Pulvermüller's work in extending Hebb's theory into the realm of language is exciting. However, we feel that what he characterizes as a single cell assembly is actually a set of cooperating cell assemblies that form parts of larger cognitive structures. These larger structures account more easily for a variety of phenomena, including the psycholinguistic.
Page's target article makes a good case for the strength of localist models. This can be characterized as an issue of where new information is integrated with respect to existing knowledge structures. We extend the analysis by discussing the dimension of when this integration takes place, the implications, and how they guide us in the creation of cognitive models.
Recent studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging of patients in a vegetative state have raised the possibility that such patients retain some degree of consciousness. In this paper, the ethical implications of such findings are outlined, in particular in relation to decisions about withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. It is sometimes assumed that if there is evidence of consciousness, treatment should not be withdrawn. But, paradoxically, the discovery of consciousness in very severely brain-damaged patients may provide more reason to let them die. (...) Although functional neuroimaging is likely to play an increasing role in the assessment of patients in a vegetative state, caution is needed in the interpretation of neuroimaging findings. (shrink)
Here is a thoroughly updated edition of a classic in palliative medicine. Two new chapters have been added to the 1991 edition, along with a new preface summarizing where progress has been made and where it has not in the area of pain management. This book addresses the timely issue of doctor-patient relationships arguing that the patient, not the disease, should be the central focus of medicine. Included are a number of compelling patient narratives. Praise for the first edition "Well (...) written. . .should be read by everyone in medical practice or considering a career in medicine."---JAMA. "Memorable passages, important ideas, and critical analysis. This is a book that clinicians and educators should read."---New England Journal of Medicine. (shrink)
Comment on "The ethical 'elephant' in the death penalty 'room'". Arguments in defense of the death penalty typically fall into one of two groups. Consequentialist arguments point out beneficial aspects of capital punishment, normally focusing on deterrence, while non-consequentialist arguments seek to justify execution independently of its effects, for example, by appealing to the concept of retribution. Michael Keane's target article "The ethical 'elephant' in the death penalty 'room'" should, we believe, be read as an interesting new consequentialist defense of (...) physician involvement in capital punishment. (shrink)
Although Glenberg 's theory benefits from the incorporation of a suppression concept, a more differentiated view of suppression would be even more effective. We propose such a concept, showing how it accounts for phenomena that Glenberg describes and also for phenomena that he ignores.
To the student of the recent history of theological ideas in the West, it sometimes seems as though, of all the ‘new’ subjects that have been intro duced into theological discussion during the last hundred or so years, only two have proved to be of permanent significance. One is, of course, biblical criticism, and the other, the subject which in my University is still called ‘comparative religion’—the dispassionate study of the religions of the world as phenomena in their own right.
In this commentary I assess the possible harms to a fetus with trisomy 18 of continued life. I argue that, although there is good reason to avoid subjecting infants to major surgery and prolonged intensive care where there is little chance of benefit, doctors should support and engage honestly with parents who decide to continue their pregnancies. We should ensure that infants with trisomy 18 have access to high quality palliative care.
The Theory Theory (TT) versus Simulation Theory (ST) debate is primarily concerned with how we understand others’ mental states. Theory theorists claim we do this using rules that are akin to theoretical laws, whereas simulation theorists claim we use our own minds to imagine ourselves in another’s position. Theorists from both camps suggest a consideration of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can help resolve the TT/ST debate (e.g., Baron-Cohen 1995; Carruthers 1996a; Goldman 2006). We present a three-part argument that (...) such research has so far been inconclusive and that the prospects for studies of ASD to resolve the debate in the near future remain uncertain. First, we discuss evidence indicating that some individuals with ASD can perform effectively on tests of mental state understanding, which questions what ASD can tell us regarding theorising or simulation. Second, we claim that there is compelling evidence that domain-general mechanisms are implicated in mental state reasoning, which undermines how ASD might inform the TT/ST debate given that both theories appeal to domain-specific mindreading mechanisms. Third, we suggest that neuroscientific evidence for an assumed role of the mirror neuron system in autism also fails to arbitrate between TT and ST. We suggest that while the study of ASD may eventually provide a resolution to the TT/ST debate, it is also vital for researchers to examine the issues through other avenues, for example, by examining people’s everyday counterfactual reasoning with mental state scenarios. (shrink)
The language of “participant-driven research,” “crowdsourcing” and “citizen science” is increasingly being used to encourage the public to become involved in research ventures as both subjects and scientists. Originally, these labels were invoked by volunteer research efforts propelled by amateurs outside of traditional research institutions and aimed at appealing to those looking for more “democratic,” “patient-centric,” or “lay” alternatives to the professional science establishment. As mainstream translational biomedical research requires increasingly larger participant pools, however, corporate, academic and governmental research programs (...) are embracing this populist rhetoric to encourage wider public participation. We examine the ethical and social implications of this recruitment strategy. We begin by surveying examples of “citizen science” outside of biomedicine, as paradigmatic of the aspirations this democratizing rhetoric was originally meant to embody. Next, we discuss the ways these aspirations become articulated in the biomedical context, with a view to drawing out the multiple and potentially conflicting meanings of “public engagement” when citizens are also the subjects of the science. We then illustrate two uses of public engagement rhetoric to gain public support for national biomedical research efforts: its post-hoc use in the “care.data” project of the National Health Service in England, and its proactive uses in the “Precision Medicine Initiative” of the United States White House. These examples will serve as the basis for a normative analysis, discussing the potential ethical and social ramifications of this rhetoric. We pay particular attention to the implications of government strategies that cultivate the idea that members of the public have a civic duty to participate in government-sponsored research initiatives. We argue that such initiatives should draw from policy frameworks that support normative analysis of the role of citizenry. And, we conclude it is imperative to make visible and clear the full spectrum of meanings of “citizen science,” the contexts in which it is used, and its demands with respect to participation, engagement, and governance. (shrink)
