Peter Kivy argues that Handel was the first composer to be regarded as a genius and that only in the eighteenth century was the philosophical apparatus in place that would enable any composer to be conceived of as a musical genius. According to Kivy, a Longinian conception of genius transformed Handel into a genius. A Platonic conception of genius was used to classify Mozart as a genius. Then Kant adopted a Longinian conception of genius and this shaped the perception of (...) Beethoven. Kivy is wrong on all counts. Composers were thought to be geniuses long before Handel. The emergence of philosophical aesthetics in the eighteenth century did little to shape conceptions of musical genius. More specifically, Kivy misrepresents Kant's conception of genius and the role that it plays in the recognition of Beethoven as a musical genius. (shrink)
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) remains a major cause of death and disability afflicting mostly young adult males and elderly people, resulting in high economic costs to society. Therapeutic approaches focus on reducing the risk on secondary brain injury. Specific ethical issues pertaining in clinical testing of pharmacological neuroprotective agents in TBI include the emergency nature of the research, the incapacity of the patients to informed consent before inclusion, short therapeutic time windows, and a risk-benefit ratio based on concept (...) that in relation to the severity of the trauma, significant adverse side effects may be acceptable for possible beneficial treatments. Randomized controlled phase III trials investigating the safety and efficacy of agents in TBI with promising benefit, conducted in acute emergency situations with short therapeutic time windows, should allow randomization under deferred consent or waiver of consent. Making progress in knowledge of treatment in acute neurological and other intensive care conditions is only possible if national regulations and legislations allow waiver of consent or deferred consent for clinical trials. (shrink)
We have synthesized a 582,970-base pair Mycoplasma genitalium genome. This synthetic genome, named M. genitalium JCVI-1.0, contains all the genes of wild-type M. genitalium G37 except MG408, which was disrupted by an antibiotic marker to block pathogenicity and to allow for selection. To identify the genome as synthetic, we inserted "watermarks" at intergenic sites known to tolerate transposon insertions. Overlapping "cassettes" of 5 to 7 kilobases (kb), assembled from chemically synthesized oligonucleotides, were joined by in vitro recombination to produce intermediate (...) assemblies of approximately 24 kb, 72 kb ("1/8 genome"), and 144 kb ("1/4 genome"), which were all cloned as bacterial artificial chromosomes in Escherichia coli. Most of these intermediate clones were sequenced, and clones of all four 1/4 genomes with the correct sequence were identified. The complete synthetic genome was assembled by transformation-associated recombination cloning in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, then isolated and sequenced. A clone with the correct sequence was identified. The methods described here will be generally useful for constructing large DNA molecules from chemically synthesized pieces and also from combinations of natural and synthetic DNA segments. 10.1126/science.1151721. (shrink)
The Kiki-Bouba effect comprises a relation between two abstract figures and two non-words: the star-shaped figure is called 'Kiki' and the rounded figure 'Bouba'. The effect is explained by a sound-vision synaesthesia: certain sounds are associated with certain shapes in a non-arbitrary manner.When we asked the participants to decide which of the two figures, the star-shaped or the rounded one, to call yin and which yang, some 85% choose the star-shaped figure as yin. There are previous cases of synaesthesia where (...) personality is attributed to numbers or letters. In our results, the word Kiki is overall happy, clever, small, thin, young, unpleasant, and nervous. The starshaped figure is overall clever, tall, small, slim, nervous, unpleasant, and upper-class. That is, the correspondence above all concerns the qualifying adjectives clever, unpleasant, and nervous, as well as the physical appearance small and thin. This brings us to the fat-thin effect. Cinema, literature, comics, and children's programmes are full of contrasting figures: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Laurel and Hardy , Asterix and Obelix, Tintin and Captain Haddock, Bert and Ernie , or the Spanish comic about very naughty twin boys called Zipi and Zape . Our main conclusion is that first names and last names are not entirely arbitrary. There is a correspondence between names and physical characteristics and concepts . The Kiki-Bouba effect is a semantic one. (shrink)
