ai Diminished gaze fixation is one of the core features of autism and has been proposed to be associated with abnormalities in the neural circuitry of affect. We tested this hypothesis in two separate studies using eye tracking while measuring functional brain activity during facial discrimination tasks in individuals with autism and in typically developing individuals. Activation in the fusiform gyrus and amygdala was strongly and positively correlated with the time spent fixating the eyes in the autistic group in both (...) studies, suggesting that diminished gaze fixation may account for the fusiform hypoactivation to faces commonly reported in autism. In addition, variation in eye fixation within autistic individuals was strongly and positively associated with amygdala activation across both studies, suggesting a heightened emotional response associated with gaze fixation in autism. (shrink)
& Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined whether individual differences in amygdala activation in response to negative relative to neutral information are related to differences in the speed with which such information is evaluated, the extent to which such differences are associated with medial prefrontal cortex function, and their relationship with measures of trait anxiety and psychological well-being (PWB). Results indicated that faster judgments of negative relative to neutral information were associated with increased left and right amygdala activation. In (...) the prefrontal cortex, faster judgment time was associated with relative decreased activation in a cluster in the ventral anterior cingulate cor-. (shrink)
Where has the Western attraction to the study and practice of shamanic techniques brought us? Where might it take us? In what ways have our Western biases and philosophical underpinnings influenced and changed how shamanism is practiced, both in the West and in the traditional cultures out of which they emerged? Is it time to stop using the umbrella term “shamanism” to refer to such diverse cross-cultural practices? What are our responsibilities, both as researchers and as spiritual seekers? In this (...) conversation, researcher-authors Stephan Beyer, Stanley Krippner, and Hillary S. Webb discuss their work in field and consider some of the ramifications of the Western world's intellectual and spiritual fascination with shamanic practices. Special attention is paid to the language used to describe these techniques and their practitioners, the developing relationship between researchers and cultural participants, and the ethical implications of merging what are often very distinct worldviews. (shrink)
In the first part of this article we briefly describe the design and development of a Consciousness Studies concentration at Goddard College, a student centered, progressive educational institution in the northeastern United States. We emphasize the tensions we experienced between different orientations in Consciousness Studies and especially the one related to the scientific and transpersonal ends of the spectrum of consciousness. In the second part, we relate the scientific‐transpersonal issue that we experienced at Goddard to the broader theory and practice (...) of Consciousness Studies. We also link the latter to the so‐called explanatory gap between third and first person forms of consciousness and the call for first person methods of exploring consciousness. Our conclusion is that the scientific approach has the edge and is at risk of assimilating other approaches to the detriment of Consciousness Studies. In our view, the future development of Consciousness Studies, both in theory and practice, requires several different approaches from the scientific to the transpersonal and privileging one is to narrow the field of possibilities and to risk falling prey to one‐sidedness. (shrink)
What are the ethical obligations of a researcher who wishes to study another culture's ceremonial practices, in particular those of the Native American Church (NAC)? What promise do peyote and the NAC peyote ceremony show for the treatment of alcoholism amongst NAC members? How does one approach the philosophical issues regarding “consciousness” within the context of such a study? In this interview, Dr. John Halpern, M.D., discusses how the fields of medicine and anthropology converged and informed one another over the (...) course of his study into the effects of the NAC peyote ceremony on alcohol addiction. He tells the story of how he, as an outsider to the Church, was eventually accepted as a member of the NAC community. He also reflects upon how one's philosophical stance on what consciousness “is” informs such a study. (shrink)
Clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR‐associated protein (CRISPR/Cas) system has revolutionized genetic research in the life sciences. Four classes of CRISPR/Cas‐derived genome editing agents, such as nuclease, base editor, recombinase, and prime editor have been introduced for engineering the genomes of diverse organisms. The recently introduced prime editing system offers precise editing without many off‐target effects than traditional CRISPR‐based systems. Many researchers have successfully applied this gene‐editing toolbox in diverse systems for various genome‐editing applications. This review presents the mechanism (...) of prime editing and summarizes the details of the prime editing system applied in plants and mammalian cells for precise genome editing. We also discuss the advantages, limitations, and potential future applications of prime editing in these systems. This review enables the researcher to gain knowledge on prime editing tools and their potential applications in plants and mammalian cells. (shrink)
Western scholarly literature suggests that (1) weaning is initiated by mothers; (2) weaning takes place within a few days once mothers decide to stop nursing; (3) mothers employ specific techniques to terminate nursing; (4) semi-solid foods (gruels and mashed foods) are essential when weaning; (5) weaning is traumatic for children (it leads to temper tantrums, aggression, etc.); (6) developmental stages in relationships with mothers and others can be demarcated by weaning; and (7) weaning is a process that involves mothers and (...) children exclusively, with weaned children moving from close relationships with their mothers to strengthened relationships with other children. In many respects, these presumptions are consistent with contemporary Euroamerican practices: nursing stops early (usually before six months) relative to other cultures and takes place over a few days or weeks with the help of bottles and baby foods. Because bottles are available, weaning seldom appears traumatic, but it is seen as an important step in the establishment of independence between mothers and infants. By contrast, weaning from the bottle is often perceived as traumatic. Despite considerable academic and popular interest, weaning has seldom been studied systematically, especially in small-scale cultures. Qualitative and quantitative data from a study of Bofi foragers in Central Africa are used here to evaluate the cross-cultural applicability of the assumptions summarized above. (shrink)
By synthesizing evolutionary, attachment, and acoustic perspectives, Soltis has provided an innovative model of infant cry acoustics and parental responsiveness. We question some of his hypotheses, however, because of the limited extant data on infant crying among hunter-gatherers. We also question Soltis' distinction between manipulative and honest signaling based upon recent contributions from attachment theory.
