The ‘Mind-Upload’ hypothesis, a radical version of the Brain-in-a-Vat thought experiment, asserts that a whole mind can safely be transferred from a brain to a digital device, after being exactly encoded into substrate independent informational patterns. Prima facie, MU seems the philosophical archenemy of the Embodied Mind theory, which understands embodiment as a necessary and constitutive condition for the existence of a mind and its functions. In truth, whether and why MU and EM are ultimately incompatible is unobvious. This paper, (...) which aims to answer both questions, will not simply confirm that MU and EM actually are incompatible. It will also show the true reason of their incompatibility: while EM implies that a mind’s individual identity is contingent upon the details of its physical constituents, MU presupposes that minds can be relocated from one material vessel to another. A systematic comparison between these conflicting assumptions reveals that the real shortcoming of MU is not the one usually discussed by the philosophical literature: it has nothing to do with MU’s functionalist or computationalist prerequisites, and is only secondarily related to the artificial implementability of consciousness; the real problem is that MU presupposes that minds could still be individuated and numerically identified while being reduced to immaterial formal patterns. EM seems committed to refute this assumption, but does it have sufficient resources to succeed? (shrink)
On a Dreyfusian account performers choke when they reflect upon and interfere with established routines of purely embodied expertise. This basic explanation of choking remains popular even today and apparently enjoys empirical support. Its driving insight can be understood through the lens of diverse philosophical visions of the embodied basis of expertise. These range from accounts of embodied cognition that are ultra conservative with respect to representational theories of cognition to those that are more radically embodied. This paper provides an (...) account of the acquisition of embodied expertise, and explanation of the choking effect, from the most radically enactive, embodied perspective, spelling out some of its practical implications and addressing some possible philosophical challenges. Specifically, we propose: an explanation of how skills can be acquired on the basis of ecological dynamics; and a non-linear pedagogy that takes into account how contentful representations might scaffold skill acquisition from a radically enactive perspective. (shrink)
There is a widespread view that well-learned skills are automated, and that attention to the performance of these skills is damaging because it disrupts the automatic processes involved in their execution. This idea serves as the basis for an account of choking in high pressure situations. On this view, choking is the result of self-focused attention induced by anxiety. Recent research in sports psychology has produced a significant body of experimental evidence widely interpreted as supporting this account of choking in (...) certain kinds of complex sensorimotor skills. We argue against this interpretation, pointing to problems with both the empirical evidence and the underlying theory. The experimental research fails to provide direct support for the central claims of the self-focus approach, contains inconsistencies, and suffers from problems of ecological validity. In addition, qualitative studies of choking have yielded contrary results. We further argue that in their current forms the self-focus and rival distraction approaches both lack the theoretical resources to provide a good theory of choking, and we argue for an expanded approach. Some of the elements that should be in an expanded approach include accounts of the features of pressure situations that influence the psychological response, the processes of situation appraisal, and the ways that attentional control can be overwhelmed, leading to distraction in some cases, and in others, perhaps, to damaging attention to skill execution. We also suggest that choking may sometimes involve performance-impairing mechanisms other than distraction or self-focus. (shrink)
This article distinguishes three archetypal ways of articulating spatial cognition: (1) via metric representation of objective geometry, (2) via somatosensory constitution of the peripersonal environment, and (3) via pragmatic comprehension of the finalistic sense of action. The last one is documented by neuroscientific studies concerning mirror neurons. Bio-robotic experiments implementing mirror functions confirm the constitutive role of goal-oriented actions in spatial processes.
