The body mandala, or, How your brain maps the world -- The little man in the brain, or, Why your genitals are even smaller than you think -- Dueling body maps, or, Why you still feel fat after losing weight -- The homunculus in the game, or, When thinking is as good as doing -- Plasticity gone awry, or, When body maps go blurry -- Broken body maps, or, Why Dr. Strangelove couldn't keep his hand down -- The bubble around (...) the body, or, Why you seek elbow room -- Sticks and stones and cyberbones, or, The end of the body as we know it? -- Mirror, mirror, or, Why yawning is contagious -- Heart of the mandala, or, My insula made me do it -- Afterword, or, The you-ness of you. (shrink)
In a New York Times article last month, entitled Cells that read minds, the neuroscience reporter, SandraBlakeslee (January 10, 2006) provided a list of all the things that mirror neurons can explain. As we know, mirror neurons, discovered by Rizzolattis group in Parma, are neurons that are activated when we engage in action, and when we perceive intentional movement in another person. According to Blakeslee and the scientists she interviewed, mirror neurons explain not only how we (...) are capable of understanding another persons actions, but also language, empathy, how children learn, why people respond to certain types of sports, dance, music and art, why watching media violence may be harmful and why many men like pornography. Let me set aside the controversial questions about whether mirror neurons can explain all of these things, and accept that mirror neurons are clearly smart little cells. But let me ask whether Blakeslee and her scientists are expressing things in the right way. (shrink)
and who has recently founded a company Numenta to develop 'a new type of computer memory system modeled after the human neocortex'. With science writer SandraBlakeslee he wrote a book On Intelligence . I confess the book is still on my (very long) 'to be read' list, though I have read and heard quite a lot about it.
Sandra Harding’s Objectivity and Diversity deals with the epistemic and political limitations of a conception of scientific objectivity that, according to the author, is still in force in our societies. However, in this conception of objectivity, diversity (e.g., of individuals and communities of knowledge, but also, and especially, agendas, models of participation and even styles of reasoning in decision making) still plays a limited and undeserved role.
Between 1907 and 1915 Albert Francis Blakeslee transformed both himself and the Connecticut Agricultural College at Storrs into things neither had been at the beginning of the century. Using the varied commitments of the agricultural college and experiment station at which he worked as resources with which to build his career, Blakeslee began as a botanist and instructor in botany and ended as a geneticist and teacher of genetics. Moreover, he left behind at Storrs a legacy of genetic (...) research and instruction in the form of an autonomous department of Botany and Genetics. The story of Blakeslee's career at the Connecticut Agricultural College reveals the multifold ways in which agricultural researchers identified unique institutional resources and built unexpected careers and unanticipated institutional structures, a process which had a significant impact on the disciplinary growth of genetics in the United States. (shrink)
In Unsimple truths, Sandra D. Mitchell examines the historical context of current scientific practices and elaborates the challenges complexity has since posed to status quo science and policymaking. Mitchell criticizes models of science inspired by Newtonian physics and argues for a pragmatistic, anti-universalist approach to science. In this review, I focus on what I find to be the most important point of the book, Mitchell’s argument for the conceptual independence of compositional materialism and descriptive fundamentalism. Along the way, I (...) provide a description of Mitchell’s overall project and a road map of the book. (shrink)
Although intersectionality has been widely disseminated across the disciplines as a tool to center women of color's developed perspectives on social reality, it has been notably absent in the scholarship of feminist philosophy and philosophy of race. I first examine the causes and processes of the exclusions of women of color feminist thought more generally, and of intersectionality in particular. Then, focusing attention on Black feminisms, I read Sandra Jackson-Opoku's 1997 novel, The River Where Blood Is Born, with and (...) against Paget Henry's Africana ethnophilosophy. I model an interdisciplinary, intersectional approach to Henry's ethnophilosophy, broadening its philosophical scope by historicizing the liminality that characterizes the realities of many diasporic Black women. I also develop an interpretation of the female protagonists to suggest how many Black women within different historical contexts develop practices to recover African symbolic and discursive registers as a means to claim their subjectivities. Additionally, I challenge Henry's teleological explanation for an increasingly secular Africana philosophical identity. (shrink)
The recent Supreme Court decision upholding Roe v. Wade and in particular, the dissent by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, sheds new light on the issue of abortion. Let us consider any stage of a pregnancy when abortion is medically safe for the mother. If at that stage it is also medically viable to save the fetus, is an abortion performed at that stage of pregnancy morally justifiable? For example, if it is, or becomes, medically safe to perform abortions after (...) first trimester of pregnancy and at the same time saving a fetus is, or becomes, medically viable or not unusual during some stage of the second trimester, can abortions during and after that stage of pregnancy be justified? With a number of qualifications I shall argue the thesis that as a general rule, but not an absolute rule, abortion in these instances is not usually justifiable. For if it is, then one will also have to grant the moral justification for a number of other highly questionable medical practices. This thesis is not to be identified with the stronger claim that abortions of viable fetuses can never be performed. There are surely exceptions such as when the life or health of the mother is in danger. But, I shall argue, the justification for making such exceptions is on different grounds than is sometimes claimed because one must weigh the health of the mother against the life of another human being. (shrink)
Angels of Power, by Australian lesbian playwright Sandra Shotlander, illustrates political strategies described by American lesbian philosopher Jeffner Allen. In the play three female members of Australian parliament align to force regulation of new reproductive technologies. Using essentialist, materialist, liberal, and radical feminist arguments, the characters practice sinuous strategies through loading and layering female signs (intertextuality) in order to eradicate patriarchal signification and reenact a contemporary version of ancient Amazons taking over the Acropolis.
Until recently, I held several informed assumptions about sexuality in the ancient world: that without exception the ancient Greeks and Romans did not define categories of sexual activity by the sex of the object of desire ; that female homoerotic activity occupied roughly the same space of social value in ancient Greece as in ancient Rome; that in so far as it could be discerned, female homoerotic activity was depicted in Greece and Rome according to the male pederastic model; that (...) no significant discourse existed about a form of female homoeroticism that was outside of the asymmetric norm defined by such a model; that in keeping with the male pederastic model, women who were sexually attracted to other women were figured as gender deviants, and particularly as being masculine; and that such women were regularly figured as having monstrously large clitorises which were thoughtâfantasticallyâto mimic an erect phallus. Thanks to Sandra Boehringerâs incisive study, I now believe every one of these assumptions to be wrong. (shrink)
According to Bartky, "To be a feminist, one has first to become one," and to become a feminist, one has to overcome femininity. Although I agree with Bartky's critique of femininity, I argue that feminist consciousness has to involve a contradictory attitude toward femininity-not just a critique, but also an appreciation of the utopian values it harbors.