Microbiota-gut-brain research is a fast-growing field of inquiry with important implications for how human brain function and behaviour are understood. Researchers manipulate gut microbes to reveal connections between intestinal microbiota and normal brain functions or pathological states. Many claims are made about causal relationships between gut microbiota and human behaviour. By uncovering these relationships, MGB research aims to offer new explanations of mental health and potential avenues of treatment. So far, limited evaluation has been made of MGB's methods and its (...) core experimental findings, many of which are extensively reiterated in copious reviews of the field. These factors, plus the self-help potential of MGB, have combined to encourage uncritical public uptake of MGB discoveries. Both social and professional media focus on the potential for dietary intervention in mental health, and causal relationships are assumed to be established. Our target article has two main aims. One is to examine critically the core practices and findings of experimental MGB research and to raise questions about them for brain and behavioural scientists who may not be familiar with the field. The other is to challenge the way in which MGB findings are presented. Our positive goal is to suggest how current problems and weaknesses may be addressed, in order for both scientific and public audiences to gain a clearer picture of MGB research and its strengths and limitations. (shrink)
Argues that the key distinction between human and nonhuman social cognition consists in our complex, diverse and flexible capacities to shape each other's minds in ways that make them easier to interpret.
This book is an important introduction to the critical interpretation of the work of the major French thinker Michel Foucault. Through comprehensive and detailed analyses of such important texts as The History of Madness in the Age of Reason, The Birth of the Clinic, The Order of Things, and The Archaeology of Knowledge, Professor Gutting provides a lucid exposition of Foucault's 'archaeological' approach to the history of thought - a method for uncovering the 'unconscious' structures that set boundaries on the (...) thinking of a given epoch. The book also casts Foucault in a new light, relating his work to two major but neglected influences: Gaston Bachelard's philosophy of science and Georges Canguilhem's history of science. This perspective yields a new and valuable understanding of science, balancing and complementing the more common view that he was primarily a social critic and theorist. An excellent guide for those first approaching Foucault's work, the book will also be a challenging interpretation and evaluation for those already familiar with his writings. (shrink)
Current debates about the possible causes of depression reinforce the age-old body–mind dualism: while some claim that depression is caused by psychological or societal stress, others underline that it results from a shortage of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the central nervous system. This paper shows that Michel Houellebecq’s latest novelSerotonincan be read as an account of depression that goes beyond this body–mind dualism. Moreover, we will argue that his way of narrating invites us to reconsider the restorative power of narrative (...) in ‘pathography,’ a genre that is a primary focus within medical humanities. The first section of the paper discusses, while drawing on Wilson’s work on new materialism, that although the title of the novelSerotoninmay suggest that Houellebecq takes sides with those who believe that depression is a brain disease, the protagonist of the novel suffers mainly from his gut feelings, which affects his entire embodied existence. Against the background of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, the second section specifies this existential disruption in terms of an embodied ‘I cannot.’ In the third section, we make clear how Houellebecq’s way of narrating—plotless and episodic—reinforces these embodied feelings of incapacity. The final section, then, traces how Houellebecq, by means of his style of writing and his choice of themes, succeeds in transferring gut feelings onto the reader. If illness narratives aim at sharing experiences of illness, the ‘narrative’ of depression, so we argue, had better take the form of an anti-narrative or a chaos story. Indeed, Houellebecq’s anti-narrative succeeds in passing on to the reader the experience of a debilitating gut feeling, and a gradual loss of grip that manifests itself as a temporal and spatial disorientation. (shrink)
Philosophy has never delivered on its promise to settle the great moral and religious questions of human existence, and even most philosophers conclude that it does not offer an established body of disciplinary knowledge. Gary Gutting challenges this view by examining detailed case studies of recent achievements by analytic philosophers such as Quine, Kripke, Gettier, Lewis, Chalmers, Plantinga, Kuhn, Rawls, and Rorty. He shows that these philosophers have indeed produced a substantial body of disciplinary knowledge, but he challenges many common (...) views about what philosophers have achieved. Topics discussed include the role of argument in philosophy, naturalist and experimentalist challenges to the status of philosophical intuitions, the importance of pre-philosophical convictions, Rawls' method of reflective equilibrium, and Rorty's challenge to the idea of objective philosophical truth. The book offers a lucid survey of recent analytic work and presents a new understanding of philosophy as an important source of knowledge. (shrink)
