In August of 1971, President Nixon announced that the United States was “closing the gold window,” bringing an end to the postwar system of international exchange rate stability and precipitating a period of significant uncertainty and transformation in global institutions. Although this critical historical episode is important for an understanding of historical “neoliberalism” and institutional change, modern sociological perspectives have scarcely been applied to it. The present analysis uses archival data to show that closing the gold window was never the (...) goal or preferred strategy of the Nixon administration, which had spent years preparing much more modest reforms. Nevertheless, US policymakers took this unilateral action as a contingency plan to achieve a short-term goal, knowing that it would dramatically change the functioning of the international economy. Surprisingly, the autonomous structure of the IMF did not channel US initiatives toward gradual evolution but rather helped determine a radical change in strategy. (shrink)
Is theistic evolution (TE) a philosophically tenable position? Leidenhag argues in his article “The Blurred Line between Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design” that it is not, since it, Leidenhag claims, espouses a view of divine action that he labels “natural divine causation” (NDC), which makes God explanatory redundant. That is, in so far as TE does not invoke God as an additional cause alongside natural causes, it is untenable. Theistic evolutionists should therefore “reject NDC and affirm a more robust notion (...) of divine agency.” However, this will, Leidenhag claims, have the effect that theistic evolutionists “will move their position significantly closer to Intelligent Design,” and so the line between TE and intelligent design is (or ought to be?) blurred. If successful, the criticism by Leidenhag would be bad news for theists who want to take science seriously and good news for those scientistic atheists according to whom there simply is no scientifically respectable way of combining theism and modern natural science in an overarching worldview. So, is TE stuck between a rock (of redundancy) and a hard place (of pseudo‐science)? No, at least not due to the criticism offered by Leidenhag—but maybe religious naturalism is? (shrink)
Most research on mind-wandering has characterized it as a mental state with contents that are task unrelated or stimulus independent. However, the dynamics of mind-wandering—how mental states change over time—have remained largely neglected. Here, we introduce a dynamic framework for understanding mind-wandering and its relationship to the recruitment of large-scale brain networks. We propose that mind-wandering is best understood as a member of a family of spontaneous-thought phenomena that also includes creative thought and dreaming. This dynamic framework can shed new (...) light on mental disorders that are marked by alterations in spontaneous thought, including depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (shrink)
In this essay, I study the contested role of magnification as an observational strategy in the generation theories of William Harvey and René Descartes. During the seventeenth century, the grounds under the discipline of anatomy were shifting as knowledge was increasingly based on autopsia and observation. Likewise, new theories of generation were established through observations of living beings in their smallest state. But the question formed: was it possible to extend vision all the way down to the first points of (...) life? Arguing that the potential of magnification hinged on the metaphysics of living matter, I show that Harvey did not consider observational focus on the material composition of blood and embryos to be conducive to knowledge of living bodies. To Harvey, generation was caused by immaterial, and thus in principle invisible, forces that could not be magnified. Descartes, on the other hand, believed that access to the subvisible scale of natural bodies was crucial to knowledge about their nature. This access could be granted through rational introspection, but possibly also through powerful microscopes. The essay thus ends with a reflection on the importance of Cartesian corpuscularianism for the emergence of microscopical anatomy in seventeenth-century England. (shrink)
An historical analysis of main topics of Wittgenstein's work. Part 1 deals with the "game" of mathematics. Part 2 discusses Wittgenstein's development up to 1930 and Part 3 looks at philosophical and psychological problems arising from the possiblity of artificial intelligence.
