Pierre Maquet1,2,6, Steven Laureys1,2, Philippe Peigneux1,2,3, Sonia Fuchs1, Christophe Petiau1, Christophe Phillips1,6, Joel Aerts1, Guy Del Fiore1, Christian Degueldre1, Thierry Meulemans3, André Luxen1, Georges Franck1,2, Martial Van Der Linden3, Carlyle Smith4 and Axel Cleeremans5.
The abilities to attribute an action to its proper agent and to understand its meaning when it is produced by someone else are basic aspects of human social communication. Several psychiatric syndromes, such as schizophrenia, seem to lead to a dysfunction of the awareness of one’s own action as well as of recognition of actions performed by other. Such syndromes offer a framework for studying the determinants of agency, the ability to correctly attribute actions to their veridical source. Thirty normal (...) subjects and 30 schizophrenic patients with and without hallucinations and/or delusional experiences were required to execute simple finger and wrist movements, without direct visual control of their hand. The image of either their own hand or an alien hand executing the same or a different movement was presented on a TV-screen in real time. The task for the subjects was to discriminate whether the hand presented on the screen was their own or not. Hallucinating and deluded schizophrenic patients were more impaired in discriminating their own hand from the alien one than the non-hallucinating ones, and tended to misattribute the alien hand to themselves. Results are discussed according to a model of action control. A tentative description of the mechanisms leading to action consciousness is proposed. (shrink)
This study aimed at evaluating the role of proprioception in the process of matching the final position of one's limbs with an intentional movement. Two experiments were realised with the same paradigm of conscious recognition of one's own limb position from a distorted position. In the first experiment, 22 healthy subjects performed the task in an active and in a passive condition. In the latter condition, proprioception was the only available information since the central signals related to the motor command (...) were likely to be absent. The second experiment was realised with a deafferented patient who suffers from a complete haptic deafferentation, including loss of proprioception. The results first argue in favour of a dominant role of proprioception in action recognition, but they also stress the possible role of central signals. The process of matching the final position of one's limbs with an intended movement and thus of action recognition would be achieved through a comparison process between the predicted sensory consequences of the action, which are stored in its internal model, and the actual sensory consequences of that action. (shrink)
Whoever paid the bill at the restaurant last night, will clearly remember doing it. Independently from the type of action, it is a common experience that being the agent provides a special strength to our memories. Even if it is generally agreed that personal memories (episodic memory) rely on separate neural substrates with respect to general knowledge (semantic memory), little is known on the nature of the link between memory and the sense of agency. In the present paper, we review (...) results from two experiments investigating the effects of agency on both explicit and implicit memory traces. Performance of normal subjects is compared to that of schizophrenic patients in order to explore the role of awareness of action on memory. It is proposed that reliable first-person information is necessary to create a stable and coherent motor memory trace. (shrink)
Panpsychism is the doctrine that mind is a fundamental feature of the world existing throughout the universe. One problem with panpsychism is that it is a purely theoretical concept so far. For progress towards an operationalization of the idea, this paper suggests to make use of an ontological difference involved in the mind-matter distinction. The mode in which mental phenomena exist is called presence. The mode in which matter and radiation exist is called reality Physical theory disregards presence in both (...) the form of mental presence and the form of the temporal present In contrast to mental presence the temporal present is objective in the perspective of the third person. This relative kind of objectivity waits to be utilized for a hypothesis of how the mental and the physical are interrelated In order to do so this paper translates the mind-matter distinction into the distinction between mental and physical time and addresses the problem that panpsychism tries to attack head-on in these temporal terms. There are in particular , two issues thus getting involved: discussions about a time observable and the quantum Zeno effect. (shrink)
Summary. It is proposed to translate the mind-matter distinction into terms of mental and physical time. In the spirit of this idea, we hypothesize a relation between the intensity of mental presence and a crucial time scale (some seconds) often referred to as a measure for the duration of nowness. This duration is experimentally accessible and might, thus, offer a suitable way to characterize the intensity of mental presence. Interesting consequences with respect to the idea of a generalized notion of (...) mental presence, with human consciousness as a special case, are outlined. Our approach includes some features consistent with other, related ideas which are indicated. (shrink)
Appeals to nationalism based on a common sociocultural, geographic, and linguistic heritage are reactions against expansions of trade, information, and power - and anomie and xenophobia can be countered by giving substatal ethnicities, minorities and political parties a voice and a vote.
