Advances in molecular biological research in the latter half of the twentieth century have made the story of the gene vastly complicated: the more we learn about genes, the less sure we are of what a gene really is. Knowledge about the structure and functioning of genes abounds, but the gene has also become curiously intangible. This collection of essays renews the question: what are genes? Philosophers, historians and working scientists re-evaluate the question in this volume, treating the gene as (...) a focal point of interdisciplinary and international research. It will be of interest to professionals and students in the philosophy and history of science, genetics and molecular biology. (shrink)
Memory is a general attribute of living species, whose diversification reflects both evolutionary and developmental processes. Episodic-autobiographical memory is regarded as the highest human ontogenetic achievement and as probably being uniquely human. EAM, autonoetic consciousness and the self are intimately linked, grounding, supporting and enriching each other’s development and cohesiveness. Their development is influenced by the socio-cultural–linguistic environment in which an individual grows up or lives. On the other hand, through language, textualization and social exchange, all three elements leak into (...) the world and participate to the dynamic shaping and re-shaping of the cultural scaffolding of the self, mental time traveling and EAM formation. Deficits in self-related processing, autonetic consciousness, emotional processing and mental time traveling can all lead to or co-occur with EAM disturbances, as we illustrate by findings from EAM impairments associated with neurological or psychiatric disorders. (shrink)
Can we sensibly attribute some of the happenings in our world to the agency of some of the things around us? We do this all the time, but there are conceptual challenges purporting to show that attributable agency, and specifically one of its most important subspecies, human free agency, is incoherent. We address these challenges in a novel way: rather than merely rebutting specific arguments, we discuss a concrete model that we claim positively illustrates attributable agency in an indeterministic setting. (...) The model, recently introduced by one of the authors in the context of artificial intelligence, shows that an agent with a sufficiently complex memory organization can employ indeterministic happenings in a meaningful way. We claim that these considerations successfully counter arguments against the coherence of libertarian free will. (shrink)
To this day, an adequate interpretation in English of Fichte’s entire philosophy is lacking. Even Frederick Copleston, whose sixty-two pages on Fichte in his History of Philosophy I should recommend as the best general introduction so far available, capitulates at the end before the task of seeing a unity in the thought of this philosopher.
Epistemology, as generally understood by philosophers of science, is rather remote from the history of science and from historical concerns in general. Rheinberger shows that, from the late nineteenth through the late twentieth century, a parallel, alternative discourse sought to come to terms with the rather fundamental experience of the thoroughgoing scientific changes brought on by the revolution in physics. Philosophers of science and historians of science alike contributed their share to what this essay describes as an ongoing quest (...) to historicize epistemology. Historical epistemology, in this sense, is not so concerned with the knowing subject and its mental capacities. Rather, it envisages science as an ongoing cultural endeavor and tries to assess the conditions under which the sciences in all their diversity take shape and change over time. (shrink)
Christian Deism broke radically with the past and had its starting point in the notion that Christianity, as it was known, was perverted and no longer represented in the true and apostolic faith. Many of the titles of most of the Deist's books expressed this dismay over the state of the Christian religion, the need for re-interpretation of the nature of the true gospel and for reform. While most books reflected on the matter, the individual perspectives differed on the questions: (...) Whom to blame for this fall? How to date it? What was the correct issue? The article argues that it was not the contention of the English Deists that some churches had erred in some points, but that all the churches had erred in all points: The entire system of the Christian religion was perverted. Their view of the history of Christianity was intimately connected with their view of the person and significance of Jesus. (shrink)
It is argued that Llewellyn's hypothesis about the lack of rapid eye movement (REM)-sleep dreaming leading to loss of personal identity and deficits in episodic memory, affectivity, and prospection is insufficiently grounded because it does not integrate data from neurodevelopmental studies and makes reference to an outdated definition of episodic memory.
