What links conscious experience of pain, joy, color, and smell to bioelectrical activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? Christof Koch has devoted much of his career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics of the brain and phenomenal experience. This engaging book -- part scientific overview, part memoir, part futurist speculation -- describes Koch's search for an empirical explanation for consciousness. Koch recounts not only the birth (...) of the modern science of consciousness but also the subterranean motivation for his quest -- his instinctual belief that life is meaningful. Koch describes his own groundbreaking work with Francis Crick in the 1990s and 2000s and the gradual emergence of consciousness as a legitimate topic for scientific investigation. Present at this paradigm shift were Koch and a handful of colleagues, including Ned Block, David Chalmers, Stanislas Dehaene, Giulio Tononi, Wolf Singer, and others. Aiding and abetting it were new techniques to listen in on the activity of individual nerve cells, clinical studies, and brain-imaging technologies that allowed safe and noninvasive study of the human brain in action. Koch gives us stories from the front lines of modern research into the neurobiology of consciousness as well as his own reflections on a variety of topics, including the distinction between attention and awareness, the unconscious, how neurons respond to Homer Simpson, the physics and biology of free will, dogs, _Der Ring des Nibelungen_, sentient machines, the loss of his belief in a personal God, and sadness. All of them are signposts in the pursuit of his life's work -- to uncover the roots of consciousness. (shrink)
Bioethics claimed to offer a set of generally applicable, universally accepted guidelines that would simplify complex situations. In Thieves of Virtue, Tom Koch argues that bioethics has failed to deliver on its promises.
Source: Author: Eldar Sultanow, Sean Cox, Sebastian Homann, Philipp Koch, Olliver Franke Mass media initiated exhibitions of information and knowledge streams account for a significant factor of opinion-forming in modern digitalized nations and thus influence their country's political development. Within the framework of a globalized environment, this information has the ability to shape worldwide opinion and international policy decisions across geographical boundaries. Similarly, however, information and knowledge that does not flow freely has an impact on the behind the scenes (...) decisions of world affairs. Selective manipulation, consumed through hidden channels, is therefore a powerful tool for shaping both social and organizational environments. Currently no classification approaches exist in order to identify and evaluate this type of manipulation. Therefore, this article will discuss this type of manipulative communication and align each category into an assessment model. Forty-two varieties of manipulative arguments will be identified as well as classified along three-dimensions. A model has been developed which will serve as a tool to identify the degree and at which level manipulation was performed. ]]>. (shrink)
In Knowledge and Social Construction Andrew Koch asks: how can we know the absolute best path through politics toward a better society? We can't. However, if our claims to social knowledge are more hypothetical in nature than absolute the resultant society will be more open.
In _Lectures on Ethics, 1900–1901_,_ _Donald F. Koch supplies the only extant complete transcription of the annual three-course sequence on ethics John Dewey gave at the University of Chicago. In his introduction Koch argues that these lectures offer the best systematic, overall introduction to Dewey’s approach to moral philosophy and are the only account showing the unity of his views in nearly all phases of ethical inquiry. These lectures are the only work by Dewey to set forth a (...) complete theory of moral language. They offer a clear illustration of the central methodological questions in the development of a pragmatic instrumentalist ethic and the actual working out of the instrumentalist approach as distinct from simply presenting it as a conclusion. (shrink)
Donald F. Koch supplies the only extant complete transcription of the annual three-course sequence on ethics Dewey gave at the University of Chicago from 1894 to 1904. Koch argues that these lectures offer the best systematic, overall introduction to Dewey’s approach to moral philosophy and are the only account showing the unity of his views in nearly all phases of ethical inquiry. These lectures are the only work by Dewey to set forth a complete theory of moral language. (...) They offer a clear illustration of the central methodological questions in the development of a pragmatic instrumentalist ethic and the actual working out of the instrumentalist approach as distinct from simply presenting it as a conclusion. (shrink)
Poststructuralism and the Politics of Method examines the political possibilities emerging with poststructuralist epistemology. Beginning with the premises for the construction of knowledge claims, Koch explores the dimensions of materialism, democracy, power, leftist politics, and other themes emerging from the this twentieth century philosophic movement.
Alienation, as a theme, deeply pervaded both the work and life of Max Weber, one of the pillars of modern sociology. In this excellent new book, Andrew M. Koch analyzes the genesis of the conecpt of alienation and then, in a brilliant and imaginative turn, works to recreate the context in which Weber understood alienation in both the intellectual and lived sense.
