Sharing a public language facilitates particularly efficient forms of joint perception and action by giving interlocutors refined tools for directing attention and aligning conceptual models and action. We hypothesized that interlocutors who flexibly align their linguistic practices and converge on a shared language will improve their cooperative performance on joint tasks. To test this prediction, we employed a novel experimental design, in which pairs of participants cooperated linguistically to solve a perceptual task. We found that dyad members generally showed a (...) high propensity to adapt to each other’s linguistic practices. However, although general linguistic alignment did not have a positive effect on performance, the alignment of particular task-relevant vocabularies strongly correlated with collective performance. In other words, the more dyad members selectively aligned linguistic tools fit for the task, the better they performed. Our work thus uncovers the interplay between social dynamics and sensitivity to task affordances in successful cooperation. (shrink)
Human behavior depends on the ability to effectively introspect about our performance. For simple perceptual decisions, this introspective or metacognitive ability varies substantially across individuals and is correlated with the structure of focal areas in prefrontal cortex. This raises the possibility that the ability to introspect about different perceptual decisions might be mediated by a common cognitive process. To test this hypothesis, we examined whether inter-individual differences in metacognitive ability were correlated across two different perceptual tasks where individuals made judgments (...) about different and unrelated visual stimulus properties. We found that inter-individual differences were strongly correlated between the two tasks for metacognitive ability but not objective performance. Such stability of an individual’s metacognitive ability across different perceptual tasks indicates a general mechanism supporting metacognition independent of the specific task. (shrink)
Health-related Quality of Life measures have recently been attacked from two directions, both of which criticize the preference-based method of evaluating health states they typically incorporate. One attack, based on work by Daniel Kahneman and others, argues that ‘experience’ is a better basis for evaluation. The other, inspired by Amartya Sen, argues that ‘capability’ should be the guiding concept. In addition, opinion differs as to whether health evaluation measures are best derived from consultations with the general public, with patients, or (...) with health professionals. And there is disagreement about whether these opinions should be solicited individually and aggregated, or derived instead from a process of collective deliberation. These distinctions yield a wide variety of possible approaches, with potentially differing policy implications. We consider some areas of disagreement between some of these approaches. We show that many of the perspectives seem to capture something important, such that it may be a mistake to reject any of them. Instead we suggest that some of the existing ‘instruments’ designed to measure HR QoLs may in fact successfully already combine these attributes, and with further refinement such instruments may be able to provide a reasonable reconciliation between the perspectives. (shrink)
Block proposes that phenomenal experience overflows conscious access. In contrast, we propose that conscious access overflows overt report. We argue that a theory of phenomenal experience cannot discard subjective report and that Block's examples of phenomenal relate to two different types of perception. We propose that conscious access is more than simply readout of a pre-existing phenomenal experience.
In a range of contexts, individuals arrive at collective decisions by sharing confidence in their judgements. This tendency to evaluate the reliability of information by the confidence with which it is expressed has been termed the ‘confidence heuristic’. We tested two ways of implementing the confidence heuristic in the context of a collective perceptual decision-making task: either directly, by opting for the judgement made with higher confidence, or indirectly, by opting for the faster judgement, exploiting an inverse correlation between confidence (...) and reaction time. We found that the success of these heuristics depends on how similar individuals are in terms of the reliability of their judgements and, more importantly, that for dissimilar individuals such heuristics are dramatically inferior to interaction. Interaction allows individuals to alleviate, but not fully resolve, differences in the reliability of their judgements. We discuss the implications of these findings for models of confidence and collective decision-making. (shrink)
Medical humanities purchases its presence on the medical side of university campuses by adopting as its own the ends of medicine and medical ethics. It even justifies its presence by asserting promotion of those ends as an ethical imperative, most of all to improve the caring in medical care. As unobjectionable, even praiseworthy, as this imperative appears, it actually constrains the possibilities for interpersonal relationship in the context of medical practice. Development of those possibilities requires openness of self to the (...) existentially challenging ethical imperative to care also literally for nothing at all. (shrink)
