The present work critically examines two assumptions frequently stated by supporters of cognitive neuroenhancement. The first, explicitly methodological, assumption is the supposition of effective and side effect-free neuroenhancers. However, there is an evidence-based concern that the most promising drugs currently used for cognitive enhancement can be addictive. Furthermore, this work describes why the neuronal correlates of key cognitive concepts, such as learning and memory, are so deeply connected with mechanisms implicated in the development and maintenance of addictive behaviour so that (...) modification of these systems may inevitably run the risk of addiction to the enhancing drugs. Such a potential risk of addiction could only be falsified by in-depth empirical research. The second, implicit, assumption is that research on neuroenhancement does not pose a serious moral problem. However, the potential for addiction, along with arguments related to research ethics and the potential social impact of neuroenhancement, could invalidate this assumption. It is suggested that ethical evaluation needs to consider the empirical data as well as the question of whether and how such empirical knowledge can be obtained. (shrink)
An important distinction between phonology and syntax has been overlooked. All phonological patterns belong to the regular region of the Chomsky Hierarchy, but not all syntactic patterns do. We argue that the hypothesis that humans employ distinct learning mechanisms for phonology and syntax currently offers the best explanation for this difference.
Patients suffering from mental disorders are often not treated on an equal basis with patients suffering from organic diseases. In Germany, for example, alcohol-dependent patients will be detoxified on a clinical ward to ensure that they survive acute alcohol withdrawal; however, medical insurances often do not cover treatment costs for a therapy for the addictive behavior that underlies the acute alcohol problem. While patients suffering from diabetes mellitus can also display personally harmful choices and, for example, consume sugar although they (...) know that this is detrimental for their health, medical insurances pay for the acute hyperglycemic shock treatment as well as for dietary and medical treatment of the .. (shrink)
In his critical comment on our paper in this journal, Shaw argues that ‘false assumptions’ which we have criticised are in fact correct . He suggests that the risk of addiction to neuroenhancers may not be relevant, and that safety and research in regard to neuroenhancement do not pose unique ethical problems. Here, we demonstrate that Shaw ignores key empirical research results, trivialises addiction, commits logical errors, confuses addictions and passions, argues on a speculative basis, and fails to distinguish the (...) specific ethical conditions of clinical research from those relevant for research in healthy volunteers. Therefore, Shaw's criticism cannot convince. (shrink)
The disease status of mental disorders has been hotly debated and is still highly relevant for ethical and economic considerations regarding the human rights of psychiatric patients. Here we critically discuss traditional evolutionary and degenerative concepts of mental disorders and propose instead the differentiation between independent dimensions of mental health resources on the one hand and mental disorders on the other. We suggest that impairments of a minimal set of mental functions can serve as indicators of exogenous and endogenous psychoses, (...) while other mental disorders cannot be diagnosed without a reference to setting and culture. (shrink)
Purpose: Commenting on the transcript of a lecture. Findings: The document reconstructs the development of the original 1973 lecture by Heinz von Foerster into his best-known paper, On Constructing a Reality. Many aspects of that paper can be identified as being shaped through interaction with the audience. Implications: The lecture documented here was a forerunner of a central paper in constructivism.
Our contemporary period is marked by what Wallerstein has called "the great metapsychological debate." That is, many of the changes shown today strike at the very heart of psychoanalysis, through a questioning and reformulation of many of its basic assumptions,through creative re-readings, or in some cases transformations in what was thought to be the very essence of analytic work. However diverse these new directions may be from one another, they appear united in one respect: to unhinge psychoanalysis from its classical (...) approach, and provide alternative metapsychological visions more faithful to human psychological life, as that transpires in the theatre of psychoanalytic practice. All this brings us to the new "Self Psychology" of Heinz Kohut. Perhaps more than any other contemporary development, Self Psychology has had the most powerful impact on the previously institutionalized orientations within the psychoanalytic community. Kuhn has taught us that following a revolution in scientific paradigms, old data are seen in a new light and new discoveries, are included within that vision. In short, the world changes for the scientist after major revolutions in a given discipline. Accordingly, in what follows, I want to take you into Kohut's altered vision of psychoanalysis, with a particular emphasis on his novel discoveries, and the role these played in his revisioning of the clinical relationship. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Literary critic and essayist Karl Heinz Bohrer offers a Eurosceptic perspective on the German commitment to a united Europe. This article is a reconstruction of Bohrer's argument. It identifies two distinct critiques. The first is a somewhat prosaic observation that the differences between the national traditions of Europe are simply too great for a united Europe to be viable. The other is a more complex reflection on ?European decadence?: Europeans lack the will that is required to project power, and (...) power is a precondition for cultural achievements. Protestantism?the ?Protestant mind??plays a central role in this second critique. The two critiques are connected through Bohrer's conception of the nation-state as an entity that integrates in an agonistic way legal and cultural power. (shrink)
Context: In this empirical and conceptual paper on the historical, philosophical, and epistemological backgrounds of second-order cybernetics, the emergence of a significant pedagogical component to Heinz von Foerster’s work during the last years of the Biological Computer Laboratory is placed against the backdrop of social and intellectual movements on the American landscape. Problem: Previous discussion in this regard has focused largely on the student radicalism of the later 1960s. A wider-angled view of the American intellectual counterculture is needed. However, (...) this historical nexus is complicated and more often dismissed than brought into clear focus. Method: This essay assembles a historical sequence of archival materials for critical analysis, linked to a conceptual argument eliciting from those materials the second-order cybernetic concepts of observation, recursion, and paradox. Results: In this period, von Foerster found the “positive of the negative” in the social and intellectual unrest of that moment and cultivated those insights for the broader constitution of a new cognitive orientation. Implications: As a successful student of his own continuing course on heuristics, von Foerster left the academic mainstream to ally his constructivist epistemology with the systems counterculture. (shrink)
Excerpt: In 1995, the Leo Apostel Centre in Brussels, Belgium, organised an international conference called ``Einstein meets Magritte''. Nobel prize winner Ilya Prigogine held the opening lecture at the conference, and Heinz von Foerster's lecture was scheduled last... Heinz von Foerster was enchanted by the conference theme and -- in the spirit of surrealist Belgian painter René Magritte -- had chosen an appropriate title for his talk: ``Ceci n'est pas Albert Einstein''. ... [H]e was delighted to grant the (...) organisers the following interview, in which he tells us about an even longer journey -- that of his remarkable life and scientific career. (shrink)
Le bref texte que Paul Ricœur consacre en 1986 à la psychanalyse développée par Heinz Kohut révèle une réinterprétation phénoménologique à la fois du contenu et des fonctions de l'empathie, au total considérée comme un véritable outil à l'œuvre dans l'herméneutique du soi. La vision kohutienne de la constitution du soi et du processus thérapeutique analytique produit une espèce de “dé-sentimentalisation” de l'empathie, en soulignant le rôle crucial du transfert intersubjectif, fort à distance de la théorie (freudienne) solipsiste de (...) l'ego. The short text published in 1986 by Paul Ricoeur about Heinz Kohut's psychoanalysis of the self reveals a phenomenological reinterpretation of the content and the functions of empathy, finally considered as an effective tool of the hermeneutics of the self. Kohut's model of constitution of the self and of the therapeutic analytical process produces a kind of “de-sentimentalization” of empathy, pointing to the crucial role of intersubjective transfer, far from a (Freudian) solipsistic theory of the ego. (shrink)