If philosophical moral reflection tends to improve moral behaviour, one might expect that professional ethicists will, on average, behave morally better than non-ethicists. One potential source of insight into the moral behaviour of ethicists is philosophers' opinions about ethicists' behaviour. At the 2007 Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association, we used chocolate to entice 277 passers-by to complete anonymous questionnaires without their knowing the topic of those questionnaires in advance. Version I of the questionnaire asked respondents to compare, (...) in general, the moral behaviour of ethicists to that of philosophers not specializing in ethics and to non-academics of similar social background. Version II asked respondents similar questions about the moral behaviour of the ethics specialist in their department whose name comes next in alphabetical order after their own. Both versions asked control questions about specialists in metaphysics and epistemology. The majority of respondents expressed the view that ethicists do not, on average, behave better than non-ethicists. Whereas ethicists tended to avoid saying that ethicists behave worse than non-ethicists, non-ethicists expressed that pessimistic view about as often as they expressed the view that ethicists behave better. (shrink)
Social referencing informs and regulates one’s relation with the environment as a function of the perceived appraisals of social partners. Increased emphasis on relational and social contexts in the study of emotion makes this interpersonal process particularly relevant to the field. However, theoretical conceptualizations and empirical operationalizations of social referencing are disjointed across domains and populations of study. This article seeks to unite and refine the study of this construct by providing a clear and comprehensive definition of social referencing. Our (...) perspective presents social referencing and social appraisal as coterminous processes and emphasizes the importance of a relational and interpersonal approach to the study of emotion. We conclude by outlining possible lines of research on this construct. (shrink)
BackgroundResuscitation and treatment of critically ill newborn infants is associated with relatively high mortality, morbidity and cost. Guidelines relating to resuscitation have traditionally focused on the best interests of infants. There are, however, limited resources available in the neonatal intensive care unit, meaning that difficult decisions sometimes need to be made. This study explores the intuitions of lay people regarding resource allocation decisions in the NICU.MethodsThe study design was a cross-sectional quantitative survey, consisting of 20 hypothetical rationing scenarios. There were (...) 119 respondents who entered the questionnaire, and 109 who completed it. The respondents were adult US and Indian participants of the online crowdsourcing platform Mechanical Turk. Respondents were asked to decide which of two infants to treat in a situation of scarce resources. Demographic characteristics, personality traits and political views were recorded. Respondents were also asked to respond to a widely cited thought experiment involving rationing.ResultsThe majority of respondents, in all except one scenario, chose the utilitarian option of directing treatment to the infant with the higher chance of survival, higher life expectancy, less severe disability, and less expensive treatment. As discrepancy between outcomes decreased, however, there was a statistically significant increase in egalitarian responses and decrease in utilitarian responses in scenarios involving chance of survival, life expectancy, and cost of treatment. In the classic ‘lifeboat’ scenario, all but two respondents were utilitarian.ConclusionsThis survey suggests that in situations of scarcity and equal clinical need, non-health professionals support rationing of life-saving treatment based on probability of survival, duration of survival, cost of treatment or quality of life. However, where the difference in prognosis or cost is very small, non-health professionals preferred to give infants an equal chance of receiving treatment. (shrink)
The essays in this special issue focus on connecting the relevant aspects of Lowe’s work to any issue in philosophical theology or philosophy of religion, especially incarnation, trinity, divine attributes, human agency and divine sovereignty, unified experience and the existence of God, divine causation, divine temporality or atemporality et cetera.
Neuroethics is an interdisciplinary field that arose in response to novel ethical challenges posed by advances in neuroscience. Historically, neuroethics has provided an opportunity to synergize different disciplines, notably proposing a two-way dialogue between an ‘ethics of neuroscience’ and a ‘neuroscience of ethics’. However, questions surface as to whether a ‘neuroscience of ethics’ is a useful and unified branch of research and whether it can actually inform or lead to theoretical insights and transferable practical knowledge to help resolve ethical questions. (...) In this article, we examine why the neuroscience of ethics is a promising area of research and summarize what we have learned so far regarding its most promising goals and contributions. We then review some of the key methodological challenges which may have hindered the use of results generated thus far by the neuroscience of ethics. Strategies are suggested to address these challenges and improve the quality of research and increase neuroscience's usefulness for applied ethics and society at large. Finally, we reflect on potential outcomes of a neuroscience of ethics and discuss the different strategies that could be used to support knowledge transfer to help different stakeholders integrate knowledge from the neuroscience of ethics. (shrink)
After more than 15 years of study, the 1/f noise or complex-systems approach to cognitive science has delivered promises of progress, colorful verbiage, and statistical analyses of phenomena whose relevance for cognition remains unclear. What the complex-systems approach has arguably failed to deliver are concrete insights about how people perceive, think, decide, and act. Without formal models that implement the proposed abstract concepts, the complex-systems approach to cognitive science runs the danger of becoming a philosophical exercise in futility. The complex-systems (...) approach can be informative and innovative, but only if it is implemented as a formal model that allows concrete prediction, falsification, and comparison against more traditional approaches. (shrink)
To date, emotion research has primarily focused on the experience and display of the emoter. However, of equal, if not more, importance is how such displays impact and guide the behavior of an observer. We incorporate a functionalist framework of emotion to examine the development of differential responding to discrete emotion, theorize on what may facilitate its development, and hypothesize the functions that may underlie such behavioral responses. Although our review is focused primarily on development, the theoretical and methodological ideas (...) laid out are relevant for researchers of emotion at all ages. (shrink)