The brains of higher mammals are extraordinary integrative devices. Signals from large numbers of functionally specialized groups of neurons distributed over many brain regions are integrated to generate a coherent, multimodal scene. Signals from the environment are integrated with ongoing, patterned neural activity that provides them with a meaningful context. We review recent advances in neurophysiology and neuroimaging that are beginning to reveal the neural mechanisms of integration. In addition, we discuss concepts and measures derived from information theory that lend (...) a theoretical basis to the notion of complexity as integration of information and suggest new experimental tests of these concepts. (shrink)
In juxtaposition with the myth and tragedy of Ovid’s Medea, this paper investigates the possibility within the Kantian conception of agency of understanding moral evil as acting against one’s better judgment. It defends the thesis that in Kant self-deception, i. e. the intentional untruthfulness to oneself, provides the fundamental structure for choosing against the moral law. I argue that, as Kant’s thought progresses, self-deception slowly proceeds to become the paradigmatic case of moral evil. This is discussed with regard to two (...) important topics in his later moral philosophy: the doctrine of radical evil and the crucial role of the duty of truthfulness in ethics. The inquiry into Kant’s theory of conscience unfolds both against this theoretical background and in light of its historical roots in the polemic against casuistry and probabilism. This contribution closes with a brief look at the tools Kant implements to counter this tendency to self-deception in moral judgment and particularly at the role casuistry plays within his conception of moral education. (shrink)
This appreciation outlines the life and work of Giulio Preti, a philosopher of the critical rationalist movement. His was a tormented and conflictual philosophical itinerary from his intellectual roots in 1930s Italy, via the philosophical journal Studi filosofici in the 1940s, to his major works Praxis and Empiricism and Rhetoric and Logic in the 1950s and 1960s. His anxiety about the ambiguity of contemporary reality, it is suggested, is also ours.
We propose that sleep is linked to synaptic homeostasis. Specifically, we propose that: (1) Wakefulness is associated with synaptic potentiation in cortical circuits; (2) synaptic potentiation is tied to the homeostatic regulation of slow wave activity; (3) slow wave activity is associated with synaptic downscaling; and (4) synaptic downscaling is tied to several beneficial effects of sleep, including performance enhancement.
Contemporary brain reading technologies promise to provide the possibility to decode and interpret mental states and processes. Brain reading could have numerous societally relevant implications. In particular, the private character of mind might be affected, generating ethical and legal concerns. This paper aims at equipping ethicists and policy makers with conceptual tools to support an evaluation of the potential applicability and the implications of current and near future brain reading technology. We start with clarifying the concepts of mind reading and (...) brain reading, and the different kinds of mental states that could in principle be read. Subsequently, we devise an evaluative framework that is composed of five criteria-accuracy, reliability, informativity, concealability and enforceability-aimed at enabling a clearer estimation of the degree to which brain reading might be realistically deployed in contexts where mental privacy could be at stake. While accuracy and reliability capture how well a certain method can access mental content, informativity indicates the relevance the obtainable data have for practical purposes. Concealability and enforceability are particularly important for the evaluation of concerns about potential violations of mental privacy and civil rights. The former concerns the degree with which a brain reading method can be concealed from an individual’s perception or awareness. The latter regards the extent to which a method can be used against somebody’s will. With the help of these criteria, stakeholders can orient themselves in the rapidly developing field of brain reading. (shrink)
Recent Libet-style experiments are of limited relevance to the debate about free action and free will, and should be understood as investigations of arbitrary actions or guesses. In Libet-style experiments, the concept of 'free action' is commonly taken to refer to a 'self-initiated voluntary act', where the self prompts an action without being prompted. However, this idea is based on the problematic assumption that the conscious self needs to be free from every constraint in order to be actually free. We (...) maintain that a fundamental condition for free action is the presence of reasons to act responsibly. By analyzing a recent neuroscientific experiment, we indicate how its results could be interpreted as indicating how free action operationalization is inappropriately focusing on arbitrary actions. Hence, the way free action has been experimentally studied may have had a misleading influence on the debate about free will. (shrink)