In the current socio‐political climate pedagogies consistent with rationalism are in the ascendancy. One way to challenge the purchase of rationalism within educational discourse and practice is through the body, or by re‐thinking the nature of mind‐body relations. While the orientation of this paper is ultimately phenomenological, it takes as its point of departure recent feminist scholarship, which is demonstrating that attending to physiology can provide insight into the complexity of mind‐body relations. Elizabeth Wilson's account of the role of the (...) gut in psychological processes suggests a far less hierarchical relation between brain and body than rationalism allows. Such insights are also supported by recent phenomenological inquiries into cognition and the body. My question is, what implications do these insights have for how the nature of embodiment is understood, and, by extension, learning? This paper explores how informal, non‐cognitive modes of knowing, or of engaging with the world, inform learning in higher education contexts. More specifically, it raises the question of what role non‐cognitive modes of engagement, such as sensibility, have in augmenting, enabling or delimiting the learning process. (shrink)
According to the evaluativist theory of bodily pain, the overall phenomenology of a painful experience is explained by attributing to it two types of representational content—an indicative content that represents bodily damage or disturbance, and an evaluative content that represents that condition as bad for the subject. This paper considers whether evaluativism can offer a suitable explanation of aversive auditory phenomenology—the experience of awful noises—and argues that it can only do so by conceding that auditory evaluative content would be guilty (...) of widespread error. Defending such an error-theory, moreover, comes with several explanatory costs. (shrink)
The human intestinal ecosystem, previously called the gut microflora is now known as the Human Gut Microbiota. Microbiome research has emphasized the potential role of this ecosystem in human homeostasis, offering unexpected opportunities in therapeutics, far beyond digestive diseases. It has also highlighted ethical, social and commercial concerns related to the gut microbiota. As diet factors are accepted to be the major regulator of the gut microbiota, the modulation of its composition, either by antibiotics or by food intake, should be (...) regarded as a fascinating tool for improving the human health. Scientists, the food industry, consumers and policymakers alike are involved in this new field of nutrition. Defining how knowledge about the HGM is being translated into public perception has never been addressed before. This raises the question of metaphors associated with the HGM, and how they could be used to improve public understanding, and to influence individual decision-making on healthcare policy. This article suggests that a meeting of stakeholders from the social sciences, basic research and the food industry, taking an epistemological approach to the HGM, is needed to foster close, innovative partnerships that will help shape public perception and enable novel behavioural interventions that would benefit public health. (shrink)
I offer the first sustained defence of the claim that ugliness is constituted by the disposition to disgust. I advance three main lines of argument in support of this thesis. First, ugliness and disgustingness tend to lie in the same kinds of things and properties (the argument from ostensions). Second, the thesis is better placed than all existing accounts to accommodate the following facts: ugliness is narrowly and systematically distributed in a heterogenous set of things, ugliness is sometimes enjoyed, and (...) ugliness sits opposed to beauty across a neutral midpoint (the argument from proposed intensions). And third, ugliness and disgustingness function in the same way in both giving rise to representations of contamination (the argument from the law of contagion). In making these arguments, I show why prominent objections to the thesis do not succeed, cast light on some of the artistic functions of ugliness, and, in addition, demonstrate why a dispositional account of disgustingness is correct, and present a novel problem for warrant-based accounts of disgustingness (the ‘too many reasons’ problem). (shrink)
This VSI highlights Foucault's life and thought, showing his impact on today's society. Beginning with a brief biography to set the social and political stage, Gary Gutting then tackles Foucault's thoughts on literature, in particular the avant-garde scene; his philosophical and historical work; and his treatment of knowledge and power in modern society, including his thoughts on sexuality.
