We explore the distinctive characteristics of Mexico's society, politics and history that impacted the establishment of genetics in Mexico, as a new disciplinary field that began in the early 20th century and was consolidated and institutionalized in the second half. We identify about three stages in the institutionalization of genetics in Mexico. The first stage can be characterized by Edmundo Taboada, who was the leader of a research program initiated during the Cárdenas government (1934-1940), which was primarily directed towards improving (...) the condition of small Mexican farmers. Taboada is the first Mexican post-graduate investigator in phytotechnology and phytopathology, trained at Cornell University and the University of Minnesota, in 1932 and 1933, respectively. He was the first investigator to teach plant genetics at the National School of Agriculture and wrote the first textbook of general genetics, Genetics Notes, in 1938. Taboada's most important single genetics contribution was the production of "stabilized" corn varieties. The extensive exile of Spanish intellectuals to Mexico, after the end of Spain's Civil War (1936-1939), had a major influence in Mexican science and characterizes the second stage. The three main personalities contributing to Mexican genetics are Federico Bonet de Marco and Bibiano Fernández Osorio Tafall, at the National School of Biological Sciences, and José Luis de la Loma y Oteyza, at the Chapingo Agriculture School. The main contribution of the Spanish exiles to the introduction of genetics in Mexico concerned teaching. They introduced in several universities genetics as a distinctive discipline within the biology curriculum and wrote genetics text books and manuals. The third stage is identified with Alfonso León de Garay, who founded the Genetics and Radiobiology Program in 1960 within the National Commission of Nuclear Energy, which had been founded in 1956. The Genetics and Radiobiology Program rapidly became a disciplinary program, for it embraced research, teaching, and training of academics and technicians. The Mexican Genetics Society, created by de Garay in 1966, and the development of strains and cultures for genetics research were important activities. One of de Garay's key requirements was the compulsory training of the Program's scientists for at least one or two years in the best universities of the United States and Europe. De Garay's role in the development of Mexican genetics was fundamental. His broad vision encompassed the practice of genetics in all its manifestations. (shrink)
The ultimate source of explanation in biology is the principle of natural selection. Natural selection means differential reproduction of genes and gene combinations. It is a mechanistic process which accounts for the existence in living organisms of end-directed structures and processes. It is argued that teleological explanations in biology are not only acceptable but indeed indispensable. There are at least three categories of biological phenomena where teleological explanations are appropriate.
How can science be brought to connect with experience? This book addresses two of the most challenging problems facing contemporary neurobiology and cognitive science. Firstly, understanding how we unconsciously execute habitual actions as a result of neurological and cognitive processes that are not formal actions of conscious judgment but part of a habitual nexus of systematic self-organization. Secondly, attempting to create an ethics adequate to our present awareness that there is no such thing as a transcendental self, a stable subject (...) or soul. The author combines researches in cognitive science and phenomenology with two representatives of what he calls the 'wisdom traditions': Confucianism and Buddhist epistemology. (shrink)
This paper proposes a basic revision of the understanding of teleology in biological sciences. Since Kant, it has become customary to view purposiveness in organisms as a bias added by the observer; the recent notion of teleonomy expresses well this as-if character of natural purposes. In recent developments in science, however, notions such as self-organization (or complex systems) and the autopoiesis viewpoint, have displaced emergence and circular self-production as central features of life. Contrary to an often superficial reading, Kant gives (...) a multi-faceted account of the living, and anticipates this modern reading of the organism, even introducing the term self-organization for the first time. Our re-reading of Kant in this light is strengthened by a group of philosophers of biology, with Hans Jonas as the central figure, who put back on center stage an organism-centered view of the living, an autonomous center of concern capable of providing an interior perspective. Thus, what is present in nuce in Kant, finds a convergent development from this current of philosophy of biology and the scientific ideas around autopoeisis, two independent but parallel developments culminating in the 1970s. Instead of viewing meaning or value as artifacts or illusions, both agree on a new understanding of a form of immanent teleology as truly biological features, inevitably intertwined with the self-establishment of an identity which is the living process. (shrink)
_Dialectic and Dialogue_ seeks to define the method and the aims of Plato's dialectic in both the "inconclusive" dialogues and the dialogues that describe and practice a method of hypothesis. Departing from most treatments of Plato, Gonzalez argues that the philosophical knowledge at which dialectic aims is nonpropositional, practical, and reflexive. The result is a reassessment of how Plato understood the nature of philosophy.
