Background HIV prevention trials conducted among disadvantaged vulnerable at-risk populations in developing countries present unique ethical dilemmas. A key concern in bioethics is the validity of informed consent for trial participation obtained from research subjects in such settings. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a continuous informed consent process adopted during the MDP301 phase III vaginal microbicide trial in Mwanza, Tanzania. Methods A total of 1146 women at increased risk of HIV acquisition working as alcohol (...) and food vendors or in bars, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses have been recruited into the MDP301 phase III efficacy and safety trial in Mwanza. During preparations for the trial, participatory community research methods were used to develop a locally-appropriate pictorial flipchart in order to convey key messages about the trial to potential participants. Pre-recorded audio tapes were also developed to facilitate understanding and compliance with gel-use instructions. A comprehension checklist is administered by clinical staff to all participants at screening, enrolment, 12, 24, 40 and 50 week follow-up visits during the trial. To investigate women's perceptions and experiences of the trial, including how well participants internalize and retain key messages provided through a continuous informed consent process, a random sub-sample of 102 women were invited to participate in in-depth interviews conducted immediately after their 4, 24 and 52 week follow-up visits. Results 99 women completed interviews at 4-weeks, 83 at 24-weeks, and 74 at 52 weeks. In all interviews there was evidence of good comprehension and retention of key trial messages including that the gel is not currently know to be effective against HIV; that this is the key reason for conducting the trial; and that women should stop using gel in the event of pregnancy. Conclusions Providing information to trial participants in a focussed, locally-appropriate manner, using methods developed in consultation with the community, and within a continuous informed-consent framework resulted in high levels of comprehension and message retention in this setting. This approach may represent a model for researchers conducting HIV prevention trials among other vulnerable populations in resource-poor settings. Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN64716212. (shrink)
This book offers the first sustained critique of individualism in psychology, a view that has been the subject of debate between philosophers such as Jerry Fodor and Tyler Burge for many years. The author approaches individualism as an issue in the philosophy of science and by discussing issues such as computationalism and the mind's modularity he opens the subject up for non-philosophers in psychology and computer science. Professor Wilson carefully examines the most influential arguments for individualism and identifies the (...) main metaphysical assumptions underlying them. Since the topic is so central to the philosophy of mind, a discipline generating enormous research and debate at present, the book has implications for a very broad range of philosophical issues including the naturalisation of intentionality, psychophysical supervenience, the nature of mental causation, and the viability of folk psychology. (shrink)
Individualism in psychology is the view that mental states must be individuated so as to be intrinsic to particular individuals. This view has been thought to impose an intuitive and plausible constraint on explanation in psychology. The dissertation is a sustained examination of individualism, especially with respect to its role in psychological explanation. My particular interest is in showing that individualism is not a constraint on psychology which follows from either psychology's scientific nature, or from the nature of causation or (...) materialism. ;Apart from an extended introduction in which I explain why individualism is both a substantive and plausible constraint on taxonomy and explanation in psychology, the dissertation has three parts. The aim of Part One is to reconstruct and critically discuss three influential, recent arguments for individualism: an a priori argument , a empirical argument , and a methodological argument. I argue that each of these arguments is unsound and should be rejected. In an Appendix to Chapter 2 I argue that individualism does not follow from the causal theory of properties. ;In Part Two I turn to examine individualism itself. The aim of this part of the dissertation is to address the view that psychological kinds and explanations which are not individualistic cannot be part of an adequate account of mental causation. Chapter 5 both responds to particular charges that have been made about denials of individualism, and articulates and criticizes a central intuition about the local nature of causation from which individualism has sometimes been thought to follow. Chapter 6 focusses on folk psychology and attempts to show how one can view folk psychological explanation as unproblematically causal even though it is not individualistic. ;In Part Three I develop a core case against individualism using the concepts of causal depth and theoretical appropriateness, concepts which form the basis for two constraints on good causal explanations. I argue that individualism should be rejected because individualistic explanations of behavior, including individualistic psychological explanations, are not always the causally deepest or most theoretically appropriate explanations available. (shrink)
Where does the mind begin and end? Most philosophers and cognitive scientists take the view that the mind is bounded by the skull or skin of the individual. RobertWilson, in this provocative and challenging 2004 book, provides the foundations for the view that the mind extends beyond the boundary of the individual. The approach adopted offers a unique blend of traditional philosophical analysis, cognitive science, and the history of psychology and the human sciences. A forthcoming companion volume (...) Genes and the Agents of Life will explore the theme in the biological sciences. Written with verve and clarity, this ambitious book will appeal to a broad swathe of professionals and students in philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and the history of the behavioural and human sciences. (shrink)
This collection of original essays--by philosophers of biology, biologists, and cognitive scientists--provides a wide range of perspectives on species. Including contributions from David Hull, John Dupre, David Nanney, Kevin de Queiroz, and Kim Sterelny, amongst others, this book has become especially well-known for the three essays it contains on the homeostatic property cluster view of natural kinds, papers by Richard Boyd, Paul Griffiths, and Robert A. Wilson.