In an inspirational act of faith and hope, nearly one hundred contributors--social activists, thinkers, artists and spiritual leaders--reflect with poignant candor on our shared human condition and attempt to define a core set of human values in our rapidly changing socity. Contributors include: * The Dalai Lama * Wilma Mankiller * Oscar Arias * Jimmy Carter * Cornel West * Jack Miles * Mother Teresa * Nancy Willard * Elie Wiesel * James Earl Jones * Joan Chittister * Mary Evelyn (...) Tucker * Vaclav Havel * Archbishop Desmund Tutu What Does It Mean To Be Human? is a vital meditation on the endless possibilities of our humanity. (shrink)
This article juxtaposes two of the most influential thinkers of the previous century, Georges Bataille and Martin Heidegger: my overarching claim will be that a contrastive approach allows a better understanding of two central dynamics within their work. First, I show that both were deeply troubled by a certain methodological anxiety; namely, that the practice of writing might distort and deform their insights. By employing a comparative strategy, I suggest that we can gain a better understanding of the very (...) specific form this fear takes in them: in each case, it is articulated and justified in terms of the ‘chose’ or ‘Ding’ (‘thing’) or the ‘objet’ or ‘Objekt’ (‘object’). Second, I argue that close textual comparison allows us to identify an important, new dimension in their reactions to this shared anxiety: the thing or object which was originally the site of the anxiety gradually becomes, through series of ontological and textual shifts, the solution to it. I track this transformation across a range of case studies including Heidegger’s later work on the term ‘Ding’ and Bataille’s treatment of prostitution. I close by indicating how these results might create avenues for further research. (shrink)
Georges Canguilhem, A Vital Rationalist: Selected Writings from Georges Canguilhem, edited by François Delaporte and translated by Arthur Goldhammer. New York: Zone Books, 1994. Pp. 481. ISBN 0-942299-72-8. £24.25, $36.25.
Depuis longtemps, la recherche met en relief les influences françaises et allemandes de la pensée de Georges Gurvitch. De récents travaux ouvrent désormais la voie à l’étude de ses sources russes. Cet article vise à poser les bases de l’étude des sources russes de la pensée de Gurvitch. Pour ce faire, il recourt à onze articles publiés par Gurvitch, entre 1924 et 1931, dans la revue russe de l’émigration Annales contemporaines, dont il dégage une propension marquée à l’endroit des (...) totalités sociales. L’article comprend, en outre, une brève étude du parcours russe de Gurvitch ainsi qu’une traduction intégrale de la dernière partie de l’article « Éthique et religion » .Research has traditionally emphasized French and German influences on Georges Gurvitch’s thought. Recent works tend however to incline towards its Russian influences. This paper attempts to pave the way for the forthcoming study of Gurvitch’s Russian influences. It is based on eleven works by Gurvitch, published in the Russian-emigration journal Annales contemporaines between 1924 and 1931. This study proper shows the importance of social totalities in early Gurvitch’s thought. Besides, the paper offers a brief survey of Gurvitch’s Russian path and gives the reader an unabridged translation from the work’s « Ethics and Religion » last part. (shrink)
In this reply to Kent Brintnall's response to my essay on Georges Bataille and the ethics of ecstasy, I explore two primary questions: whether instrumentalization is inherently violent and non-instrumentalization is inherently non-violent, and whether there is a way to intervene in the world that avoids both “apathetic disengagement” and domination. I endorse the view that instrumentalization can be good as well as bad, and I suggest that it is possible to strive to intervene in the world without striving (...) to master it. I make reference to Sarah Coakley as a Christian theologian who advances particular practices that aim for non-dominating intervention in theworld. (shrink)
Lucien BOSSY, «La physique d’Einstein» de Georges Lemaître, 1922 (pp. 9-22). Jean-Marc GÉRARD, Georges Lemaître et l’histoire de notre Univers (pp. 23-55). Jean LADRIÈRE, La portée philosophique de l’hypothèse de l’atome primitif (pp. 57-80). Dominique LAMBERT, Pie XII et Georges Lemaître : deux visions distinctes des rapports sciences-foi (pp. 81-111). Marc LECLERC, La liberté intellectuelle de l’homme de sciences catholique (pp. 113-117). Alfonso PÉREZ DE LABORDA, Cosmologies et dogmatiques : un problème d’interférence et de représentation (pp. 119-142). (...) Jean-François STOFFEL, Mgr Georges Lemaître : bio-bibliographie (pp. 145-220). Jean-François STOFFEL, «La physique d’Einstein», texte inédit de Georges Lemaître (pp. 223-360). (shrink)
Georges Bataille's work is an essential reference in any discussion of modernity and postmodernity. An important influence on Foucault, Derrida and post-structuralism, Bataille is a thinker of key significance. This volume makes a selection from the entire body of his academic work, showing how his thinking on sacrifice, eroticism, taboo and transgression, and the nature of identity inform his social theory. Bataille - Essential Writings contains much previously untranslated material, including the complete texts of seven essays, and long extracts (...) from many others. It is the most comprehensive selection of Bataille's work to date, edited by an acknowledged authority. Bataille - Essential Writings will be the standard introductory text to this profound and difficult thinker. (shrink)
