The correlative coactivation of sensory inputs, Hebb's “second rule,” probably plays a critical role in the formation of word representations in the neocortex. It is essential to the acquisition of word meaning. The acquisition of semantic memory is inseparable from that of individual memory, and therefore the two probably share the same neural connective substrate. Thus, “content” words are represented mainly in postrolandic cortex, where individual perceptual memories are also represented, whereas “action” words are represented in frontal cortex, with executive (...) memories. The activation of a memory network may not necessarily entail the high-frequency oscillatory firing of its cells, though reverberation remains a plausible mechanism of short-term memory. (shrink)
In his classic 1936 paper Tarski sought to motivate his definition of logical consequence by appeal to the inference form: P(0), P(1), . . ., P(n), . . . therefore ∀nP(n). This is prima facie puzzling because these inferences are seemingly first-order and Tarski knew that Gödel had shown first-order proof methods to be complete, and because ∀nP(n) is not a logical consequence of P(0), P(1), . . ., P(n), . . . by Taski's proposed definition. An attempt to resolve (...) the puzzle due to Etchemendy is considered and rejected. A second attempt due to Gómez-Torrente is accepted as far as it goes, but it is argued that it raises a further puzzle of its own: it takes the plausibility of Tarski's claim that his definition captures our common concept of logical consequence to depend upon our common concept being a reductive conception. A further interpretation of what Tarski had in mind when he offered the example is proposed, using materials well known to Tarski at the time. It is argued that this interpretation makes the motivating example independent of reductive definitions which take natural numbers to be higher-order set theoretic entities, and it also explains why he did not regard the distinction between defined and primitive terms as pressing, as was the distinction between logical and nonlogical terms. (shrink)
Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
RÉSUMÉ: Cet essai se concentre sur les tentatives de Hare de résoudre le problème du profiteur dans les termes de la théorie oú il distingue les niveaux intuitif et critique de la pensée morale. Hare fait valoir que la pensée critique correcte en utilitarisme des actes endosse les régles qui serviront a la pensée intuitive, règles enjoignant à un individu de s’acquitter de ses responabilités sociales, par exemplevoter ou recycler ses ordures. Je lais valoir que Hare propose ou suggère implicitement (...) divers critères de sélection des règles, critères que j’entreprends de désambiguïser. Je soutiens en outre qu’aucun de ces critères n’arrive à rèsoudre complètement le problème du profiteur. (shrink)
Cet article, s’inscrit dans le cadre minimaliste de la syntaxe générative et étudie oui / non et wh-questions dans la langue Ǹjò̩-kóo, parlée dans l’état de Ondo au Nigeria. On observe que la particule interrogative pour des questions de type oui / non qui suit systématiquement le sujet DP se trouve également dans des clauses avec wh-questions. Cet article soutient que oui / non et wh-questions sont projetées par la même tête fonctionnelle Inter˚, et que wh-words ne participent pas à (...) la saisie de wh-propositions comme interrogative. L’article conclut que le mouvement de Wh-éléments vers la position initiale de la clause dans les langues à WH-mouvement n’a pas pour but l’interrogation mais plutôt pour la focalisation. (shrink)
Whereas there are many publications in which argumentation quality has been defined by argumentation theorists, considerably less research attention has been paid to lay people’s considerations regarding argument quality. Considerations about strong and weak argumentation are relevant because they can be compared with actual persuasive success. Argumentation theorists’ conceptions have to some extent been shown to be compatible with actual effectiveness, but for lay people such compatibility has yet to be determined. This study experimentally investigated lay people’s expectations about the (...) persuasiveness of anecdotal, statistical, causal, and expert evidence, and compared these expectations with the actual persuasiveness of these evidence types. Dutch and French participants (N = 174) ranked four types of evidence in terms of their expected persuasiveness for eight different claims. Both cultural groups expected statistical evidence to be the most persuasive type of evidence to other people, followed by expert, causal, and, finally, anecdotal evidence. A comparison of these rankings with the results of Hornikx and Hoeken (Communication Monographs 74, 443–463, 2007, Study 1) on the actual persuasiveness of the same evidence types reveals that people’s expectations are generally accurate: How relatively persuasive they expect evidence types to be often corresponded with their actual persuasiveness. (shrink)
The belief in free will has been frequently challenged since Benjamin Libet published his famous experiment in 1983. Although Libet’s experiment is highly dependent upon subjective reports, no study has been conducted that focused on a first-person or introspective perspective of the task. We took a neurophenomenological approach in an N = 1 study providing reliable and valid measures of the first-person perspective in conjunction with brain dynamics. We found that a larger readiness potential is attributable to more frequent occurrences (...) of self-initiated movements during negative deflections of the slow cortical potentials . These negative deflections occur in parallel with an inner impulse reported by an expert meditator which may in turn lead to a voluntary act. We demonstrate in this proof-of-principle approach that the first-person perspective obtained by an expert meditator in conjunction with neural signal analysis can contribute to our understanding of the neural underpinnings of voluntary acts. (shrink)
Background: Recent literature on addiction and judgments about the characteristics of agents has focused on the implications of adopting a ‘brain disease’ versus ‘moral weakness’ model of addiction. Typically, such judgments have to do with what capacities an agent has (e.g., the ability to abstain from substance use). Much less work, however, has been conducted on the relationship between addiction and judgments about an agent’s identity, including whether or to what extent an individual is seen as the same person after (...) becoming addicted. Methods: We conducted a series of vignette-based experiments (total N = 3,620) to assess lay attitudes concerning addiction and identity persistence, systematically manipulating key characteristics of agents and their drug of addiction. Conclusions: In Study 1, we found that US participants judged an agent who became addicted to drugs as being closer to ‘a completely different person’ than ‘completely the same person’ as the agent who existed prior to the addiction. In Studies 2-6, we investigated the intuitive basis for this result, finding that lay judgments of altered identity as a consequence of drug use and addiction are driven primarily by perceived negative changes in the moral character of drug users, who are seen as having deviated from their good true selves. (shrink)