Placebos are commonly defined as ineffective treatments. They are treatments that lack a known mechanism linking their properties to the properties of the condition on which treatment aims to intervene. Given this, the fact that placebos can have substantial therapeutic effects looks puzzling. The puzzle, we argue, arises from the relationship placebos present between culturally meaningful entities, our intentional relationship to the environment and bodily effects. How can a mere attitude toward a treatment result in appropriate bodily changes? We argue (...) that an ‘enactive’ conception of cognition accommodates and renders intelligible the phenomenon of placebo effects. Enactivism depicts an organism’s adaptive bodily processes, its intentional directedness, and the meaningful properties of its environment as co-emergent aspects of a single dynamic system. In doing so it provides an account of the interrelations between mind, body and world that demystifies placebo effects. (shrink)
In this paper, in line with the general framework of value-sensitive design, we aim to operationalize the general concept of “Meaningful Human Control” in order to pave the way for its translation into more specific design requirements. In particular, we focus on the operationalization of the first of the two conditions investigated: the so-called ‘tracking’ condition. Our investigation is led in relation to one specific subcase of automated system: dual-mode driving systems. First, we connect and compare meaningful human control with (...) a concept of control very popular in engineering and traffic psychology, and we explain to what extent tracking resembles and differs from it. This will help clarifying the extent to which the idea of meaningful human control is connected to, but also goes beyond, current notions of control in engineering and psychology. Second, we take the systematic analysis of practical reasoning as traditionally presented in the philosophy of human action and we adapt it to offer a general framework where different types of reasons and agents are identified according to their relation to an automated system’s behaviour. This framework is meant to help explaining what reasons and what agents play a role in controlling a given system, thereby enabling policy makers to produce usable guidelines and engineers to design systems that properly respond to selected human reasons. In the final part, we discuss a practical example of how our framework could be employed in designing automated driving systems. (shrink)
We study how to postpone the application of the reductio ad absurdum rule ) in classical natural deduction. This technique is connected with two normalization strategies for classical logic, due to Prawitz and Seldin, respectively. We introduce a variant of Seldin’s strategy for the postponement of \, which induces a negative translation from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic. Through this translation, Glivenko’s theorem from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic is proven.
We study how to postpone the application of the reductio ad absurdum rule (RAA) in classical natural deduction. This technique is connected with two normalization strategies for classical logic, due to Prawitz and Seldin, respectively. We introduce a variant of Seldin’s strategy for the postponement of RAA, which induces a negative translation from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic. Through this translation, Glivenko’s theorem from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic is proven.
Dreams are a remarkable experiment in psychology and neuroscience, conducted every night in every sleeping person. They show that the human brain, disconnected from the environment, can generate an entire world of conscious experiences by itself. Content analysis and developmental studies have promoted understanding of dream phenomenology. In parallel, brain lesion studies, functional imaging and neurophysiology have advanced current knowledge of the neural basis of dreaming. It is now possible to start integrating these two strands of research to address fundamental (...) questions that dreams pose for cognitive neuroscience: how conscious experiences in sleep relate to underlying brain activity; why the dreamer is largely disconnected from the environment; and whether dreaming is more closely related to mental imagery or to perception. (shrink)
The property of fundamental mechanical theories which allows to treat compound objects as particles under suitable conditions is considered. It is argued that such a property, called compoundation invariance, is a nonreleasable property of any mechanical theory not declaring to which elementary constituents it applies. Compoundation invariance is discussed in the framework of Bohmian mechanics. It is found that standard Bohmian mechanics satisfies the requirement of compoundation invariance, with some reservation in the case of compound objects with spin. On the (...) contrary that requirement is violated when additional terms are added to the standard velocity. (shrink)
Is it possible to compose a history of images? It is obvious that history can be composed only from that which is intrinsically historical; history has an order of its own because it interprets and clarifies an order which already exists in the facts. But is there an order in the birth, multiplication, combination, dissolution and re-synthesis of images? Mannerism had discredited or demystified form with its pretense of reproducing an order which does not exist in reality. But is the (...) world of existence, like the world of images, chaos or cosmos? Erwin Panofsky's1 great merit consists in having understood that, in spite of its confused appearance, the world of images is an ordered world and that it is possible to do the history of art as the history of images. In order to do this, he had to begin, as indeed he did, with the demonstration that classical art, in spite of the deep-rooted theoretical certitude, is also an art of the image; its forms are nothing if not images to which one tries to attribute the