ai Diminished gaze fixation is one of the core features of autism and has been proposed to be associated with abnormalities in the neural circuitry of affect. We tested this hypothesis in two separate studies using eye tracking while measuring functional brain activity during facial discrimination tasks in individuals with autism and in typically developing individuals. Activation in the fusiform gyrus and amygdala was strongly and positively correlated with the time spent fixating the eyes in the autistic group in both (...) studies, suggesting that diminished gaze fixation may account for the fusiform hypoactivation to faces commonly reported in autism. In addition, variation in eye fixation within autistic individuals was strongly and positively associated with amygdala activation across both studies, suggesting a heightened emotional response associated with gaze fixation in autism. (shrink)
& Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined whether individual differences in amygdala activation in response to negative relative to neutral information are related to differences in the speed with which such information is evaluated, the extent to which such differences are associated with medial prefrontal cortex function, and their relationship with measures of trait anxiety and psychological well-being (PWB). Results indicated that faster judgments of negative relative to neutral information were associated with increased left and right amygdala activation. In (...) the prefrontal cortex, faster judgment time was associated with relative decreased activation in a cluster in the ventral anterior cingulate cor-. (shrink)
Where has the Western attraction to the study and practice of shamanic techniques brought us? Where might it take us? In what ways have our Western biases and philosophical underpinnings influenced and changed how shamanism is practiced, both in the West and in the traditional cultures out of which they emerged? Is it time to stop using the umbrella term “shamanism” to refer to such diverse cross-cultural practices? What are our responsibilities, both as researchers and as spiritual seekers? In this (...) conversation, researcher-authors Stephan Beyer, Stanley Krippner, and Hillary S. Webb discuss their work in field and consider some of the ramifications of the Western world's intellectual and spiritual fascination with shamanic practices. Special attention is paid to the language used to describe these techniques and their practitioners, the developing relationship between researchers and cultural participants, and the ethical implications of merging what are often very distinct worldviews. (shrink)
What are the ethical obligations of a researcher who wishes to study another culture's ceremonial practices, in particular those of the Native American Church (NAC)? What promise do peyote and the NAC peyote ceremony show for the treatment of alcoholism amongst NAC members? How does one approach the philosophical issues regarding “consciousness” within the context of such a study? In this interview, Dr. John Halpern, M.D., discusses how the fields of medicine and anthropology converged and informed one another over the (...) course of his study into the effects of the NAC peyote ceremony on alcohol addiction. He tells the story of how he, as an outsider to the Church, was eventually accepted as a member of the NAC community. He also reflects upon how one's philosophical stance on what consciousness “is” informs such a study. (shrink)
By synthesizing evolutionary, attachment, and acoustic perspectives, Soltis has provided an innovative model of infant cry acoustics and parental responsiveness. We question some of his hypotheses, however, because of the limited extant data on infant crying among hunter-gatherers. We also question Soltis' distinction between manipulative and honest signaling based upon recent contributions from attachment theory.
Western scholarly literature suggests that (1) weaning is initiated by mothers; (2) weaning takes place within a few days once mothers decide to stop nursing; (3) mothers employ specific techniques to terminate nursing; (4) semi-solid foods (gruels and mashed foods) are essential when weaning; (5) weaning is traumatic for children (it leads to temper tantrums, aggression, etc.); (6) developmental stages in relationships with mothers and others can be demarcated by weaning; and (7) weaning is a process that involves mothers and (...) children exclusively, with weaned children moving from close relationships with their mothers to strengthened relationships with other children. In many respects, these presumptions are consistent with contemporary Euroamerican practices: nursing stops early (usually before six months) relative to other cultures and takes place over a few days or weeks with the help of bottles and baby foods. Because bottles are available, weaning seldom appears traumatic, but it is seen as an important step in the establishment of independence between mothers and infants. By contrast, weaning from the bottle is often perceived as traumatic. Despite considerable academic and popular interest, weaning has seldom been studied systematically, especially in small-scale cultures. Qualitative and quantitative data from a study of Bofi foragers in Central Africa are used here to evaluate the cross-cultural applicability of the assumptions summarized above. (shrink)
Based on responses from 1078 human resource (HR) professionals, this study concludes that there is not an ethical crisis in the work place. Seven of 37 situations were rated as serious problems by more than 25% of the respondents. HR reported that their organizations are serious about uncovering and disciplining ethical misconduct, top management has a commitment to ethical business conduct, personal principles are not compromised to conform to company expectations, and performance pressures do not lead to unethical conduct.
Many of Dworkin’s interlocutors saw his ‘one-system view’, according to which law is a branch of morality, as a radical shift. I argue that it is better seen as a different way of expressing his longstanding view that legal theory is an inherently normative endeavor. Dworkin emphasizes that fact and value are separate domains, and one cannot ground claims of one sort in the other domain. On this view, legal philosophy can only answer questions from within either domain. We cannot (...) ask metaphysical questions about which domain law ‘properly’ belongs in; these would be archimedean, and Dworkin has long argued against archimedeanism. The one-system view, then, is best understood as an invitation to join Dworkin in asking moral questions from within the domain of value. Finally, I argue that Dworkin’s view can be understood as a version of ‘eliminativism’, a growing trend in legal philosophy. (shrink)
The important roles of prediction and prior experience are well established in music research and fit well with Clark's concept of unified perception, cognition, and action arising from hierarchical, bidirectional predictive processing. However, in order to fully account for human musical intelligence, Clark needs to further consider the powerful and variable role of affect in relation to prediction error.