David Sloan Wilson has recently revived the idea of a group mind as an application of group selectionist thinking to cognition. Central to my discussion of this idea is the distinction between the claim that groups have a psychology and what I call the social manifestation thesis-a thesis about the psychology of individuals. Contemporary work on this topic has confused these two theses. My discussion also points to research questions and issues that Wilson's work raises, as well as (...) their connection to externalist conceptions of the mind familiar since the work of Putnam and Burge. (shrink)
Philosophical exploration of individualism and externalism in the cognitive sciences most recently has been focused on general evaluations of these two views (Adams & Aizawa 2008, Rupert 2008, Wilson 2004, Clark 2008). Here we return to broaden an earlier phase of the debate between individualists and externalists about cognition, one that considered in detail particular theories, such as those in developmental psychology (Patterson 1991) and the computational theory of vision (Burge 1986, Segal 1989). Music cognition is an area in (...) the cognitive sciences that has received little attention from philosophers, though it has relatively recently been thrown into the externalist spotlight (Cochrane 2008, Kruger 2014, Kersten forthcoming). Given that individualism can be thought of as a kind of paradigm for research on cognition, we provide a brief overview of the field of music cognition and individualistic tendencies within the field (sections 2 and 3) before turning to consider externalist alternatives to individualistic paradigms (section 4-5) and then arguing for a qualified form of externalism about music cognition (section 6). (shrink)
This book offers a sustained critique of individualism in psychology, a view that has been the subject of debate between philosophers such as Jerry Fodor and Tyler Burge for many years. The author approaches individualism as an issue in the philosophy of science and by discussing issues such as computationalism and the mind's modularity he opens the subject up for non-philosophers in psychology and computer science. Professor Wilson carefully examines the most influential arguments for individualism and identifies the main (...) metaphysical assumptions underlying them. Since the topic is so central to the philosophy of mind, a discipline generating enormous research and debate, the book has implications for a very broad range of philosophical issues including the naturalisation of intentionality, psychophysical supervenience, the nature of mental causation, and the viability of folk psychology. (shrink)
Monica Colvin-Adams,1 Nonyelum Harcourt,1 Robert LeDuc,2 Ganesh Raveendran,1 Yassir Sonbol,3 RobertWilson,1 Daniel Duprez11Cardiovascular Division, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 2Division of Biostatistics University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 3Cardiovascular Division, St Luke's Hospital System, Sugar Land, TX, USAObjective: Arterial elasticity is a functional biomarker that has predictive value for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in nontransplant populations. There is little information regarding arterial elasticity in heart transplant recipients. This study aimed to characterize small and large artery (...) elasticity in heart transplant recipients in comparison with an asymptomatic population free of overt cardiovascular disease. A second goal was to identify demographic and clinical factors associated with arterial elasticity in this unique population.Methods: Arterial pulse waveform was registered noninvasively at the radial artery in 71 heart transplant recipients between 2008 and 2010. SAEs and LAEs were derived from diastolic pulse contour analysis. Comparisons were made to a healthy cohort of 1,808 participants selected from our prevention clinic database. Multiple regression analyses were performed to evaluate associations between risk factors and SAE and LAE within the heart transplant recipients.Results: LAE and SAE were significantly lower in heart transplant recipients than in the normal cohort. Female sex and history of ischemic cardiomyopathy were significantly associated with reduced LAE and SAE. Older age and the presence of moderate cardiac allograft vasculopathy were also significantly associated with reduced SAE. Transplant duration was associated with increased SAE.Conclusion: Heart transplants are associated with peripheral endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness, as demonstrated by a significant reduction in SAE and LAE when compared with a healthy population. Furthermore, cardiac allograft vasculopathy is associated with a significant reduction in SAE, suggesting a potential use in screening heart transplant recipients at risk for developing this complication.Keywords: heart transplant, endothelial function, arterial elasticity, cardiac allograft vasculopathy. (shrink)
Sociobiology developed in the 1960s as a field within evolutionary biology to explain human social traits and behaviours. Although sociobiology has few direct connections to eugenics, it shares eugenics’ optimistic enthusiasm for extending biological science into the human domain, often with reckless sensationalism. Sociobiology's critics have argued that sociobiology also propagates a kind of genetic determinism and represents the zealous misapplication of science beyond its proper reach that characterized the eugenics movement. More recently, evolutionary psychology represents a sophistication of sociobiology (...) that attends to the mind as the "missing link" between evolution and behaviour (Cosmides and Tooby 1992, Pinker 1997). (shrink)
