A major resource expanding the study of early Chinese philosophy, religion, literature, and politics, this book features the first complete English-language translation of the_ Luxuriant Gems of the "Spring and Autumn"_,_ _one of the key texts of early Confucianism. The work is often ascribed to the Han scholar and court official Dong Zhongshu, but, as this study reveals, the text is in fact a compendium of writings by a variety of authors working within an interpretive tradition that spanned several (...) generations, depicting a utopian vision of a flourishing humanity that they believed to be Confucius's legacy to the world. The Spring and Autumn is a chronicle kept by the dukes of the state of Lu from 722 to 481 B.C.E. _The Luxuriant Gems_ follows the interpretations of the _Gongyang Commentary_, whose transmitters belonged to a tradition that sought to explicate the special language of the _Spring and Autumn_. The Gongyang masters believed that the_ Spring and Autumn_ had been written by Confucius himself, employing subtle and esoteric phrasing to indicate approval or disapproval of important events and personages. The _Luxuriant Gems_ augments Confucian ethical and philosophical teachings with chapters on cosmology, statecraft, and other topics drawn from contemporary non-Confucian traditions, reflecting the brilliance of intellectual life in the Han dynasty during the formative decades of the Chinese imperial state. To elucidate the text, Sarah A. Queen and John S. Major divide their translation into eight thematic sections with extensive introductions that address dating, authorship, authenticity, and the relationship between the original text and the evolving _Gongyang_ approach. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to clarify and assess Dennett’s opinion about the relevance of the phenomenological tradition to contemporary cognitive science, focussing on the very idea of a phenomenological investigation. Dennett can be credited with four major claims on this topic: (1) Two kinds of phenomenological investigations must be carefully distinguished: autophenomenology and heterophenomenology; (2) autophenomenology is wrong, because it fails to overcome what might be called the problem of phenomenological scepticism; (3) the phenomenological tradition mainly derived from (...) Husserl is based on an autophenomenological conception of phenomenology, and, consequently, can be of no help to contemporary cognitive science; (4) however, heterophenomenology is indispensable for obtaining an adequate theory of consciousness. In response to Dennett’s analysis, the paper develops two main counterclaims: (1) Although the traditional conception of phenomenology does indeed fit Dennett’s notion of autophenomenology, his sceptical arguments fail to rule out at least the possibility of a modified version of this traditional conception, such as the one defended in Roy et al. (Naturalizing Phenomenology, 1999); (2) the distinction between autophenomenology and heterophenomenology is at any rate misconceived, because, upon closer analysis, heterophenomenology proves to include the essential characteristics of autophenomenology. (shrink)
This article summarizes a variety of current as well as previous research in support of a new theory of consciousness. Evidence has been steadily accumulating that information about a stimulus complex is distributed to many neuronal populations dispersed throughout the brain and is represented by the departure from randomness of the temporal pattern of neural discharges within these large ensembles. Zero phase lag synchronization occurs between discharges of neurons in different brain regions and is enhanced by presentation of stimuli. This (...) evidence further suggests that spatiotemporal patterns of coherence, which have been identified by spatial principal component analysis, may encode a multidimensional representation of a present or past event. How such distributed information is integrated into a holistic percept constitutes the binding problem. How a percept defined by a spatial distribution of nonrandomness can be subjectively experienced constitutes the problem of consciousness. Explanations based on a discrete connectionistic network cannot be reconciled with the relevant facts. Evidence is presented herein of invariant features of brain electrical activity found to change reversibly with loss and return of consciousness in a study of 176 patients anesthetized during surgical procedures. A review of relevant research areas, as well as the anesthesia data, leads to a postulation that consciousness is a property of quantumlike processes, within a brain field resonating within a core of structures, which may be the neural substrate of consciousness. This core includes regions of the prefrontal cortex, the frontal cortex, the pre- and paracentral cortex, thalamus, limbic system, and basal ganglia. (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)
In 2010, the editors of this volume completed the first unabridged English-language translation of the Huainanzi, opening exciting new pathways in the study of philosophy, Asian studies, political science, and Asian literature.