Viewing the brain as an organ of approximate Bayesian inference can help us understand how it represents the self. We suggest that inferred representations of the self have a normative function: to predict and optimise the likely outcomes of social interactions. Technically, we cast this predict-and-optimise as maximising the chance of favourable outcomes through active inference. Here the utility of outcomes can be conceptualised as prior beliefs about final states. Actions based on interpersonal representations can therefore be understood as minimising (...) surprise – under the prior belief that one will end up in states with high utility. Interpersonal representations thus serve to render interactions more predictable, while the affective valence of interpersonal inference renders self-perception evaluative. Distortions of self-representation contribute to major psychiatric disorders such as depression, personality disorder and paranoia. The approach we review may therefore operationalise the study of interpersonal representations in pathological states. (shrink)
We argue that while it is a valuable contribution, Carruthers' model may be too restrictive to elaborate our understanding of the development of mindreading and metacognition, or to enrich our knowledge of individual differences and psychopathology. To illustrate, we describe pertinent examples where there may be a critical interplay between primitive social-cognitive processes and emerging self-attributions.
This article suggests that studies of self-esteem using scales have reached a dead end, and suggest alternative directions. First we show how significance tests have obscured meager results. According to reviews, this huge body of research has yielded no substantial findings. Some sub-fields show consistent, but trivially small, effects; reviews of the entire field show none at all. Most important, the size of effects does not seem to be increasing. Three questions are raised: 1. Are new standards needed to determine (...) when to continue or stop a given line of research? 2. Are new approaches needed alternative to standardized scales and statistical tests? 3. Should future studies of self-esteem emphasize feeling and social components at least as much as cognitive components? Studies of self-esteem using interview techniques by George Brown and his colleagues suggest the need to move closer to actual data. An exploratory study that takes this direction a step further is described. We analyze social and cognitive/emotional elements second by second in discourse about topics relevant to self-appraisal and self-feeling. (shrink)
This article details the making of community and bodies in online environments, specifically the online pro-anorexia community. Building community among members of these groups is particularly fraught because tensions over claims to authenticity permeate these groups. Because these are embodied practices and online spaces are presumably disembodied, participants constantly grapple with authenticity, largely through the threat of the ‘wannarexic’. Participants manage these tensions through engaging in group rituals and deploying individual tools that attempt to make the body evident online. This (...) article documents the way in which tensions around authenticity and embodied practices are managed through treatment of the wannarexic. (shrink)
The article offers a challenge to, and an invocation of, the values of Lasallian mission against rape culture. It addresses the continuum of violence, from outright misogynistic terrorism to an ongoing threat of assault and harassment, to the normalization of emotional and physical coercion of (primarily) women; and it explores historical responses within the Lasallian tradition to this pervasive problem in society and identifies a few rich resources within its underlying charism for tackling this pernicious evil (the virtue of silence (...) / listening & a paradigm of association). The Lasallian obligation to address rape culture and attitudes of patriarchal normalcy is articulated; and a challenge is issued to actively teach students about healthy relationships, gender norms, and sexuality. Women and men on college campuses need to be willing to engage these difficult but necessary conversations and take responsibility for their part in the transformations needed in society and on college campuses. (shrink)
Complex diseases involve both a genetic component and a response to environmental factors or lifestyle changes. Recently, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have succeeded in identifying hundreds of polymorphisms that are statistically associated with complex diseases. However, the association is usually weak and none of the associated allelic forms is either necessary or sufficient for the disease occurrence. We argue that this promotes a network view, centred on functional redundancy. We adapted reliability theory to the concerned sub-network, modelled as a parallel (...) array of functional modules. In our model, as long as one module remains active, the function correlated with the respective disease is ensured and disease does not occur. Genetic factors reduce the initial number of available modules while environment, contingent surroundings, personal history, epigenetics, and some intrinsic stochasticity influence their persistence time. This model reproduces age-specific incidence curves and explains the influence of environmental changes. It offers a new paradigm, according to which disease occurs due to a lack of functional elements, depending on many idiosyncratic factors. Genetic risk assessed from GWAS is only a statistical notion with no direct interpretation at the individual level. However, genomic profiling could be useful at population level in devising models to guide decisions in health care policy. (shrink)
Pascoe, David The notion of stewardship is an emerging reality in the Catholic Church,1 albeit somewhat confined to some Western localities, particularly the USA, and also developing in the Australian context. While the notion is not new to the wider Christian Church, there remain questions as to the theological foundation for stewardship as a principle of Christian living in its Catholic context. There is, for example, a question of how stewardship is a lived reality for the people who are the (...) Catholic Church, when stewardship is understood as giving expression to the nature and mission of the church. If, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, the one sole purpose of the church is 'that the kingdom of God may come and the salvation of the human race may be accomplished' (GS 45), how does stewardship play a part in accomplishing this purpose? And, perhaps more importantly, there is the question what is it about stewardship in our time that presents the Church with a renewed impetus to take up its central purpose as noted in Gaudium et spes, with more deliberate vigour? (shrink)
In “Rethinking Race and Gender in Kant: Toward a Non-Ideal, Intersectional Kant,” Jordan Pascoe argues that Kant’s moral philosophy is productively read through the “non-ideal” lens of the sociopolitical concerns he faced and espoused. This lens in turn offers possibilities for thinking differently about the particular articulation that his formal principles take. She defends a non-ideal, modified methodological approach in which Kant’s problematic conception of race and gender are opportunities for expanding our reflection on Kant’s moral philosophy as a whole.
