pre-existing techniques are proposed in the hope of stimulating empirical investigations. Some implications are outlined in conclusion. (shrink)
In her 2006 book ‘‘My Stroke of Insight” Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor relates her experience of suffering from a left hemispheric stroke caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation which led to a loss of inner speech. Her phenomenological account strongly suggests that this impairment produced a global self-awareness deficit as well as more specific dysfunctions related to corporeal awareness, sense of individuality, retrieval of autobiographical memories, and self-conscious emotions. These are examined in details and corroborated by numerous excerpts from Taylor’s (...) book. Ó 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (shrink)
The present review of literature surveys two main issues related to self-referential processes: (1) Where in the brain are these processes located, and do they correlate with brain areas uniquely specialized in self-processing? (2) What are the empirical and theoretical links between inner speech and self-awareness? Although initial neuroimaging attempts tended to favor a right hemispheric view of selfawareness, more recent work shows that the brain areas which support self-related processes are located in both hemispheres and are not uniquely activated (...) during self-reflective tasks. Furthermore, self-awareness at least partially relies on internal speech. An activation of Broca's area (which is known to sustain inner speech) is observed in a significant number of brain-imaging studies of self-reflection. Loss of inner speech following brain damage produces self-awareness deficits. Inner speech most likely can internally reproduce social mechanisms leading to self-awareness. Also, the process of self-reflection can be seen as being a problem-solving task, and self-talk as being a cognitive tool the individual uses to effectively work on the task. It is noted that although a large body of knowledge already exists on self-awareness, little is known about individual differences in dispositional self-focus and types of self-attention (e.g., rumination vs. self-reflection). (shrink)
Inner speech represents the activity of talking to oneself in silence. It can be assessed with questionnaires, sampling methods, and electromyographic recordings of articulatory movements. Inner speech has been linked to thought processes and self-awareness. Private speech (speech-for-self emitted aloud by children) serves an important self-regulatory function. The frequency of private speech follows an inverted-U relation with age, peaking at 3-4 years of age and disappearing at age 10. Social and inner speech share a common neurological basis: Broca’s area. Dysfunctional (...) self-talk is known to mediate many pathological conditions; negative selfverbalizations have a more significant debilitating impact than positive ones. (shrink)
In this commentaryI evaluate the claim made byKeenan, Nelson, OÕConnor, and Pascual-Leone (2001) that since self-recognition results from right hemispheric activity, self-awareness too is likely to be produced by the activity of the same hemisphere. This reasoning is based on the assumption that self-recognition represents a valid operationalization of self-awareness; I present two views that challenge this rationale. Keenan et al. also support their claim with published evidence relating brain activityand self-awareness; I closelyexamine their analysis of one speciﬁc review of (...) literature and conclude that it appears to be biased. Finally, recent research suggests that inner speech (which is associated with left hemispheric activity) is linked to self-awareness—an observation that further casts doubt on the existence of a right hemispheric self-awareness. Ó 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved. (shrink)
This paper describes and defends the “virtues of ingenuity”: detachment, lucidity, thoroughness. Philosophers traditionally praise these virtues for their role in the practice of using reasoning to solve problems and gather information. Yet, reasoning has other, no less important uses. Conviction is one of them. A recent revival of rhetoric and argumentative approaches to reasoning (in psychology, philosophy and science studies) has highlighted the virtues of persuasiveness and cast a new light on some of its apparent vices—bad faith, deluded confidence, (...) confirmation and myside biases. Those traits, it is often argued, will no longer look so detrimental once we grasp their proper function: arguing in order to persuade, rather than thinking in order to solve problems. Some of these biases may even have a positive impact on intellectual life. Seen in this light, the virtues of ingenuity may well seem redundant. Defending them, I argue that the vices of conviction are not innocuous. If generalized, they would destabilize argumentative practices. Argumentation is a common good that is threatened when every arguer pursues conviction at the expense of ingenuity. Bad faith, myside biases and delusions of all sorts are neither called for nor explained by argumentative practices. To avoid a collapse of argumentation, mere civil virtues (respect, humility or honesty) do not suffice: we need virtues that specifically attach to the practice of making conscious inferences. (shrink)
In the past, researchers have focused mainly on the effects and consequences of self-awareness; however, they have neglected a more basic issue pertaining to the specific mechanisms that initiate and sustain self-perception. The author presents a model of self-awareness that proposes the existence of 3 sources of self-information. First, the social milieu includes early face-to-face interactions, self-relevant feedback, a social comparison mechanism that leads to perspective taking, and audiences. Second, contacts with objects and structures in the physical environment foster self–world (...) differentiation in infants; this environment also contains self-focusing and reflecting stimuli, such as mirrors and video cameras. Third, the self can develop bodily awareness through proprioception and can reflect on itself using imagery and inner speech. Furthermore, self-awareness is mainly mediated by the prefrontal lobes. The author establishes various links among these different neurological, social, ecological, and cognitive elements of the model. (shrink)
