This research is concerned with the innate predispositions underlying human intentional communication. Human communication is currently defined as a circular and overt attempt to modify a partner's mental states. This requires each party involved to posse ss the ability to represent and understand the other's mental states, a capability which is commonly referred to as mindreading, or theory of mind (ToM). The relevant experimental literature agrees that no such capability is to be found in the human speci es at least (...) during the first year of life, and possibly later. This paper aims at advancing a solution to this theoretical problem. We propose to consider sharedness as the basis for intentional communication in the infant and to view it as a primitive, i nnate component of her cognitive architecture. Communication can then build upon the mental grounds that the infant takes as shared with her caregivers. We view this capability as a theory of mind in a weak sense.›. (shrink)
We propose a mentalistic and nativist view of human early mental and social life and of the ontogeny of mindreading. We define the mental state of sharedness as the primitive, one-sided capability to take one's own mental states as mutually known to an i nteractant. We argue that this capability is an innate feature of the human mind, which the child uses to make a subjective sense of the world and of her actions. We argue that the child takes all (...) of her mental states as shared with her caregivers. This a llows her to interact with her caregivers in a mentalistic way from the very beginning and provides the grounds on which the later maturation of mindreading will build. As the latter process occurs, the child begins to understand the mental world in terms of differences between the mental states of different agents; subjectively, this also corresponds to the birth of privateness. ? (shrink)
A large body of literature agrees that persons with schizophrenia suffer from a Theory of Mind deficit. However, most empirical studies have focused on third-person, egocentric ToM, underestimating other facets of this complex cognitive skill. Aim of this research is to examine the ToM of schizophrenic persons considering its various aspects, to determine whether some components are more impaired than others. We developed a Theory of Mind Assessment Scale and administered it to 22 persons with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia (...) and a matching control group. Th.o.m.a.s. is a semi-structured interview which allows a multi-component measurement of ToM. Both groups were also administered a few existing ToM tasks and the schizophrenic subjects were administered the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale and the WAIS-R. The schizophrenic persons performed worse than control at all the ToM measurements; however, these deficits appeared to be differently distributed among different components of ToM. Our conclusion is that ToM deficits are not unitary in schizophrenia, which also testifies to the importance of a complete and articulated investigation of ToM. (shrink)
We outline a theory of human agency and communication and discuss the role that the capability to share (that is, intersubjectivity) plays in it. All the notions discussed are cast in a mentalistic and radically constructivist framework. We also introduce and discuss the relevant literature.
A large body of literature agrees that persons with schizophrenia suffer from a Theory of Mind deficit. However, most empirical studies have focused on third-person, egocentric ToM, underestimating other facets of this complex cognitive skill. Aim of this research is to examine the ToM of schizophrenic persons considering its various aspects, to determine whether some components are more impaired than others.We developed a Theory of Mind Assessment Scale and administered it to 22 persons with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia and (...) a matching control group. Th.o.m.a.s. is a semi-structured interview which allows a multi-component measurement of ToM. Both groups were also administered a few existing ToM tasks and the schizophrenic subjects were administered the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale and the WAIS-R.The schizophrenic persons performed worse than control at all the ToM measurements; however, these deficits appeared to be differently distributed among different components of ToM.Our conclusion is that ToM deficits are not unitary in schizophrenia, which also testifies to the importance of a complete and articulated investigation of ToM. (shrink)
The paper aims to assess the theory of mind of sexual offenders. We administered to 21 sexual offenders and to 21 nonoffenders two classical first- and second-order ToM tasks, a selection of six Strange Stories, and a semi-structured interview, the Theory of Mind Assessment Scale , which provides a multi-dimensional evaluation of ToM, investigating first- vs. third-person and egocentric vs. allocentric perspectives. Results show that sexual offenders performed worse than controls on second-order ToM tasks, on Strange Stories and on each (...) of the Th.o.m.a.s dimensions, whereas they did as well as the control group on first-order ToM tasks. A detailed analysis of participants’ performance on Th.o.m.a.s. showed that sex offenders performed worse on the third-person than on the first-person ToM scale, and worse on the allocentric than on the egocentric perspective; these findings did not apply to the controls. Implications for future research and treatment are discussed. (shrink)