‘Who wrote the scurrilous iambic poems of the first stanza?’, asks David West at the start of his commentary on the ode. ‘The culprit’, he declares, ‘must be Horace.’ This answer accords with that to be found in other commentaries: ‘my scurrilous verses’, ‘my scandalous lines’, ‘my scurrilous iambics’, ‘my abusive iambics’, ‘miei ingiuriosi giambi’, ‘my libellous iambics’, ‘my libellous iambic verses’, ‘miei giambi ingiuriosi’. What, then, are these iambic verses? Some earlier scholars suggested that Horace is referring to various (...) of his epodes, such as those addressed to Canidia ; but our knowledge of Canidia indicates that she would scarcely make plausible the accent on beauty in the first line of the ode. Most commentators, at least since the latter half of the nineteenth century, have believed that Horace is referring to some iambics which he had targeted at the ode's addressee but of which we now have no further knowledge: Kiessling and Heinze, for example, refer to ‘the satirical poems which Horace … has levelled at her’, while in the most recent commentary in 2012 Mayer says that Horace ‘assures an unnamed young woman that it rests with her to put an end to his vituperative attacks’. (shrink)
Short-term limb immobilization results in skeletal muscle decline, but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. This study aimed to determine the neurophysiologic basis of immobilization-induced skeletal muscle decline, and whether repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation could prevent any decline. Twenty-four healthy young males underwent unilateral limb immobilization for 72 h. Subjects were randomized between daily rTMS using six 20 Hz pulse trains of 1.5 s duration with a 60 s inter-train-interval delivered at 90% resting Motor Threshold, or Sham rTMS throughout (...) immobilization. Maximal grip strength, EMG activity, arm volume, and composition were determined at 0 and 72 h. Motor Evoked Potentials were determined daily throughout immobilization to index motor excitability. Immobilization induced a significant reduction in motor excitability across time. The rTMS intervention increased motor excitability at 0 h. Despite daily rTMS treatment, there was still a significant reduction in motor excitability, loss in EMG activity, and a loss of maximal grip strength after immobilization. Interestingly, the increase in biceps and posterior forearm skinfold thickness with immobilization in Sham treatment was not observed following rTMS treatment. Reduced MEPs drive the loss of strength with immobilization. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation cannot prevent this loss of strength but further investigation and optimization of neuroplasticity protocols may have therapeutic benefit. (shrink)
Do the rich descriptions and narrative shapings of literature provide a valuable resource for readers, writers, philosophers, and everyday people to imagine and confront the ultimate questions of life? Do the human activities of storytelling and complex moral decision-making have a deep connection? What are the moral responsibilities of the artist, critic, and reader? What can religious perspectives—from Catholic to Protestant to Mormon—contribute to literary criticism? Thirty well known contributors reflect on these questions, including iterary theorists Marshall Gregory, James Phelan, (...) and Wayne Booth; philosophers Martha Nussbaum, Richard Hart, and Nina Rosenstand; and authors John Updike, Charles Johnson, Flannery O'Connor, and Bernard Malamud. Divided into four sections, with introductory matter and questions for discussion, this accessible anthology represents the most crucial work today exploring the interdisciplinary connections between literature, religion and philosophy. (shrink)
The essays in this volume explore current work in central areas of philosophy, work unified by attention to salient questions of human action and human agency. They ask what it is for humans to act knowledgeably, to use language, to be friends, to act heroically, to be mortally fortunate, and to produce as well as to appreciate art. The volume is dedicated to J. O. Urmson, in recognition of his inspirational contributions to these areas. All the essays but one have (...) been specially written for this volume. (shrink)
A Satisfactory discussion in depth of all the philosophical problems that could be raised concerning musical representation would require much more space as well as more ability than I have at my disposal. Nobody should believe, or believe that I believe, that what follows is more than a rather sketchy examination of a few central issues.
