The paradigmatic examples of what we call nowadays ‘mere Cambridge changes’ are relational properties. If someone is on the left of a table at t − 1 and on the right of this table at t, the table does not undergo a physical change, but it has nonetheless new relational properties. What kind of relation lies behind this kind of change? Should we abandon the definition of identity as a set of permanent properties through time? This concern with identity and (...) change was already present in Aristotle's Physics 5 and 7 and medieval commentators tackled the problem with some important refinements due to their metaphysical discussions about the nature of relations. John of Jandun's discussion of this topic, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, is particularly interesting. First, he defines self-identity as a relation of reason, which means for him that it is not a real relation. Second, he distinguishes two kinds of relational changes: those involving real relations and the acquisition a qualitative propert... (shrink)
Short-term or working memory provides temporary storage of information in the brain after an experience and is associated with conscious awareness. Neurons sensitive to the multiple stimulus attributes comprising an experience are distributed within many brain regions. Such distributed cell assemblies, activated by an event, are the most plausible system to represent the WM of that event. Studies with a variety of imaging technologies have implicated widespread brain regions in the mediation of WM for different categories of information. Each kind (...) of WM may thus be expected to involve many brain regions rather than a local, uniquely dedicated set of cells. Neurons in a distributed “cell assembly” may be self-selected by their temporally coherent activations. The process by which this fragmented representation of the recent past is reassembled to accomplish essentially automatic and reliable recognition of a recurrent event constitutes an important problem. One plausible mechanism to achieve the identification of past with previous events would require that the representational system mediating WM must coexist in spatial extent and somehow overlap in temporal activation with cell ensembles registering input from subsequent events. The detection of such a postulated mechanism required an experimental approach which would focus upon spatial patterns of coherent activation while information about different events was stored in WM and retrieved, rather than focusing upon the temporal sequences of activation in localized regions of interest. For this purpose, the familiar delayed matching from sample task was modified. A series of information-free flashes, or “noncontingent probes,” was presented before an initial series of visual information items, the Priming Sample, which were to be held in WM during a Delay Period. A second series of visual information items were then presented, the Matching Sample. The task required detection of any item in the second series which had beenabsentfrom the initial series. Thirty such trials with a particular category of visual information constituted a single task. Several DMS tasks with this standardized design, but with different categories of visual information, were presented within each test session. The information categories included letters of the alphabet, single digit numbers, or faces from a school yearbook. Event-related potentials , were computed from 21 standardized electrode placements, separately for information-free probes and for information items in each interval of the trials within a task. Because each electrode is particularly sensitive to coherent activation of neurons in the immediately underlying brain regions, topographic maps were constructed and interpolated across the surface of the scalp. The momentary fluctuations of the resulting voltage “landscapes” throughout the task were then subjected to quantitative analysis. Distinctive landscapes sometimes persisted for prolonged periods, implying sustained engagement of very large populations of neurons. “Difference landscapes” were constructed by subtraction of topographic maps evoked by noncontingent probes during the Delay Period from maps of probe ERPs before the presentation of the initial information in the Priming Sample. Such probe difference landscapes displayed recurrent high similarity to momentary landscapes elicited during subsequent presentation of the information items in the Matching Sample. It seemed as if the distributed cell assembly continuously engaged by mediation of WM of the diverse attributes of the initial stimuli was being dynamically compared to the ensembles engaged by registration of the subsequent stimuli. Spatial Principal Component Analysis was applied to the sequences of momentary voltage landscapes observed throughout trials of each task. This method sought a small number of spatial patterns with which these large sets of inhomogeneous spatial distributions of voltage could be reconstructed. This is the spatial analog of the reconstruction of local ERPs by temporal principal components, as often described previously. Five Spatial Principal Components were found which accounted for about 90% of the total variance of voltage across the surface of the scalp throughout every task. Theloadings,or distinguishing topographic features, of these SPCs, were highly similar during every cognitive task for every subject. However,factor scores,or relative average contribution to the overall voltage distributions, of the different SPCs varied substantially among subjects between the tasks and momentarily within successive intervals of each task. These five SPCs may reflect coherent activation of huge distributed ensembles of neurons which comprise independent but interacting functional brain subsystems. These subsystems may correspond to basic resources available to individuals for allocation to mediate conscious evaluation of information during cognitive activity, providing a filter to bind together fractionated representations of the past to evaluate the present. (shrink)
les problèmes éthiques et politiques dans la philosophie anglo-saxonne John Rawls et Robert Nozick Otfried Höffe. PRÉFACE Depuis quelque temps se manifeste un intérêt croissant des milieux philosophiques pour des questions d' éthique ...
