An action-oriented perspective changes the role of an individual from a passive observer to an actively engaged agent interacting in a closed loop with the world as well as with others. Cognition exists to serve action within a landscape that contains both. This chapter surveys this landscape and addresses the status of the pragmatic turn. Its potential influence on science and the study of cognition are considered (including perception, social cognition, social interaction, sensorimotor entrainment, and language acquisition) and its impact (...) on how neuroscience is studied is also investigated (with the notion that brains do not passively build models, but instead support the guidance of action). A review of its implications in robotics and engineering includes a discussion of the application of enactive control principles to couple action and perception in robotics as well as the conceptualization of system design in a more holistic, less modular manner. Practical applications that can impact the human condition are reviewed (e.g., educational applications, treatment possibilities for developmental and psychopathological disorders, the development of neural prostheses). All of this foreshadows the potential societal implications of the pragmatic turn. The chapter concludes that an action-oriented approach emphasizes a continuum of interaction between technical aspects of cognitive systems and robotics, biology, psychology, the social sciences, and the humanities, where the individual is part of a grounded cultural system. (shrink)
This paper describes the approach of empirical ethics, a form of ethics that integrates non-positivist ethnographic empirical research and philosophy. Empirical ethics as it is discussed here builds on the ‘empirical turn’ in epistemology. It radicalizes the relational approach that care ethics introduced to think about care between people by drawing in relations between people and technologies as things people relate to. Empirical ethics studies care practices by analysing their intra-normativity, or the ways of living together the actors within these (...) practices strive for or bring about as good practices. Different from care ethics, what care is and if it is good is not defined beforehand. A care practice may be contested by comparing it to alternative practices with different notions of good care. By contrasting practices as different ways of living together that are normatively oriented, suggestions for the best possible care may be argued for. Whether these suggestions will actually be put to practice is, however, again a relational question; new actors need to re-localize suggestions, to make them work in new practices and fit them in with local intra-normativities with their particular routines, material infrastructures, know-how and strivings. (shrink)
Dignity is a fundamental concept, but its meaning is not clear. This paper attempts to clarify the term by analysing and reconnecting two meanings of dignity: humanitas and dignitas. Humanitas refers to citizen values that protect individuals as equal to one another. Dignitas refers to aesthetic values embedded in genres of sociality that relate to differences between people. The paper explores these values by way of an empirical ethical analysis of practices of washing psychiatric patients in nursing care. Nurses legitimate (...) the washing of reluctant patients with reference to dignity. The analysis shows the intertwinement of humanitas and dignitas that gives dignity its fundamental meaning. (shrink)
Diffusion and institutionalization are of prime sociological importance, as both processes unfold at the intersections of relations and structures, as well as persistence and change. Yet they are often confounded, leading to theoretical and methodological biases that hinder the development of generalizable arguments. We look at diffusion and institutionalization distinctively, each as both a process and an outcome in terms of three dimensions: the objects that flow or stick; the subjects who adopt or influence; and the social settings through which (...) an innovation travels. We offer examples to flesh out these dimensions, and formulate testable propositions from our analytic framework that could lead to further theoretical refinement and progress. (shrink)
Nurses and ethicists worry that the implementation of care at a distance or telecare will impoverish patient care by taking out ‘the heart’ of the clinical work. This means that telecare is feared to induce the neglect of patients, and to possibly hinder the development of a personal relation between nurse and patient. This study aims to analyse whether these worries are warranted by analysing Dutch care practices using telemonitoring in care for chronic patients in the Netherlands. How do clinical (...) practices of nursing change when telecare devices are introduced and what this means for notions and norms of good nursing? The paper concludes that at this point the practices studied do not warrant the fear of negligence and compromised relations. Quite the contrary; in the practices studied, telecare lead to more frequent and more specialised contacts between nurses and patients. The paper concludes by reflecting on the ethical implications of these changes. (shrink)
American universities are purported to excel at technology transfer. This assumption, however, masks important features of American innovation. Attempts to emulate the US example must recognize the heterogeneity of its industries and institutions of higher education. Stanford University and the biomedical cluster in Boston, Massachusetts, illustrate the diversities that characterize this dynamic system.