Teaching for social justice requires an ability to address sensitive issues such as racism and sexism so that students can gain critical consciousness of these pervasive social realities. However, the empirical literature thus far provides minimal exploration of the factors teachers consider in deciding how to address these issues. This study explores this question through ethnographic case studies of two urban, 11th grade U.S. History classrooms. Differing classroom racial demographics and teacher instructional goals resulted in two distinct pedagogical approaches to (...) social justice teaching. Despite differences in class makeup and teaching approach, students in both classrooms developed intellectual confidence and critical citizenship skills related to their growing sociopolitical awareness. (shrink)
Many of Dworkin’s interlocutors saw his ‘one-system view’, according to which law is a branch of morality, as a radical shift. I argue that it is better seen as a different way of expressing his longstanding view that legal theory is an inherently normative endeavor. Dworkin emphasizes that fact and value are separate domains, and one cannot ground claims of one sort in the other domain. On this view, legal philosophy can only answer questions from within either domain. We cannot (...) ask metaphysical questions about which domain law ‘properly’ belongs in; these would be archimedean, and Dworkin has long argued against archimedeanism. The one-system view, then, is best understood as an invitation to join Dworkin in asking moral questions from within the domain of value. Finally, I argue that Dworkin’s view can be understood as a version of ‘eliminativism’, a growing trend in legal philosophy. (shrink)
Based on responses from 1078 human resource (HR) professionals, this study concludes that there is not an ethical crisis in the work place. Seven of 37 situations were rated as serious problems by more than 25% of the respondents. HR reported that their organizations are serious about uncovering and disciplining ethical misconduct, top management has a commitment to ethical business conduct, personal principles are not compromised to conform to company expectations, and performance pressures do not lead to unethical conduct.
In a reflective and richly entertaining piece from 1979, Doug Hofstadter playfully imagined a conversation between ‘Achilles’ and an anthill (the eponymous ‘Aunt Hillary’), in which he famously explored many ideas and themes related to cognition and consciousness. For Hofstadter, the anthill is able to carry on a conversation because the ants that compose it play roughly the same role that neurons play in human languaging; unfortunately, Hofstadter’s work is notably short on detail suggesting how this magic might be (...) achieved1. Conversely in this paper - finally reifying Hofstadter’s imagination - we demonstrate how populations of simple ant-like creatures can be organised to solve complex problems; problems that involve the use of forward planning and strategy. Specifically we will demonstrate that populations of such creatures can be configured to play a strategically strong - though tactically weak - game of HeX (a complex strategic game).We subsequently demonstrate how tactical play can be improved by introducing a form of forward planning instantiated via multiple populations of agents; a technique that can be compared to the dynamics of interacting populations of social insects via the concept of meta-population. In this way although, pace Hofstadter, we do not establish that a meta-population of ants could actually hold a conversation with Achilles, we do successfully introduce Aunt Hillary to the complex, seductive charms of HeX. (shrink)
This article provides a sociological explanation for urban “greening,” the normative practice of using everyday signifiers of nature to fix problems with urbanism. Although greening is commonly understood as a reaction against the pathologies of the industrial metropolis, such explanations cannot account for greening’s recurrence across varied social and historical contexts. Through a study of greening in Germany’s Ruhr region, a polycentric urban region that has repeatedly greened in the absence of a traditional city, I argue that greening is made (...) possible by a social imaginary of nature as an indirect or moral good, which I call urbanized nature, that is an outcome of, and subsequently becomes a variable in, urbanization. I draw on processual accounts of urbanization and the sociology of morality to explain urbanized nature’s emergence in the Ruhr at the beginning of the twentieth century, and its use to fulfill two competing visions of urban democracy in the postwar period. I find that rather than an ideological reaction against cities, greening is an aspirational practice that can be mobilized by a range of actors in a variety of places and times. By showing how a new social imaginary made new forms of moral action possible and how those ideals were then materialized in urban space, this article draws attention to the role of cultural imaginaries in urban change and to the material consequences of moral beliefs. (shrink)