The study of conscious experience per se has not kept pace with the dramatic advances in PET, fMRI and other brain-scanning technologies. If anything, the standard approaches to examining the 'view from within' involve little more than cataloguing its readily accessible components. Thus the study of lived subjective experience is still at the level of Aristotelian science, leading to a widespread scepticism over the possibility of a truly scientific study of conscious experience. Drawing on a wide range of approaches -- (...) from phenomenology to meditation -- The View From Within examines the possibility of a disciplined approach to the study of subjective states. The focus is on the practical issues involved. (shrink)
The question whether ethical behavior is biologically determined may refer either to thecapacity for ethics (e.i., the proclivity to judge human actions as either right or wrong), or to the moralnorms accepted by human beings for guiding their actions. My theses are: (1) that the capacity for ethics is a necessary attribute of human nature; and (2) that moral norms are products of cultural evolution, not of biological evolution.Humans exhibits ethical behavior by nature because their biological makeup determines the presence (...) of the three necessary, and jointly sufficient, conditions for ethical behavior: (i) the ability to anticipate the consequences of one's own actions; (ii) the ability to make value judgements; and (iii) the ability to choose between alternative courses of action. Ethical behavior came about in evolution not because it is adaptive in itself, but as a necessary consequece of man's eminent intellectual abilities, which are an attribute directly promoted by natural selection. (shrink)
In a critique of Heidegger that respects his path of thinking, Francisco Gonzalez looks at the ways in which Heidegger engaged with Plato’s thought over the course of his career and concludes that, owing to intrinsic requirements of Heidegger’s own philosophy, he missed an opportunity to conduct a real dialogue with Plato that would have been philosophically fruitful for us all. Examining in detail early texts of Heidegger’s reading of Plato that have only recently come to light, Gonzalez, in (...) parts 1 and 2, shows there to be certain affinities between Heidegger’s and Plato’s thought that were obscured in his 1942 essay “Plato’s Doctrine of Truth,” on which scholars have exclusively relied in interpreting what Heidegger had to say about Plato. This more nuanced reading, in turn, helps Gonzalez provide in part 3 an account of Heidegger’s later writings that highlights the ways in which Heidegger, in repudiating the kind of metaphysics he associated with Plato, took a direction away from dialectic and dialogue that left him unable to pursue those affinities that could have enriched Heidegger’s own philosophy as well as Plato’s. “A genuine dialogue with Plato,” Gonzalez argues, “would have forced [Heidegger] to go in certain directions where he did not want to go and could not go without his own thinking undergoing a radical transformation.”. (shrink)
Introduction: What is to be gained from a confrontation between Plato and Heidegger? -- Heidegger's critical reading of Plato in the 1920s -- Dialectic, ethics, and dialogue -- Heidegger's critique of dialectic in the 1920s --Ethics and ontology -- Ethics in Plato's sophist -- Heidegger and dialogue -- Logos and being -- The tensions in Heidegger's critique -- The guiding perspective of Plato as undermining the ontic/ontological distinction -- Heidegger on Plato's forms -- Conclusion: The relation between being and Heidegger (...) on Plato's truth and untruth in the 1930s and 1940s -- From the 1931-32 and 1933-34 courses on the essence of truth to "Plato's doctrine -- Of truth" : Heidegger's transformation of Plato into platonism through the interpretation of the sun and cave analogies of the republic -- The courses on the essence of truth from WS 1931/32 and WS 1933/34 -- Plato's truth in the beitråge of 1936-38 -- Plato's doctrine of truth in 1940 -- The end of truth : the 1964 retraction -- Conclusion: The end of truth? -- The dialogue that could have been : Hidegger on the Theaetetus -- The Theaetetus interpretation in Die Grundbegriffe der antiken philosophie (SS 1926) -- The interpretation of the Theaetetus in the Vom Wesen der wahrheit course of 1931-32 and 1933-34 -- Conclusion: Heidegger's orthodoxy -- The 1942 interpretation of Plato in the myth of the (Republic book 10) -- The Roman versus the Greek conception of truth saying in the myth of ER -- Purging the myth of ER : the ontologizing of ethics and politics -- The Greek experience of the open : a saying that points and hints versus the "Leap" -- Conclusion: Leaping beyond Plato -- Opportunities for a dialogue with Plato in the late Heidegger -- Calculative thinking, meditative thinking, and the practice of dialogue -- Heidegger's critique of logos in the 1930s -- Dialogue as bringing to speech the unsaid -- Plato's dialectic or Hegel's? -- A saying beyond assertion -- Plato's dialogues and Heidegger's leap -- Heidegger and the dialogue form -- Redefining hermeneutics -- Back to the beginning with dialectic and dialogue -- Conclusion: Dialectic versus sophia again -- 7 dialectic and phenomenology in "Zeit und Sein" : a pivotal chapter in Heidegger's confrontation with Plato -- From dialectic and hermeneutics to phenomenology -- The Auseinandersetzung with Plato. (shrink)
My purpose in this article is to propose an explicitly naturalized account of the experience of present nowness on the basis of two complementary sources: phenomenological analysis and cognitive neuroscience. What I mean by naturalization, and the role cognitive neuroscience plays will become clear as the paper unfolds, but the main intention is to use the consciousness of present time as a study case for the phenomenological framework presented by Depraz in this Special Issue.