It might seem that there are two separate questions about universals, the question of what they are and the question why we should believe that there are such things, and that the former question should be taken first; it might seem that until you know what they are it cannot be sensible to ask whether one should believe in them. How, for example, could one know whether it was sensible or even possible to believe in Father Christmas until one knew (...) who or what he was supposed to be? But appearances could be deceptive. In the case of universals the position is different. What happened was that philosophers found themselves faced with certain problems of which they were inclined to say: this problem is insoluble unless there are some entities which have certain characteristics, the characteristics which would enable the problem to be solved. The things which, if they existed, would solve their problems they called forms or universals. So universals are things which have whatever properties they need to have to solve certain problems. This being so, it is clearly sensible to approach the theory of universals from the problems which led to philosophers postulating their existence. (shrink)
In his 1836 lectures to the Royal Institute, the great landscape painter John Constable stated that ‘Painting is a science, and should be pursued as an inquiry into the laws of nature.’ Landscape, he went on to say, should ‘be considered a branch of natural philosophy, of which pictures are but the experiments.’ 1 Constable makes two claims in this striking passage. The first is that painting is a form of inquiry. This is, by itself, a bold claim, but Constable (...) goes on to state that painters and scientists inquire in the same way. As controversial as these views are, both of them have been sympathetically entertained in recent years by several philosophers. In particular, Nelson Goodman and Catherine Elgin have maintained that painting, and the other arts, are forms of inquiry, and that they are akin to the sciences in important respects. 2 I think, however, that Constable is only half right. Although I agree that the arts are forms of inquiry, I will argue that the arts and the sciences employ radically different methods. That the arts and the sciences are very different forms of inquiry might seem to be a point so obvious as to be scarcely worth making. We can, however, appreciate more clearly how the arts can contribute to our knowledge by contrasting its methods with those of science. (shrink)
Aristotle's doctrine of the mean is not a counsel to perform mean or moderate actions. It states that excellence of character is a mean state with regard to the having and displaying of emotions. All emotions are morally neutral; character is shown by displaying emotions on the right occasions, Not too often or too rarely, Not too strongly or too weakly, For sufficient and only sufficient reasons, Etc. The difficulties for such a view presented by justice and such bad emotions (...) as envy are discussed. The conclusion is that basically aristotle's theory can resist critical scrutiny. (shrink)
On its first appearance in 1960, J.O. Urmson's Concise encyclopedia of Western philosophy and philosophers established itself as a classic. Its contributors included many of the leading philosophers of the English-speaking world: Ryle, Hare, Strawson, Ayer, Dummett, Williams and many others. They wrote with an authority and individuality which made the Encyclopedia into a lively and engaging introduction to philosophy as well as a convenient reference work. For this edition, supervised by Jonathan Rée, the original articles have been revised and (...) updated, and eighty articles by thirty one new authors have been added. The additions take account of recent developments in philosophy, of literary, historical and political issues in philosophy, and of developments in continental thought, including in Marxism, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism and deconstruction. There is a clear, integral cross-referencing system which allows the reader to identify points of overlap between philosophical traditions and their personalities at a glance. (shrink)
The volumes in the Clarendon Aristotle Series seek to meet the needs of philosophically inclined readers who do not know Greek by providing accurate translations of selected Aristotelian texts accompanied by philosophical commentaries. To these ends, Trevor Saunders’s welcome addition to the series, a treatment of the first two books of Aristotle’s Politics, provides a number of useful tools. First there is a new translation of books I and II. Saunders numbers the paragraphs of the translation and the corresponding sections (...) of the commentary to facilitate reference to the text and commentary within the discussion of each chapter, though not across chapters. Saunders provides Greek-English and English-Greek glossaries. These will be especially useful to Greek-less readers, because Saunders is often traditional in his translation of key terms and thus, for example, obscures connections that have to be made explicit. So, for example, Saunders follows the very common practice of rendering the cognates polis, politês, and politeia as ‘state’, ‘citizen’, and ‘constitution’, respectively. Each section of the commentary begins with an introduction and proceeds to discuss each paragraph in turn, often including several recommendations for where to go next in the secondary literature. The book also has a guide to the translation and commentary, a brief but helpful introduction, a short appendix on the alleged oligarchic bias in Plato’s Laws, a list of departures from Ross’s Oxford Classical Text, a bibliography of works cited, and a selective index. Sadly, but in company with most of its companions in the Clarendon Aristotle Series, it lacks an index locorum. (shrink)
The author claims a twofold aim for his book: to provide the French reader with a good monograph on the subject and to make some contribution towards hegelian studies in general. The aspect chosen is the religious or theological ideas of the German idealist, beginning with his early years in his native Stuttgart, through the Tübingen and Berne periods, up to and including the sojourn at Frankfort. Bibliographical sources are limited accordingly, but special use is made of the best-known hegelian (...) commentators, Rosenkranz, Dilthey, Hoffmeister and Häring, special debt being acknowledged to J. Hyppolite. The biased marxist interpretation by the modern Hungarian communist Lukacs—tagging standard German commentators as bourgeois reactionaries—receives adequate attention. Dr. Asveld pigeon-holes the religious views of the young Hegel in terms of liberty and alienation —the famous masterslave dialectic of after years—with copious documentary references to both historical and commentary sources. (shrink)
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