For centuries the question of the origin of life had focused on the question of the spontaneous generation of life, at least primitive forms of life, from inanimate matter, an idea that had been promoted most prominently by Aristotle. The widespread belief in spontaneous generation, which had been adopted by the Church, too, was finally abandoned at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the question of the origin of life became related to that of the artificial generation of life (...) in the laboratory. This paper examines the role of social authorities, researchers’ basic beliefs, crucial experiments, and scientific advance in the controversies about spontaneous generation from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries and analyzes the subsequent debates about the synthesis of artificial life in the changing scientific contexts of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. It shows that despite the importance of social authorities, basic beliefs, and crucial experiments scientific advances, especially those in microbiology, were the single most important factor in the stepwise abandoning of the doctrine of spontaneous generation. Research on the origin of life and the artificial synthesis of life became scientifically addressed only when it got rid of the idea of constant smooth transitions between inanimate matter and life and explored possible chemical and physical mechanisms of the specificity of basic molecules and processes of life. (shrink)
A species like ours, whose life critically depends on the ability to foresee, plan, and shape future events, is vulnerable to dysfunction if any one facet contributing to what Suddendorf & Corballis (S&C) call (MTT) is affected by disease. Although the authors mention brain pathology as a potential cause of disturbed MTT, they fail to explore psychopathological syndromes as a source to better understand the significance of MTT for normal functioning and adaptive behaviour.
Cet ouvrage se compose de deux volets d’importance inégale : le premier propose de fixer un cadre épistémologique à l’alliance entre recherches littéraires et linguistiques ; le second, qui se déplie en six chapitres, est une illustration des propositions énoncées en introduction, une application à des exemples extraits de grands écrivains de la littérature européenne. L’introduction postule la recherche du continu entre langue et littérature qui doit passer par « la reconnaissance de la nat..
Cet ouvrage, le deuxième de la collection « Lire le xviie siècle » aux éditions Garnier, propose une lecture interdisciplinaire des contes de Perrault dont l’objectif est bien précisé dans une riche introduction. Il s’agit au travers, d’une part, d’une approche littéraire et comparatiste, d’autre part d’une analyse linguistique, d’appréhender les contes de Perrault comme des discours singuliers où tous les choix linguistiques font sens, à l’opposé du réductionnisme structural qui ramène les c..
For a cou ple of decades, higher-order the o ries of con scious ness have enjoyed great pop u lar ity, but they have recently been met with grow ing dis sat is - fac tion. Many have started to look else where for via ble alter na tives, and within the last few years, quite a few have redis cov ered Brentano. In this paper such a Brentanian one-level account of con scious ness will be out lined and dis (...) - cussed. It will be argued that it can con trib ute impor tant insights to our under - stand ing of the rela tion between con scious ness and self-aware ness, but it will also be argued that the account remains beset with some prob lems, and that it will ulti mately make more sense to take a closer look at Sartre, Husserl, and Heidegger, if one is on the look out for prom is ing alter na tives to the higher-order the o ries, than to return all the way to Brentano. (shrink)
“Utility,” in plain English, means usefulness. In Australia, a ute is a useful vehicle. Jeremy Bentham specialized the meaning to a particular sort of usefulness. “By utility,” he said, “is meant that property in any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or happiness or to prevent the happening of mischief, pain, evil, or unhappiness to the party whose interest is considered”. The “principle of utility” is the principle that actions are to be judged by their usefulness (...) in this sense: their tendency to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or happiness. When John Stuart Mill spoke of the “perfectly just conception of Utility or Happiness, considered as the directive rule of human conduct,” he was using “Utility” as a short name for this principle. “The greatest happiness principle” was another name for it. People who subscribed to this principle came to be known as utilitarians. (shrink)
Although the brain enables us to perceive the external world and our body, it remains unknown whether brain processes themselves can be perceived. Brain tissue does not have receptors for its own activity. However, the ability of humans to acquire self-control of brain processes indicates that the perception of these processes may also be achieved by learning. In this study patients learned to control low-frequency components of their EEG: the so-called slow cortical potentials (SCPs). In particular ''probe'' sessions, the patients (...) estimated the quality of the SCP shift they had produced in the preceding trial. The correspondence between the recorded SCP amplitudes and the subjective estimates increased with training. The ability to perceive the SCPs was related to the ability to control them; this perception was not mediated by peripheral variables such as changes in muscle tonus and cannot be reduced to simple vigilance monitoring. These data provide evidence that humans can learn to perceive the neural activity of their brain. Alternative interpretations are discussed. (shrink)
Psychopathic individuals are characterized by impaired affective processing, impulsivity, sensation-seeking, poor planning skills and heightened aggressiveness with poor self-regulation. Based on brain self-regulation studies using neurofeedback of Slow Cortical Potentials (SCPs) in disorders associated with a dysregulation of cortical activity thresholds and evidence of deficient cortical functioning in psychopathy, a neurobiological approach seems to be promising in the treatment of psychopathy. The results of our intensive brain regulation intervention demonstrate, that psychopathic offenders are able to gain control of their brain (...) excitability over fronto-central brain areas. After SCP self-regulation training, we observed reduced aggression, impulsivity and behavioral approach tendencies, as well as improvements in behavioral-inhibition and increased cortical sensitivity for error-processing. This study demonstrates improvements on the neurophysiological, behavioral and subjective level in severe psychopathic offenders after SCP-neurofeedback training and could constitute a novel neurobiologically-based treatment for a seemingly change-resistant group of criminal psychopaths. (shrink)
