This paper uses academic and lay discourses to examine the ways in which "the city" is constructed in its relationship to "wildlife." The paper examines the negative and essentialized ways in which the city's relationship to wildlife has been represented in postcolonial theory and animal geography. The paper further explores these theoretical framings of the city in the empirical context of the relocation of an urban, flying fox colony, which provides opportunities to reconsider these bounded conceptualizations of the city.
Queerly enough, the introduction of this new phraseology [of sense-data] has deluded people into thinking that they had discovered new entities, new elements of the structure of the world, as though to say, “I believe that there are sense data” were similar to saying “I believe that matter consists of electrons.”There was no premeditation. Frustrated at the way our seminar had let the excitement of consciousness fade into professional model building, I took it once again, from the top, asking simply: (...) What are we talking about? What is consciousness? But my seminar met my blunt question head on, with silence. As I looked across the blanked faces, I found my right hand strangely stirring the air in front of my face.. (shrink)
The effort to understand speech perception on the basis of relationships between acoustic parameters of speech sounds is to be recommended. Neural specializations (combination-sensitivity) for echolocation, communication, and sound localization probably constitute the common mechanisms of vertebrate auditory processing and may be essential for speech production as well as perception. There is, however, no need for meaningful maps.
In “What is it like to be boring and myopic?” Kathleen Akins offers an interesting, empirically driven, argument for thinking that there is nothing that it is like to be a bat. She suggests that bats are “boring” in the sense that they are governed by behavioral scripts and simple, non-representational, control loops, and are best characterized as biological automatons. Her approach has been well received by philosophers sympathetic to empirically informed philosophy of mind. But, despite its influence, her (...) work has not met with any critical appraisal. -/- It is argued that a reconsideration of the empirical results shows that bats are not boring automatons, driven by short input-output loops, instincts, and reflexes. Grounds are provided for thinking that bats satisfy a range of philosophically and scientifically interesting elaborations of the general idea that consciousness is best understood in terms of representational functions. A more complete examination of bat sensory capabilities suggests there is something that it is like after all. -/- The discussion of bats is also used to develop an objection to strongly neurophilosophical approaches to animal consciousness. (shrink)
What does it feel like to be a bat? Is conscious experience of echolocation closer to that of vision or audition? Or do bats process echolocation nonconsciously, such that they do not feel anything about echolocation? This famous question of bats' experience, posed by a philosopher Thomas Nagel in 1974, clarifies the difficult nature of the mind–body problem. Why a particular sense, such as vision, has to feel like vision, but not like audition, is totally puzzling. This is (...) especially so given that any conscious experience is supported by neuronal activity. Activity of a single neuron appears fairly uniform across modalities and even similar to those for non-conscious processing. Without any explanation on why a particular sense has to feel the way it does, researchers cannot approach the question of the bats' experience. Is there any theory that gives us a hope for such explanation? Currently, probably none, except for one. Integrated information theory has potential to offer a plausible explanation. IIT essentially claims that any system that is composed of causally interacting mechanisms can have conscious experience. And precisely how the system feels is determined by the way the mechanisms influence each other in a holistic way. In this article, I will give a brief explanation of the essence of IIT. Further, I will briefly provide a potential scientific pathway to approach bats' conscious experience and its philosophical implications. If IIT, or its improved or related versions, is validated enough, the theory will gain credibility. When it matures enough, predictions from the theory, including nature of bats' experience, will have to be accepted. I argue that a seemingly impossible question about bats' consciousness will drive empirical and theoretical consciousness research to make big breakthroughs, in a similar way as an impossible question about the age of the universe has driven modern cosmology. (shrink)
I have both a smaller and a larger aim. The smaller aim is polemical. Kit Fine believes that a material thing—a Romanesque statue, for example, or an open door—can be distinguished from its constituent matter—a piece of alloy, say, or a hunk of plastic—without recourse to modal or temporal considerations. The statue is Romanesque; the piece of alloy is not Romanesque. The door is open; the hunk of plastic is not open. I argue that these considerations, when combined (...) with a proper understanding of how the use of ‘not’ is functioning, entail that the statue is the piece of alloy, and that the door is the hunk of plastic. Far from challenging the doctrine that a material thing is its matter, Fine’s observations confirm the view. My larger aim is methodological. I will show that natural language semantics can guide inquiry in certain areas of metaphysics by helping us to advance lingering debates. (shrink)