This ambitious work aims to shed new light on the relations between Husserlian phenomenology and the present-day efforts toward a scientific theory of cognition—with its complex structure of disciplines, levels of explanation, and ...
"Knowing how we know" is the subject of this book. Its authors present a new view of cognition that has important social and ethical implications, for, they assert, the only world we humans can have is the one we create together through the actions of our coexistence. Written for a general audience as well as for students, scholars, and scientists and abundantly illustrated with examples from biology, linguistics, and new social and cultural phenomena, this revised edition includes a new afterword (...) by Dr. Varela, in which he discusses the effect the book has had in the years since its first publication. (shrink)
Presenting an ardent defence of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, this book offers a clear and comprehensive exposition of Darwin's thinking. Michael Ruse brings the story up to date, examining the origins of life, the fossil record, and the mechanism of natural selection. Rival theories are explored, from punctuated equilibrium to human evolution . The philosophical and religious implications of Darwinism are discussed, including a discussion of Creationism and its modern day offshoot, Intelligent Design Theory. Ruse draws upon the most (...) recent discoveries, writing with a minimum of jargon in order to appeal to all readers, from professional biologists to those concerned that Darwinism is a naturalistic religion that is forced on school children despite their own Christian convictions. Openly revealing his own beliefs, Ruse presents readers with all the information and critical tools they need to make an informed decision on evolutionary theory. (shrink)
A common objection to the use of balancing tests in human rights adjudication is that it is not possible to perform a quantitative comparison between gains and losses for rights or the public good by means only of rational criteria. Here I provide a general account of the incommensurability objection, with the aim of making explicit its scope, and of dispelling some common misconceptions surrounding it. Relying on this account, I engage with recent defences of balancing against the incommensurability objection.
This paper represents a step in the analysis of the key, but much-neglected role of affect and emotions as the originary source of the living present, as a foundational dimension of the moment-to-moment emergence of consciousness. In a more general sense, we may express the question in the following terms: there seems to be a growing consensus from various sources -- philosophical, empirical and clinical -- that emotions cannot be seen as a mere 'coloration' of the cognitive agent, understood as (...) a formal or un-affected self, but are immanent and inextricable from every mental act. How can this be borne out, beyond just announcing it? Specifically, what is the role of affect-emotion in the self-movement of the flow, of the. (shrink)
The “destructive” appropriation of the Aristotelian concepts of δύναµις and ἐνέργεια played a central role in Martin Heidegger’s own reflection on the meaning of being. While this has been generally known for some time, it is only now that we can understand the full scope, complexity and evolving character of this appropriation. One reason is the fairly recent publication of notes and protocols for seminars Heidegger led on Aristotle as late as the 1940s and 1950s. Another is the existence of (...) student transcripts in the Special Collections Department of Stanford University for a number of unpublished seminars on Aristotle that Heidegger led during the 1920s. Considering all of this material enables us to see both the significance of Heidegger’s interpretation of the δύναµις/ἐνέργιεα pair as well as how this interpretation evolved along with his own “Kehre”: from a “pandynamic” conception of being to being as “Ereignis.”. (shrink)
Pendant l’ete de 1928 Heidegger a offert un seminaire sur le troisieme livre de la Physique d’Aristote et donc sur l’explication aristotelicienne de la nature du mouvement. La derniere seance de ce cours, qui eut lieu le 25 juillet, est d’une grande importance parce que c’est a cette occasion que Heidegger va au livre neuf de la Metaphysique pour essayer de comprendre la notion ontologique qui est a la base de l’interpretation aristotelicienne du mouvement : l’energeia. Mais dans les protocoles (...) de ce seminaire qui se trouvent parmi les papiers de Heidegger et qui ont ete publies recemment dans le volume 83 de la Gesamtausgabe, la seance du 25 juillet se trouve absente. Ce fait a conduit l’editeur a conclure que le seminaire avait pris fin le 23 juillet, sans s’apercevoir donc que la conclusion du seminaire manquait. Il existe heureusement une transcription preservee parmi les papiers de l’etudiante de Heidegger, Helene Weiss, et accessible aujourd’hui dans les archives de l’universite de Stanford. Cette transcription montre