From a cognitive perspective, intentional communication may be viewed as an agent's activity overtly aimed at modifying a partner's mental states. According to standard Gricean definitions, this requires each party to be able to ascribe mental states to the other, i.e., to entertain a so-called theory of mind. According to the relevant experimental literature, however, such capability does not appear before the third or fourth birthday; it would follow that children under that age should not be viewed as communicating agents. (...) In order to solve the resulting dilemma, we propose that certain specific components of an agent's cognitive architecture (namely, a peculiar version of sharedness and communicative intention), are necessary and sufficient to explain infant communication in a mentalist framework. We also argue that these components are innate in the human species. (shrink)
José Antonio Marina –reincidiendo en su condición de detective cultural– se enfrenta en este libro a un nuevo caso. Durante milenios, la humanidad ha desconfiado de la fuerza del deseo. La sociedad opulenta en que vivimos altera esa tradición. Tiene que estimular constantemente los deseos para sobrevivir. Antes, la economía estaba dirigida por la demanda. Producía lo que era necesario. Ahora se rige por la oferta: crea en el público la necesidad de lo producido. Padecemos así un ansia inacabable, (...) porque siempre nos convencerán de que nos falta algo. Nuestro detective descubre que carecemos de una «teoría del deseo». ¿Qué es, de dónde procede, cuáles son sus determinismos, cómo se manipulan o se educan? A lo lejos resuena Spinoza: «La esencia del hombre es el deseo.» Éstas son palabras mayores. Todo se puede desear. Los placeres elevan arquitecturas arborescentes. Al fragmentarse sus deseos, también la esencia humana se fragmenta, y necesita una operación de bricolaje que la unifique. Al final, aparece un nuevo personaje: el espíritu. (shrink)
Two names often grouped together in the study of religion are Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1884) and Rudolf Otto (1869–1937). Central to their understanding of religion is the idea that religious experience, characterized in terms of feeling, lies at the heart of all genuine religion. In his book On Religion, Schleiermacher speaks of religion as a “sense and taste for the Infinite.” In The Christian Faith, Schleiermacher grounds religion in the immediate self-consciousness and the “feeling of absolute dependence.” Influenced by Schleiermacher, Otto (...) also grounds religion in an original experience of what he calls “the numinous,” which can only be grasped through states of feeling. This article discusses the views of Otto and Schleiermacher on religion as feeling. It examines how both men conceived of feeling, the reasons they believed religion had to be understood in its terms, and the common threads linking their perspectives. It also considers Schleiermacher's interpretation of religious feeling as transcendental experience. (shrink)
This paper explores Kant's concept of the highest good and the postulate of the existence of God arising from it. Kant has two concepts of the highest good standing in tension with one another, an immanent and a transcendent one. I provide a systematic exposition of the constituents of both variants and show how Kant’s arguments are prone to confusion through a conflation of both concepts. I argue that once these confusions are sorted out Kant’s claim regarding the need to (...) postulate God’s existence from a moral point of view makes much more sense. (shrink)
This paper explores the charge by Bruce Aune and Allen Wood that a gap exists in Kant's derivation of the Categorical Imperative. I show that properly understood, no such gap exists, and that the deduction of the Categorical Imperative is successful as it stands.
Against those who dismiss Kant's project in the "Religion" because it provides a Pelagian understanding of salvation, this paper offers an analysis of the deep structure of Kant's views on divine justice and grace showing them not to conflict with an authentically Christian understanding of these concepts. The first part of the paper argues that Kant's analysis of these concepts helps us to understand the necessary conditions of the Christian understanding of grace: unfolding them uncovers intrinsic relations holding between God's (...) justice and grace. Parts two and three provide an analysis of two concepts of grace used by Kant. Getting clear on their differences is the key to understanding why Kant's account is not Pelagian. (shrink)
This study investigates the effectiveness of pedagogical practices used to teach business ethics. The business community has greatly increased its demands for better ethics education in business programs. Educators have generally agreed that the ethical principles of business people have declined. It is important, then, to examine how common methods of instruction used in business ethics could contribute to the development of higher levels of moral judgment competence for students. To determine the effectiveness of these methods, moral judgment competence levels (...) for undergraduate and graduate students from three institutions were measured and compared based upon the pedagogical method used in a business class. Significant differences were found for moral reasoning and moral competence scores depending on the method used for ethics instruction. Students in classes with more highly integrated ethics coverage scored higher in moral reasoning and moral competence. (shrink)