What place does consciousness have in the natural world? If we reject materialism, could there be a credible alternative? In one classic example, philosophers ask whether we can ever know what is it is like for bats to sense the world using sonar. It seems obvious to many that any amount of information about a bat's physical structure and information processing leaves us guessing about the central questions concerning the character of its experience. A Place for Consciousness begins with (...) reflections on the existence of this gap. Is it just a psychological shortcoming in our merely human understanding of the physical world? Is it a trivial consequence of the simple fact that we just cannot be bats? Or does it mean there really are facts about consciousness over and above the physical facts? If so, what does consciousness do? Why does it exist? Rosenberg sorts out these problems, especially those centering on the causal role of consciousness. He introduces a new paradigm called Liberal Naturalism for thinking about what causation is, about the natural world, and about how to create a detailed model to go along with the new paradigm. Arguing that experience is part of the categorical foundations of causality, he shows that within this new paradigm there is a place for something essentially like consciousness in all its traditional mysterious respects. A striking feature of Liberal Naturalism is that its central tenets are motivated independently of the mind-body problem, by analyzing causation itself. Because of this approach, when consciousness shows up in the picture it is not introduced in an ad hoc way, and its most puzzling features can be explained from first principles. Ultimately, Rosenberg's final solution gives consciousness a causally important role without supposing either that it is physical or that it interacts with the physical. (shrink)
We can perceive shapes visually and tactilely, and the information we gain about shapes through both sensory modalities is integrated smoothly into and functions in the same way in our behavior independently of whether we gain it by sight or touch. There seems to be no reason in principle we couldn't perceive shapes through other sensory modalities as well, although as a matter of fact we do not. While we can identify shapes through other sensory modalities—e.g., I may know by (...) smell (the scent of mango) that the object causing my sensory experience is round—this is not perceiving an object as shaped, but rather inferring from the character of one's sensory experience and collateral information that an object of a certain shape caused it. That it is possible to perceive shape by other modalities, however, is suggested by the case of bats and aquatic mammals like dolphins which navigate through their environment by a form of sonar. It is plausible that they have some form of auditory representation of space, and so of shape. These facts about shape perception raise important questions about the relation between those features of perceptual experience which are intrinsic to different sensory modalities and the nature of our perceptual representation of shapes, and, more generally, of the space within which we perceive shaped objects to be located. John Campbell's paper, "Molyneux's Problem" (see above), raises a number of interesting and important questions about the nature of our perception of shape properties, particularly the cross-modal nature of shape perception, and ties them to more general questions about the nature both of perceptual.. (shrink)
It is a truism among ethologists that one must not forget that animals perceive and represent the world differently from humans. Sometimes this caution is phrased in terms of von Uexküll’s Umwelt concept. Yet it seems possible (perhaps even unavoidable) to adopt a common ontological framework when comparing different species of mind. For some purposes it seems sufficient to anchor comparative cognition in common-sense categories; bats echolocate insects (or a subset of them) after all. But for other purposes it (...) seems necessary to find out more about how organisms organize their perceptions into biologically significant and perhaps cognitively meaningful states. Complex animals have high bandwidth sensory channels that feed into large nerve networks with very complex dynamics. Even for relatively simple animals belonging to species believed to have a small, fixed number of neurons, the odds are very much against any two animals of the same species, let alone different species, having exactly the same couplings to the environment, the same dimensionality in their nervous systems, or the same dynamics. Given such diversity (which von Uexküll himself recognized), how should we think about shared representation, shared meaning, and cognitive similarity between individuals and species? (shrink)