This article raises the question of how we acquire self-information through self-talk, i.e., of how self-talk mediates self-awareness. It is first suggested that two social mechanisms leading to self-awareness could be reproduced by self-talk: engaging in dialogues with ourselves, in which we talk to fictive persons, would permit an internalization of others' perspectives; and addressing comments to ourselves about ourselves, as others do toward us, would allow an acquisition of self-information. Secondly, it is proposed that self-observation is possible only if (...) there exists a distance between the individual and any potentially observable self-aspect; self-talk, because it conveys self-information under a different form , would create a redundancy -- and with it, a wedge -- within the self. (shrink)
In this commentary I use recent empirical evidence and theoretical analyses concerning the importance of language and the meaning of self-recognition to reevaluate the claim that the right mute hemisphere in commissurotomized patients possesses a full consciousness. Preliminary data indicate that inner speech is deeply linked to self-awareness; also, four hypotheses concerning the crucial role inner speech plays in self-focus are presented. The legitimacy of self-recognition as a strong operationalization of self-awareness in the right hemisphere is also questioned on the (...) basis that it might rather tap a preexisting body awareness having little to do with an access to mental events. I conclude with the formulation of an alternative interpretation of commissurotomy according to self-awareness — a “complete” one in the left hemisphere and a “primitive” one in the right hemisphere. (shrink)
In February 1975, a group of leading scientists, physicians, and policymakers convened at Asilomar, California, to consider the safety of proceeding with recombinant DNA research. The excitement generated by the promise of this new technology was counterbalanced by concerns regarding dangers that might arise from it, including the potential for accidental release of genetically modified organisms into the environment. Guidelines developed at the conference to direct future research endeavors had several consequences. They permitted research to resume, bringing to an end (...) the voluntary moratorium that the National Academy of Sciences had instituted several months earlier. They also served to illustrate that the scientific community was capable of self-governance, thereby securing public trust and persuading Congress not to institute legislative restrictions. Finally, they underscored the importance of weighing unforeseen risks inherent in some research against potential benefits that may arise from these same endeavors. (shrink)
Summary.Ã¢â¬â Recent empirical work in social cognition suggests that in building a self-concept people make inferences about themselves based on overt behavior or private thoughts and feelings. This article addresses the question of how, exactly, people make these inferences about themselves and raises the possibility that they do so through self-talk. It is proposed that the more on talks to oneself to construct a selfimage, the more this image will gain coherence and sophistication. A correlational study was conducted to explore (...) the relation between richness of the self-concept (using the W-A-Y) and natural disposition to talk to oneself (using a pilot questionnaire). A moderate but positive correlation of .30 is obtained. The article concludes with clinical implications. (shrink)
The terrorist attacks of 2001 were a reminder that individual and collective safety cannot be taken for granted. Since then, physicians, alongside public health professionals and other healthcare professionals as well as nonhealthcare personnel, have been developing plans to enhance the protection of public health and the provision of medical care in response to various threats, including acts of terrorism or bioterrorism. Included in those plans are strategies to attend to large numbers of victims and help prevent greater harm to (...) even larger populations. (shrink)
There is little doubt that animals are ―conscious‖. Animals hunt prey, escape predators, explore new environments, eat, mate, learn, feel, and so forth. If one defines consciousness as being aware of external events and experiencing mental states such as sensations and emotions (Natsoulas, 1978), then gorillas, dogs, bears, horses, pigs, pheasants, cats, rabbits, snakes, magpies, wolves, elephants, and lions, to name a few creatures, clearly qualify. The contentious issue rather is: Do these animals know that they are perceiving an external (...) environment and experiencing internal events? Are animals self-conscious? Recent attempts at understanding animal consciousness (e.g., Edelman & Seth, 2009) agree that non-human animals most probably possess ―primary‖ (or ―minimal‖) consciousness. But these views also argue that unlike humans animals lack many (but not all) elements that make up higher-order consciousness—the capacity to self-reflect on the contents of primary consciousness. In this chapter I will aim at offering a more elaborate picture of this position. I will present detailed information on what is meant by ―higher-order consciousness‖—i.e., selfawareness. I will suggest that some dimensions of self-awareness (e.g., self-recognition, metacognition, mental time travel) may be observed in several animals, but that numerous additional aspects (e.g., self-rumination, emotion awareness) seem to be absent. Some other self-related processes, such as Theory-of Mind, have been identified in animals, but not as the full-fledged versions found in humans. I will postulate that these differences in levels of selfawareness between humans and animals may be attributable to one distinctive feature of human experience: the ability to engage in inner speech. (shrink)
This paper compares Sartre's and Nancy's experience of the plurality of beings. After briefly discussing why Heidegger cannot provide such an experience, it analyzes the relation between the in-itself and for-itself in Sartre and between bodies and sense in Nancy in order to ask how this experience can be nauseating for Sartre, but meaningful for Nancy. First, it shows that the articulation of Being into beings is only a coat of veneer for Sartre while for Nancy Being is necessarily plural. (...) Then, it contrasts Nausea as an experience without language with Nancy's thinking of the excription of sense in the thing. (shrink)