Widely regarded as the most influential proponent of the truth of original sin in the twentieth century, Reinhold Niebuhr worked hard to excise any "literalistic" element from his interpretation of the doctrine. In his attempt to "correct" the Augustinian tradition on original sin by purging it of all "literalistic errors," however, Niebuhr assumed as his starting point the most characteristically modern objection to the doctrine: that birth is a thoroughly natural, animal, and morally meaningless event. As a result, Niebuhr unnecessarily (...) constrained his vision of the dimensions of human freedom, and hence his description of the dynamic of anxiety and freedom that energizes sin. Through a careful reading of Reinhold Niebuhr's writings on original sin, in light of the truth that the end of human life is inseparable from its origins, a reappraisal and recovery of the meaningfulness of the assertion of original sin as a literal inheritance is possible. The result of such a reappraisal and recovery is an amplified insight into the existential anxiety that Niebuhr otherwise described so convincingly. (shrink)
O'Regan & Noë (O&N) are pessimistic about the prospects for discovering the neural correlates of consciousness. They argue that there can be no one-to-one correspondence between awareness and patterns of neural activity in the brain, so a project attempting to identify the neural correlates of consciousness is doomed to failure. We believe that this degree of pessimism may be overstated; recent empirical data show some convergence in describing consistent patterns of neural activity associated with visual consciousness.
The manuscript notes described and trascribed below are unique: they show Bacon in the very act of originating, selecting and developing materials for the natural-philosophical projects of the crucial last years of his life. Many of the notes are drafts of material later incorporated in published texts—notably the Sylva Sylvarum . Examination of the drafts indicates that the Sylva is not a hotch-potch of plagiarized scraps. Bacon took great pains, acknowledged borrowings and drew heavily on his own extensive experimental and (...) observational work. The drafts also show that much of the material was used to display the explanatory power of his ambitious speculative philosophy. Preoccupation with the speculative philosophy is also evidenced in the notes which have no counterpart in the published works. Among these notes is a passage on the size of the universe, the motion of the fixed stars and the hypothesis of the earth's diurnal rotation. In that passage Bacon struggled with threats to his unswervingly geostatic conception of the universe. (shrink)
Francis Bacon's reflections on atomism have generally been misunderstood because they have never been systematically studied in relation to the speculative chemical philosophy which he developed in the interval between about 1592 and his death in 1626. This philosophy, in many respects unknown to historians until quite recently, was the only body of positive science which Bacon ever accepted. The speculative philosophy was, on the whole, chemical and non-mechanical, and consequently not consistent with atomist doctrines. In fact, Bacon never at (...) any time accepted the principal atomist tenets. It is therefore necessary to explain why he was interested in atomism at all. Of the several reasons for his interest one is especially important—namely, his belief that the speculative and atomic philosophies had affinities. In particular, he believed that of all the ancient philosophies atomism alone approached the ideals associated with the key notion of ‘subtlety’—ideals represented in their highest form in the speculative philosophy. (shrink)
Francis Bacon was a genuine midwife of modernity. He was one of the first thinkers to visualise a future which would be guided by a cooperative science-based vision of bettering human welfare. In this the first critical edition of his greatest philosophical work since the nineteenth-century, we find facing-page Latin translations and a thorough and detailed Introduction to the text.
Each time patients and their families are asked to make a decision about resuscitation, they are also asked to engage the political, social, and cultural concerns that have shaped its history. That history is exemplified in the career of Claude S. Beck, arguably the most influential researcher and teacher of resuscitation in the twentieth century. Careful review of Beck’s work discloses that the development and popularization of the techniques of resuscitation proceeded through a multiplication of definitions of death. CPR consequently (...) remains unique among medical treatments, because it is indicated precisely when a person dies, depending always on how each event of death becomes defined practically by patients, families, and medical professionals present at the time. It is therefore as an occasion to manage a surplus of definitions of death, and not as an occasion to determine the physiological efficacy of resuscitation, that one should approach analysis of contemporary challenges in decision-making about resuscitation. (shrink)