Because no single person or group holds knowledge about all aspects of research, mechanisms are needed to support knowledge exchange and engagement. Expertise in the research setting necessarily includes scientific and methodological expertise, but also expertise gained through the experience of participating in research and/or being a recipient of research outcomes. Engagement is, by its nature, reciprocal and relational: the process of engaging research participants, patients, citizens and others brings them closer to the research but also brings the research closer (...) to them. When translating research into practice, engaging the public and other stakeholders is explicitly intended to make the outcomes of translation relevant to its constituency of users. In practice, engagement faces numerous challenges and is often time-consuming, expensive and ‘thorny’ work. We explore the epistemic and ontological considerations and implications of four common critiques of engagement methodologies that contest: representativeness, communication and articulation, impacts and outcome, and democracy. The ECOUTER methodology addresses problems of representation and epistemic foundationalism using a methodology that asks, “How could it be otherwise?” ECOUTER affords the possibility of engagement where spatial and temporal constraints are present, relying on saturation as a method of ‘keeping open’ the possible considerations that might emerge and including reflexive use of qualitative analytic methods. This paper describes the ECOUTER process, focusing on one worked example and detailing lessons learned from four other pilots. ECOUTER uses mind-mapping techniques to ‘open up’ engagement, iteratively and organically. ECOUTER aims to balance the breadth, accessibility and user-determination of the scope of engagement. An ECOUTER exercise comprises four stages: engagement and knowledge exchange; analysis of mindmap contributions; development of a conceptual schema ; and feedback, refinement and development of recommendations. ECOUTER refuses fixed truths but also refuses a fixed nature. Its promise lies in its flexibility, adaptability and openness. ECOUTER will be formed and re-formed by the needs and creativity of those who use it. (shrink)
1. The Situation in Cognition 2. Situated Cognition: A Potted Recent History 3. Extensions in Biology, Computation, and Cognition 4. Articulating the Idea of Cognitive Extension 5. Are Some Resources Intrinsically Non-Cognitive? 6. Is Cognition Extended or Only Embedded? 7. Letting Nature Take Its Course.
Genes and the Agents of Life undertakes to rethink the place of the individual in the biological sciences, drawing parallels with the cognitive and social sciences. Genes, organisms, and species are all agents of life but how are each of these conceptualized within genetics, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, and systematics? The book includes highly accessible discussions of genetic encoding, species and natural kinds, and pluralism above the levels of selection, drawing on work from across the biological sciences. The book is (...) a companion to the author's Boundaries of the Mind, also available from Cambridge, where the focus is the cognitive sciences. The book will appeal to a broad range of professionals and students in philosophy, biology, and the history of science. (shrink)
Essentialism is widely regarded as a mistaken view of biological kinds, such as species. After recounting why (sections 2-3), we provide a brief survey of the chief responses to the “death of essentialism” in the philosophy of biology (section 4). We then develop one of these responses, the claim that biological kinds are homeostatic property clusters (sections 5-6) illustrating this view with several novel examples (section 7). Although this view was first expressed 20 years ago, and has received recent discussion (...) and critique, it remains underdeveloped and is often misrepresented by its critics (section 8). (shrink)
Dominant views of personal identity in philosophy take some kind of psychological continuity or connectedness over time to be criterial for the identity of a person over time. Such views assign psychological states, particularly those necessary for narrative memory of some kind, special importance in thinking about the nature of persons. The extended mind thesis, which has generated much recent discussion in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, holds that a person’s psychological states can physically extend beyond that person’s (...) body. Since “person” is a term of both metaphysical and moral significance, and discussions of both extended minds and personal identity have often focused on memory, this article explores the relevance of extended cognition for the identity of persons with special attention to neuroethics and memory. (shrink)