Georges Sorel's reputation as a proponent of violence has helped to link his ideas to fascist and totalitarian thought. Much of the literature on Sorel as developed this theme, at the expense of what Sorel himself stated as his primary purpose, "the discovery of the historical genesis of morals." How, Sorel asked, in the light of the development of modern industry and the vast powers of the modern state the individual can possess a sense of self-worth and at the (...) same time help to sustain a cultural vitality similar to the great societies of antiquity? How is it possible to avoid the utter resignation and nihilistic relativism of modern existence? In his writings Sorel outlined a sociology of virtue that combined the importance of family love as the basis of community feelings with acceptance of the basis of individual vitality as constant industrial struggle against nature. Sorel's solution is different from Marx's: in place of the ida of transcended alienation, Sorel envisions an agonal striving against nature's unceasing resistance to our efforts. The Feuerbachian unity of nature that, for Marx, had been alienated under capitalism, Sorel regarded as being inherently fragmented by scientific procedures themselves, as well as by the industrial processes that correspond to those scientific procedures. For Sorel, the struggle against nature is the struggle that enables man to overcome himself, to strive against his own inclination to passivity, sloth, and licentiousness. The Marxist concept of totality so necessary to the vision of a communist society is rejected, in favor of a pragmatic, pluralist view of nature that parallels the social pluralism of a regime of workers' syndicates. The primary function of Sorel's famous "myth of the general strike" is to link the workers' constant struggles against capitalist employers to the never-ending struggle against nature. The feelings engendered by such a strubble constitute the true core of socialism; without such feelings, socialism is doomed to the same decay that Sorel and Marx foresaw for capitalist civilization. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1981. (shrink)
No other scientist may have had a greater impact on modern cosmology than the Belgian physicist, astronomer and priest Georges Lemaître. In 1927 he predicted the expansion of the universe on the basis of the cosmological field equations; and four years later he proposed what he called the primeval-atom hypothesis, the first version of the later big bang universe. In all his work on cosmology the cosmological constant Λ played a significant role. A recognized expert in the theory of (...) general relativity, Lemaître also contributed significantly to the theoretical clarification of local and global singularity problems. Still, when he died in 1968, at a time when the standard big bang model celebrated its first victories, he was largely forgotten or recalled only as a somewhat shadowy figure of the past. This essay reviews in a historical context the scientific work of Lemaître with particular attention to his seminal contributions in the decade between 1925 and 1934. (shrink)
In this text, Jacques Rancière critically discusses the work of Georges Didi-Huberman on images. He disagrees with various claims seemingly made by Didi-Huberman about images, such as that they can “take position” or that they are “active.” Rancière argues that Didi-Huberman adds another form of dialectics to the simpler form of dialectics adopted by Bertolt Brecht and Harun Farocki in their works, namely one that also involves a layering of different temporalities. However, both in Brecht’s War Primer and in (...) Didi-Huberman’s analysis of it, all the potencies credited to images as such are actually potencies of the words that accompany the images. Rancière comes to the conclusion that to “put images in motion,” as Didi-Huberman wants to do, or to regard them as being “active,” he has to put words, his own poetic and extensive writings, in motion. (shrink)
The importance given by historian and philosopher of science Georges Canguilhem to the role of practice, techniques, and experimentation in concept-formation was largely overlooked by commentators. After placing Canguilhem’s contributions within the larger history of historical epistemology in France, and clarifying his views regarding this expression, I re-evaluate the relation between concepts and experimental practices in Canguilhem’s philosophy of science. Drawing on his early writings on the relations between science and technology in the 1930s, on the Essai sur quelques (...) problèmes concernant le normal et le pathologique , and on La formation du concept de réflexe aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles , I argue that the formation and rectification of concepts in Canguilhem’s sense are intrinsically bound with the experimental, material, technical, and cultural contexts in which concepts are operationalized. (shrink)
The importance given by historian and philosopher of science Georges Canguilhem to the role of practice, techniques, and experimentation in concept-formation was largely overlooked by commentators. After placing Canguilhem’s contributions within the larger history of historical epistemology in France, and clarifying his views regarding this expression, I re-evaluate the relation between concepts and experimental practices in Canguilhem’s philosophy of science. Drawing on his early writings on the relations between science and technology in the 1930s, on the Essai sur quelques (...) problèmes concernant le normal et le pathologique, and on La formation du concept de réflexe aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, I argue that the formation and rectification of concepts in Canguilhem’s sense are intrinsically bound with the experimental, material, technical, and cultural contexts in which concepts are operationalized. (shrink)
In this article I assess Georges Canguilhem's historical epistemology with both theoretical and historical questions in mind. From a theoretical point of view, I am concerned with the relation between history and philosophy, and in particular with the philosophical assumptions and external norms that are involved in history writing. Moreover, I am concerned with the role that history can play in the understanding and evaluation of philosophical concepts. From a historical point of view, I regard historical epistemology, as developed (...) by Gaston Bachelard and Georges Canguilhem, as a conception and practice which came out of the project, elaborated in France from the 1920s to the 1940s, of combining history of science and philosophy. I analyse in particular Canguilhem's epistemology in his theory and practice of history of science. What he called 'normative history' is the focus of my analysis. I evaluate the question of the nature and provenience of the norm employed in normative history, and I compare it with the norm as discussed by Canguilhem in Le normal et le pathologique. While I am critical of Canguilhem's treatment of history, I conclude that his philosophical suggestion to analyse the formation of scientific concepts 'from below' represents a useful model for history and philosophy of science, and that it can be very profitably extended to philosophical concepts. (shrink)