Generic noun phrases (e.g. 'bats live in caves') provide a window onto human concepts. They refer to categories as 'kinds rather than as sets of individuals. Although kind concepts are often assumed to be universal, generic expression varies considerably across languages. For example, marking of generics is less obligatory and overt in Mandarin than in English. How do universal conceptual biases interact with language-specific differences in how generics are conveyed? In three studies, we examined adults' generics in English and (...) Mandarin Chinese. The data include child-directed speech from caregivers interacting with their 19-23-month-old children. Examples of generics include: 'baby birds eat worms' (English) and da4 lao3shu3 yao3 bu4 yao3 ren2 ('do big rats bite people or not?') (Mandarin). Generic noun phrases were reliably identified in both languages, although they occurred more than twice as frequently in English as in Mandarin. In both languages, generic usage was domain-specific, with generic noun phrases used most frequently to refer to animals. This domain effect was specific to generics, as non-generic noun phrases were used most frequently for artifacts in both languages. In sum, we argue for universal properties of 'kind' concepts that are expressed with linguistically different constructions. However, the frequency of expression may be influenced by the manner in which generics are expressed in the language. (shrink)
While previous writing on the philosophy of sport has tended to see sport as a kind of testing ground for philosophical theories devised to deal with other kinds of problems—of ethics, aesthetics, or logical categorization—here Steven Connor offers a new philosophical understanding of sport in its own terms. In order to define what sport essentially is and means, Connor presents a complete grammar of sport, isolating and describing its essential elements, including the characteristic spaces of sport, the nature of sporting (...) time, the importance of sporting objects like bats and balls, the methods of movement in sport, the role of rules and chance, and what it really means to cheat and to win. Defined as games that involve bodily exertion and exhaustion, sports simultaneously require constraint and the ability to overcome it. Sport, argues Connor, is a fundamental feature of modern humans. It is shown to be one of the most powerful ways in which we negotiate the relationship between the human and natural worlds. Encompassing a huge range of different sports, and enlisting the help of Hegel, Freud, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Adorno, Sartre, Ayer, Deleuze, and Serres, _A Philosophy of Sport _will inform, surprise, and delight thoughtful athletes and sporty philosophers alike. (shrink)
Evolutionary psychology—in its ambitious version well formulated by Cosmides and Tooby (e.g., Cosmides & Tooby 1987, Tooby & Cosmides 1992) —will succeed to the extent that it causes cognitive psychologists to rethink central aspects of human cognition in an evolutionary perspective, to the extent, that is, that psychology in general becomes evolutionary. The human species is exceptional by its massive investment in cognition, and in forms of cognitive activity—language, metarepresentation, abstract thinking—that are as unique to humans as echolocation is unique (...) to bats. The promise of evolutionary psychology is thus to help explain not just traits of human psychology that are homologous to those of many other species, but also traits of human psychology that are genuinely exceptional and that in turn help explain the exceptional character of human culture and ecology. However, most of the work done in evolutionary psychology so far is on aspects of human psychology that are not specifically human except in their details. Showing, for instance, how human preferences in mate choice are fine -tuned in the way the theory of evolution would predict is of great interest (see e.g., Buss 1994) but it can be done on the basis of a relatively shallow psychology. This makes work on distinctly human adaptations involving higher cognition of particular importance for defenders of a psychologically ambitious evolutionary psychology. What is often presented (e.g., Pinker, 1997) as the signal achievement of cognitive evolutionary psychology in this respect is the experimental testing of Cosmides’ (1989) hypothesis that there exists an evolved competence to deal with social contracts, and, in particular to detect cheaters. We want to argue that, because of faulty methodological choices—the quasi-exclusive reliance on the four-cards selection task—, the hypothesis has in fact not yet been tested. The plan of this chapter is as follows: We begin, with a short presentation of Cosmides’s social contract hypothesis, of Wason selection task, and of Cosmides’s reasons to use the task in order to test the theory.. (shrink)
It turns out that Rolls’s answer to Nagel’s (1974) question, "What is it like to be a bat?" is brusque: there is nothing it is like to be a bat . . . provided that bats don’t have a linguistically structured internal representational system that enables them to think about their first-order thoughts which are also linguistically structured. For phenomenal consciousness, a properly functioning system of higher-order linguistic thought (HOLT) is necessary (Rolls 1998, p. 262). By this criterion, not (...) only bats, but also a great portion of the animal kingdom, perhaps all animal species except humans, turn out to lack phenomenal consciousness. Indeed, even human babies, and perhaps infants before the early stages of acquiring their first language, are likely to lack such consciousness, if one considers the level of conceptual sophistication required by the HOLT hypothesis. In order to have a higher-order thought, one needs to have the concept of a. (shrink)
