In juxtaposition with the myth and tragedy of Ovid’s Medea, this paper investigates the possibility within the Kantian conception of agency of understanding moral evil as acting against one’s better judgment. It defends the thesis that in Kant self-deception, i. e. the intentional untruthfulness to oneself, provides the fundamental structure for choosing against the moral law. I argue that, as Kant’s thought progresses, self-deception slowly proceeds to become the paradigmatic case of moral evil. This is discussed with regard to two (...) important topics in his later moral philosophy: the doctrine of radical evil and the crucial role of the duty of truthfulness in ethics. The inquiry into Kant’s theory of conscience unfolds both against this theoretical background and in light of its historical roots in the polemic against casuistry and probabilism. This contribution closes with a brief look at the tools Kant implements to counter this tendency to self-deception in moral judgment and particularly at the role casuistry plays within his conception of moral education. (shrink)
Kant scholars have rarely addressed the centuries-old tradition of casuistry and the concept of conscience in Kant’s writings. This book offers a detailed exploration of the period from Pascal’s Provincial Letters to Kant’s critique of probabilism and discusses his proposal of a (new) casuistry as part of an moral education. / Trotz der Hinweise an wichtigen Stellen in Kants Schriften richtet die Kantforschung ihre Aufmerksamkeit nur selten auf die Jahrhunderte währende Tradition der Kasuistik und den Begriff des Gewissens, der in (...) ihrem Rahmen ausgearbeitet wird. Eingehend untersucht wird in diesem Buch insbesondere der Zeitabschnitt von Pascals »Briefen in die Provinz« bis zu Kants eigener Kritik des Probabilismus und seinem Entwurf einer (neuen) Kasuistik als Teil der ethischen Methodenlehre. (shrink)
In this paper, in line with the general framework of value-sensitive design, we aim to operationalize the general concept of “Meaningful Human Control” in order to pave the way for its translation into more specific design requirements. In particular, we focus on the operationalization of the first of the two conditions investigated: the so-called ‘tracking’ condition. Our investigation is led in relation to one specific subcase of automated system: dual-mode driving systems. First, we connect and compare meaningful human control with (...) a concept of control very popular in engineering and traffic psychology, and we explain to what extent tracking resembles and differs from it. This will help clarifying the extent to which the idea of meaningful human control is connected to, but also goes beyond, current notions of control in engineering and psychology. Second, we take the systematic analysis of practical reasoning as traditionally presented in the philosophy of human action and we adapt it to offer a general framework where different types of reasons and agents are identified according to their relation to an automated system’s behaviour. This framework is meant to help explaining what reasons and what agents play a role in controlling a given system, thereby enabling policy makers to produce usable guidelines and engineers to design systems that properly respond to selected human reasons. In the final part, we discuss a practical example of how our framework could be employed in designing automated driving systems. (shrink)
The brains of higher mammals are extraordinary integrative devices. Signals from large numbers of functionally specialized groups of neurons distributed over many brain regions are integrated to generate a coherent, multimodal scene. Signals from the environment are integrated with ongoing, patterned neural activity that provides them with a meaningful context. We review recent advances in neurophysiology and neuroimaging that are beginning to reveal the neural mechanisms of integration. In addition, we discuss concepts and measures derived from information theory that lend (...) a theoretical basis to the notion of complexity as integration of information and suggest new experimental tests of these concepts. (shrink)
The target article misrepresents the foundations of integrated information theory and ignores many essential publications. It, thus, falls to this lead commentary to outline the axioms and postulates of IIT and correct major misconceptions. The commentary also explains why IIT starts from phenomenology and why it predicts that only select physical substrates can support consciousness. Finally, it highlights that IIT's account of experience – a cause–effect structure quantified by integrated information – has nothing to do with “information transfer.”.
