We present a hypothetical process of mind coalescence, where arti cial connections are created between two or more brains. This might simply allow for an improved form of communication. At the other extreme, it might merge the minds into one in a process that can be thought of as a reverse split-brain operation. We propose that one way mind coalescence might happen is via an exocortex, a prosthetic extension of the biological brain which integrates with the brain as seamlessly as (...) parts of the biological brain integrate with each other. An exocortex may also prove to be the easiest route for mind uploading, as a person's personality gradually moves away from the aging biological brain and onto the exocortex. Memories might also be copied and shared even without minds being permanently merged. Over time, the borders of personal identity may become loose or even unnecessary. (shrink)
Placebos are allegedly used widely in general practice. Surveys reporting high level usage, however, have combined two categories, ‘pure’ and ‘impure’ placebos. The wide use of placebos is explained by the high level usage of impure placebos. In contrast, the prevalence of the use of pure placebos has been low. Traditional pure placebos are clinically ineffective treatments, whereas impure placebos form an ambiguous group of diverse treatments that are not always ineffective. In this paper, we focus on the impure placebo (...) concept and demonstrate problems related to it. We also show that the common examples of impure placebos are not meaningful from the point of view of clinical practice. We conclude that the impure placebo is a scientifically misleading concept and should not be used in scientific or medical literature. The issues behind the concept, however, deserve serious attention in future research. (shrink)
While it is well known that Roland Barthes consecrated his last lecture series at the Collège de France to the theme of the preparation of a novel, it is less known that his first writings on literature focused on the same question, but from a less individual point of view. The interrogation that motivates Le Degré zéro de l’écriture (1953) and many of the essays in Essais critiques (1964) is the question of how to write, of what procedures one can (...) follow in preparing a literary work of art. At the two ends of Barthes’s career one finds the same themes of writing as action and of the writer’s possibilities and motivations in writing. The article explores the hypothesis that there is ground for a positive theory of the author in Barthes’s work. It seeks to discover similarities between writings from the early and the late period that concern three themes: (1) writing as action, (2) the deferral of its achievement, and (3) writing as representation. The article ends with a discussion on the relationships between Barthes’s positive theory of the author and related important issues that have been discussed recently in literary criticism. (shrink)
This book’s review discusses the reinterpretation of Kant’s transcendental philosophy offered by Ronald Harri Wettstein. In the wake of K.O. Apel and J. Habermas, Kant is interpreted in the light of J.L. Austin’s theory of speech acts. The most original part of the book is chapter 3, in which Wettstein offers an unkantian theory of permitted lie, to which belong diplomacy, politeness, and discretion.
In Finnish poetry of the 1960s, the city, and above all the capital Helsinki, is the scene where the metamorphosis of Finland from an agrarian into an urban society is staged, analysed and commented. It is also a symbol that serves to situate the country in the global context, with all the contradictions that were characteristic of the position of Finland in the cold war system. Writing about the city was a means to reflect on the transformations of social and (...) political reality and of the physical environment, a means to represent the confusion these transformations produced or to work towards understanding them. The article analyses the city in texts belonging to the “new poetry” of the 1960s, as well as in texts representing the modernist poetics of the 1950s, arguing that the very co-existence of two contrasting poetic discourses was crucial for the semiotic development of Finnish culture in the period of time in question. (shrink)