que la derniere session eut bien lieu le 25 juillet et nous offre la lecture heideggerienne de Metaphysique IX qui ne se trouve pas dans la version de la Gesamtausgabe. C’est dans le contexte de cette lecture que Heidegger fait la declaration etonnante qui nous concerne ici : ≪Dans la derniere instance, la Metaphysique Θ revient a Platon ; la priorite de l’energeia est fondamentalement la meme chose que l’epekeina des Idees. ≫La première tâche que je me propose ici sera d’expliquer cette déclaration qui suggère une relation tres etroite, ou meme une identite, entre la notion aristotelicienne de l’energeia comme ayant une priorite vis‑a‑vis de la dunamis et la notion platonicienne de l’Idee du Bien comme etant epekeina de l’ousia. Pour cette explication je ferai appel non seulement au contexte du seminaire de 1928, mais aussi aux textes plus tardifs comme les Beitrage et les cours sur Nietzsche dans lesquels Heidegger semble presupposer et développer sa déclaration de 1928. Ma seconde tâche sera de comparer cette thèse heideggerienne a la tentative de Gadamer de surmonter l’opposition traditionnelle entre les ontologies de Platon et d’Aristote en faisant appel a l’idee du bien chez les deux. Cette tentative se trouve dans le texte Die Idee des Guten zwischen Plato und Aristoteles. La comparaison que j’entreprends ici va montrer certaines affinites entre les interpretations de l’Idee du Bien chez Heidegger et Gadamer, mais aussi de profondes differences qui vont determiner leurs differents projets philosophiques. (shrink)
Through the contributions of specialists in the field, this volume addresses the still open question of the role and status of myth in Plato’s dialogues and thereby speaks to the broader problem of the relation between philosophy and ...
The study of Plato's dialogues has traditionally oscillated between two paradigms: one that portrays the dialogues as treatises expounding doctrines and one that sees them as purely skeptical, rhetorical, or literary. This collection of new essays by twelve noted Plato scholars illustrates the fruitfulness of breaking away from those paradigms, which have divided Platonic scholarship and led it to a number of dead ends. While the essays are diverse in their approaches, each seeks to find a 'third way' to understand (...) Plato, reading him as neither a dogmatist nor a skeptic but as a philosopher capable of reconciling the content and form of his writings. (shrink)
In the recently published 1924 course, Grundbegriffe der aristotelischen Philosophie, Martin Heidegger offers a detailed interpretation of Aristotle’s definition of kinesis in the Physics. This interpretation identifies entelecheia with what is finished and present-at-an-end and energeia with being-at-work toward this end. In arguing against this interpretation, the present paper attempts to show that Aristotle interpreted being from the perspective of praxis rather than poiesis and therefore did not identify it with static presence. The paper also challenges later variations of Heidegger’s (...) interpretation, in particular his account of dunamis in the 1931 course on Metaphysics Theta, which insists that its mode of being is presence-at-hand. By arguing that this reading too is untenable, the paper concludes that Aristotle’s metaphysics is not a metaphysics of presence and that his texts instead point toward a possibility of metaphysics ignored by the attempts of Heidegger and others to overcome it. (shrink)
Knives, birds' wings, and mountain slopes are used for certain purposes: cutting, flying, and climbing. A bird's wings have in common with knives that they have been 'designed' for the purpose they serve, which purpose accounts for their existence, whereas mountain slopes have come about by geological processes independently of their uses for climbing. A bird's wings differ from a knife in that they have not been designed or produced by any conscious agent; rather, the wings, like the slopes, are (...) outcomes of natural processes without any intentional causation. Evolutionary biologists use teleological language and teleological explanations. I propose that this use is appropriate, because teleological explanations are hypotheses that can be subject to empirical testing. The distinctiveness of teleological hypotheses is that they account for the existence of a feature in terms of the function it serves; for example, wings have evolved and persist because flying is beneficial to birds by increasing their chances of surviving and reproducing. Features of organisms that are explained with teleological hypotheses include structures, such as wings; processes, such as development from egg to adult; and behaviours, such as nest building. A proximate explanation of these features is the function they serve; an ultimate explanation that they all share is their contribution to the reproductive fitness of the organisms. I distinguish several kinds of teleological explanations, such as natural and artificial, as well as bounded and unbounded, some of which but not others apply to biological explanations. (shrink)