How should pragmatists respond to and contribute to the resolution of one of America’s greatest and most enduring problems? Given that the most important thinkers of the pragmatist movement—Charles S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead—said little about the problem of race, how does their distinctly American way of thinking confront the hardship and brutality that characterizes the experience of many African Americans in this country? In 12 thoughtful and provocative essays, contemporary American pragmatists connect ideas with (...) action and theory with practice to come to terms with this seemingly intractable problem. Exploring themes such as racism and social change, the value of the concept of race, the role of education in ameliorating racism, and the place of democracy in dealing with the tragedy of race, the voices gathered in this volume consider how pragmatism can focus new attention on the problem of race. Contributors are Michael Eldridge, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Judith M. Green, D. Micah Hester, Donald F. Koch, Bill E. Lawson, David E. McClean, Gregory F. Pappas, Scott L. Pratt, Alfred E. Prettyman, John R. Shook, Paul C. Taylor, and Cornel West. (shrink)
Illusions that produce perceptual suppression despite constant retinal input are used to manipulate visual consciousness. Here we report on a powerful variant of existing techniques, Continuous Flash Suppression. Distinct images flashed successively around 10 Hz into one eye reliably suppress an image presented to the other eye. Compared to binocular rivalry, the duration of perceptual suppression increased more than 10-fold. Using this tool we show that the strength of the negative afterimage of an adaptor was reduced by half when it (...) was perceptually suppressed by input from the other eye. The more likely the adaptor was completely suppressed, the larger the reduction of the afterimage intensity. Paradoxically, trial-to-trial visibility of the adaptor did not correlate with the degree of suppression. Our results imply that formation of afterimages involves neuronal structures that access input from both eyes, but that do not correspond directly to the neuronal correlates of perceptual awareness. (shrink)
It seems natural to think that Carnapian explication and experimental philosophy can go hand in hand. But what exactly explicators can gain from the data provided by experimental philosophers remains controversial. According to an influential proposal by Shepherd and Justus, explicators should use experimental data in the process of ‘explication preparation’. Against this proposal, Mark Pinder has recently suggested that experimental data can directly assist an explicator’s search for fruitful replacements of the explicandum. In developing his argument, he also proposes (...) a novel aspect of what makes a concept fruitful, namely, that it is taken up by the relevant community. In this paper, I defend explication preparation against Pinder’s objections and argue that his uptake proposal conflates theoretical and practical success conditions of explications. Furthermore, I argue that Pinder’s suggested experimental procedure needs substantial revision. I end by distinguishing two kinds of explication projects, and showing how experimental philosophy can contribute to each of them. (shrink)
Unlike conceptual analysis, conceptual engineering does not aim to identify the content that our current concepts do have, but the content which these concepts should have. For this method to show the results that its practitioners typically aim for, being able to change meanings seems to be a crucial presupposition. However, certain branches of semantic externalism raise doubts about whether this presupposition can be met. To the extent that meanings are determined by external factors such as causal histories or microphysical (...) structures, it seems that they cannot be changed intentionally. This paper gives an extended discussion of this ‘externalist challenge’. Pace Herman Cappelen’s recent take on this issue, it argues that the viability of conceptual engineering crucially depends on our ability to bring about meaning change. Furthermore, it argues that, contrary to first appearance, causal theories of reference do allow for a sufficient degree of meaning control. To this purpose, it argues that there is a sense of what is called ‘collective long-range control’, and that popular versions of the causal theory of reference imply that people have this kind of control over meanings. (shrink)
Although shared decision-making is a standard in medical care, unilateral decisions through process-based conflict resolution policies have been defended in certain cases. In patients who do not stand to receive proportional clinical benefits, the harms involved in interventions such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation seem to run contrary to the principle of non-maleficence, and provision of such interventions may cause clinicians significant moral distress. However, because the application of these policies involves taking choices out of the domain of shared decision-making, they face (...) important ethical and legal problems, including a recent challenge to their constitutionality. In light of these concerns, we suggest a re-conceptualization of informed non-dissent as an alternative approach in cases where the application of process-based policies is being considered. This clinician-directed communication model still preserves what is valuable in such policies and salvages professional integrity, while minimising ethical and legal challenges. (shrink)