In my chapter "Christology and Anthropology in Friedrich Schleiermacher,” I discuss Schleiermacher's understanding of both the person and work of Christ. Schleiermacher's dialogue with the orthodox Christological tradition preceding him, as well as his understanding of the work of Christ, is founded on a critical analysis of the fundamental person-forming experience of being in relation to Christ and the community founded by him. I provide an analysis of Schleiermacher's discussion of the difficulties surrounding the use of the word "nature" in (...) relation to Jesus' humanity and divinity, and then move to discuss how Schleiermacher understands both the humanity and divinity of Jesus, as well as how the two stand in relation to one another. In the original divine decree Jesus Christ is ordained as the person through which the whole human race is to be completed and perfected, and the essence of perfect human nature just is to express divine. This is the essence of Schleiermacher's solution to the Christological problem, that is, of how the divine and the human can converge in one person. I then move to discuss Schleiermacher's understanding of the work of Christ as involving two interrelated moments. The first is the awakening of the God-consciousness. The second involves the self-expression of this God-consciousness in the form of Christian love in the community of believers. As such, the principle work of Christ is the founding of the kingdom of God. (shrink)
This article explores the early Schleiermacher's attempts to deal with difficult philosophical problems arising from Kant's ethics, specifically Kant's notion of transcendental freedom. How do we connect a transcendentally free act with the nature of the subject? Insofar as the act is transcendentally free, it cannot be understood in terms of causes, and this means that it cannot be connected with the previous state of the individual before he or she engaged in the act. I work through Schleiermacher's grappling with (...) this problem by taking a thorough look at some of Schleiermacher's early essays and reviews. My main focus will be Schleiermacher's early essay On Freedom, written between 1790-92. I will, however, also be taking a look at Schleiermacher's notes on Kant's second Critique (1789), the third of his Dialogues on Freedom(1789), and his critical review of Kant's Anthropology from a PragmaticPointof View (1799). (shrink)
One of the principle aims of the B version of Kant’s transcendental deduction is to show how it is possible that the same “I think” can accompany all of my representations, which is a transcendental condition of the possibility of judgment. Contra interpreters such as A. Brook, I show that this “I think” is an a priori (reflected) self-consciousness; contra P. Keller, I show that this a priori self-consciousness is first and foremost a consciousness of one’s personal identity from a (...) first person point of view. (shrink)
This paper examines faculty perceptions regarding ethical behavior among colleagues and students, and faculty practices with regard to teaching ethics in three institutions over a 4-year period. Faculty reported an uneven pattern of unethical behavior among colleagues over the period. A majority of business courses included ethics, however as both a specific topic on the syllabus and within course discussions. The percentage of courses with ethics discussions increased in 2006, however, the time allocated to these discussions decreased. These results suggest (...) that faculty are approaching ethics instruction less formally, raising concerns over the success of curriculum integration. (shrink)
This paper explores two themes—Schleiermacher’s realism and his perspectivalism—and their significance for a theory of religion. I show that Schleiermacher's theory offers an account of human subjectivity and epistemological modesty that at the same time allows us to affirm the reality of the Absolute.
This chapter traces how theism was developed by leading 19th and 20th century figures (Schleiermacher, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Rahner, and Tillich) responding to Kant’s Copernican revolution in philosophy. Part one deals with the ontological nature of subjectivity itself and what it reveals about the conditions of the possibility of a subject’s relation to the Absolute. Part two explores the role of subjectivity and interiority in the individual’s relation to God, and part three takes a look at the theme of the (...) “unhappy consciousness,” how its development led to important attacks on theism, and the resources available to theology in countering these attacks. (shrink)
This essay analyzes the category of “the holy” as developed by Rudolf Otto, examining his division of the holy into rational and non-rational elements. While rational elements of the holy are closely tied to ethics, another aspect of the holy can only be apprehended through sui generis feelings irreducible to other mental states. But how do non-rational elements relate to rational, ethical categories? I trace the distinction between rational and non-rational elements in Otto’s analysis to Kant’s two faculty psychology: the (...) holy is apprehended in one way through feeling, in another way through thought, but a single ultimate reality is experienced. (shrink)
Kant’s aim in the Refutation of Idealism is to show that the temporal determination of inner experience presupposes outer experience. Commentators have rightly noted the extraordinarily compressed character of Kant's argument, and numerous gaps in the argument have been pointed out. In this paper I focus on two of these gaps and provide a reconstruction of Kant's argument that closes them.
