An action-oriented perspective changes the role of an individual from a passive observer to an actively engaged agent interacting in a closed loop with the world as well as with others. Cognition exists to serve action within a landscape that contains both. This chapter surveys this landscape and addresses the status of the pragmatic turn. Its potential influence on science and the study of cognition are considered (including perception, social cognition, social interaction, sensorimotor entrainment, and language acquisition) and its impact (...) on how neuroscience is studied is also investigated (with the notion that brains do not passively build models, but instead support the guidance of action). A review of its implications in robotics and engineering includes a discussion of the application of enactive control principles to couple action and perception in robotics as well as the conceptualization of system design in a more holistic, less modular manner. Practical applications that can impact the human condition are reviewed (e.g., educational applications, treatment possibilities for developmental and psychopathological disorders, the development of neural prostheses). All of this foreshadows the potential societal implications of the pragmatic turn. The chapter concludes that an action-oriented approach emphasizes a continuum of interaction between technical aspects of cognitive systems and robotics, biology, psychology, the social sciences, and the humanities, where the individual is part of a grounded cultural system. (shrink)
Subcortical substrates for behavioural integration include the fore/midbrain nuclei of the basal ganglia and the hindbrain medial reticular formation. The midbrain superior colliculus requires basal ganglia disinhibition in order to generate orienting movements. The colliculus should therefore be seen as one of many competitors vying for control of the body's effector systems with the basal ganglia acting as the key arbiter. (Published Online May 1 2007).
Regulatory authorities have advised smokers who would not or could not quit smoking to switch to lower tar cigarettes. Smoking such cigarettes was seen as a means of reducing the harm caused by smoking, but not as offering a ‘safe’ smoking option. Correspondingly manufacturers have been required to place tar and nicotine information on packet labels and/or advertisements. This paper explores the possibility that the conventional format for conveying tar and nicotine information could be responsible for the belief, held by (...) a significant proportion of smokers, that some brands of lower tar cigarettes are absolutely ‘safe’. To deal with this situation it is suggested that changes should be made to health warnings, and tar and nicotine communications. Proposed changes to the latter are evaluated in terms of their ethical and public health implications. The authors conclude that brand specific warnings and a classification of cigarettes as either ‘Very Dangerous’ or ‘Dangerous’, is best suited to reconciling consumer needs for information with the public health objectives of reducing the harm caused by smoking. (shrink)
The impacts of early fishing on aquatic ecosystems were minimal, as primitive technologies were used to harvest fish primarily for food. As fishing technology grew more sophisticated and human populations dispersed and expanded, local economies transitioned from subsistence to barter and trade. Expanded trade networks and mercantilization led to surplus catches becoming tradable commodities. Today, global export fish commodities, including fresh, frozen, cured, and canned fish, are valued at over US$ 100 billion, but commoditization loses the ecological imperative, with overfishing (...) the result. To sustain global fisheries, human and ecosystem relationships with living fish need to be valued, as fish landed for both food and profit. Toward this end, we propose two decommoditization strategies: valuing cultural property, the intergenerational relationships of people to places, in environmental policy and instituting social subsidies that reward or enable local communities to cooperate in sustaining aquatic living resources, such as with marine protected areas. (shrink)
We argue that two main accounts of hypocrisy— the deception-based and the moral-non-seriousness-based account—fail to capture a specific kind of hypocrite who is morally serious and sincere "all the way down." The kind of hypocrisy exemplified by this hypocrite is irreducible to deception, self-deception or a lack of moral seriousness. We call this elusive and peculiar kind of hypocrisy, pure hypocrisy. We articulate the characteristics of pure hypocrisy and describe the moral psychology of two kinds of pure hypocrites.
The ‘no-suicide contract’ is a frequently utilized tool in both the assessment and dispersal of suicidal patients. However, little attention has been given to questioning whether suicidal persons are able to give informed consent to enter such a contract. This article utilizes both the existing literature on no-suicide contracts and the results of recent research into the effects of this tool, to examine whether its use is consistent with the legal and ethical doctrine of informed consent. Particular attention is given (...) to issues of competence, fullness of information, voluntariness and paternalistic intervention when no-suicide contracts are used. This analysis finds the tool to be problematic and suggests that individual patients’ ability to give informed consent about a no-suicide contract needs to be carefully considered by clinicians. (shrink)