In this paper, we aim to show that the framework of embedded, distributed, or extended cognition offers new perspectives on social cognition by applying it to one specific domain: the psychology of memory. In making our case, first we specify some key social dimensions of cognitive distribution and some basic distinctions between memory cases, and then describe stronger and weaker versions of distributed remembering in the general distributed cognition framework. Next, we examine studies of social influences on memory in cognitive (...) psychology, and identify the valuable concepts and methods to be extended and embedded in our framework; we focus in particular on three related paradigms: transactive memory, collaborative recall, and social contagion. Finally, we sketch our own early studies of individual and group memory developed within our framework of distributed cognition, on social contagion of autobiographical memories, collaborative flashbulb memories, and memories of high school at a high school reunion. We see two reciprocal benefits of this conceptual and empirical framework to social memory phenomena: that ideas about distributed cognition can be honed against and tested with the help of sophisticated methods in the social cognitive psychology of memory; and conversely, that a range of social memory phenomena that are as yet poorly understood can be approached afresh with theoretically motivated extensions of existing empirical paradigms. (shrink)
The computational argument for individualism, which moves from computationalism to individualism about the mind, is problematic, not because computationalism is false, but because computational psychology is, at least sometimes, wide. The paper provides an early, or perhaps predecessor, version of the thesis of extended cognition.
This paper attempts to do two things. First, it recounts the problem of intentionality, as it has typically been conceptualized, and argues that it needs to be reconceptualized in light of the radical form of externalism most commonly referred to as the extended mind thesis. Second, it provides an explicit, novel argument for that thesis, what I call the argument from meaning making, and offers some defense of that argument. This second task occupies the core of the paper, and in (...) completing it I distinguish _active _ _cognition_ from _cyborg fantasy arguments_ for externalism, and develop the analogy between the extended mind thesis in the cognitive sciences and developmental systems theory in developmental biology. The rethinking of the problem of intentionality on offer leads not so much to a solution as to a dissolution of that problem, as traditionally conceived. (shrink)
Individuals are a prominent part of the biological world. Although biologists and philosophers of biology draw freely on the concept of an individual in articulating both widely accepted and more controversial claims, there has been little explicit work devoted to the biological notion of an individual itself. How should we think about biological individuals? What are the roles that biological individuals play in processes such as natural selection (are genes and groups also units of selection?), speciation (are species individuals?), and (...) organismic development (do genomes code for organisms)? Much of our discussion here will focus on organisms as a central kind of biological individual, and that discussion will raise broader questions about the nature of the biological world, for example, about its complexity, its organization, and its relation to human thought. (shrink)
This paper examines the standard view of realization operative incontemporary philosophy of mind, and proposes an alternative, generalperspective on realization. The standard view can be expressed, insummary form, as the conjunction of two theses, the sufficiency thesis andthe constitutivity thesis. Physicalists of both reductionist and anti-reductionist persuasions share a conception of realization wherebyrealizations are determinative of the properties they realize and physically constitutive of the individuals with those properties. Centralto the alternative view that I explore here is the idea that (...) the requisite,metaphysically robust notion of realization is ineliminably context-sensitive. I shall argue that the sufficiency and constitutivity theses aretypically not jointly satisfied by any one candidate realizer, and that goingcontext-sensitive in one's metaphysics is preferable to the standard view.The context-sensitive views developed here are implicit in a range ofcommon views in both the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of biology,even if they have not been explicitly articulated, and even though theyundermine other views that are commonly endorsed. (shrink)
While memory is conceptualized predominantly as an individual capacity in the cognitive and biological sciences, the social sciences have most commonly construed memory as a collective phenomenon. Collective memory has been put to diverse uses, ranging from accounts of nationalism in history and political science to views of ritualization and commemoration in anthropology and sociology. These appeals to collective memory share the idea that memory ‘‘goes beyond the individual’’ but often run together quite diﬀerent claims in spelling out that idea. (...) This paper reviews a sampling of recent work on collective memory in the light of emerging externalist views within the cognitive sciences, and through some reﬂection on broader traditions of thought in the biological and social sciences that have appealed to the idea that groups have minds. The paper concludes with some thoughts about the relationship between these kinds of cognitive metaphors in the social sciences and our notion of agency. (shrink)