Arguing that philosophy can be characterized as a form of conceptual investigation, Gefwert demonstrates that a theoretical view does not correspond to Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy. Proposing that a philosophical conceptual investigation is analogous to a psychotherapeutical session of Freud, with the common aim to dissolve the conceptual problems in language that haunts us in our everyday life, Gefwert's examination of the later writings of Wittgenstein concludes that 'philosophical investigation' is a very different activity than that assumed by the Logical (...) Positives and others. (shrink)
Summary People with disabilities still show lower participation rates in mainstream sports clubs. Even when they are members of mainstream sports clubs, their participation is often limited to structural integration, while broader social integration including cultural and affective dimensions is only partially achieved. Thus, this study analyses the broader extent of social integration of members with disabilities in sports clubs, applying Esser’s model of social integration, which is comprised of four dimensions: culturation, interaction, identification, and placement. The article describes multiple (...) case studies conducted with this model on a sample of three mainstream clubs, including 14 members with disabilities. Results show overall high scores on the four dimensions, consequently pointing to effective social integration of members with disabilities. Moreover, the studies also reveal indications of factors that are relevant for social integration. This knowledge is helpful for clubs with regard to managing social integration strategies and practices. (shrink)
This article examines the early modern household's importance for producing experimental knowledge through an examination of the Halifax household of Margery and Henry Power. While Henry Power has been studied as a natural philosopher within the male-dominated intellectual circles of Cambridge and London, the epistemic labour of his wife, Margery Power, has hitherto been overlooked. From the 1650s, this couple worked in tandem to enhance their understanding of the vegetable world through various paper technologies, from books, paper slips and recipe (...) notebooks to Margery's drawing album and Henry's published Experimental Philosophy. Focusing on Margery's practice of hand-colouring flower books, her copied and original drawings of flowers and her experimental production of ink, we argue that Margery's sensibility towards colour was crucial to Henry's microscopic observations of plants. Even if Margery's sophisticated knowledge of plants never left the household, we argue that her contribution was nevertheless crucial to the observation and representation of plants within the community of experimental philosophy. In this way, our article highlights the importance of female artists within the history of scientific observation, the use of books and paperwork in the botanical disciplines, and the relationship between household science and experimental philosophy. (shrink)
The idea of an inevitable conflict between science and religion leading to relentless hostility between the two emerged in the nineteenth century and has become a powerful narrative of modernity. Most historians of science trace the origins of the so-called ‘conflict thesis’ to the English-speaking world, more precisely to scientist-historian John William Draper and literary scholar Andrew Dickson White. Their books on the history of scientific-religious conflict turned into bestsellers. Yet, if we look beyond the Anglo-American world, the conflict thesis (...) appears in new historical settings. This paper argues that the science vs. religion narrative flourished already in Germany before Draper and White announced the warfare between science and religion in England and the USA. Focusing on Germany, we aim to show that the conflict thesis emerged in a polycentric process shaped by various political, cultural, and social struggles. It became a rhetorical weapon for liberal scientists in Germany to oppose Ultramontanism and, at the same time, to discredit their rivals as unscientific, fanatic, or even as ‘henchmen’ of the Pope. Our paper makes a case for a decentred approach to the history of the conflict thesis, which brings to the fore specific political and cultural tensions shaping this narrative in the nineteenth century. (shrink)
Everything as One: A Linguistic View of the Egyptian Creator in the Pyramid Texts. By Joanna Popielska-Grzybowska. Travaux de l’Institut des Cultures Méditerranéennes et Orientales de l’Académie Polonaise des Sciences, vol. 5. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2020. Pp. 400. €71 (paper).
The Religious War of Science. Historical Argumentation in the Academic Speeches of Emil DuBois‐Reymond (1818–1896). Among the protagonists of the “laboratory revolution” (Cunningham/Williams) in 19th‐century physiology were the self‐proclaimed ‘organic physicists’ (“organische Physiker”), who shared a mechanistic conception of life processes. One of their key figures was the physiologist Emil DuBois‐Reymond (1818–1896) who not only excelled in the field of neuroscience but also became known, over the decades of his active career, as an orator at the Berlin Academy of Sciences (...) and Humanities. In his academic speeches, DuBois‐Reymond regularly commemorated heroes of the history of science. On closer inspection, these references went far beyond paying the usual homage to precursors: This paper argues that DuBois‐Reymond made use of episodes from the history of science as a means to legitimate his own reductionist research programme and, at the same time, decry idealistic natural philosophy and vitalistic positions. Drawing upon biblical rhetorics, DuBois‐Reymond systematically construed experimental physiology as the culmination of a teleological development, and, hence, organic physicists as the incarnation of scientific ‘redeemers’. According to him, the success of ‘organic physics’ displayed the peak of an inevitable development. (shrink)
Die Zeit selbst lag nun tot darnieder: Die Stadt Assiut und ihre Nekropolen nach westlichen Reiseberich- ten des 17. bis 19. Jahrhunderts. Konstruktion, Destruktion und Rekonstruktion. By Jochem Kahl. The Asyut Project, vol. 5. Wiesbaden: Harrasso-witz Verlag, 2013. Pp. x + 438 + *162, illus. €68.