Contemporary brain reading technologies promise to provide the possibility to decode and interpret mental states and processes. Brain reading could have numerous societally relevant implications. In particular, the private character of mind might be affected, generating ethical and legal concerns. This paper aims at equipping ethicists and policy makers with conceptual tools to support an evaluation of the potential applicability and the implications of current and near future brain reading technology. We start with clarifying the concepts of mind reading and (...) brain reading, and the different kinds of mental states that could in principle be read. Subsequently, we devise an evaluative framework that is composed of five criteria-accuracy, reliability, informativity, concealability and enforceability-aimed at enabling a clearer estimation of the degree to which brain reading might be realistically deployed in contexts where mental privacy could be at stake. While accuracy and reliability capture how well a certain method can access mental content, informativity indicates the relevance the obtainable data have for practical purposes. Concealability and enforceability are particularly important for the evaluation of concerns about potential violations of mental privacy and civil rights. The former concerns the degree with which a brain reading method can be concealed from an individual’s perception or awareness. The latter regards the extent to which a method can be used against somebody’s will. With the help of these criteria, stakeholders can orient themselves in the rapidly developing field of brain reading. (shrink)
We study how to postpone the application of the reductio ad absurdum rule ) in classical natural deduction. This technique is connected with two normalization strategies for classical logic, due to Prawitz and Seldin, respectively. We introduce a variant of Seldin’s strategy for the postponement of \, which induces a negative translation from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic. Through this translation, Glivenko’s theorem from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic is proven.
The present article considers Giulio Racah’s contributions to general physical theory and his establishment of theoretical physics as a discipline in Israel. Racah developed mathematical methods that are based on tensor operators and continuous groups. These methods revolutionized spectroscopy. Currently, these are essential research tools in atomic, nuclear and elementary particle physics. He himself applied them to modernizing theoretical atomic spectroscopy. Racah laid the foundations of theoretical physics in Israel. He educated several generations of Israeli physicists, and put Israel (...) on the world map of physics. (shrink)
We study how to postpone the application of the reductio ad absurdum rule (RAA) in classical natural deduction. This technique is connected with two normalization strategies for classical logic, due to Prawitz and Seldin, respectively. We introduce a variant of Seldin’s strategy for the postponement of RAA, which induces a negative translation from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic. Through this translation, Glivenko’s theorem from classical to intuitionistic and minimal logic is proven.
Recent Libet-style experiments are of limited relevance to the debate about free action and free will, and should be understood as investigations of arbitrary actions or guesses. In Libet-style experiments, the concept of 'free action' is commonly taken to refer to a 'self-initiated voluntary act', where the self prompts an action without being prompted. However, this idea is based on the problematic assumption that the conscious self needs to be free from every constraint in order to be actually free. We (...) maintain that a fundamental condition for free action is the presence of reasons to act responsibly. By analyzing a recent neuroscientific experiment, we indicate how its results could be interpreted as indicating how free action operationalization is inappropriately focusing on arbitrary actions. Hence, the way free action has been experimentally studied may have had a misleading influence on the debate about free will. (shrink)
Placebos are commonly defined as ineffective treatments. They are treatments that lack a known mechanism linking their properties to the properties of the condition on which treatment aims to intervene. Given this, the fact that placebos can have substantial therapeutic effects looks puzzling. The puzzle, we argue, arises from the relationship placebos present between culturally meaningful entities, our intentional relationship to the environment and bodily effects. How can a mere attitude toward a treatment result in appropriate bodily changes? We argue (...) that an ‘enactive’ conception of cognition accommodates and renders intelligible the phenomenon of placebo effects. Enactivism depicts an organism’s adaptive bodily processes, its intentional directedness, and the meaningful properties of its environment as co-emergent aspects of a single dynamic system. In doing so it provides an account of the interrelations between mind, body and world that demystifies placebo effects. (shrink)