The “patient perspective” serves as an analytical tool to present patients as knowing subjects in research, rather than as objects known by medicine. This paper analyses problems encountered with the concept of the patient perspective as applied to long-term mental health care. One problem is that “having a perspective” requires a perception of oneself as an individual and the ability to represent one’s individual situation in language; this excludes from research patients who do not express themselves verbally. Another problem is (...) that the idea of “talk” as a representation of the world ignores the fact that talk is also performative in the world: it requires, at least, the ability to deal with an interview situation. To think up alternative ways of including patients as subjects in research, I develop an approach that takes this performativity as a starting point. Analysing practical situations and activities, I argue that patients enact appreciations, making known what they like or dislike by verbal or non-verbal means in a given material environment, in situations that are co-produced by others. Thus, subjectivity is linked to situations and interactions, rather than just to individual characteristics; to “patient positions,” rather than “patient perspectives.”. (shrink)
Arendt was famously dismissive of the work of psychologists, claiming that they did nothing more than reveal the pervasive ugliness and monotony of the psyche. If we want to know who people are, she argued, we should observe what they do and say rather than delving into the turmoil of their inner lives; if we want to understand humanity, we would be better off reading Oedipus Rex than hearing about someone’s Oedipus complex. The rejection has a certain coherence in the (...) context of her understanding of public life as the realm of appearance and opinion, but examining it through the specific question of ugliness complicates that understanding. While beauty invites us to contemplate the world and admire it, ugliness repels our attention and sows the seed of a worry that the world might not want to be known. Working with Eichmann in Jerusalem, The Life of the Mind: Thinking, the Kant lectures and a striking Denktagebuch entry in which she reacts with revulsion to Matisse’s Heads of Jeannette, I argue that Arendt’s response to the ugly psyche requires a re-examination of the sensus communis. If the psyche does not want to be known, and if not all points of view are open to imaginative occupation, the ideal and practice of enlarged mentality must reckon with a right to opacity. (shrink)
Most models of patient-physician communication take decision-making as a central concept. However, we found that often the treatment course of metastatic cancer patients is not easy to describe in straightforward terms used in decision-making models but is instead frequently more erratic. Our aim was to analyse these processes as trajectories. We used a longitudinal case study of 13 patients with metastatic colorectal and pancreatic cancer for whom palliative chemotherapy was a treatment option, and analysed 65 semi-structured interviews. We analysed three (...) characteristics of the treatment course that contributed to the ‘erraticness’ of the course: (1) The treatment (with or without chemotherapy) contained many options; (2) these options were not stable entities to be decided upon, but changed identity over the course of treatment, and (3) contrary to the closure (option X means no option Y, Z, etc.) a decision implies, the treatment course was a continuous process in which options instead remained open. When the treatment course is characterised by these many and changeable options that do not result in closure, the shared decision-making model should take these into account. More attention needs to be paid to the erratic character of the process in which the doctor has to provide continuous information that is related to the changing situation of the patient; also, flexibility in dealing with protocols is warranted, as is vigilance about the overall direction of the process. (shrink)
This paper articulates dignity as relational engagement in concrete care situations. Dignity is often understood as an abstract principle that represents inherent worth of all human beings. In actual care practices, this principle has to be substantiated in order to gain meaning and inform care activities. We describe three exemplary substantiations of the principle of dignity in care: as a state or characteristic of a situation; as a way to differentiate between socio-cultural positions; or as personal meaning. We continue our (...) analysis by presenting cases on dignity in care related to us in focus groups with medical professionals. Our empirical ethical lens is in this paper is to analyse, not the meaning of dignity, but the way in which it emerges in practices where it is pursued, within relationships between people, technologies, places, regulations, and the values cherished by or embedded in them. We show that professional caregivers recognize in the dignity of the person they care for their own dignity; giving up on the one implies no less than giving up on the other. This ‘mirrored experience’ of dignity expresses itself in professional’s engagement with the situation. The value of this engagement, we argue, lies not primarily in realizing the particular content of the values at stake. We point to the importance of engagement itself, even if the values engaged with cannot be realized to the full, and even if competing versions of dignity are at stake simultaneously. In this way the caregivers provide us with interesting examples of moral actorship in situations of conflicting values. (shrink)
Does strolling through an art museum, admiring the old masters, improve us morally and spiritually? Would government subsidies of "high art" (such as big-city opera houses) be better spent on local community art projects? In What Good are the Arts? John Carey--one of Britain's most respected literary critics--offers a delightfully skeptical look at the nature of art. In particular, he cuts through the cant surrounding the fine arts, debunking claims that the arts make us better people or that judgements about (...) art are anything more than personal opinion. Indeed, Carey argues that there are no absolute values in the arts and that we cannot call other people's aesthetic choices "mistaken" or "incorrect," however much we dislike them. Along the way, Carey reveals the flaws in the aesthetic theories of everyone from Emanuel Kant to Arthur C. Danto, and he skewers the claims of "high-art advocates" such as Jeannette Winterson. But Carey does argue strongly for the value of art as an activity and for the superiority of one art in particular: literature. Literature, he contends, is the only art capable of reasoning, and the only art that can criticize. Language is the medium that we use to convey ideas, and the usual ingredients of other arts--objects, noises, light effects--cannot replicate this function. Literature has the ability to inspire the mind and the heart towards practical ends far better than any work of conceptual art. Here then is a lively and stimulating invitation to debate the value of art, a provocative book that will pique the interest of anyone who loves painting, music, or literature. (shrink)
There are roughly two meanings attached to the concept of dignity: humanitas and dignitas. Humanitas refers to ethical and juridical notions of equality, autonomy and freedom. Much less understood is the meaning of dignitas, which this paper develops as peoples’ engagement with aesthetic values and genres, and hence with differences between people. Departing from a critical reading of Georgio Agamben’s notion of ‘bare life’, I will analyze a case where aesthetics are quite literally at stake: women who lost their hair (...) due to cancer treatment. The analysis shows a complicated interplay between varying evaluations of female baldness by the self and others, mediated by (often strongly negative) cultural imaginaries, and aesthetic genres depicting conventional ways of ‘looking good’. The paper concludes by arguing for a reconnection of the two notions of dignity, and for a rehabilitation of aesthetics in daily life and care as fundamental values for organizing our societies. (shrink)
This paper examines the use of language and metaphor in the reception of recombinant DNA in the USA between 1973 and 1988. The Archives of Stanford University are used to show how changing images of production were conveyed, and how academic–industrial policies were shaped, in a rapidly advancing field of biotechnology.