We take a logical approach to threshold models, used to study the diffusion of opinions, new technologies, infections, or behaviors in social networks. Threshold models consist of a network graph of agents connected by a social relationship and a threshold value which regulates the diffusion process. Agents adopt a new behavior/product/opinion when the proportion of their neighbors who have already adopted it meets the threshold. Under this diffusion policy, threshold models develop dynamically towards a guaranteed fixed point. We construct a (...) minimal dynamic propositional logic to describe the threshold dynamics and show that the logic is sound and complete. We then extend this framework with an epistemic dimension and investigate how information about more distant neighbors’ behavior allows agents to anticipate changes in behavior of their closer neighbors. Overall, our logical formalism captures the interplay between the epistemic and social dimensions in social networks. (shrink)
Ancient Memphis: ‘Enduring is the Perfection’. Proceedings of the International Conference Held at Macquarie University, Sydney in August 14–15, 2008. Edited by Linda Evans. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, vol. 214. Leuven: UitgeveriJ Peeters, 2012. Pp. viii + 443, illus. €90.
Studies on the Middle Kingdom: In Memory of Detlef Franke. Edited by Hans-Werner Fischer- Elfert and Richard B. Parkinson. Philippika, vol. 41. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2013. Pp. 268, 8 pls. €58.
Individuals are often restricted to indirect cues when assessing the mate value of a potential partner. Females of some species have been shown to copy each other’s choice; in other words, the probability of a female choosing a particular male increases if he has already been chosen by other females. Recently it has been suggested that mate-choice copying could be an important aspect of human mate choice as well. We tested one of the hypotheses, the so-called wedding ring effect—that women (...) would prefer men who are already engaged or married—in a series of live interactions between men and women. The results show that women do not find men signaling engagement, or being perceived as having a partner, more attractive or higher in socioeconomic status. Furthermore, signs of engagement did not influence the women’s reported willingness to engage in short-term or long-term relationships with the men. Thus, this study casts doubt on some simplified theories of human mate-choice copying, and alternative, more complex scenarios are outlined and discussed. (shrink)
Der ägyptische Tempel als ritueller Raum: Akten der internationalen Tagung, Haus der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, 9.–12. Juni 2015. Edited by Stefan Baumann and Holger Kockelmann. Studien zur spätägyptischen Religion, vol. 17. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2017. Pp. xi + 584, 8 pls. €144.
While Reinhart Koselleck articulated the limits of conceptual history in relation to social history, and the limits of historiographical understanding in his discussion of the event, his thinking about the limits of the conceptual as such is harder to trace. However, a close reading of key texts where he discusses situations or events marked as “meaningless” or absurd, allows us to uncover both his ethics and analytics of the limit of meaning, of what we call “the ungraspable.” It is further (...) argued that Koselleck's conceptual mapping of European modernity can be fruitfully extended by bringing it into contact with the ideas of thinkers such as Michel De Certeau, Edourd Glissant, and Francis Affergan who have contemplated how especially “the colonial” both represents the outside to and is the site from which the limit of European modernity and its conceptual universe might be (re)thought. (shrink)
The author, an ordained Lutheran pastor, reflects upon his experiences as chaplain at a small hospital in southwestern Germany (Tropenklinik – Paul Lecher Krankenhaus, Tübingen). Besides its expertise in the treatment of tropical diseases this 100 + bed hospital serves as the referral hospital for terminally ill and dying patients from the local University hospitals and the surrounding area. The experiences at the bedside of such patients with various denominational and religious backgrounds challenged the chaplain to go beyond the confines (...) of any fixed theological system or counseling technique. They made him to discover three essentials as the very basis of such ministry, which he shares in this article. He identifies these as (1) the necessity to realize the situation sober mindedly, (2) the desire to become a companion, and (3) the venture of confident faith, where holding on to any genuine perspective of life is deemed ridiculous. (shrink)
Von Meroe bis Indien: Fremdvölkerlisten und nubische Gabenträger in den griechisch-römischen Tempeln. By Holger Kockelmann and Alexa Rickert. Studien zur spätägyptischen Religion, vol. 12. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015. Pp. x + 357, 6 pls. €128.