Evolutionary theories of human cognition should refer to specific times in the primate or hominid past. Though alternative accounts of tool manufacture from Wynn's are possible (e.g., frontal lobe function), Wynn demonstrates the power of archaeology to guide cognitive theories. Many cognitive abilities evolved not in the “Pleistocene hunter-gatherer” context, but earlier, in the context of other patterns of social organization and foraging.
Recent work in cognitive neuroscience on the child's Theory of Mind (ToM) has pursued the idea that the ability to metarepresent mental states depends on a domain-specific cognitive subystem implemented in specific neural circuitry: a Theory of Mind Module. We argue that the interaction of several domain-general mechanisms and lower-level domain-specific mechanisms accounts for the flexibility and sophistication of behavior, which has been taken to be evidence for a domain-specific ToM module. This finding is of more general interest since it (...) suggests a parsimonious cognitive architecture can account for apparent domain specificity. We argue for such an architecture in two stages. First, on conceptual grounds, contrasting the case of language with ToM, and second, by showing that recent evidence in the form of fMRI and lesion studies supports the more parsimonious hypothesis. Theory of Mind, Metarepresentation, and Modularity Developmental Components of ToM The Analogy with Modularity of Language Dissociations without Modules The Evidence from Neuroscience Conclusion CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This article critically questions the commercialization of hospice care and the ethical concerns associated with the industry's movement toward “market-driven medicine” at the end of life. For example, the article examines issues raised by an influx of for-profit hospice providers whose business model appears at its core to have an ethical conflict of interest between shareholders doing well and terminal patients dying well. Yet, empirical data analyzing the experience of patients across the hospice industry are limited, and general claims that (...) end-of-life patient care is inferior among for-profit providers or even that their business practices are somehow unseemly when compared to nonprofit providers cannot be substantiated. In fact, non-profit providers are not immune to potentially conflicting concerns regarding financial viability (i.e., “no margin, no mission”). Given the limitations of existing empirical data and contrasting ideological commitments of for-profit versus non-profit providers, the questions raised by this article highlight important areas for reflection and further study. Policymakers and regulators are cautioned to keep ethical concerns in the fore as an increasingly commercialized hospice industry continues to emerge as a dominant component of the U.S. health care system. Both practitioners and researchers are encouraged to expand their efforts to better understand how business practices and commercial interests may compromise the death process of the patient and patient's family — a process premised upon a philosophy and ethical tradition that earlier generations of hospice providers and proponents established as a trusted, end-of-life alternative. (shrink)
Scholars who engage with texts that were written by George Herbert Mead (e.g., 1925e.g., 1926e.g., 1929e.g., 1932e.g., 1938) in the latter half of the 1920s are faced with the task of comprehending Mead’s interpretation of relativity theory and also understanding why relativity theory was considered by Mead to have such profound implications for his own philosophy. As several scholars of Mead’s work have explained (e.g., Joas 1997; Martin 2007; Rosenthal and Bourgeois 1991), Mead was a realist. Mead opposed psychophysical dualism (...) (Cook 1979) and both the behaviorist and the idealist implications that could follow from such a dualism. He wanted to explain human conduct in terms of the self-determination of human .. (shrink)
What is the proper relation between the scientific worldview and other parts or aspects of human knowledge and experience? Can any science aim at "complete coverage" of the world, and if it does, will it undermine--in principle or by tendency--other attempts to describe or understand the world? Should morality, theology and other areas resist or be protected from scientific treatment? Questions of this sort have been of pressing philosophical concern since antiquity. The Proper Ambition of Science presents ten particular case (...) studies written by prominent philosophers, looking at how this problem has been approached from the ancient world right up to the present day. Contributors: Bob Sharples, M.W.F. Stone, G.A.J. Rogers, J.R. Milton, Aaron Ridley, Christopher Hookway, Dermot Moran, Thomas E. Uebel, David Papineau, and Nancy Cartwright. (shrink)