This paper presents a platform for developing, testing and executing synchronous collaborative applications in a distributed, heterogeneous environment. Even though several environments exist nowadays, specific problems are not treated satisfactorily. Especially in ‘real’ network environments, problems like unstable network connections and low bandwidths have to be considered.The DreamTeam platform addresses the special needs of environments with non-optimal characteristics which can, be found in distance learning scenarios. DreamTeam comprises a development environment, a simulation environment and a runtime environment; it is based (...) upon the concept of a fully decentralised architecture and encourages rapid prototyping.DreamTeam supports developers of shared applications through a component concept. Using components helps to divide a software project into well-defined parts. Well-documented interfaces help to reduce integration efforts and improve software quality. A selection of sample applications with DreamTeam validates our design concept. (shrink)
The famous thesis of the underdetermination of our theories about the world through the available observational data is the basis of Quine's skepsis which forces him to commit himself to the theses of the inscrutability of reference and the indetermination of translation. On the basis of an examination of Quine's distinction between observational and theoretical sentences, I intend to show the impossibility of translating observational sentences without their being affected by the indeterminacy of translation. They too, cannot be translated without (...) the aid of analytical hypotheses only by equating them with observational reports of the language into which they are to be translated. The consequence of this is that the basis of this assumption, the empirical equivalence of logically incompatible systems of the world, loses its point. (shrink)
The principles of relativity are assertions about the structure of physical laws, whose validity or nonvalidity can only be empirically confirmed or falsified. The weakest forms of those principles are the so-calledglobal propositions. They furnish statements as to which operations—assumed to be performed simultaneously throughout the whole universe—have no influence upon the physical events. Much stronger principles are those of alocal nature. These assert that the physical properties of a system do not change, when the relation of the system is (...) altered vis-à-vis the universe at large. On formulating these local principles, we presuppose either that it is possible to eliminate any influence of the environment or that the influence can be compensated as in the case of universal forces (e.g., gravitational) which can principally not be removed. Still weaker, however, are those formulations of the relativity principles which postulate relativity only for infinitesimally small space-time domains or regions. This distinction yields clarification of all discussions about existence and meaning of a general relativity principle. Such an analysis was already performed by Einstein and Abraham in 1912. (shrink)
Worldwide implementation of the centrat concept sustainable development has given rise to very different interpretations, some extending to central issues within the field of ecological ethics. This is especially true of the two economic approaches termed >Strong weak weak strong< sustainability theory merits interdisciplinary consideration through a theologically oriented ethics of sustainable development.
Ludwik Fleck, Edmund Husserl : on the historicity of scientific knowledge -- Gaston Bachelard : the concept of "phenomenotechnique" -- Georges Canguilhem : epistemological history -- Pisum : Carl Correns's experiments on Xenia, 1896-99 -- Eudorina : Max Hartmann's experiments on biological regulation in protozoa, 1914-21 -- Ephestia : Alfred Kähn's experimental design for a developmental physiological -- Genetics, 1924-45 -- Tobacco mosaic virus : virus research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes for Biochemistry and Biology, 1937-45 -- The concept of (...) the gene : molecular biological perspectives -- The liquid scintillation counter : traces of radioactivity -- The concept of information : the writings of François Jacob -- Intersections -- Preparations -- The economy of the scribble. (shrink)
In this powerful work of conceptual and analytical originality, the author argues for the primacy of the material arrangements of the laboratory in the dynamics of modern molecular biology. In a post-Kuhnian move away from the hegemony of theory, he develops a new epistemology of experimentation in which research is treated as a process for producing epistemic things. A central concern of the book is the basic question of how novelty is generated in the empirical sciences. In addressing this question, (...) the author brings French poststructuralist thinking—notably Jacques Derrida’s concepts of “différance” and “historiality”—to bear on the construction of epistemic things. Historiographical perspective shifts from the actors’ minds to their objects of manipulation. These epistemological and historical issues are illuminated in a detailed case study of a particular laboratory, that of the oncologist and biochemist Paul C. Zamecnik and his colleagues, located in a specific setting—the Collis P. Huntington Memorial Hospital of Harvard University at the Massachusetts General Hospital of Boston. The author traces how, between 1945 and 1965, this group developed an experimental system for synthesizing proteins in the test tube that put Zamecnik’s research team at the forefront of those who led biochemistry into the era of molecular biology. (shrink)
Autobiographical–episodic memory is the conjunction of subjective time, autonoetic consciousness and the experiencing self. Understanding the neural correlates of autobiographical–episodic memory might therefore be essential for shedding light on the neurobiology underlying the experience of being an autonoetic self. In this contribution we illustrate the intimate relationship between autobiographical–episodic memory and self by reviewing the clinical and neuropsychological features and brain functional imaging correlates of psychogenic amnesia – a condition that is usually characterized by severely impaired retrograde memory functioning, in (...) absence of structural brain damage as detected by standard imaging. We demonstrate that in this disorder the autobiographical–episodic memory deficits do not exist in isolation, but occur with impairments of the autonoetic self-consciousness, emotional processing, and theory of mind or executive functions. Furthermore functional and metabolic brain alterations involving regions that are agreed upon to exert crucial roles in memory processes were frequently found to accompany the psychogenic memory “loss”. (shrink)
We generalize the concept of Nash equilibrium in mixed strategies for strategic form games to allow for ambiguity in the players' expectations. In contrast to other contributions, we model ambiguity by means of so-called lower probability measures or belief functions, which makes it possible to distinguish between a player's assessment of ambiguity and his attitude towards ambiguity. We also generalize the concept of trembling hand perfect equilibrium. Finally, we demonstrate that for certain attitudes towards ambiguity it is possible to explain (...) cooperation in the one-shot Prisoner's Dilemma in a way that is in accordance with some recent experimental findings. (shrink)
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