The extended mind thesis states that the mind is not brain-bound but extends into the physical world. The philosophical debate around the thesis has mostly focused on extension towards epistemic artefacts, treating the phenomenon as a special capacity of the human organism to recruit external physical resources to solve individual tasks. This paper argues that if the mind extends to artefacts in the pursuit of individual tasks, it extends to other humans in the pursuit of collective tasks. Mind extension to (...) other humans corresponds essentially to the ‘we-mode’ of cognition, the unique power of human minds to be jointly directed at goals, intentions, states of affairs, or values. Because the capacity for collective intentionality holds evolutionary and developmental primacy over human-epistemic artefacts relations, the extended mind should not be seen as a special phenomenon, but as a central aspect of the human condition. The original extended mind thesis carried important implications for how the cognitive sciences should proceed. In a version of the thesis that accommodates collective intentionality, these implications would go far deeper than originally assumed. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article analyses the abbé de Saint-Pierre as a mediator of ideas between France and England. The political proposal of the Projet pour rendre la paix perpétuelle en Europe circulated in Great Britain just before the signing of the peace treaties of Utrecht and Aachen, attesting the influence that Saint-Pierre’s proposal exerted on British thought and politics. The abbé was engaged in dialogue with Quaker pacifists and, in particular, with the projects put forward by William Penn and John Bellers, (...) both theorists of a ‘European State’. After examining the relationship between Penn’s Essay and Saint-Pierre’s ideas, the article will demonstrate how elements of Bellers’s Some Reasons found their way into the Projet with numerous convergences of lexicon and content suggesting that the abbé had drawn inspiration from Bellers. Quaker ideas on politics had a greater effect on Saint-Pierre’s conception of peace and international relations than is commonly recognized. In fact, there was a constant intellectual exchange between the abbé and British political, economic and philosophical thought. (shrink)
We propose that sleep is linked to synaptic homeostasis. Specifically, we propose that: (1) Wakefulness is associated with synaptic potentiation in cortical circuits; (2) synaptic potentiation is tied to the homeostatic regulation of slow wave activity; (3) slow wave activity is associated with synaptic downscaling; and (4) synaptic downscaling is tied to several beneficial effects of sleep, including performance enhancement.
The Research Domani Criteria framework (RdoC) encourages research on specific impairments present across traditional nosological categories and suggests a list of biological and behavioral measures for assessing them. After a description of RdoC, in this article we focus on impairments of the ability of understanding others, specifically in Theory of Mind and empathy. We illustrate recent evidence on brain anomalies correlating with these deficits in Schizophrenia, Addiction Disorders and Mood Disorders populations. In the last section, we zoom out and consider (...) this kind of research vis-à-vis the objection of being reductionistic that is, in favoring mechanistic accounts of mental disorders. We argue that metaphysical reductionism and explanatory reductionism are not conceptually entailed by the RdoC framework. (shrink)
It is common to distinguish between disagreement in the state sense (being in disagreement) and disagreement in the activity sense (having a disagreement). This paper deals with the question of what it is for two people to have a disagreement. First, I present and reject the thesis according to which having a disagreement is a matter of expressing conflicting attitudes. I argue that this is not sufficient for having a disagreement: two people can express conflicting attitudes without having a disagreement. (...) Second, I present and reject the thesis according to which having a disagreement involves not only the expression of conflicting attitudes, but also the persuasive attempt to bring the other around to one’s view. I argue that this is not necessary for having a disagreement: two people can have a disagreement without trying to change each other’s minds. Finally, I put forward an alternative account that goes beyond the mere expression of conflicting attitudes, but that does not go as far as to posit the attempt to change someone’s mind. Having a disagreement, I submit, is a matter of expressing conflicting attitudes and demanding agreement, that is, advancing the normative claim that the other should share one’s attitude. (shrink)
Dreams are a remarkable experiment in psychology and neuroscience, conducted every night in every sleeping person. They show that the human brain, disconnected from the environment, can generate an entire world of conscious experiences by itself. Content analysis and developmental studies have promoted understanding of dream phenomenology. In parallel, brain lesion studies, functional imaging and neurophysiology have advanced current knowledge of the neural basis of dreaming. It is now possible to start integrating these two strands of research to address fundamental (...) questions that dreams pose for cognitive neuroscience: how conscious experiences in sleep relate to underlying brain activity; why the dreamer is largely disconnected from the environment; and whether dreaming is more closely related to mental imagery or to perception. (shrink)