In this article, we propose the Fair Priority Model for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and emphasize three fundamental values we believe should be considered when distributing a COVID-19 vaccine among countries: Benefiting people and limiting harm, prioritizing the disadvantaged, and equal moral concern for all individuals. The Priority Model addresses these values by focusing on mitigating three types of harms caused by COVID-19: death and permanent organ damage, indirect health consequences, such as health care system strain and stress, as well as (...) economic destruction. It proposes proceeding in three phases: the first addresses premature death, the second long-term health issues and economic harms, and the third aims to contain viral transmission fully and restore pre-pandemic activity. -/- To those who may deem an ethical framework irrelevant because of the belief that many countries will pursue "vaccine nationalism," we argue such a framework still has broad relevance. Reasonable national partiality would permit countries to focus on vaccine distribution within their borders up until the rate of transmission is below 1, at which point there would not be sufficient vaccine-preventable harm to justify retaining a vaccine. When a government reaches the limit of national partiality, it should release vaccines for other countries. -/- We also argue against two other recent proposals. Distributing a vaccine proportional to a country's population mistakenly assumes that equality requires treating differently situated countries identically. Prioritizing countries according to the number of front-line health care workers, the proportion of the population over 65, and the number of people with comorbidities within each country may exacerbate disadvantage and end up giving the vaccine in large part to wealthy nations. (shrink)
The important roles of prediction and prior experience are well established in music research and fit well with Clark's concept of unified perception, cognition, and action arising from hierarchical, bidirectional predictive processing. However, in order to fully account for human musical intelligence, Clark needs to further consider the powerful and variable role of affect in relation to prediction error.
Game theory has proven useful in clarifying Hobbes’s argument that the state of nature will inevitably devolve into a state of war. Mathematically-leaning philosophers, however, have paid little attention to Rousseau’s depiction of the state of nature as a peaceful, asocial state of solitary wanderers. This paper articulates Rousseau’s critique of Hobbes in formal terms, which pinpoints two crucial issues in Hobbes’s account: the lack of an exit option and an unrealistic depiction of human nature. Building upon recent game-theoretic treatments (...) of Hobbes, we first construct a model that incorporates Rousseau’s criticisms by permitting an exit option and endogenizing human preferences and capacities. Second, we draw out the implications of Rousseau’s analysis for the question of political authority, which cannot be answered, as Hobbes believed, by invoking a hypothetical state of nature. (shrink)
In most everyday instances of reasoning, reasoners can gain, lose, and reacquire entitlement to (or justification for) a possible commitment (or belief) as a result of their consecutively acquiring new commitments. For example, we might initially conclude that ‘Tweety can fly’ from ‘Tweety is a bird,’ but later have to reject this conclusion as a result of our coming to learn that Tweety is a penguin. We could, even later, reacquire entitlement to ‘Tweety can fly’ if we became committed (and (...) presumably entitled) to the claim ‘Tweety has a jetpack.’ I will call this very common feature of reasoning entitlement recovery. In this paper I will argue that the types of inferential relations that are central to Brandom’s entire account of language and reasoning make entitlement recovery impossible. I will then briefly attempt to diagnose why this problem arises for Brandom and suggest how his account should be modified so that it will successfully allow entitlement recovery. (shrink)
Judith Butler’s influential work in feminist theory is significant for its insight that sexist discourse in popular culture affects the agency and consciousness of individuals, but offers an inadequate account of how such discourse might be said to touch, shape, or affect selves. Supplementing Butler’s account of signification with a Deweyan pragmatic account of meaning-making and selective emphasis enables a consistent account of the relationship between discourse and subjectivity with a robust conception of the bodily organism. An analysis of the (...) popular discourse surrounding Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Presidential campaign demonstrates why this hybrid pragmatic/poststructuralist account is necessary. (shrink)
According to Hobbes, individuals care about their relative standing in a way that shapes their social interactions. To model this aspect of Hobbesian psychology, this paper supposes that agents have social preferences, that is, preferences about their comparative resource holdings. Introducing uncertainty regarding the social preferences of others unleashes a process of trust-unravelling, ultimately leading to Hobbes’s ‘state of war’. This Trust-unravelling Model incorporates important features of Hobbes’s argument that past models ignore.