All organisms live in close association with microbes. However, not all such associations are meaningful in an evolutionary context. Current debate concerns whether hosts and microbes are best described as communities of individuals or as holobionts (selective units of hosts plus their microbes). Recent reports that assortative mating of hosts by diet can be mediated by commensal gut microbes have attracted interest as a potential route to host reproductive isolation (RI). Here, the authors discuss logical problems with this line of (...) argument. The authors briefly review how microbes can affect host mating preferences and evaluate recent findings from fruitflies. Endosymbionts can potentially influence host RI given stable and recurrent co‐association of hosts and microbes over evolutionary time. However, observations of co‐occurrence of microbes and hosts are ripe for misinterpretation and such associations will rarely represent a meaningful holobiont. A framework in which hosts and their microbes are independent evolutionary units provides the only satisfactory explanation for the observed range of effects and associations. (shrink)
We began our survey at a time when Ehrenberg's functional principles concerning the design of all organisms prevailed in interpreting the taxonomic place and internal structure of Infusoria. Other options existed, such as Dujardin's sarcode theory and Siebold's cellular analogy, but these were not persuasive for reasons both relevant to and in addition to the microscopic observations. By mid-century other considerations, including the continuing search for complex life cycles and manifestations of sex, dictated the microscopist's rendering of infusorians. Müller and (...) his students saw spermatozoa and gonads; Stein envisioned alternating generations and generative nuclei; Balbiani found sexual behavior in the events of conjugation; and all interpreted the nuclei and nucleoli as gonads or gonadal products. Evolutionary theory provided a fourth dimension. Obsessed with phylogenies, particularly when joined with the germ-layer theory of development, Haeckel emphasized a structural interpretation and found a considerably altered cell theory ready to fill the breach.By the mid-1870s advances in cytology secured Siebold's original analogy. Infusorians now became single-celled organisms, the first in a long phylogenetic sequence that led to the “highest” metazoans. The analogy allowed Bütschli to invoke another biological principle, the physiological division of labor, to reinterpret the origin of the bisexual state. The ghost of Ehrenberg's polygastric theory had completely vanished. (shrink)
The late 20th century saw a remarkable flourishing of philosophy in France. The work of French philosophers is wide ranging, historically informed, often reaching out beyond the boundaries of philosophy; they are public intellectuals, taken seriously as contributors to debates outside the academy. Gary Gutting tells the story of the development of a distinctively French philosophy in the last four decades of the 20th century. His aim is to arrive at an account of what it was to 'do philosophy' in (...) France, what this sort of philosophizing was able to achieve, and how it differs from the analytic philosophy dominant in Anglophone countries. -/- His initial focus is on the three most important philosophers who came to prominence in the 1960s: Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida. He sets out the educational and cultural context of their work, as a basis for a detailed treatment of how they formulated and began to carry out their philosophical projects in the 1960s and 1970s. He gives a fresh assessment of their responses to the key influences of Hegel and Heidegger, and the fraught relationship of the new generation to their father-figure Sartre. He concludes that Foucault, Derrida, and Deleuze can all be seen as developing their fundamental philosophical stances out of distinctive readings of Nietzsche. The second part of the book considers topics and philosophers that became prominent in the 1980s and 1990s, such as the revival of ethics in Levinas, Derrida, and Foucault, the return to phenomenology and its use to revive religious experience as a philosophical topic, and Alain Badiou's new ontology of the event. Finally Gutting brings to the fore the meta-philosophical theme of the book, that French philosophy since the 1960s has been primarily concerned with thinking the impossible. (shrink)
Ex-gay ministries, like many evangelical groups, advocate traditional gender ideologies. But their discourses and practices generate masculine ideals that are quite distinct from hegemonic ones. I argue that rather than simply reproducing hegemonic masculinity, ex-gay ministries attempt to realize godly masculinity, an ideal that differs significantly from hegemonic masculinity and is explicitly critical of it. I discuss three aspects of the godly masculine ideal—de-emphasizing heterosexual conquest, inclusive masculinity, and homo-intimacy—that work to subvert hegemonic masculinity and allow ministry members to critique (...) it while still advocating for innate gender distinction and hierarchy. I conclude by arguing that gender theorists need to be more precise in distinguishing conservative religious masculinities from hegemonic ones. (shrink)