My answer to the question why? is relatively uncontroversial among anthropologists. Sharing food makes good evolutionary sense, because animals who share food thereby insure themselves against hunger. It is for this reason that sharing food is thought to be so common in the natural world. The vampire bat is a particularly exotic example of a food-sharing species. The bats roost in caves in large numbers during the day. At night, they forage for prey, from whom they suck blood if (...) they can, but they aren’t always successful. If they fail to obtain blood for several successive nights, they die. The evolutionary pressure to share blood is therefore strong. The biologist Wilkinson  reports that a hungry bat begs for blood from a roostmate, who will sometimes respond by regurgitating some of the blood it is carrying in its own stomach. This isn’t too surprising when the roostmates are related, but the bats also share blood with roostmates who aren’t relatives. The behaviour is nevertheless evolutionarily stable, because the sharing is done on a reciprocal basis, which means that a bat is much more likely to help out a roostmate that has helped it out in the past. Bats that refuse to help out their fellows therefore risk not being helped out themselves in the future. Vampire bats have their own way of sharing, and we have ours. We call our way of sharing “fairness”. If the accidents of our evolutionary history had led to our sharing in some other way, it would not occur to us to attribute some special role to our current fairness norms. Whatever alternative norms we then.. (shrink)
According to many philosophers, there is an explanatory gap between physical truths and phenomenal truths. Someone could know all the physical truths about the world, and in particular, all the physical information about the brain and the neurophysiology of vision, and still not know what it is like to see red (Jackson 1982, 1986). According to a similar example, someone could know all the physical truths about bats and still not know what it is like to be a bat (...) (Nagel 1974). We can conceive of an individual that is physically identical to me, molecule per molecule, but does not have any phenomenally conscious state whatsoever (Chalmers 1996). Some philosophers have argued that the explanatory gap shows that we cannot explain consciousness in physical terms (Levine 2001), or even that phenomenal consciousness is not physical and therefore physicalism is false (Chalmers 1996, 2002). (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship of bonding with nonhuman animals during an interactive, animal-in-the-wild science program and the science attitudes of 358 young children between the ages of 8 and 14 Talking Talons utilizes typically wild animals such as raptors, reptiles, and bats in a school-based educational science curriculum. Qualitative data from interviews with students in the program indicated that "bonding with animals" and the educators within the program were related to increased positive attitudes toward science. The program used (...) quantitative methods to examine these dual relationships—with animals and with educators- on student attitude toward science. The program performed a step-wise multiple regression with "Attitude toward Science" as the dependent variable and "Gender," "Age," and "Bonding with Animals" as independent variables. Both "Bonding with Animals" and "Bonding with the Educator" contributed significantly to prediction of the participants' science attitudes. Altogether 28% of the variance in "Science Attitude" was predicted by both "Gender" and "Age" , "Bonding with Animals" and "Bonding with Educator" . Bonding with the animals had a large quantifiable relationship with student attitudes toward science. (shrink)
This note criticizes Andrew Brennan's attempt to defend best?candidate theories of the identity of artefacts over time against certain now familiar objections. Adoption of a mereological conception of individuals does not, in itself, provide the means for a satisfactory response to objections of Wiggins and Noonan (some of which are anyway ill?focused). The way forward consists in recognizing that the consequences of best?candidate theories which have been thought objectionable (in particular, commitment to the extrinsicness of identity) do not violate the (...) necessity of identity and imply ? what anyway ought to seem unexceptionable ? that a predicate such as ?constituting the ship which is the Ship of Theseus? does not denote a genuine property of the hunk of matter of which the predicate is true. Once these consequences have been clearly mapped out, the best?candidate theorist's commitment to the extrinsicness of identity does not appear absurd. (shrink)
