Shors & Matzel's target article is a thought-provoking attempt to reconceptualise long-term potentiation as an attentional or arousal mechanism rather than a memory storage mechanism. This is incompatible with the facts of the neurobiology of attention and of the behavioural neurophysiological properties of hippocampal neurons.
Narratives of the experience of pulmonary tuberculosis are relatively rare in the Irish context. A scourge of the early twentieth century, TB was as much a social as a physically debilitating disease that rendered sufferers silent about their experience. Thus, the personal diaries and letters of Irish poet, Seán Ó Ríordáin, are rare. This article presents translations of his personal papers in a historico-medical context to chronicle Ó Ríordáin’s experience of a life marred by respiratory disease. Familiar to generations of (...) schoolchildren are his imaginative poems, whose lively metre punctuated the Irish language curriculum from primary through to secondary schooling; for most they leave an indelible mark. Such buoyant poems however belie the reality of his existence, lived in the shadow of chronic illness, and punctuated with despair over his condition and anxiety about the periods of extended sick leave his illness necessitated. Although despair dominated his diaries and he routinely begged God, Mary, the Saints and the devil for death, they were also the locus where his creativity developed. In his diaries, caricatures of friends and sketches of everyday things nestle among the first lines of some of his most influential poems and quotes from distinguished philosophers and writers. Evocative and tragic, his diaries offer a unique prism to the experience of respiratory disease in Ireland. (shrink)
Physicist Sean Carroll has developed a new theory of the fundamental nature of reality, which he calls “Poetic Naturalism,” with the stated goal of developing a theory of what is real that is consistent with the findings of natural science. Carroll claims to prove that morality cannot be seen as objectively true. This essay argues that Carroll's conclusion is not convincing; there is no good reason to reject moral objectivity within a purely naturalistic worldview.
Sean Carroll argues that we should endorse atheism since there are no good reasons for affirming the more complex thesis of theism over the less complexthesis of materialism. However, this argument relies on an epistemological minimalism we should reject.
Sean B. Carroll’s new book, The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why it Matters, is a well-written mix of history of science and philosophy of biology. In his book, Carroll articulates a set of ecological generalisations, the Serengeti Rules, which are supposed to make salient the structures in ecosystems that ensure the persistence of those ecosystems. In this essay review, I evaluate Carroll’s use of the controversial concept of regulation and his thesis that ecosystems (...) have a natural balance comparable to that of human bodies. My conclusion is optimistic. Carroll’s generalisations provide a tool-kit for building relatively simple models that are accurate enough to be widely applied in experimental ecology and conservation science, guiding interventions upon unhealthy ecosystems. (shrink)
The editors of this collection aim to fill a notable gap in the scholarship on Gilles Deleuze, pragmatism, and their reciprocal relations. This task is approached along two main lines, corresponding roughly to the volume’s two parts: on the one hand, by reconstructing Deleuze’s direct or potential engagements with classical pragmatism, while on the other hand by investigating the real or virtual exchanges between Deleuze’s rich philosophical production and most contemporary varieties of pragmatism. As the editors explain in their useful (...) stage-setting introduction to the volume, it is a telling fact that, despite Deleuze’s deep interest in pragmatism and an overlapping of concerns and themes, no work has yet... (shrink)
Rarely have I encountered a book like All Things Shining. It bravely engages issues that are truly significant for our time, yet flaws run through it like faults in the California landscape. The book has spawned contentious critique unusual for a work by contemporary philosophers. Before I offer my own critical analysis, it is fitting first to appreciate what Dreyfus and Kelly attempt to achieve.The foremost contemporary problems the authors combat are what they term "the burden of choice" and a (...) pervasive mood of nihilistic confusion. They believe the rationalistic and existential programs that are typically advocated in our secular age fail to offer persons convincing grounds for making sustainable decisions. .. (shrink)