In this book Gary Gutting tells, clearly and comprehensively, the story of French philosophy from 1890 to 1990. He examines the often neglected background of spiritualism, university idealism, and early philosophy of science, and also discusses the privileged role of philosophy in the French education system. Taking account of this background, together with the influences of avant-garde literature and German philosophy, he develops a rich account of existential phenomenology, which he argues is the central achievement of French thought during the (...) century, and of subsequent structuralist and poststructuralist developments. His discussion includes chapters on Bergson, Sartre, Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, and Derrida, with sections on other major thinkers including Lyotard, Deleuze, Irigaray, Levinas, and Ricoeur. He offers challenging analyses of the often misunderstood relationship between existential phenomenology and structuralism and of the emergence of poststructuralism. Finally, he sketches the major current trends of French philosophy. (shrink)
While there is no shortage of disagreement about what is required for blameworthiness, it has traditionally been assumed that freely doing what you know to be wrong all things considered, despite being aware that it is within your power to do the right thing instead, suffices. Let us refer to this traditional assumption as the sufficiency thesis. The sufficiency thesis is plausible, but it is not beyond dispute. Reflection on certain situations in which a person can do the right thing (...) but only at great personal sacrifice highlights some particularly pressing difficulties for it. My principal aim in this article is to show that those difficulties are not insuperable. Along the way, I also make some observations about the sorts of considerations that can limit the amount of blame of which a person is worthy without rendering the person entirely blameless.The Challenge OutlinedThe following story will serve as the backdrop for much of the subsequent discussion.The story is an augmented ve .. (shrink)
In this article we review the discussion over the thesis that language serves as an integrator of contents coming from different cognitive modules. After presenting the theoretical considerations, we examine two strands of empirical research that tested the hypothesis — spatial cognition and mathematical cognition. The idea shared by both of them is that each is composed of two separate modules processing information of a specific kind. For spatial thinking these are geometric information about the location of the object and (...) the information about the object’s properties such as color or size. For mathematical thinking, they are the absolute representation of small numbers and the approximate representation of numerosities. Language is said to integrate the two kinds of information within each of these domains, which the reviewed data demonstrates. In the final part of the paper, we offer some comments on the theoretical side of the discussion. (shrink)
Elizabeth A. Wilson offers in Gut Feminism a refreshingly new approach to the feminist debate on antidepressants, and a response to feminist tendencies of antibiologism. Taking the pharmaceutical treatment of depression as her point of departure, Wilson’s goal is twofold: to show how pharmaceutical data can be useful for conceptual innovations in feminist theory, and to argue for the necessity of feminist politics to account for its own capacity for aggression and harm. Divided in two parts that remain conceptually entangled, (...) Gut Feminism develops the argument that, although both aggression and biology can be ignored, “they cannot be defanged”. Wilson’s dynamic reading of biology is particularly attractive:... (shrink)
Using ethnographic data gathered at a mandated, community-based drug treatment program for women offenders, this article analyzes how gendered notions of the self and of autonomy shape penal governance. This study examines how psychological models of women's deviance, racialized visions of motherhood, and therapeutic techniques of the self come into tension with expectations of responsible, autonomous citizenship. The program prioritized therapeutic ways of governing its clients over those that emphasized economic self-reliance, rational decision making, and normalizing gender. This is because (...) staff attributed criminal and addictive behaviors to women's inadequate self-understanding and lack of emotional autonomy in personal relations. Staff discouraged women's motherhood and paid labor because they saw these external obligations as a threat to women's autonomous selfhood. This research complicates claims that contemporary forms of penal treatment manage offenders through rational incentives and personal responsibility by pointing to the ways that subject formation is a gendered process. (shrink)
In der Schrift "Jenseits von Gut und Böse" erreicht Nietzsches philosophische Entlarvung des Nihilismus der überkommenen Werte ihre höchste und reifste Gestalt; als ›Vorspiel der Philosophie der Zukunft‹ konzipiert, inspiriert sie Nietzsche zu einer Neubewertung seiner frühen Schrift über "Die Geburt der Tragödie aus den Geiste der Musik", nun mit dem Vorwort: ›Versuch einer Selbstkritik‹._1885 faßte Friedrich Nietzsche den Entschluß, eine Neue Ausgabe seiner Schriften erscheinen zu lassen, die »das Eigene und Unvergleichliche in diesen Werken« herausstellen sollte. Diesem Konzept folgt (...) auch die von Claus-Artur Scheier neu herausgegebene Ausgabe der philosophischen Werke in sechs in Bänden.BAND 1 Jenseits von Gut und Böse Die Geburt der Tragödie X, 414 SeitenBAND 2 Menschliches, Allzumenschliches 1 VI, 358 SeitenBAND 3 Menschliches, Allzumenschliches 2 VI, 330 SeitenBAND 4 Morgenröthe VI, 330 SeitenBAND 5 Die fröhliche Wissenschaft / Wir Furchtlosen VI, 338 SeitenBAND 6 Zur Genealogie der Moral Götzen-Dämmerung VI, 314 SeitenDiese erste Ausgabe der philosophischen Werke