The notion of beauty as a point of transit between the sensuous and the ideal is well-established in the history of Western philosophy. Describing this transition and seeking to rethink the ways in which humans understand the things they find beautiful in life, Harry Underwood’s The Experience of Beauty approaches the notion of beauty through the insights of major but distinctively individual philosophers and artists. In seven essays and a dialogue, Underwood considers the principal instances of beauty as (...) it reveals itself in everyday experience, as a concept in the mind of the philosopher, as the artist’s vision, and as the shining image of the ideal. Considering the perspectives of many notable figures in the Western canon of philosophy and literature for whom beauty and the imagination have mattered, including Plato, Nietzsche, Auden, Coleridge, Proust, and Iris Murdoch, Underwood draws out a rounded sense of beauty. It is shown, on one view, to be inherent in a perceptible order and, on another, to be an expression of the will to confer meaning on a meaningless world. In art, beauty reveals itself to be both perceived and created, and a world-disclosing, truth-relaying force. As a final matter, Underwood asks what it means to embrace your own vision of beauty and apply it to your life’s work. A quietly provocative meditation on the mystery of beauty, this collection of essays contends that beauty serves life as an inspiration, not merely as an ornament. (shrink)
Debates about the ethical and social implications of research that aims to extend human longevity by intervening in the ageing process have paid little attention to the attitudes of members of the general public. In the absence of empirical evidence, conflicting assumptions have been made about likely public attitudes towards life-extension. In light of recent calls for greater public involvement in such discussions, this target article presents findings from focus groups and individual interviews which investigated whether members of the general (...) public identify ethical issues surrounding life-extension, and if so, what these ethical issues are? In this study, while some participants were concerned primarily with the likely personal consequences of life-extension, for others the question of whether or not to pursue interventions to extend longevity, and how they should be implemented, clearly raised important ethical issues, many of which have been prominent in debates among bioethicists. (shrink)
Eye movements were recorded during the display of two images of a real-world scene that were inspected to determine whether they were the same or not . In the displays where the pictures were different, one object had been changed, and this object was sometimes taken from another scene and was incongruent with the gist. The experiment established that incongruous objects attract eye fixations earlier than the congruous counterparts, but that this effect is not apparent until the picture has been (...) displayed for several seconds. By controlling the visual saliency of the objects the experiment eliminates the possibility that the incongruency effect is dependent upon the conspicuity of the changed objects. A model of scene perception is suggested whereby attention is unnecessary for the partial recognition of an object that delivers sufficient information about its visual characteristics for the viewer to know that the object is improbable in that particular scene, and in which full identification requires foveal inspection. (shrink)
Baxter (Australas J Philos 79: 449-464, 2001) proposes an ingenious solution to the problem of instantiation based on his theory of cross-count identity. His idea is that where a particular instantiates a universal it shares an aspect with that universal. Both the particular and the universal are numerically identical with the shared aspect in different counts. Although Baxter does not say exactly what a count is, it appears that he takes ways of counting as mysterious primitives against which different numerical (...) identities are defined. In contrast, I defend the idea— suggested, though not quite endorsed, by Baxter himself—that counts are independent dimensions of numerical identity. Different ways of counting are explained by the existence of these different sorts of identity (i.e., counts). For the instantiation of a universal by a particular, I propose one dimension concerned with the individuation of particulars (the p-count) and another dimension concerned with the individuation of universals (the u-count). On that basis, I give a clear definition of cross-count identity that explains its asymmetrical nature (i.e., the fact that particulars instantiate universais, but not vice versa). I extend the theory to a third dimension—that of time, or the t-count—and thereby defend Baxter's ideas on change, and the contingency of instantiation. Baxter (Mind 97(388): 575-582, 1988; Australas J Philos 79: 449-464, 2001) proposes the related idea of composition as (cross-count) identity. Parts are individually cross-count identical with the wholes that they constitute, and they collectively share all aspects across counts with those wholes. I propose an innovation by which totality is shared distinctness across counts. The theory applies to both the totality of particulars that instantiate any given universal, and the totality of parts that constitute any given whole. I argue that this has several advantages over Armstrong's view, which is based on a dubious external totalling relation. I also argue that Armstrong's theory of numbers (or quantities) as internal relations ought to be rejected in favour of an account based on identity and distinctness. The paper concludes with a careful analysis of external relations in Baxter's framework. I argue that we must recognise one further dimension of identity in order to differentiate between, e.g., the aspects of Abelard insofar as he loves Heloise and Abelard insofar as he loves Isobel. Each of these aspects is identical with Abelard and identical with loving-by, yet they must be in some way distinct. I therefore propose the r-count, in which multiple distinct relational properties are the very same relation (-part). The existence of these four independent dimensions explains the fact that particulars, universals, relations, and times are fundamentally different sorts of things in the ontology. Each is individuated with respect to a different dimension of identity. (shrink)
The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale is an instrument designed to provide researchers with a self-report measure of spiritual experiences as an important aspect of how religiousness/spirituality is expressed in daily life for many people. The sixteen-item scale includes constructs such as awe, gratitude, mercy, sense of connection with the transcendent, compassionate love, and desire for closeness to God. It also includes measures of awareness of discernment/inspiration and transcendent sense of self. This measure was originally developed for use in health studies, (...) but has been increasingly used more widely in the social sciences, for program evaluation, and for examining changes in religious/spiritual experiences over time. It has been included on the U. S. General Social Survey , and the items have shown high prevalence in that population. The challenge of identifying items that tap the underlying constructs was addressed through qualitative methods, both in the development and testing of the instrument. Translations have been made into Spanish, Korean, Hebrew, Vietnamese, and French, and the scale has been effectively used outside the United States. Detailed discussion of item construction based on qualitative work is given to assist in use, interpretation and translation development. Options for scoring and suggestions for exploring correlations with other variables using individual items and subgroups are also presented. (shrink)
Relatively poor memory for dreams is important evidence for Hobson et al.'s model of conscious states. We describe the time-gap experience as evidence that everyday memory for waking states may not be as good as they assume. As well as being surprisingly sparse, everyday memories may themselves be systematically distorted in the same manner that Revonsuo attributes uniquely to dreams. [Hobson et al.; Revonsuo].