I address this talk to anyone who believes in the possibility of an informative empirical science about sensory qualities. Potentially this is a large audience. By "sensory quality" I mean those qualities manifest in various sensory experiences: color, taste, smell, touch, pain, and so on. We should include sensory modalities humans do not share, such as electro-reception in fish, echolocation in bats, or the skylight compass in birds. Those pursuing empirical science about this large domain might pursue it in (...) the halls of experimental psychology, psycho-physics, psychometrics, psycho-physiology, sensory physiology, neuroscience, neuro-biology, comparative psychology, neuro-anatomy, and so on and on. These days even molecular genetics has kicked in with some notable recent contributions to the sequencing of genes for photopigments and for olfactory receptors. But to all those investigators in all those halls I bring bad news. Your discipline is _a priori_ impossible. Philosophers whom you do not know have uncovered _a priori_ proofs that empirical investigation which proceeds along the lines currently underway, or which will proceed along lines that are currently _imaginable_, does not, will not, and cannot explain the sensory qualities of experience. Or at least so they say. You might as well give up now. (shrink)
Stephen Yablo has attempted recently to revive the notion of contingent identity, identifying this with a relation of L coincidence between objects that are "distinct by nature but the same in the circumstances" (296). Yablo argues convincingly for the need of essentialist metaphysics to recognize some relation of this sort, a relation of "intimate identity-like connections between things" (296) if it is to acknowledge properly the intuitive difference between (i) the nonidentity of a bust B and a hunk of (...) wax H of which it is composed, and (ii) the nonidentity of the hunk H and the Treaty of Versailles. (i) and (ii) are clearly not on the same level. Even though B, like the Treaty of Versailles, fails to be strictly identical to H, it is very closely, and quite specially, related to it. What this relation is is certainly worth a general inquiry. (shrink)
Could a person ever transcend what it is like to be in the world as a human being? Could we ever know what it is like to be other creatures? Questions about the overcoming of a human perspective are not uncommon in the history of philosophy. In the last century, those very interrogatives were notably raised by American philosopher Thomas Nagel in the context of philosophy of mind. In his 1974 essay What is it Like to Be a Bat?, Nagel (...) offered reflections on human subjectivity and its constraints. Nagel’s insights were elaborated before the social diffusion of computers and could not anticipate the cultural impact of technological artefacts capable of materializing interactive simulated worlds as well as disclosing virtual alternatives to the “self.” In this sense, this article proposes an understanding of computers as epistemological and ontological instruments. The embracing of a phenomenological standpoint entails that philosophical issues are engaged and understood from a fundamentally practical perspective. In terms of philosophical praxis, or “applied philosophy,” I explored the relationship between human phenomenologies and digital mediation through the design and the development of experimental video games. For instance, I have conceptualized the first-person action-adventure video game Haerfest (Technically Finished 2009) as a digital re-formulation of the questions posed in Nagel’s famous essay. Experiencing a bat’s perceptual equipment in Haerfest practically corroborates Nagel’s conclusions: there is no way for humans to map, reproduce, or even experience the consciousness of an actual bat. Although unverifiable in its correspondence to that of bats, Haerfest still grants access to experiences and perceptions that, albeit still inescapably within the boundaries of human kinds of phenomenologies, were inaccessible to humans prior to the advent of computers. Phenomenological alterations and virtual experiences disclosed by interactive digital media cannot take place without a shift in human kinds of ontologies, a shift which this study recognizes as the fundamental ground for the development of a new humanism (I deem it necessary to specify that I am not utilizing the term “humanism” in its common connotation, that is to say the one that emerged from the encounter between the Roman civilization and the late Hellenistic culture. According to this conventional acceptation, humanism indicates the realization of the human essence through “scholarship and training in good conduct” (Heidegger 1998, p. 244). However, Heidegger observed that this understanding of humanism does not truly cater to the original essence of human beings, but rather “is determined with regard to an already established interpretation of nature, history, world, and […] beings as a whole.” (Heidegger 1998, p. 245) The German thinker found this way of embracing humanism reductive: a by-product of Western metaphysics. As Heidegger himself specified in his 1949 essay Letter on Humanism, his opposition to the traditional acceptation of the term humanism does not advocate for the “inhuman” or a return to the “barbaric” but stems instead from the belief that the humanism can only be properly understood and restored in culture as more original way of meditating and caring for humanity and understanding its relationship with Being.). Additionally, this study explicitly proposes and exemplifies the use of interactive digital technology as a medium for testing, developing and disseminating philosophical notions, problems and hypotheses