My topic is a long-standing tension in the interpretation of religion. On the one hand, it seems undeniable — seems almost to go without saying — that liturgical and sacrificial practices, sacred dance, divination, procession and pilgrimage are intentional actions undertaken by persons. Yet there is a distinguished tradition in the study of religion according to which religious activity is typically caused by forces over which the agent has little or no control. Visible, latter-day members of this tradition include Hume, (...) Nietzsche, Marx, Durkheim, Freud, and, in some moods, Wittgenstein, but its roster is by no means limited to the religiously unmusical. (shrink)
This paper relates intentionality, a central feature of human consciousness, with brain functions controlling adaptive action. Mental intentionality, understood as the “aboutness” of mental states, includes two modalities: semantic intentionality, the attribution of meaning to mental states, and projective intentionality, the projection of conscious content into the world. We claim that both modalities are the evolutionary product of self-organized action, and discuss examples of animal behavior that illustrate some stages of this evolution. The adaptive advantages of self-organized action impacted on (...) brain organization, leading to the formation of mammalian brain circuits that incorporate semantic intentionality in their modus operandi. Following the same line of reasoning, we suggest that projective intentionality could be explained as a result of habituation processes referenced to the dynamical interface of the body with the environment. (shrink)
Cramer et al. articulate a novel perspective on comorbidity. However, their network models must be compared with more parsimonious latent variable models before conclusions can be drawn about network models as plausible accounts of comorbidity. Latent variable models have proven generative in studying psychopathology and its external correlates, and we doubt network models will prove as useful for psychopathology research.
There are numerous well-documented problems with the DSM’s polythetic-categorical approach to the delineation of mental disorders. However, the DSM-5 introduces an empirically based dimensional model of personality traits. These traits form a hierarchical structure that represents the organization of dispositions to common mental disorders. We connect emotions to this joint hierarchical structure using a modified set point model, which accommodates major theories linking personality and psychopathology—continuum, risk, scar, and pathoplasty—as well as more dynamic multivariate models. We argue that these traits (...) represent typical causal pathways that can be extracted from a complex web of equifinality and multifinality. Ultimately, research on mood disorders provides a stronger account of their underling traits than the variably endorsed symptoms of their polythetic criteria. (shrink)
This article describes the racial integration of Emory University and the subsequent creation of Pre-Start, an affirmative action program at Emory Law School from 1966 to 1972. It focuses on the initiative of the Dean of Emory Law School at the time, Ben F. Johnson, Jr.. Johnson played a number of leadership roles throughout his life, including successfully arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court while he was an Assistant Attorney General of Georgia, promoting legislation to create Atlanta (...) 's subway system as a state senator, and representing Emory in its lawsuit to strike down the state statute that would have rescinded its tax exemption if it admitted African American students ). This account supplements my related article on Pre-Start, "'A Bulwark against Anarchy': Affirmative Action, Emory Law School, and Southern Self-Help", providing more information about historical context generally, and particularly about Emory v. Nash. Johnson was ambitious for Emory as a whole, and particularly for the Law School, and he saw in segregation the single largest impediment to making Emory a nationally prominent research university. The story of Emory's integration, and Johnson's leadership, requires revision of the prevailing story of integration generally, and especially of universities. Integration at Emory came about because of the pressure that African Americans and their supporters created through the civil rights movement, but Emory administrators responded to such pressure more constructively than most. Their actions provide an interesting case study in effective leadership during a period of significant moral and political conflict. (shrink)
A refutation of the doomsday argument is offered. Through a simple thought experiment analysed in Bayesian terms the fallacy is shown to be the assumption that a currently living person represents a random sample from the population of all persons who will ever have existed. A more general version of the counter argument is then given. Previous arguments that purport to answer this concern are also addressed. One result is determining criteria for the applicability of time sampling arguments, i.e., under (...) what conditions can a specific instant in time be regarded as a random sample from a time span. Given this new understanding, the incredible consequences of the doomsday and related arguments evaporate. (shrink)
The Kennedys embraced a political philosophy rooted in antiquity, one based on a domestic policy of justice and equality and a foreign policy of reason and gentle persuasion rather than force and fear. Imperialism abroad is inconsistent with democracy at home. This appears to be the foundation for John F. Kennedy’s foreign policy which also has a remarkable affinity to the lessons offered by Thucydides in the History of the Peloponnesian War and Plato in the Republic.