The author of handbooks that reflected the Victorian emphasis on bettering one's prospects, Charles Eyre Pascoe addressed the topic of female education in this work of 1879, at a time when the Cambridge colleges of Girton and Newnham were in their infancy. 'Chiefly designed for the use of persons of the upper middle class', the guide aims to assist parents in making informed choices about their daughters' education. The coverage extends from kindergarten through to university, before focusing on career options (...) for women in the late nineteenth century, in fields such as teaching, the arts and medicine. Throughout, Pascoe's recommendations are based on consideration of the breadth of the curriculum, the qualifications of the teaching staff and the results achieved in examinations. For higher education, details of entrance examinations are provided, together with information on the subjects and lectures that were open to women at that time. (shrink)
This article explores the early history of Roman exemplary literature through the case study of the elder Cato’s account of his imitation of the parsimony and self-sufficiency of M’. Curius Dentatus. I reconstruct from Cicero, Plutarch, and other sources a Catonian prose text that unified the exemplary narrative of Curius’ refusal of a bribe from Samnite emissaries with an evocative location at the hearth of a humble Sabine farmstead, an approving “audience” in Cato himself, and a model for the replication (...) of Curius’ virtue. The narrative itself served as the monumentum for the exemplum, and its details are often evoked in place of the exemplary deed itself. I argue that this narrative is both a very early instance of exemplary literature and a self-conscious reflection on the power of literature to transcend temporal and spatial limitations and to extend cultural models for the familial replication of elite virtues to a broader audience. (shrink)
ABSTRACT. Public discourse about ethics in the COVID-19 pandemic has tended to focus on scarcity of resources and the protection of civil liberties. We show how these preoccupations reflect an established disaster imaginary that orients the ethics of response. In this paper, we argue that pandemic ethics should instead be oriented through a relational account of persons as vulnerable vectors embedded in existing networks of care. We argue for the creation of a new disaster imaginary to shape our own understandings (...) of the interrelated social, political, and economic hardships under conditions of social distancing. We develop a pandemic ethics framework rooted in uBuntu and care ethics that makes visible the underlying multidimensional structural inequities of the pandemic, attending to the problems of resource scarcity and inequities in mortality while insisting on a response that surges existing and emergent forms of solidarity. (shrink)
Readers have struggled to interpret an image from the end of Juvenal's fifth satire, a poem which focusses upon the poor hospitality shown to a dinner guest, Trebius, at the hands of his host, Virro. After repeatedly juxtaposing the luxurious food served to Virro with the scant fare served to Trebius, Juvenal describes the final course of the cena. He again contrasts the host's hyper-abundance with his guest's mere scraps :Virro sibi et reliquis Virronibus illa iubebitpoma dari, quorum solo pascaris (...) odore,qualia perpetuus Phaeacum autumnus habebat,credere quae possis subrepta sororibus Afris:tu scabie frueris mali, quod in aggere roditqui tegitur parma et galea, metuensque flagellidiscit ab hirsuta iaculum torquere capella.Virro will demand that he and the rest of his entourage receive these apples—though you'll dine on their smell alone—like those the endless autumn of the Phaeacians used to yield, which you could believe stolen away from the African sisters: you will enjoy the scab of an apple, which, on the Embankment, is gnawed by someone who is protected by a buckler and helm and who, fearing a whipping, learns to hurl a javelin from atop a shaggy goat.While the core contrast between the quality of each type of fare is clear, the concluding qui-clause is less intelligible. Who could this entity be? On line 153, the scholiast comments: quale simia manducat. While quale could refer to the object being eaten rather than to the qui-antecedent, it is clear in any case that the ancient reader felt that 5.153–5 evoked the image of an ape. Recent commentaries on Juvenal's fifth satire reflect a scholarly consensus: J.D. Duff, Edward Courtney, Susanna Braund and Biagio Santorelli all follow the scholiast's suggestion and believe that the passage describes a trained ape, as do recent readers of the poem. (shrink)
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