in ways which are alternative to the traditional textual one. Presented as virtual experiences, philosophical concepts can be accessed without the filter of subjective imagination. In a persistent, interactive, simulated environment, I claim that the crafting and the mediation of thought takes a novel, projective (In Martin Heidegger’s 1927 Being and Time, the term “projectivity” indicates the way a Being opens to the world in terms of its possibilities of being (Heidegger 1962, pp. 184–185, BT 145). Inspired by Heidegger’s and Vilem Flusser’s work in the field of philosophy of technology as well as Helmuth Plessner’s anthropological position presented in his 1928 book Die Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch. Einleitung in die philosophische Anthropologie, this study understands the concept of projectivity as the innate openness of human beings to construct themselves and their world by means of technical artefacts. In this sense, this study proposes a fundamental understanding of technology as the materialization of mankind’s tendency to overcome its physical, perceptual and communicative limitations.) dimension which I propose to call “augmented ontology.”. (shrink)
A new approach to the 'hard problem'of consciousness, the eons-old mind-body problem, is proposed, inspired by Whitehead, Schopenhauer, Griffin, and others. I define a 'simple subject' as the fundamental unit of matter and of consciousness. Simple subjects are inherently experiential, albeit in a highly rudimentary manner compared to human consciousness. With this re-framing, the 'physical' realm includes the 'mental' realm; they are two aspects of the same thing, the outside and inside of each real thing. This view is known as (...) panpsychism or panexperientialism and is in itself a partial solution to the hard problem. The secondary but more interesting question may be framed as: what is a 'complex subject'? How do simple subjects combine to form complex subjects like bats and human beings? This is more generally known as the 'combination problem'or the 'boundary problem', and is the key problem facing both materialist and panpsychist approaches to consciousness. I suggest a new approach for resolving this component of the hard problem, a 'general theory of complex subjects' that includes 'psychophysical laws' in the form of a simple mathematical framework. I present three steps for characterizing complex subjects, with the physical nature of time key to this new understanding. Viewing time as fundamentally quantized is important. I also suggest, as a second-order conceptualization, that 'information' and 'experience' may be considered identical concepts and that there is no double-aspect to information. Rather, there is a single aspect to information and it is inherently experiential. Tononi's, Chalmers', and Freeman's similar theories are compared and contrasted. (shrink)
In the present essay, I aim to accentuate an analogy between the patterns of thought articulated by Berkeley's Hylas and those of Nagel in his philosophy of bats and aliens. The comparison has a critical purpose, with Philonous playing a role similar to that of Wittgenstein. I argue that Nagel's central claim comes down to statements that are marked by a peculiar form of emptiness. Towards the end, though, I will concede that this kind of Wittgensteinian criticism runs up (...) against certain limits. The fantasies produced by Hylas or Nagel have as counterparts genuine philosophical expressions of experience, which are not vulnerable to the charges levelled at their theoretical parallels. (shrink)
For the moment, I assume that we have some rough idea of what “title” is supposed to mean: the large letters on the spine of a book, the words on the center of the first page of a musical score, or the little plate on the museum wall to the right of the painting . Thus examples of titles would be The Taming of the Shrew, “Mapleleaf Rag,” or The Birth of Venus, but that generates a rather complex set of (...) answers.Let us start with what is undoubtedly the simplest situation: where an inscription of the title is physically part of the work. The most familiar of the aquatints of Francisco Goya which collectively are called Los Caprichos—the forty-third—is titled The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, or, more precisely, the Spanish equivalent of those words, for the Spanish words appear as a large and significant element on the plate, indeed occupying more than 10 percent of its surface. In such cases titles are not given: they are elements of works, not by inference or subtle metaphor but in a most literal way. No other title fits in that way. That print could not be called Bats and Cats and Sleeping Man with the expectation that those words should serve as its title. Some works—most works—on the other hand, allow for a range of acceptable titles. Guernica could have been titled The Bombing of a Basque Village or Luftwaffe Hell. Neither of these would, I suspect, have been as good a title as Guernica, but they remain possibilities, even though the familiar title is not physically part of the work. Some works, incidentally, contain words, even sentences, and are not titled accordingly. Several familiar works of René Magritte include a most realistic representation of a tobacco pipe and the large words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” Examples of the titles given by Magritte to paintings in this series are L’Air et la chanson and Le Trahison des images. Obviously, not all works of visual art which contain linguistic inscriptions have titles which correspond to those inscriptions. The simplest situation is hardly much help. John Fisher is professor of philosophy at Temple University and editor of the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. He is also the editor of Perceiving Artworks and Essays on Aesthetics. (shrink)
