This essay aims to explore the significance of Hilary Putnam’s reflections on the division of linguistic labor by putting them into contrast with those of Gareth Evans. Whereas Putnam’s reflections purport to uncover neglected aspects of the contribution of social environment to the meaning and the reference-fixing of conceptual terms, Evans’s reinterpretation of the division of linguistic labor results in obliterating its antisubjectivist and instrumentalist dimension. The crux of the disagreement between Putnam and Evans on the significance of the division (...) of linguistic labor lies in Evans endorsing, while Putnam rejects, the principle of discrimination—a generalization of what Evans calls “Russell’s principle.”. (shrink)
Postural reflexes are essential for locomotion and postural stability, and may play an important role in the etiology of chronic back pain. It has recently been theoretically predicted, and with the help of unilateral perturbations of the trunk experimentally confirmed that the sensorimotor control must lower the reflex amplitude for increasing reflex delays to maintain spinal stability. The underlying neuromuscular mechanism for the compensation of postural perturbations, however, is not yet fully understood. In this study, we applied unilateral and bilateral (...) sudden external perturbations to the trunk of healthy subjects and measured the muscular activity and the movement onset of the trunk. We found that the onset of the trunk muscle activity is prior to, or coincident with, the onset of the trunk movement. Additionally, the results of our experiments imply that the muscular response mechanism integrates distant sensory information from both sides of the body. These findings rule out a simple monosynaptic stretch reflex in favor of a more complex polysynaptic postural reflex mechanism to compensate postural perturbations. Moreover, the previously predicted negative correlation between reflex delay and reflex gain was also confirmed for bilateral perturbations. (shrink)
Neural algorithms are conserved during evolution. Neurons with different shapes and using different molecular mechanisms can perform the same computation. However, evolutionary conservation of neural algorithms is not sufficient for claiming the realization of an algorithm for a specific computational problem. A plausible scheme for ontogenetic emergence of the structure of the algorithm must also be provided.