People with mild to moderate intellectual or multiple disabilities may have serious difficulties in accessing leisure events, managing communication exchanges with distant partners, and performing functional daily activities. Recently, efforts were made to develop and assess technology-aided programs aimed at supporting people in all three areas. This study assessed a new technology-aided program aimed at helping four participants with intellectual and multiple disabilities in the aforementioned areas. The program, which was implemented following a non-concurrent multiple baseline across participants design, relied (...) on the use of a smartphone or tablet connected via Bluetooth to a two-switch device. This device served to select leisure and communication events and to control the smartphone or tablet’s delivery of step instructions for the activities scheduled. Data showed that during the baseline phase, three participants failed in each of the areas while one participant managed to access a few leisure events. During the intervention phase, all participants managed to independently access leisure events, make telephone calls, and carry out activities. These results suggest that the program might be a useful tool for helping people with intellectual and multiple disabilities improve their condition in basic areas of daily life. (shrink)
Is it possible to compose a history of images? It is obvious that history can be composed only from that which is intrinsically historical; history has an order of its own because it interprets and clarifies an order which already exists in the facts. But is there an order in the birth, multiplication, combination, dissolution and re-synthesis of images? Mannerism had discredited or demystified form with its pretense of reproducing an order which does not exist in reality. But is the (...) world of existence, like the world of images, chaos or cosmos? Erwin Panofsky's1 great merit consists in having understood that, in spite of its confused appearance, the world of images is an ordered world and that it is possible to do the history of art as the history of images. In order to do this, he had to begin, as indeed he did, with the demonstration that classical art, in spite of the deep-rooted theoretical certitude, is also an art of the image; its forms are nothing if not images to which one tries to attribute the consistency of concepts, with the sole result of the demonstrating that even concepts are images and that the intellect is still another sector or segment of the image. · 1. See, e.g., Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Art: Papers in and on Art History ; Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance ; Problems in Titian, Mostly Iconographic ; Idea: Ein Beitrag zur Begriffsgeshicte der älteren Kunsttheorie [Idea: a concept in art theory, trans. Joseph J. S. Peake ]. Giulio Carlo Argan, who has seriously influenced the course of art history and criticism in postwar Italy, is professor of modern art at the University of Rome. He has written on Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Borromini, Brunelleschi, and Gropius and three volumes of critical essays on modern art. His Skira volume on Baroque art, Europe of the Capitals, is his only major work published in English. "Ideology and Iconology" originally appeared in Italian in the journal Storia dell'arte, which he edits, and in Psicon. Rebecca West, translator of this article and assistant professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago, presently is collaborating on a translation of Dario Fo's theater. She has translated "Narrative Structures and Literary History" by Cesare Segre, for the Winter 1976 issue of Critical Inquiry. (shrink)
This appreciation outlines the life and work of Giulio Preti, a philosopher of the critical rationalist movement. His was a tormented and conflictual philosophical itinerary from his intellectual roots in 1930s Italy, via the philosophical journal Studi filosofici in the 1940s, to his major works Praxis and Empiricism and Rhetoric and Logic in the 1950s and 1960s. His anxiety about the ambiguity of contemporary reality, it is suggested, is also ours.
This work investigates the relationship between goals and mitigation behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. Study 1 identified goals ascribed to following and violating mitigation-related indications. Study 2 investigated the structure of and link between COVID-related goals and behaviors in a large community sample. Our results showed substantial relationships between goals and behaviors. Goals were best described by a bi-dimensional structure, whereas behaviors clustered into a three-component structure. Hierarchical multiple regressions demonstrated the incremental validity of goals in the prediction (...) of behaviors. Network analysis suggested that goals imbued with social content were more directly related to both risky and preventive behaviors. Motivational aspects emerged as important contributors to the organization of behaviors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. (shrink)