In this paper I explore how Kant’s development of the idea of the disposition in the Religion copes with problems implied by Kant’s idea of transcendental freedom. Since transcendental freedom implies the power of absolutely beginning a state, and therefore of absolutely beginning a series of the consequences of that state, a transcendentally free act is divorced from the preceding state of an agent, and would thus seem to be divorced from the agent’s character as well. The paper is divided (...) into two parts. First I analyze Kant’s understanding of the disposition and discuss the ways in which it allows us to understand a person’s transcendentally free actions in terms of that person’s character. I then discuss Kant’s resources for understanding the Socratic injunction to care for the soul in light of his concept of the disposition. (shrink)
Debate about the nature of time has been dominated by discussion of two issues: the reality of absolute time and the reality of A-series. We argue that Aristotle adopts a form of the A-theory entailing a denial of the reality of absolute time. Furthermore, Aristotle's denial of absolute time is linked to a denial of the reality of pure temporal becoming, namely, the idea that the now moves through a fixed continuum along which events are arranged in chronological order. We (...) show that the puzzles discussed by Aristotle in IV:10 of the Physics are generated by this view of time and that Aristotle's own theory of time, according to which changes are used to measure one another, avoids these problems. (shrink)
NCG 4.0 is the latest update of the Network of Cancer Genes, a web-based repository of systems-level properties of cancer genes. In its current version, the database collects information on 537 known (i.e. experimentally supported) and 1463 candidate (i.e. inferred using statistical methods) cancer genes. Candidate cancer genes derive from the manual revision of 67 original publications describing the mutational screening of 3460 human exomes and genomes in 23 different cancer types. For all 2000 cancer genes, duplicability, evolutionary origin, expression, (...) functional annotation, interaction network with other human proteins and with microRNAs are reported. In addition to providing a substantial update of cancer-related information, NCG 4.0 also introduces two new features. The first is the annotation of possible false-positive cancer drivers, defined as candidate cancer genes inferred from large-scale screenings whose association with cancer is likely to be spurious. The second is the description of the systems-level properties of 64 human microRNAs that are causally involved in cancer progression (oncomiRs). Owing to the manual revision of all information, NCG 4.0 constitutes a complete and reliable resource on human coding and non-coding genes whose deregulation drives cancer onset and/or progression. NCG 4.0 can also be downloaded as a free application for Android smart phones. (shrink)
Known as the 'Father of modern theology' Friedrich Schleiermacher is without a doubt one of the most important theologians in the history of Christianity. Not only relevant to theology, he also made significant contributions in areas of philosophy such as hermeneutics, ethics, philosophy of religion, and the study of Plato, and he was ahead of his time in espousing a kind of pro to-feminism. Divided into three parts, this Companion deals first with elements of Schleiermacher's philosophy, such as metaphysics, epistemology (...) of religious knowledge, ethics, hermeneutics, and contributions to Plato scholarship. Second it discusses theological topics such as sin, redemption and Christology, and the final section is devoted to Schleiermacher's understanding of culture. This is the first book in English introducing readers to all the important aspects of Schleiermacher's thought in a systematic way, containing essays by some of the best scholars in Germany and in the English speaking world. (shrink)
Plato uses the myth of Er in the Republic in order to carve out space for political freedom and responsibility for human freedom in the ordinary polis. While much of the Republic concentrates on the development of an ideal city in speech, that city is fundamentally a mythos presented in order for Socrates and his friends to learn something about political and individual virtue. The city in which Socrates and his friends exist is an imperfect city and myth of Er (...) is intended for those audience members. Its emphasis on the necessity for personal responsibility in the midst of freedom can be understood as a political claim about the place of individual choice in a world that is constrained by both political and cosmic "necessity". Platón utiliza el mito de Er en la República con el fin de abrir un espacio para la libertad y la responsabilidad políticas en la polis común y corriente. Mientras que gran parte de la República se centra en el desarrollo de una ciudad ideal en el discurso, esa ciudad es fundamentalmente un mythos presentado para que Sócrates y sus amigos aprendan algo acerca de la virtud política e individual. La ciudad en la que viven Sócrates y sus amigos es una ciudad imperfecta y el mito de Er está dirigido a esos miembros del público. El énfasis que hace el mito en la necesidad de la responsabilidad personal en el ámbito de la libertad puede entenderse como una afirmación política acerca del lugar de la elección individual en un mundo constreñido tanto por la "necesidad" política como la cósmica. (shrink)
In order to clarify the relationship between morality and law, it is necessary to define both concepts precisely. Cultural realities refer to concepts which are more specifically defined if we focus towards the genealogy of those realities, that is to say, their motivation, function and aim. Should we start from legal anthropology, comparative law and history of law, law arises as a social technique which coactively imposes ways of solving conflicts, protecting fundamental values for a society's co-existence. Values subject to (...) being protected are proposed by morality, the latter making subordination of law to morality inevitable. This explains that a great number of modern constitutions include a reference to fundamental moral values, that is to say, they have explicitly positivised moral contents. Legal reasoning, at all levels and expressions, needs to appeal to the aforementioned values. Constitutional reasoning, international law, legislative activity and judicial practice are studied to verify the latter. This subordination of law to morality sets out a serious problem: moralities are cultural realities which are only valid for a specific society. In order for law not to fall in a not very rational legal relativism, law should not be subordinated to morality, but to ethics, the latter understood as cross-cultural morality. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a step forward in this sense. (shrink)