In most everyday instances of reasoning, reasoners can gain, lose, and reacquire entitlement to (or justification for) a possible commitment (or belief) as a result of their consecutively acquiring new commitments. For example, we might initially conclude that ‘Tweety can fly’ from ‘Tweety is a bird,’ but later have to reject this conclusion as a result of our coming to learn that Tweety is a penguin. We could, even later, reacquire entitlement to ‘Tweety can fly’ if we became committed (and (...) presumably entitled) to the claim ‘Tweety has a jetpack.’ I will call this very common feature of reasoning entitlement recovery. In this paper I will argue that the types of inferential relations that are central to Brandom’s entire account of language and reasoning make entitlement recovery impossible. I will then briefly attempt to diagnose why this problem arises for Brandom and suggest how his account should be modified so that it will successfully allow entitlement recovery. (shrink)
In a reflective and richly entertaining piece from 1979, Doug Hofstadter playfully imagined a conversation between ‘Achilles’ and an anthill (the eponymous ‘Aunt Hillary’), in which he famously explored many ideas and themes related to cognition and consciousness. For Hofstadter, the anthill is able to carry on a conversation because the ants that compose it play roughly the same role that neurons play in human languaging; unfortunately, Hofstadter’s work is notably short on detail suggesting how this magic might be (...) achieved1. Conversely in this paper - finally reifying Hofstadter’s imagination - we demonstrate how populations of simple ant-like creatures can be organised to solve complex problems; problems that involve the use of forward planning and strategy. Specifically we will demonstrate that populations of such creatures can be configured to play a strategically strong - though tactically weak - game of HeX (a complex strategic game).We subsequently demonstrate how tactical play can be improved by introducing a form of forward planning instantiated via multiple populations of agents; a technique that can be compared to the dynamics of interacting populations of social insects via the concept of meta-population. In this way although, pace Hofstadter, we do not establish that a meta-population of ants could actually hold a conversation with Achilles, we do successfully introduce Aunt Hillary to the complex, seductive charms of HeX. (shrink)
Game theory has proven useful in clarifying Hobbes’s argument that the state of nature will inevitably devolve into a state of war. Mathematically-leaning philosophers, however, have paid little attention to Rousseau’s depiction of the state of nature as a peaceful, asocial state of solitary wanderers. This paper articulates Rousseau’s critique of Hobbes in formal terms, which pinpoints two crucial issues in Hobbes’s account: the lack of an exit option and an unrealistic depiction of human nature. Building upon recent game-theoretic treatments (...) of Hobbes, we first construct a model that incorporates Rousseau’s criticisms by permitting an exit option and endogenizing human preferences and capacities. Second, we draw out the implications of Rousseau’s analysis for the question of political authority, which cannot be answered, as Hobbes believed, by invoking a hypothetical state of nature. (shrink)
Judith Butler’s influential work in feminist theory is significant for its insight that sexist discourse in popular culture affects the agency and consciousness of individuals, but offers an inadequate account of how such discourse might be said to touch, shape, or affect selves. Supplementing Butler’s account of signification with a Deweyan pragmatic account of meaning-making and selective emphasis enables a consistent account of the relationship between discourse and subjectivity with a robust conception of the bodily organism. An analysis of the (...) popular discourse surrounding Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Presidential campaign demonstrates why this hybrid pragmatic/poststructuralist account is necessary. (shrink)
According to Hobbes, individuals care about their relative standing in a way that shapes their social interactions. To model this aspect of Hobbesian psychology, this paper supposes that agents have social preferences, that is, preferences about their comparative resource holdings. Introducing uncertainty regarding the social preferences of others unleashes a process of trust-unravelling, ultimately leading to Hobbes’s ‘state of war’. This Trust-unravelling Model incorporates important features of Hobbes’s argument that past models ignore.
This paper engages in a critical examination of Michel Henry’s (1922-2002) phenomenological study of the erotic relation. I argue that Henry’s analysis of the erotic relation undoes his account of the phenomenological life of the subject as a radically immanent mode of appearing and suggests that life is open to the world. I contend that it is by acknowledging life as a movement of transcendence towards the world that Henry’s insights into the nature of the erotic relation and its renewal (...) from an obscene objectivism can truly mature and find fulfilment. More specifically, I maintain that it is in making this modification to Henry’s conception of life that his insight into the erotic relation as arousing a depth of feeling and a type of meaning that forever escape objectification, and which strain towards the absolute, can finally be realized in a more consistent and fruitful manner. (shrink)
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to expose underlying inequities in healthcare for black, indigenous and Latinx communities in the USA. The gaps in equitable care for communities of colour transcend the diagnosis, treatment and vaccinations related to COVID-19. We are experiencing a continued gap across racial and socioeconomic lines for those who suffer prolonged effects of COVID-19, also known as ‘Long COVID-19’. What we know about the treatment for Long COVID-19 so far is that it is complex, requires a multidisciplinary approach (...) and there is still much research needed to fully understand the effects. In this paper, we discuss pragmatic considerations for including affected communities, relevant stakeholders, and leaders from communities of colour in the planning and implementation of Long COVID-19 research. (shrink)