I. Introduction. II. Ratiocination vs. Cognition. III. Emotions as Modes of Cognition. IV. Four Competing Proposals. V. The Impact of Emotion on Cognition. VI. The Kinematics of Ratiocination. VII. Competing Cognitive Theories. VIII. Why think Emotions are Beliefs? IX. The Intentionality of Emotions. X. The Kinematics of Emotions. XI. A Unified Account of the Emotions. XII. The Rationality of Emotions.
This article explores the relationship between the domestic position of Jewish bourgeois housewives and the larger Swedish, urban landscape at the beginning of the twentieth century. Examining the interior décor, shopping patterns, urban places, and the social, cultural and religious aspects of the domestic spheres of Irene Strauss and Jeannette Ettlinger, this article argues that they consciously used public spaces to establish their individual practices of Jewishness. By entering the gendered space of the Jewish home, accessible through private letters (...) and receipts, this article portrays the bourgeois women as actors with social and economic power. They produced public spaces that communicated either cultural integration or orthodox distinctiveness, thereby constructing diverse strategies for Swedish belonging. These strategies demonstrate the growing religious, social and cultural diversity within the Jewish community in Stockholm during the three last decades before the Second World War. (shrink)
The importance of the gesture and the glance in oral communication face-to-face are undeniable, however, the communication skills of children with Specific Language Impairment has been measured, primarily preferring a description of its language orally or has been considered the verbal and non-verbal in an isolated manner. Given this, the objective of this study was to describe and interpret the use of the word, gesture and glances in narrative discourse in children SLI from a multimodal perspective, that allows to observe (...) not only the use of these resources, but also their integration. With a retelling task with support of visual images, oral productions of six Chilean children between 5 years and 5 years 11 months were analyzed. The findings indicate that children construct narratives from a combination of verbal and non-verbal resources and their number increases when the character’s actions are described. Also, it was possible to account for two instances of multisemiotic meaning construction through an assembly between different elements, in coordination or integration. These results corroborate previous findings that show that these children replace some of their problems with oral language through gestures and looks, which allow them to increase the communicability of their stories. (shrink)
Discussing the workings of technology in care as aesthetic rather than as ethical or epistemological interventions focusses on how technologies engage in and change relations between those involved. Such an aesthetic study opens up a repertoire to address values that are abundant in care, but are as yet hardly theorized. Kamphof studies the problem that sensor technology reveals things about the elderly patients without the patients being aware of this. I suggest improvement of these relations may be considered in aesthetic (...) terms, for instance by developing the affective quality of people’s technological relationships. (shrink)
The series of psychological explanations for the atrocities of Hitler's Germany followed a development that started with the personality of the perpetrators and subsequently focused on the situation, almost to the exclusion of the person component. Milgram's experimental series marks a turning point. His construct of destructive obedience claims a validity that transcends the Nazi context and has far-reaching implications for human behavior in hierarchies, irrespective of the political system. The merits of his approach can be understood in comparison and (...) in connection with other theoretical and empirical venues that each provide a unique insight into the mechanisms underlying the Holocaust. (shrink)
A dynamic systems (DS) approach uncovers important connections between emotion and neurophysiology. It is critical, however, to include a developmental perspective. Strides in the understanding of emotional development, as well as the present use of DS in developmental science, add significantly to the study of emotion. Examples include stranger fear during infancy, intermodal perception of emotion, and development of individual emotional systems.