Facial race and sex cues can influence the magnitude of the happy categorisation advantage. It has been proposed that implicit race or sex based evaluations drive this influence. Within this account a uniform influence of social category cues on the happy categorisation advantage should be observed for all negative expressions. Support has been shown with angry and sad expressions but evidence to the contrary has been found for fearful expressions. To determine the generality of the evaluative congruence account, participants categorised (...) happiness with either sadness, fear, or surprise displayed on White male as well as White female, Black male, or Black female faces across three experiments. Faster categorisation of happy than negative expressions was observed for female faces when presented among White male faces, and for White male faces when presented among Black male faces. These results support the evaluative congruence account when both positive and negative expressions are presented. (shrink)
Causal Bayes nets (CBNs) can be used to model causal relationships up to whole mechanisms. Though modelling mechanisms with CBNs comes with many advantages, CBNs might fail to adequately represent some biological mechanisms because—as Kaiser (2016) pointed out—they have problems with capturing relevant spatial and structural information. In this paper we propose a hybrid approach for modelling mechanisms that combines CBNs and cellular automata. Our approach can incorporate spatial and structural information while, at the same time, it comes with all (...) the merits of a CBN representation of mechanisms. (shrink)
The world of disability theory is currently divided between those who insist it reflects a physical fact affecting life quality and those who believe disability is defined by social prejudice. Despite a dialogue spanning bioethical, medical and social scientific literatures the differences between opposing views remains persistent. The result is similar to a figure-ground paradox in which one can see only part of a picture at any moment. This paper attempts to find areas of commonality between the opposing camps, and (...) thus to rearrange the figures of the paradox at a fundamental level. The purpose is first to identify areas in which common ground can be achieved, and secondarily, to clarify the areas in which disagreement continues. While a general and unified theory of physical difference/disability is beyond the scope of this paper the result may advance that general goal. (shrink)
Transhumanists advance a "posthuman" condition in which technological and genetic enhancements will transform humankind. They are joined in this goal by bioethicists arguing for genetic selection as a means of "enhancing evolution," improving if not also the species then at least the potential lives of future individuals. The argument of both, this paper argues, is a new riff on the old eugenics tune. As ever, it is done in the name of science and its presumed knowledge base. As ever, the (...) result is destructive rather than instructive, bad faith promoted as high ideal. The paper concludes with the argument that species advancement is possible but in a manner thoroughly distinct from that advanced by either of these groups. (shrink)
The existence of spacetime singularities is one of the biggest problems of nowadays physics. According to Penrose, each physical singularity should be covered by a “cosmic censor” which prevents any external observer from perceiving their existence. However, classical models describing the gravitational collapse usually results in strong curvature singularities, which can also remain “naked” for a finite amount of advanced time. This proceedings studies the modifications induced by asymptotically safe gravity on the gravitational collapse of generic Vaidya spacetimes. It will (...) be shown that, for any possible choice of the mass function, quantum gravity makes the internal singularity gravitationally weak, thus allowing a continuous extension of the spacetime beyond the singularity. (shrink)
For all its apparent debate bioethical discourse is in fact very narrow. The discussion that occurs is typically within limited parameters, rarely fundamental. Nor does it accommodate divergent perspectives with ease. The reason lies in its ideology and the political and economic perspectives that ideology promotes. Here the ideology of bioethics' fundamental axioms is critiqued as arbitrary and exclusive rather than necessary and inclusive. The result unpacks the ideological and political underpinnings of bioethical thinking and suggests new avenues for a (...) broader debate over fundamentals, and a different approach to bioethical debate. (shrink)
Usually the ethics of humor revolves around the content of humor. After giving a synopsis and exposing some shortcomings of the recent controversies, this paper takes into account additional aspects and proposes a change of perspective from token to type level and deploys tools of the philosophy of language to tackle the question whether a joke as a type can be considered morally flawed irrespective of its tokens. After exploring possible ways one can think of to furnish evidence for the (...) opposite position, two novel lines of argumentation based on counterfactual conditionals and speech act theory are provided to show that these ways aren’t viable and that joke as types (even offensive jokes like sexist or racist ones) are ethically neutral. Moreover, the presented approach increases the resolution of the debate and provides a framework to capture other hitherto neglected questions of the philosophy humor as well. (shrink)