Background and objective: Assuming the hypothesis that the general practitioner can and should be a key player in making end-of-life decisions for hospitalised patients, perceptions of GPs’ role assigned to them by hospital doctors in making withdrawal decisions for such patients were surveyed.Design: Questionnaire survey.Setting: Urban and rural areas.Participants: GPs.Results: The response rate was 32.2% , and it was observed that 70.8% of respondents believed that their participation in withdrawal decisions for their hospitalised patients was essential, whereas 42.1% believed that (...) the hospital doctors were sufficiently skilled to make withdrawal decisions without input from the GPs. Most respondents were found to believe that they had the necessary skills and enough time to participate in withdrawal decisions. The last case of treatment withdrawal in hospital for one of their patients was described by 40% of respondents, of whom only 40.0% believed that they had participated actively in the decision process. The major factors in the multivariate analysis were the GP’s strong belief that his or her participation was essential , information on admission of the patient given to the GP by the hospital department , rural practice , visit to the patient dying in hospital and a request by the family to be kept informed about the patient .Conclusion: Strong interest was evinced among GPs regarding end-of-life issues, as well as considerable experience of patients dying at home. As GPs are more closely corrected to patients’ families, they may be a good choice for third-party intervention in making end-of-life decisions for hospitalised patients. (shrink)
Keynes is widely accepted to have proved the existence of a consumption gap as a cause of economic depressions. Such a gap meant that, ironically, depressions could get worse as a result of the greater wealth produced by the modern economy, since, as Keynes argued, the wealthy consumed proportionately less than the lower?income groups. Textual analysis, however, shows that Keynes's arguments amounted to assumptions, not demonstrations. And a survey of the empirical research of the subsequent half?century reveals a lack of (...) convincing evidence of the consumption gap. (shrink)
Szmimary.—The present report investigated the question of how individual differences in self-consciousness devdop. Rimé and LeBon proposed that high self-consciousness follows a history of frequent exposure to selffocusing stimuli, i.e., mirrors, audiences, audio and video devices, and cameras. To explore this hypothesis private and public self-consciousness and past exposure to self-focusing stimuli were assessed in 438 subjects. Analysis indicated that history of frequent exposure to self-focusing stimuli is significantly but weakly related to high private self-consciousness in men and to high (...) public self-consciousness in women. This supports previous observations suggesting that the routes to the development of selfconsciousness seem to differ for the two sexes. (shrink)
Merker’s definition of consciousness excludes self-reflective thought, making his proposal for decorticate consciousness not particularly groundbreaking. He suggests that brainstem sites are neglected in current theories of consciousness. This is so because broader definitions of consciousness are used. Split-brain data show that the cortex is important for full-blown consciousness; also, behaviors exhibited by hydranencephaly patients and decorticated rats do not seem to require reflective consciousness.
Imagine that scientists have been successful at designing a drug that “freezes” brain areas producing our internal monologue. After taking the drug you can’t talk to yourself anymore. Every other mental activity is fine, but it’s now total silence in your head. Not a word. What would happen? What would it be like?
Little is know about factors that influence the development of public self-consciousness. One potential factor is exposure to audiences: being repeatedly aware of one's object status could create a high disposition to focus on public self-aspects. To explore this hypothesis public self-consciousness was assessed in two groups of subjects: 62 professors and actors (high exposure to audiences) and 39 people without audience experience. Analysis show that significant differences exist for public self-consciousness in men only. Also, history of frequent exposure to (...) audience is significantly but weakly correlated with high public self-consciousness in men. This supports previous observations indicating that self-consciousness seems to develop differently for men and women. (shrink)
A survey of editors shows they do claim to enforce ethics provisions in the newsrooms and raises questions editors are encouraged to explore relative to newsroom ethics. This report is on a study by the American Society of Newspaper Editors Ethics Committee, Heath J Meriwether, vice?chair. Printed with permission.
Fame -- what an alluring status! Being adulated by millions of people who will instantly recognize you wherever you go; being immensely wealthy; having countless privileges -- eating in the best restaurants, meeting other important personalities at huge parties, flying in your own private jet; having your opinion always solicited and cherished; Oprah Winfrey wanting you on her show. That must be great!
Quite a few recent models are rapidly introducing new concepts describing diﬀerent levels of consciousness. This situ- ation is getting confusing because some theorists formulate their models without making reference to existing views, redun- dantly adding complexity to an already diﬃcult problem. In this paper, I present and compare nine neurocognitive models to highlight points of convergence and divergence. Two aspects of consciousness seem especially important: perception of self in time and complexity of self-representations. To this I add frequency of (...) self-focus, amount of self-related informa- tion, and accuracy of self-knowledge. Overall, I conclude that many novel concepts (e.g., reﬂective, primary, core, extend- ed, recursive, and minimal consciousness) are useful in helping us distinguish between delicate variations in consciousness and in clarifying theoretical issues that have been intensely debated in the scientiﬁc literature—e.g., consciousness in rela- tion to mirror self-recognition and language. (shrink)
Where is the self located in the brain? This is a question that has intrigued philosophers and scientists for quite some time. Four centuries ago, the French philosopher René Descartes thought that the self resided in the pineal gland, a small structure centrally positioned in the lower brain.