consistency of concepts, with the sole result of the demonstrating that even concepts are images and that the intellect is still another sector or segment of the image. · 1. See, e.g., Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Art: Papers in and on Art History ; Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance ; Problems in Titian, Mostly Iconographic ; Idea: Ein Beitrag zur Begriffsgeshicte der älteren Kunsttheorie [Idea: a concept in art theory, trans. Joseph J. S. Peake ]. Giulio Carlo Argan, who has seriously influenced the course of art history and criticism in postwar Italy, is professor of modern art at the University of Rome. He has written on Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Borromini, Brunelleschi, and Gropius and three volumes of critical essays on modern art. His Skira volume on Baroque art, Europe of the Capitals, is his only major work published in English. "Ideology and Iconology" originally appeared in Italian in the journal Storia dell'arte, which he edits, and in Psicon. Rebecca West, translator of this article and assistant professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago, presently is collaborating on a translation of Dario Fo's theater. She has translated "Narrative Structures and Literary History" by Cesare Segre, for the Winter 1976 issue of Critical Inquiry. (shrink)
The present article considers Giulio Racah’s contributions to general physical theory and his establishment of theoretical physics as a discipline in Israel. Racah developed mathematical methods that are based on tensor operators and continuous groups. These methods revolutionized spectroscopy. Currently, these are essential research tools in atomic, nuclear and elementary particle physics. He himself applied them to modernizing theoretical atomic spectroscopy. Racah laid the foundations of theoretical physics in Israel. He educated several generations of Israeli physicists, and put Israel (...) on the world map of physics. (shrink)
The complex world of thought and sensitivity in the sphere of contemporary art has entailed the revision and exclusion of disciplines aimed at providing a model to explain and conceptualize reality. Art history, as one such discipline, has had many of its contributions questioned from Gombrich’s epistemological reformulation to the postmodern discourses, which extol the death of the author, the post-structuralist idea of tradition as a textual phenomenon, and the declaration of the death of history as a consequence of the (...) hybridization of disciplines and of other bran- ches of human knowledge. Nevertheless, it can be demonstrated that proposals as those by Julius von Schlosser and Giulio Carlo Argan enclose reflections and methodological aspects which can help us face the task of understanding and visualizing the mediating role of historians in the culture of sensitivity, and the art modulations that have resulted from the blows of history and that, in turn, have shaped both art and art history into what they are or can be to us today. (shrink)
This paper discusses the positions of Italian philosopher Giulio Preti (1911?1972) in relation to the quarrel between Analytic and Continental philosophy. Preti?s thought appears as a systematic thought permitting to overcome, through his logical, epistemological and linguistic reflection, the divide between these two approaches. The different features of his philosophy are analyzed here in detail and compared to the main theoretical assumptions of Analytic and Continental philosophy.
This paper discusses the positions of Italian philosopher Giulio Preti in relation to the quarrel between Analytic and Continental philosophy. Preti?s thought appears as a systematic thought permitting to overcome, through his logical, epistemological and linguistic reflection, the divide between these two approaches. The different features of his philosophy are analyzed here in detail and compared to the main theoretical assumptions of Analytic and Continental philosophy.
This book explores how we can measure consciousness. It clarifies what consciousness is, how it can be generated from a physical system, and how it can be measured. It also shows how conscious states can be expressed mathematically and how precise predictions can be made using data from neurophysiological studies.
The paper applies Christian Humanism to management highlighting the role of relations in business and the entrepreneurial life. The claim is that such a dimension is important for everybody even from a secular point of view regardless of one’s belief. The first part shows how Biblical tradition inspired a rereading of relation in the first Christian thinkers, who had to recognize it in God. But this made possible to perceive that the relationships can be a real source of being, as (...) the example of a family shows. The thesis proposed is that within every Gesellschaft there is a Gemeinschaft, that is constituted by its relational dimensions, connecting the common good and profit also to relational goods. The second part draws consequences for management, recognizing through the example of the Inner Game three relational dimensions relevant for management: the one interior to the person; the relationships between coworkers; the interaction with the culture of the company. All of them should be considered to improve the Gemeinschaft dimension within the Gesellschaft. The last part of the article explains how Christian Humanism helps also to avoid an idealistic reading of the proposal, which always has to take into account the demands of confrontation with the external system intrinsic to the Gesellschaft, as the very etymology of management reveals. (shrink)