Rensink [Rensink, R. A. . Visual sensing without seeing. Psychological Science, 15, 27–32] has presented evidence suggesting visual changes may be sensed without an accompanying visual experience. Here, we report two experiments in which we monitored observers’ eye-movements whilst they searched for a difference between two simultaneously presented images and pressed separate response keys when a difference was seen or sensed. We first assessed whether sensing performance was random by collecting ratings of confidence in the validity of sensing and assessing (...) gaze location during sensing. Sensing was not random: fixation position and confidence ratings were different when a difference was present compared to catch trials. Furthermore, the uniformity of objects in the images and the type of difference appear to affect seeing and sensing differently, suggesting that these processes are dissociated. The possibility is discussed of a sensing mechanism that increases vigilance toward unconsciously registered differences, particularly changes to scene layout. (shrink)
Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat was one of the most distinguished scientists and peace campaigners of the post second world war period. He made significant contributions to nuclear physics and worked on the development of the atomic bomb. He then became one of the world’s leading researchers into the biological effects of radiation. His life from the early 1950s until his death in August 2005 was devoted to the abolition of nuclear weapons and peace. For this he was awarded the Nobel (...) Peace Prize, together with Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (that he helped found) in 1995. His work in this area ranked with that of Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell and this article is an attempt to summarise his life, achievements, but in particular outline his views on the moral responsibilities of the scientist. He is a towering intellectual figure and his contributions to mankind should be better known and more widely understood. (shrink)
To understand how children manage anger and engage in various forms of aggression, it is important to observe children responding to peer provocation. Observing children's anger and aggression poses serious ethical and practical challenges, especially with samples of older children and adolescents. This article describes 2 laboratory methods for observing children's responses to peer provocation: 1 involves participants playing a game with a provoking child actor, and the other involves a pair of close friends responding to an actor posing as (...) a difficult play partner. Both methods are described in detail, ethical safeguards are discussed, and evidence is presented to show that children understand their research rights in these types of investigations. (shrink)
We explore the mathematical structure and the physical implications of a general four-dimensional symmetry framework which is consistent with the Poincaré—Einstein principle of relativity for physical laws and with experiments. In particular, we discuss a four-dimensional framework in which all observers in different frames use one and the same grid of clocks. The general framework includes special relativity and a recently proposed new four-dimensional symmetry with a nonuniversal light speed as two special simple cases. The connection between the properties of (...) light propagation and the convention concerning clock systems is also discussed, and is seen to be nonunique within the four-dimensional framework. (shrink)
Novels, films, poems and visual art can expand our view of time in ways that can be useful in dealing with disability, suffering and end of life. In particular, they can reveal more complex ways to view time. This can be effective both for the person suffering and for those who care for them. Our typical ways of viewing time include linear sequential clock time, which progresses in an evenly parsed, ordered, unidirectional way, and memory or narrative time—time as we (...) remember it. These two ways of viewing time often do not agree. Since these can compete as the best predictors of outcomes in different circumstances, neither can make an exclusive claim to be “real time.” A third view of time that has potential application is one that is multilayered, extending endlessly and evidencing expansiveness in each moment. Examples of the usefulness of this third, more complex view of time in asthma, pain, end of life and disability are presented. The arts can introduce this more complex view in a way that can help one fold it into life. All these ways of viewing time in combination can broaden the perspective clinicians have when co-creating with patients good decisions in difficult situations. (shrink)
The E-Z Reader 7 model is powerful but incomplete. When programming the saccade to the next word, we take into account the familiarity of the letter sequences at the beginning of that word. This landing position effect is well established, but is neglected in the model. A possible locus for the effect is suggested within the E-Z Reader framework.
Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat made significant contributions to nuclear physics and worked on the development of the atomic bomb. He walked out of the Manhattan Project after working there for less than a year, the only scientist to do so. Rotblat gave a comprehensive account of his time at Los Alamos. His Archive is now becoming available and papers contained therein are inconsistent with some aspects of his account. The reasons as to how such anomalies and contradictions could occur are (...) considered. (shrink)