Traditional eschatology clashes with the theory of entropy. Trying to bridge the gap, RobertJohn Russell assumes that theology and science are based on contradictory, yet equally valid, metaphysical assumptions, each one capable of questioning and impacting the other. The author doubts that Russell's proposal will convince empirically oriented scientists and attempts to provide a viable alternative. Historical‐critical analysis suggests that biblical future expectations were redemptive responses to changing human needs. Apocalyptic visions were occasioned by heavy suffering in (...) postexilic times. Interpreted in realistic terms, they have since proved to be untenable. The expectation of a new creation without evil, suffering, and death is not constitutive for the substantive content of the biblical message as such. Biblical future expectations must be reconceptualized in terms of best contemporary insight and in line with a dynamic reading of the biblical witness as God's vision of comprehensive optimal well‐being that operates like a shifting horizon and opens up ever new vistas, challenges, and opportunities. (shrink)
This essay compares RobertJohn Russell's work in his recent book Cosmology from Alpha to Omega: The Creative Mutual Interaction of Theology and Science (2008) to that of the authors known collectively as "the new atheists." I treat the latter as recent contributors to the modern tradition of scientific naturalism. This tradition makes claims to legitimacy on the basis of its close relations to the natural sciences. The purpose of this essay is to show up the poverty of (...) the naturalist tradition's scientific credentials by contrasting it with Russell's careful account of positive relations between science and Christian theology. (shrink)
This book explores the writings of philosopher and educator John Dewey in order to develop an expansive vision of aesthetic education and everyday poetics of living. Robert Pirsig's best-selling book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, provides concrete examples of this compelling yet unconventional vision.
Though he is known primarily for his mathematics, John Wallis was also a prominent natural philosopher and experimentalist. Like many experimental philosophers, including his colleagues in the Royal Society, Wallis sought to identify the mathematical laws that govern natural phenomena. However, I argue that Wallis’s particular understanding of the laws of nature was informed by his reading of a thirteenth–century optical treatise by Robert Grosseteste, De lineis, angulis et figuris, which expresses the principle that “Nature doth not work (...) by Election.” Wallis’s use of this principle in his Discourse of Gravity and Gravitation helps to clarify his understanding of natural laws. According to Wallis, since nature cannot choose to act one way or another, natural phenomena are unfailingly regular, and it is this that allows them to be predicted, generalized, and described by mathematical rules. Furthermore, I argue that Wallis’s reading of Grosseteste reveals one way that medieval scholarship contributed to the “mathematization of nature” in the early modern period: historically–minded scholars like Wallis found insightful philosophical principles in medieval sources, and they transformed and redeployed these principles to suit the needs of early modern natural philosophy. (shrink)
This essay examines the publishing and reception of J. R. Seeley’s Natural Religion, a book that sought to bring about a reconciliation between science and religion. While Natural Religion has long been overlooked, it is argued that its reception gives us insight into changing views about the relationship between science and religion in the late Victorian period. The essay also explores how the reception of the book was conditioned by its bibliographic lineage as it was signed not by Seeley, but (...) “by the Author of Ecce Homo.”. (shrink)
In his evaluation of the major social reform movements of his era, Mill chastised well-meaning reformers for their reluctance to elevate Malthusianism to a position of prominence in their efforts. He was convinced that the key to the material, mental, and moral improvement of the poor and the workers lay in a reduction of their physical numbers and in the behavioural modifications entailed by such a diminution, whereas most other reformers looked elsewhere for solutions. A favourite assumption about the proper (...) means for effecting social reform was that economic growth served as an effective and almost automatic instrument for improving society. Then, as now, an unquestioned faith in the capacity of a progressive economy to stimulate gains in per capita income for the lower classes set the terms for the discussion.1 However, by suggesting that broader and more intensive economic development without a corresponding reduction in the rate of population increase would not generate material gains for those living in indigence, let alone the broader socio-cultural progress that was to have followed closely upon its heels, Mill casts aspersions upon the ‘false ideal’ of economic growth which informed many grand programmes for social progress. (shrink)
D'Arcy May, in his review, contends Magliola argues that the Buddhist doctrines of no-self and rebirth are contradictory, whereas Magliola in fact argues just the opposite--that these two Buddhist doctrines are not contradictory (and he explains why). What Magliola does contend is that Buddhist no-self and rebirth contradict the Catholic teachings of individual identity and "one life-span only." D'Arcy May's review contends that Magliola admits "authoritative statements" are "hard to come by" in Buddhism, whereas Magliola in his book contends that (...) "authoritative statements" play a very important role in Buddhism: his book explains how "authority" functions in Buddhism, and he directs readers to the careful "vetting" of his book--including his discussions of "authority in Buddhism"-- by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi (for Theravada) and Ven. Dr. Dhammadipa [Fa Yao] (for both Theravada and the two "Big Vehicles"). His book also cites approvals by several established academics who are Buddhologists. Magliola's "Reply" goes on to argue that D'Arcy May's interpretation of the "sensus fidelium" foists the opinions of "white intellectual elites and higher-income Catholics of the North Atlantic tier of countries and their geographical projections--Australia, etc. (only 9 percent of the world's Catholic population) upon the 68 percent of Catholics who live in the global South and East. Magliola's "Reply" also expresses his dismay that D'Arcy May, throughoout his review, dodges the pivotal Derridean notion of "samenesses erected by irreducible difference" though this "thought-motif" constitutes the scaffolding of Magliola's entire book. (shrink)
With this understanding, children are better able to anticipate the behavior of others and to attune their own behavior accordingly. In mentally retarded children with Down's syndrome, attainment of such competence is delayed, but it is generally acquired by the time they reach the mental age of 4, as measured by tests of nonverbal intelligence. Thus from a developmental perspective, attainment of the mental age of 4 appears to be of profound significance for acquisition of what we shall call psychological (...) competence : possession of the skills and resources people routinely call on in the.. (shrink)