Action research is increasingly used as a means for teachers to improve their instruction, yet for many the idea of doing "research" can be somewhat intimidating. _Using Action Research to Improve Instruction_ offers a comprehensive, easy-to-understand approach to action research in classroom settings. This engaging and accessible guide is grounded in sources of data readily available to teachers, such as classroom observations, student writing, surveys, interviews, and tests. Organized to mirror the action research process, the highly interactive format prompts readers (...) to discover a focus, create research questions, address design and methodology, collect information, conduct data analysis, communicate the results, and to generate evidence-based teaching strategies. Engaging in these decision-making processes builds the skills essential to action research and promotes a deeper understanding of teaching practice. Special Features Include: -An Interactive Text -Reflection Questions and Activity Prompts -A Sample Action Research Report -Numerous Examples and Practice Examples -Numbered Sections for Cross Referencing This original text is a must-read for teachers interested in how they can use their current knowledge of instruction and assessment to meaningfully engage in action research. (shrink)
Complementary and alternative medicine has become an important section of healthcare. Its high level of acceptance among the general population represents a challenge to healthcare professionals of all disciplines and raises a host of ethical issues. This article is an attempt to explore some of the more obvious or practical ethical aspects of complementary and alternative medicine.
This paper proposes that autonomous vehicles should be designed to reduce light pollution. In support of this specific proposal, a moral assessment of autonomous vehicles more comprehensive than the dilemmatic life-and-death questions of trolley problem-style situations is presented. The paper therefore consists of two interrelated arguments. The first is that autonomous vehicles are currently still a technology in development, and not one that has acquired its definitive shape, meaning the design of both the vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure is open-ended. (...) Design for values is utilized to articulate a path forward, by which engineering ethics should strive to incorporate values into a technology during its development phase. Second, it is argued that nighttime lighting—a critical supporting infrastructure—should be a prima facie consideration for autonomous vehicles during their development phase. It is shown that a reduction in light pollution, and more boldly a better balance of lighting and darkness, can be achieved via the design of future autonomous vehicles. Two case studies are examined through which autonomous vehicles may be designed for “driving in the dark.” Nighttime lighting issues are thus inserted into a broader ethics of autonomous vehicles, while simultaneously introducing questions of autonomous vehicles into debates about light pollution. (shrink)
Human moral behaviour ranges from vicious cruelty to deep compassion, and any explanation of morality must address how our species is capable of such a range. Darwin argued that any social animal, with sufficient intellectual capacity, would develop morality. In agreement, I argue that human morality is unique in the animal kingdom not because of any particular moral capacity, but because some very abstract cognitive abilities that are unique to our species are layered on top of phylogenetically older emotional instincts (...) for aggression and for empathy. I review research on several components of empathy, intersubjectivity and theory of mind, detailing which of these capacities is uniquely human, and highlighting relevant neuroanatomy for each ability. Finally, I describe our abstract cognitive abilities for recursion and metarepresentation, and argue that these are uniquely human. When these abilities interact with our older social abilities (empathy, intersubjectivity) we are able to reason abstractly about others' mental states and how to affect them. Thus, it is these abstract cognitive capacities that give us the ability to be both cruel and compassionate, but it is our ancient ability for empathy that keeps us moral. Morality is, in a very real sense, a gift from our ancestors. (shrink)
Three experiments examined contributions of study phase awareness of word identity to subsequent word-identification priming by manipulating visual attention to words at study. In Experiment 1, word-identification priming was reduced for ignored relative to attended words, even though ignored words were identified sufficiently to produce negative priming in the study phase. Word-identification priming was also reduced after color naming relative to emotional valence rating (Experiment 2) or word reading (Experiment 3), even though an effect of emotional valence upon color naming (...) (Experiment 2) indicated that words were identified at study. Thus, word-identification priming was reduced even when word identification occurred at study. Word-identification priming may depend on awareness of word identity at the time of study. (shrink)