Reliabilist philosophy of science considers scientific misconduct a transgression against the principles of good cognitive practice. Good practice in research is characterised by the reliability, efficiency and fertility of the cognitive processes involved. The reliabilist approach is closely connected to the idea of mutual cognitive dependency of the research community. Trust in the testimony of others is not an inevitable but a favouring factor of scientific progress — and misconduct damages the testimonial chain, respectively the principle of trustworthiness. Within the (...) reliabilist framework, the main focus on questionable research is not on whether or not there are fraudulent intentions , but on recognisable consequences for the research community. Criticising the constructivist modeling of questionable research, we reconstruct certain contributions by Emil Abderhalden, Richard Goldschmidt, Franz Moewus, and Ernst Waldschmitz-Leitz as serious misconducts respectively frauds. We also show that specific social factors — often regarded as “apologising” conditions — decisively interfere with the principle of trustworthiness in the scientific community. (shrink)
In recent years, two challenges stand out against scientific realism: the argument from the underdetermination of theories by evidence (UTE) and the pessimistic induction argument (PI). In his book, Kyle Stanford accepts the gravity of these challenges, but argues that the most serious and powerful challenge to scientific realism has been neglected. The problem of unconceived alternatives (PUA), as he calls it, is introduced in chapter one and refined in chapter two. In short, PUA holds that throughout history scientists have (...) failed to conceive alternative theories roughly equally well-confirmed to the theories of the day by the available evidence and, crucially, that such alternatives eventually were conceived and adopted by some section of the scientific community. PUA is a version of UTE, but, unlike its kin, enjoys substantial historical support. It leads to a sort of pessimistic induction that Stanford brands ‘the new induction’ (NI), according to which we should be doubtful about the truth claims of current theories since the historical record suggests that unconceived alternatives are typically lurking in the shadows. His proposal contains two important shifts of focus: First, there is a shift from artificially produced rival theories - of the kind typically talked about in the underdetermination debate - to actual rivals. Second, instead of focusing on empirically equivalent rivals, he urges a shift to rivals that are more or less equally well-confirmed to existing theories by the available evidence at a given point in time. Prima facie, PUA sounds like a welcome addition to the anti-realist arsenal, drawing on historical evidence to support the induction that current theories probably face genuine alternatives waiting to be conceived. (shrink)
Dissatisfied with the descriptive and speculative methods of evolutionary biology of his time, the physiologist Jacques Loeb , best known for his “engineering” approach to biology, reflected on the possibilities of artificially creating life in the laboratory. With the objective of experimentally tackling one of the crucial questions of organic evolution, i.e., the origin of life from inanimate matter, he rejected claims made by contemporary scientists of having produced artificial life through osmotic growth processes in inorganic salt solutions. According to (...) Loeb, the answer to the question of whether or not life could be created artificially had to come from macro-molecular chemistry, in particular from the research on the recently discovered DNA. He was convinced that a prerequisite for making living matter from inanimate substances was the chemical synthesis of nuclear material capable of self-replication. Moreover, Loeb, experimentally refuting some vitalistic explanations as well as colloidal chemists’ far-reaching claims that biologically relevant macromolecules follow colloidal rather than chemical laws, pioneered research on the physical and chemical explanations of biological phenomena. (shrink)
Methods and equations for analysing the kinetics of enzyme-catalysed reactions were developed at the beginning of the 20th century in two centres in particular; in Paris, by Victor Henri, and, in Berlin, by Leonor Michaelis and Maud Menten. Henri made a detailed analysis of the work in this area that had preceded him, and arrived at a correct equation for the initial rate of reaction. However, his approach was open to the important objection that he took no account of the (...) hydrogen-ion concentration (a subject largely undeveloped in his time). In addition, although he wrote down an expression for the initial rate of reaction and described the hyperbolic form of its dependence on the substrate concentration, he did not appreciate the great advantages that would come from analysis in terms of initial rates rather than time courses. Michaelis and Menten not only placed Henri's analysis on a firm experimental foundation, but also defined the experimental protocol that remains standard today. Here, we review this development, and discuss other scientific contributions of these individuals. The three parts have different authors, as indicated, and do not necessarily agree on all details, in particular about the relative importance of the contributions of Michaelis and Menten on the one hand and of Henri on the other. Rather than force the review into an unrealistic consensus, we consider it appropriate to leave the disagreements visible. (shrink)
Semantics of Detachment A Review of Burkhard Hasebrink, Susanne Bernhardt, and Imke Früh, eds., Semantik der Gelassenheit: Generierung, Etablierung, Transformation [Semantics of detachment: Formation, establishment, transformation] Silke Schwandt Beyond the Untranslatability of Concepts A Review of Martin J. Burke and Melvin Richter, eds., Why Concepts Matter: Translating Social and Political Thought László Kontler Emotional Modernities A Review of Ute Frevert, Monique Scheer, Anne Schmidt, Pascal Eitler, Bettina Hitzer, Nina Verheyen, Benno Gammerl, Christian Bailey, and Margrit Pernau, Gefühlswissen: Eine lexikalische Spurensuche (...) in der Moderne [Emotional knowledge: In search of lexical clues in modernity] Anu Korhonen Beyond Peace as a Process A Review of Julia Harfensteller, The United Nations and Peace: The Evolution of an Organizational Concept Marie-Christine Boilard Human Rights as Conceptual History A Review of Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, ed., Human Rights in the Twentieth Century Johan Strang. (shrink)
Some sounds have pitch, some do not. A tuba’s notes are lower pitched than a ﬂute’s, but the fuzz from an untuned radio has no discernible pitch. Pitch is an attribute in virtue of which sounds that possess it can be ordered from “low” to “high”. Given how audition works, physics has taught us that frequency determines what pitch a sound auditorily appears to have.