I.One of the main undertakings of the embodied approach to cognition is to spell out effectively the intuition that our body shapes what our mind can do . This endeavor is motivated—among other things – by the deep sense of awe that cognitive scientists experience in front of the sophistication, flexibility, and variability that can be reached by the motor abilities of well-trained humans. In particular, excellence in sporting skills inspires embodied cognition by exhibiting tangible evidence that the details of (...) our bodily constitution are not accidental to our mental powers, but define them in various inherent ways: not only because the informational processes that realize our intelligent functions are specifically regulated, distributed, filtered, or scaffolded by the physical and biological compound that implements them ; but also because the modes and the efficacy of our practical intelligence primarily depend on the o .. (shrink)
Excellent performance in sport involves specialized and refined skills within very narrow applications. Choking throws a wrench in the works of finely tuned performances. Functionally, and reduced to its simplest expression, choking is severe underperformance when engaging already mastered skills. Choking is a complex phenomenon with many intersecting facets: its dysfunctions result from the multifaceted interaction of cognitive and psychological processes, neurophysiological mechanisms, and phenomenological dynamics. This article develops a phenomenological model that, complementing empirical and theoretical research, helps understand and (...) redress choking. It aims at describing the experience of choking as experience, and to discuss strategies to palliate or prevent its onset at the pragmatic level at which athletes engage the phenomenon experientially. An overview of current empirical research and theoretical models highlights key ideas and points out contentious issues. The model describes the common structure of the choking experience. It identifies four core constitutive elements: A) disruptive proprioceptive and kinesthetic dynamics, B) a malfunctioning background or Jamesian fringe of consciousness, C) dislocated time dynamics, and D) emotional disturbances. The novelty of the remedy is that it is designed to cross disciplinary boundaries between phenomenology, historiography, and hermeneutics, and moreover connects theory to praxis as it looks at Japanese dō, practices of self-cultivation. It focuses on actual do-or-die situations, not putative ones such as important business deals or competing for a medal. To this effect, it examines medieval Japanese swordsmanship and training manuals and also engages risk sports, where death is indeed a real possibility. The manuals, which arise in the context of choke-inducing life or death duels, and risk sports, afford keen phenomenological observations and practical advice that prove invaluable for today’s sports world and beyond. (shrink)
Choking under pressure describes the phenomenon of people performing well below their expected standard under circumstances where optimal performance is crucial. One of the prevailing explanations for choking is that pressure increases the conscious attention to the underlying processes of the performer's task execution, thereby disrupting what would normally be a relatively automatic process. However, research on choking has focused mainly on the influence of pressure on motor performance, typically overlooking how it might alter the way that vision is controlled (...) when performing these motor actions. In this article we ask whether the visual component of expert motor-skill execution is susceptible to choking much like the motor component is thought to be. To do so, we draw heavily on empirical findings from studies of sporting expertise, in particular focussing on the role of gaze in three types of visually-guided actions: interceptive actions, aiming tasks, and anticipatory skill. For each of these skills we evaluate the nature of the expert advantage, discuss the role of consciousness in their control, examine the potential impact of pressure on task performance, and consider interventions designed to reduce the likelihood of choking when performing these tasks. (shrink)
I examine two explanatory models of choking: the representationalist model and the anti-representationalist model. The representationalist model is based largely on Anderson's ACT model of procedural knowledge and is developed by Masters, Beilock and Carr. The antirepresentationalist model is based on dynamical models of cognition and embodied action and is developed by Dreyfus who employs an antirepresentational view of know-how. I identify the models' similarities and differences. I then suggest that Dreyfus is wrong to believe representational activity requires reflection and (...) attention. I also argue that the representationalist model of choking is preferable, since some embodied actions require appeals to representations, something not available to Dreyfus's anti-representational model. (shrink)
The current status of Beilock and Carr's "execution focus" theory of choking under pressure in performance of a sensorimotor skill is reviewed and assessed, mainly from the perspective of cognitive psychology, and put into the context of a wider range of issues, attempting to take philosophical analysis into account. These issues include other kinds of skills, pre-performance practice, post-performance evaluation and repair, and integrating new and creative achievements into repertoires of heavily practiced routines. The focus is on variation in the (...) demand for reflection versus automaticity across the full gamut of learning and experience, not just game-time performance. Though automaticity remains important and there are many circumstances in which being "in the zone" is good whereas “execution focus” can do harm, it appears that reflective action deserves just as much a place at the performance table as does unreflective action. (shrink)
Cognitive science has recently moved toward action-integrated paradigms to account for some of its most remarkable findings. This novel approach has opened up new venues for the sport sciences. In particular, a large body of literature has investigated the relationship between complex motor practice and cognition, which in the sports domain has mostly concerned the effect of imagery and other forms of mental practice on motor skill acquisition and emotional control. Yet recent evidence indicates that this relationship is bidirectional: motor (...) experience also influences higher cognition, with a broad range of cognitive abilities being impacted in various ways. In this paper, I review the latest research exploring the effect of complex motor practice on spatial cognition. After emphasizing the versatility of processes that are recruited in the acquisition of complex motor skills, I present further experimental evidence to suggest that the process of acquiring new motor skills triggers specific adaptions in the brain, which in turn can be critical in numerous aspects of daily life. Finally, I propose a mechanistic explanation to account for motor-induced improvements, within an embodied framework of cognition. (shrink)
The acceleration of the market globalisation process over the last three decades has internationalised clinical research and influenced both the way in which it is funded and the development and application of research practices. In addition, in recent years international multicentre randomised clinical trials have become the model par excellence for research on new medicines. The neoliberal model of globalisation has induced a decline in state power, both with regard to establishing national research for health priorities and to influencing the (...) development of adequate ethical guidelines to protect human beings that participate in multinational research. In this respect, poor and low-income countries, which lack sustainable control and review systems to deal with the ethical and methodological challenges of complex studies conducted by researchers from affluent countries and funded by large multinational pharmaceutical companies, are particularly vulnerable. The aim of the present paper is to explore critically some of the actual and possible ethical pitfalls of globalisation of clinical research and propose mechanisms for turning transnational clinical research into a more cooperative and fairer enterprise. (shrink)
In this article we argue for an extension of Pere Alberch’s notion of developmental morphospace into the realm of cognition and introduce the notion of cognitive phenotype as a new tool for the evolutionary and developmental study of cognitive abilities.