The lecture that we have heard consists of excerpts from Professor Stanley’s forthcoming book Knowledge and Interest, and it consists of two parts, a messy part and a clean part; the messy part is from the book’s introduction, which describes the “central data that is at issue in this debate,” and the clean part is from Chapter 7, which presents an interesting criticism of a semantical theory of knowledge-attribution sentences that makes their truth-conditions relative to non-time-world circumstances of evaluation, e.g. (...) to a judgment-maker at a time. There is a nice discussion of Peter Lasersohn’s semantical views, with kudos, bricks, and bats to Mark Richard, Jeff King, Gareth Evans, John Hawthorne, David Kaplan, and David Lewis. Though I found this discussion of great interest and would have welcomed more discussion of an earlier view of Jason Stanley’s in which “what is said” and “what is believed” can be used to refer to entities that are not propositional, e.g. semantic values that are neutral with respect to time and place, a view of Stanley’s of which I am a fan, I was more provoked by the messy part: the appeal to intuitive linguistic data employed by supporters of epistemological contextualism, e.g. Stewart Cohen, Keith De Rose, a time-slice of David Lewis, among others. I will focus on what Professor Stanley says about the data in his paper and not worry the scholarly question about their relation to other views. (shrink)
A directional trend of floral evolution, due to the selective activity of pollinating insects, birds and bats, is here described and discussed. Six clearly distinguishable levels in the evolution of flower types are correlated with six corresponding stages of sensory development of pollinating insects . This sequence of floral evolution was used for classification of present-day flower types , and for identification of flower imprints in fossilized clays, muds, and fine sands. It was also used as a practical yardstick (...) to determine the relative sensory ability of various groups of pollinating insects to distinguish flower types .This zoophilous trend of floral evolution is directed towards improvement of fine biochemical qualities of higher plants, and in this respect it is comparable to the evolution of cultivated plants of man. In both cases better looking individuals of the most useful species are preserved for further crossings and selections, whereas individuals of poor quality are neglected or rejected. During a roughly estimated 200 million years, the selective activity of pollinating insects has produced a variety of plants with high biochemical qualities. These have served man as progenitors of presentday cultivated plants. By similar reasoning, it took prehistoric man about 4,000 years to develop existing cultivated plants from wild progenitors.Un cours directionnel de l'évolution des fleurs, résultant de l'activité sélective des insectes polliniseurs, oiseaux et chauve-souris est ici décrit et discuté.Six niveaux clairement distincts dans l'évolution des types de fleurs sont associés à six étappes correspondantes dans le développement sensoriel des insectes polliniseurs . Cette séquence dans l'évolution des fleurs a été utilisée pour la classification des types de fleurs actuels , et pour l'identification des empreintes de fleurs sur les argiles, boues et sables fins, fossiles. Elle a été également utilisée comme étalon de référence pour déterminer les capacités sensorielles à distinguer les types de fleurs de divers groupes d'insectes polliniseurs .Ce cours zoophile de l'évolution des fleurs tend à une amélioration des propriétés biochimiques fines des plantes supérieures et, en ce sens, est comparable à l'évolution des plantes cultivées par l'homme. Dans les deux cas, les individus les plus beaux des espèces les plus utiles sont mis à l'abri de nouveaux croisements ou sélections, tandis que les individus de mauvaise qualité sont négligés ou rejetés. Durant une période grossièrement estimée à 200 millions d'années, l'activité sélective des insectes polliniseurs a produit une variété de plantes aux grandes qualités biochimiques et nutritives. Celles-ci ont servi l'homme en tant qu'ancêtres des plantes actuellement cultivées. Par des raisonnements analogues, il a fallu 4000 ans pour que l'homme préhistorique développe les plantes actuellement cultivées à partir de leurs ancêtres sauvages. Avec les méthodes d'élevage modernes, l'homme est à même d'accélérer considérablement l'évolution des plantes cultivées.Die Entwicklung der meisten Angiospermengruppen ist seit der Kreidezeit und wahrscheinlich noch früher vollkommen von der Insektenbestäubung abhängig geworden, während viele Insektengruppen ihre Entwicklung und ihre ganze Existenz den Blütenpflanzen als ihren Nährquellen Verdanken. Diese wechselseitige Zusammenwirkung der Insekten und Pflanzen hat eine gemeinsame Entwicklungsrichtung