Friedrich Nietzsches in der »Philosophischen Bibliothek« folgt dem 1885 von Nietzsche selbst gefaßten und begründeten Konzept einer Neuen Ausgabe seiner im eigentlichen Sinne »philosophischen« Schriften und bietet den Text nach den Originalausgaben von 1886/1887, ergänzt um die 1889 erschienene Götzen-Dämmerung.Eine »vollständige Ausgabe letzter Hand« nach dem Vorbild Goethes hat Friedrich Nietzsche nicht vorlegen können, denn am Ende war er nicht mehr Herr seiner Sinne. Doch gibt das wirklich Grund zur Klage? Oder anders gefragt: Hätte Nietzsche eine solche Ausgabe, die einfach alles versammelt, was er geschrieben hat, überhaupt gewollt und gutgeheißen? Die Frage muß offen bleiben. Doch es gibt gewiß Gründe, Nietzsche nicht mit jenen gleichzustellen, denen es auf diese Weise nur darum zu tun war, ihren Nachruhm zu sichern und nach eigenen Vorstellungen zu steuern. Denn es gibt sie ja, die von Nietzsche selbst gewollte und kritisch kommentierte Ausgabe ganz eigener Art: nämlich die durch Jenseits von Gut und Böse und die Genealogie der Moral eingerahmte Neue Ausgabe von 1886/87, die die vor dem Zarathustra veröffentlichten, mit neuen Vorreden versehenen philosophischen Schriften enthält, von denen der Autor selber sagte: »Sie werden bemerken, daß Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, die Morgenröte, die fröhliche Wissenschaft einer Vorrede ermangeln: es hatte gute Gründe, daß ich damals, als diese Werke entstanden, mir ein Stillschweigen auferlegte – ich stand noch zu nahe, noch zu sehr ›drin‹ und wußte kaum, was mit mir geschehen war. Jetzt, wo ich selber am besten und genauesten sagen kann, was das Eigene und Unvergleichliche in diesen Werken ist und inwiefern sie eine für Deutschland neue Literatur inaugurieren, würde ich mich zu solchen zurückblickenden und nachträglichen Vorreden gerne entschließen. Meine Schriften stellen eine fortlaufende Entwicklung dar, welche nicht nur mein persönliches Erlebnis und Schicksal sein wird: – ich bin nur der Erste, eine heraufkommende Generation wird das, was ich erlebt habe, von sich aus verstehn und eine feine Zunge für meine Bücher haben. Die Vorreden könnten das Notwendige im Gange einer solchen Entwicklung deutlich machen.« Mit der 1990 unter dem Titel ›Friedrich Nietzsche: Ecce auctor‹ vorgelegten Edition der Vorreden von 1886 hatte Claus-Artur Scheier zum ersten Mal darauf aufmerksam gemacht, daß Nietzsche die für die Neue Ausgabe seiner im eigentlichen Sinne »philosophischen« Schriften verfaßten Vorreden als in sich geschlossenen, genealogisch angelegten Versuch einer selbstkritischen Neubewertung und Einordnung seines Werkes ansah: »Von der Vorrede zur Geburt der Tragödie bis zur Vorrede des letztgenannten Buchs [der ›Genealogie der Moral‹] – das gibt eine Art ›Entwicklungsgeschichte‹«. Jetzt sah sich Nietzsche im Zenit seiner Schaffenskraft, und die Neue Ausgabe sollte den Mitte 1885 gefaßten Plan vorantreiben, »eine große Schul-Tätigkeit als Philosoph auszuüben […]. Die Bücher heraus aus diesem Winkel!!! Es sind meine Angelhaken; wenn sie mir keine Menschen fangen, so haben sie keinen Sinn!«. (shrink)
In this book Gary Gutting offers a powerful account of the nature of human reason in modern times. The fundamental question addressed by the book is what authority human reason can still claim once it is acknowledged that our fundamental metaphysical and religious pictures of the world no longer command allegiance. If ethics and science remain sources of authority what is the basis of that authority? Gutting develops answers to these questions through critical analysis of the work of three dominant (...) philosophical voices in our time: Richard Rorty, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor. His own position is defined as 'pragmatic liberalism'. (shrink)
The ever-increasing dominance of English within analytic philosophy is an aspect of linguistic globalisation. To assess it, I first address fundamental issues in the philosophy of language. Steering a middle course between linguistic universalism and linguistic relativism, I deny that some languages might be philosophically superior to others, notably by capturing the essential categories of reality. On this background I next consider both the pros and cons of the Anglicisation of philosophy. I shall defend the value of English as a (...) lingua franca, while denying both the feasibility and the desirability of English as the sole universal language of philosophy. Finally I turn to the linguistic inequality in contemporary analytic philosophy. While it does not per se amount to an injustice, there is a need to level the playing field. But the remedy does not lie in linguistic academic sectarianism. Instead, what might be called for are piecemeal measures to reduce explicit and implicit biases against analytic philosophers on the geographic fringes, biases that are only partly connected to the predominance of English. (shrink)
Notice that I’m not saying that observations we in fact have made are not relevant to our beliefs about what exists. But the mere fact that something is observable does not give us any reason to think that it ever has or will in fact be observed. The issue between us is whether mere observability—as distinct from actual observation—is relevant to our beliefs about what exists. I submit that it is not.
Hooks et al. note that microbiota-gut-brain research suffers from serious methodological flaws and interpretative issues. We suggest two corrective measures: first, taking more seriously the need of interdisciplinary work; second, interpreting some of the methodological issues as ordinary challenges of standardization, typical of emerging disciplines.