Background: Sharing information with relatives of elderly patients in primary care and in hospital has to fit into the complex set of obligations, justifications and pressures concerning the provision of information, and the results of some studies point to the need for further empirical studies exploring issues of patient autonomy, privacy and informed consent in the day-to-day care of older people.Objectives: To know the frequency with which “capable” patients over 65 years of age receive information when admitted to hospital, the (...) information offered to the families concerned, the person who gives consent for medical intervention, and the degree of satisfaction with the information received and the healthcare provided.Method: A descriptive questionnaire given to 200 patients and 200 relatives during the patients’ stay in hospital.Results: Only 5% of patients confirmed that they had been asked whether information could be given to their relatives. A significantly higher proportion of relatives received information on the successive stages of the care offered than did patients themselves. As the age of the patients increased, so the number who were given information, understood the information and were asked for their consent for complementary tests decreased. The degree of satisfaction with the information offered was high for both patients and relatives , despite the irregularities observed.Conclusions: The capacity of elderly patients to participate in the decision-making process is frequently doubted simply because they have reached a certain age and it is thought that relatives should act as their representatives. In Spain, the opinion of the family and doctors appears to play a larger role in making decisions than does the concept of patient autonomy. (shrink)
This paper aims to demonstrate how philosophy and ethics shed light on professional ethics. One of the most important issues in professional ethics nowadays is to establish and justify rules to achieve and sustain good behavior in persons involved in specific activities. During the second half of the twentieth century, professional ethics became increasingly more important for philosophy, while the number of codes of ethics continues to grow. This exposition is based on some fundamental ethical concepts, like ‘end,’ ‘rule,’ ‘virtue,’ (...) etc., some of which are taken from Alasdair MacIntyre’s thought. (shrink)
The academic literature in research ethics has been marked in the past decade by a much broader focus on the need for the protection of developing communities subjected to international clinical trials. Because of the proximity of the revision of the Declaration of Helsinki, completed in October 2008, most papers have addressed the issue of a double standard of care following the use of placebo. However, other no less important issues, such as interactions between the lifestyles structures of low-income communities (...) and the efficiency of risk-minimising procedures also deserve attention. The purpose of this paper is to discuss forms of uncertainty involved in clinical trials in poor and low-income countries that are not addressed by conventional methods of risk assessment. Furthermore, the increase in size of risks that are identified by conventional assessment methods will be addressed. Besides, the difficulty in properly applying risk-minimising procedures will be discussed. Finally, this paper proposes the involvement of research ethics committees in the risk evaluation process and the establishment of national ethics evaluation systems. (shrink)
El cine se ha descubierto como una herramienta efectiva y útil para el estudio de la Historia y la Sociología. Esa es la intención del análisis de dos películas clásicas del cine español como son ‘Historias de la Radio’ e ‘Historias de la Tele’, ambas dirigidas por el polémico José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, conocido por sus lazos familiares con el creador de Falange Española y su relación con el General Franco. Lejos de polémicas controversias y lecturas políticas, este artículo (...) intenta describir las diferencias entre la sociedad española de los años 50 y 60 usando el cine como base para el análisis. (shrink)
El objetivo del siguiente texto es presentar la distinción entre sufrimiento y dolor; y ofrecer unas nociones básicas sobre cómo los pensamientos y emociones pueden influir directamente sobre respuestas fisiológicas, de qué forma los factores psicológicos afectan también a su modo de afrontarlo; e ilustrarlo con ejemplos. Así se pretende ayudar a entender, por ejemplo, cómo los sentimientos de indefensión pueden incrementar la percepción de dolor, o cómo las relaciones con otras personas pueden muy bien reforzarlo.