verursacht, die man neuerdings alsgerichtete Evolution bezeichnet hat. Eine durch die selektive Tätigkeit der pollenübertragenden Insekten, Vögel und Fledermäuse gerichtete Entwicklungsrichtung der Blütentypen ist hier kurz zusammengefasst.Sechs klargelegte Altersstufen in der Blütenevolution entsprechen den sechs Etappen in der Sinnesentwicklung der betreffenden pollenübertragenden Insekten . Diese Stufenfolge wurde für die Klassifikation der gegenwärtigen Blütentypen und auch für die Bestimmung der versteinerten Blütenabdrücke auf Tonerde, Schlammarten, feine Sandsteine und auf andere geologische Ablagerungen angewendet. Mit dieser Stufenfolge wurden ferner noch die Fähigkeitsgrade der anthophilen Insekten näher festgestellt.Die zoophile Richtung der Blütenevolution ist demnach mit der Verbesserung der biochemischen Eigenschaften der höheren Pflanzen derart eng verbunden, dass man diese mit der Züchtungstätigkeit der Menschen vergleichen kann. In beiden Fällen werden die Individuen mit höheren Qualitäten bevorzugt, während weniger auffallende Exemplare vernachlässigt oder abgewiesen werden. Ungefähr nach 200 Millionen Jahren haben die Insekten eine grosse Menge von biochemisch wertvollen höheren Pflanzen geschaffen. Von diesem Material hat der prähistorischer Mensch während ungefähr 4000 Jahre seine Kulturpflanzen ausgewählt und weiter entwickelt. Mit den modernen Züchtungsmethoden wird es aber wohl möglich sein die jetzigen Kulturpflanzen noch bedeutend zu verbessern und das auch innerhalb einer kürzeren Zeitspanne als diese Insekten und der prähistorische. Mensch es vermochten. (shrink)
Tute Bianche are not a movement but a device of subjectivation working inside vaster movements. Each is free to put or to remove Tute Bianca. It indicates that he respects the style of it: the refusal of the separation violence/nonviolence, reference to t zapatisme, the relationship of a particular type with the media. Tute Bianche are auto-sarcastic, ironic, rich in invention. In search of a hegemony of minority cultures, they put in crisis representations, destabilize media, etc. But if since Seattle (...) one can speak about a real movement it is mainly because hundred thousand persons put their body at the risk of the bats, of the eargas, and now, balls. (shrink)
Le corps mythique du héros.Les dieux et les héros grecs sont refoulés dans les ténèbres comme des chauve-souris, Jésus est la lumière victorieuse : ce sont les mots de Théodoret dans sa Graecarum affectionum curatio, l’un des plus précieux témoignages de l’apologétique chrétienne. Dans cette œuvre, l’évêque de Cyr parle aux païens de leurs héros et en particulier de l’iniquité du culte héroïque : cette représentation ne s’explique pas seulement par les topoi de la rhétorique chrétienne, mais aussi par rapport (...) à la réflexion de Théodoret sur l’endurance des ascètes. Ce sont en effet les corps qui « posent le plan de l’énonciation » : les corps faibles des héros, destinés à être vaincus par la souffrance, incapables de supporter la douleur et la maladie, face aux corps trempés par la karteria des martyrs et des ascètes, qui prennent sur eux la souffrance et en font ainsi la « marque » de la sainteté, en actualisant par leur hyponomè celle du Christ. La représentation que Théodoret donne des corps vaincus des héros « marque » l’éloignement de la vera religio du mythe; l’auteur esquisse des modalités nouvelles de la relation entre l’humain et le divin, et il décrit un scénario, où les corps sont aussi éloquents que le logos.The mythical body of the hero. The Greek heroes and gods are vanished into darkness, like bats; actually, Jesus Christ is the victorious light: these are Theodoret’s words in the Graecarum affectionum curatio, one of the most important texts of Christian apologetics. In his work, Theodoret offers to pagans a picture of their own heroes, in order to demonstrate the iniquity of the heroic cult. Evidences of such a statement is provided through Christian rhetorical topoi. However, an important argument against the heroic cult is the practice of ascetic endurance. According to Theodoret, on the one hand, the bodies of pagan heroes, who are unable to endure suffering and diseases, are doomed to be defeated by pain. On the other hand, martyrs and ascetics are able to endure suffering and to assume it, just through their bodies, hardened by karteria, so that they turn it into the mark of holiness. In this sense, Christ’s hypomone is re-enacted by the ascetic hypomone. Therefore, the heroic bodies, defeated by their own inability to endure suffering, stress the distance between vera religio and myth. So, the Christian author displays a new kind of relationship between humanity and divinity, describing a scene in which bodies are as meaningful and eloquent as logos. (shrink)
Sussman et al. state that auditory systems exploit linear correlations in the sound signal in order to identify perceptual categories. Can the auditory system recognize linearity? In bats and owls, separability of emergent features is an additional constraint that goes beyond linearity and for which linearity is not a necessary prerequisite.
Whenever humans have a good idea, zoologists have grown accustomed to finding it anticipated in the animal kingdom.. Why not the wheel? Bats and dolphins perfected sophisticated echo-ranging systems millions of years before human engineers gave us sonar and..