The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to expose underlying inequities in healthcare for black, indigenous and Latinx communities in the USA. The gaps in equitable care for communities of colour transcend the diagnosis, treatment and vaccinations related to COVID-19. We are experiencing a continued gap across racial and socioeconomic lines for those who suffer prolonged effects of COVID-19, also known as ‘Long COVID-19’. What we know about the treatment for Long COVID-19 so far is that it is complex, requires a multidisciplinary (...) approach and there is still much research needed to fully understand the effects. In this paper, we discuss pragmatic considerations for including affected communities, relevant stakeholders, and leaders from communities of colour in the planning and implementation of Long COVID-19 research. (shrink)
This paper engages in a critical examination of Michel Henry’s (1922-2002) phenomenological study of the erotic relation. I argue that while Henry’s analysis sheds light on the nature of eros and how it might be renewed from the obscene objectivism to which it has largely been reduced in Western society today, his analysis of eros undermines his account of the phenomenological life of the subject as a radically immanent mode of appearing and calls for revision. I contend that it is (...) by acknowledging life as a movement of transcendence toward the world that we can resolve this issue and further refine Henry’s insights into the nature of eros and how it might once again be renewed in contemporary Western civilization. I begin by laying out Henry’s account of how the forgetting of life results in a reduction of the erotic (i.e., inter-subjective) relation to a merely sexual (i.e., inter-objective) one, and how this lays the groundwork for what he regards as the destructive sadomasochistic practices of voyeurism and pornography. Following this, I outline Henry’s account of the nature and limits of the erotic relation, and I demonstrate how Henry’s work harbours the latent suggestion that the failure of eros can serve as a step toward a higher union with others in a love of God. In the closing section, I show how Henry’s analysis of the erotic relation calls for a re-conception of life as a movement of transcendence. I outline how this re-conception better accounts for the complex exchanges between the non-objectifying drives of life and the objectifying acts of consciousness, and I show how this allows us to retain some of Henry’s insights into eros and its renewal while forcing us to modify others. (shrink)
Music can reduce stress and anxiety, enhance positive mood, and facilitate social bonding. However, little is known about the role of music and related personal or cultural variables in maintaining wellbeing during times of stress and social isolation as imposed by the COVID-19 crisis. In an online questionnaire, administered in 11 countries, participants rated the relevance of wellbeing goals during the pandemic, and the effectiveness of different activities in obtaining these goals. Music was found to be the most effective activity (...) for three out of five wellbeing goals: enjoyment, venting negative emotions, and self-connection. For diversion, music was equally good as entertainment, while it was second best to create a sense of togetherness, after socialization. This result was evident across different countries and gender, with minor effects of age on specific goals, and a clear effect of the importance of music in people's lives. Cultural effects were generally small and surfaced mainly in the use of music to obtain a sense of togetherness. Interestingly, culture moderated the use of negatively valenced and nostalgic music for those higher in distress. (shrink)
Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered and Experimental Interventions (MEURI) is an ethical framework developed by the WHO for using unproven interventions in public health emergencies outside the context of medical research. It is mainly intended for use when medical research would be impracticable, but there is still a need to systematically gather data about unproven interventions. As such, it is designed as something of a middle ground between clinical and research ethical frameworks.However, I argue that MEURI does not truly lie (...) at the intersection of clinical care and research. Due to its intent, structure and oversight requirements, it takes on most of the crucial features of research, to the point that it is best understood as a form of research. As a result, cases where MEURI could practicably be applied should instead make use of existing research frameworks. For those circumstances where research is truly impracticable, a more straightforward oversight system than MEURI is needed. While existing practices of compassionate use have some applicability, proposals to make use of clinical ethics committees to oversee unproven interventions may help achieve the right balance in acting in a patient’s best interests when the relevant evidence base is weak. (shrink)
We welcome Ballantyne & Schaefer’s discussion of the issues concerning consent and use of health data for research. In response to their acknowledgement of the need for public debate and discussion, we provide evidence from our own public consultation on this topic.