A key source of support for the view that challenging people’s beliefs about free will may undermine moral behavior is two classic studies by Vohs and Schooler (2008). These authors reported that exposure to certain prompts suggesting that free will is an illusion increased cheating behavior. In the present paper, we report several attempts to replicate this influential and widely cited work. Over a series of five studies (sample sizes of N = 162, N = 283, N = 268, N (...) = 804, N = 982) (four preregistered) we tested the relationship between (1) anti-free-will prompts and free will beliefs and (2) free will beliefs and immoral behavior. Our primary task was to closely replicate the findings from Vohs and Schooler (2008) using the same or highly similar manipulations and measurements as the ones used in their original studies. Our efforts were largely unsuccessful. We suggest that manipulating free will beliefs in a robust way is more difficult than has been implied by prior work, and that the proposed link with immoral behavior may not be as consistent as previous work suggests. (shrink)
In Rogers, the Court of Appeal held that the decision of Swindon N.H.S. Primary Care Trust to refuse to fund Herceptin for the treatment of Ann Rogers against breast cancer was irrational. The P.C.T. maintained that their decision was not resource driven but based on the fact that Herceptin was, at that time, not licensed by the European Medicines Agency (E.M.E.A.) for use in early stage breast cancer. Yet it was prepared to fund its use in ‹exceptional circumstances’ which could (...) only be based upon the personal situation of the patient. In this note, I focus upon the ‹exceptionality’ argument in the context of the patient as consumer of healthcare and women as carers. I argue for a focus upon caring rather than consumerism in healthcare. (shrink)
Nicole Loraux guettait toujours avec une joie d'enfant les premiers frémissements du printemps, la lumière qui verdit et se trémousse, les chatons qui pointent leurs nez jaunes, les oiseaux qui préludent à leur vocalise. Elle s'est éclipsée un jour de sa saison préférée, sans déploiements officiels, entourée seulement de tous ceux qui l'avait aimée et ils étaient très nombreux. Mais le 12 avril, au Père Lachaise, le printemps était en retard, la lumière grise, les arbres encore effeuil..
Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man is a modern myth. Like many ancient myths it seems to have the structure of a rite of passage analysed by van Gennep into three stages: separation, marginal existence and reintegration. Separation is precipitated by a traumatic event and the marginal state is characterized by extraordinary experiences and feats. However, Jarmusch's tale does not quite fit the ancient initiation pattern since the last stage, reintegration, is at least prima facie missing. This already undermines the social function (...) of initiation and warps the significance of the myth. The modern town of ?Machine?, where the marginal existence of Blake is sealed, looms in the background of the story of his final journey to the world of spirits whence he had come. But Blake cannot quite embrace the story in which he plays the protagonist. The story is cobbled together by the Native American called ?Nobody.? Blake sceptically resigns himself to his fate. Why does Blake do this? Jarmusch manipulates the generic structure of the initiation tale in order to say something culturally significant about the possibility of living a meaningful life in a world dominated by the machine. In other words, he tells a modern myth. What does his tale say? (shrink)
G. E. Moore famously observed that to assert ‘I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I do not believe that I did’ would be ‘absurd’. Moore calls it a ‘paradox’ that this absurdity persists despite the fact that what I say about myself might be true. Krista Lawlor and John Perry have proposed an explanation of the absurdity that confines itself to semantic notions while eschewing pragmatic ones. We argue that this explanation faces four objections. We give a better (...) explanation of the absurdity both in assertion and in belief that avoids our four objections. (shrink)
Many psychological studies of categorization and reasoning use undergraduates to make claims about human conceptualization. Generalizability of findings to other populations is often assumed but rarely tested. Even when comparative studies are conducted, it may be challenging to interpret differences. As a partial remedy, in the present studies we adopt a 'triangulation strategy' to evaluate the ways expertise and culturally different belief systems can lead to different ways of conceptualizing the biological world. We use three groups (US bird experts, US (...) undergraduates, and ordinary Itza' Maya) and two sets of birds (North American and Central American). Categorization tasks show considerable similarity among the three groups' taxonomic sorts, but also systematic differences. Notably, US expert categorization is more similar to Itza' than to US novice categorization. The differences are magnified on inductive reasoning tasks where only undergraduates show patterns of judgment that are largely consistent with current models of category-based taxonomic inference. The Maya commonly employ causal and ecological reasoning rather than taxonomic reasoning. Experts use a mixture of strategies (including causal and ecological reasoning), only some of which current models explain. US and Itza' informants differed markedly when reasoning about passerines (songbirds), reflecting the somewhat different role that songbirds play in the two cultures. The results call into question the importance of similarity-based notions of typicality and central tendency in natural categorization and reasoning. These findings also show that relative expertise leads to a convergence of thought that transcends cultural boundaries and shared experiences. (shrink)
The book examines the history and development of public administration, the study of the internal structure and functioning of government and its interaction with society and its citizens. It surveys different approaches to the field and the methodological and epistemological issues surrounding an interdisciplinary, applied social science.
To date, film scholars have found the films of Jim Jarmusch to be tantamount to works of postmodern philosophy. For as intriguing and productive as such interpretations of Jarmusch’s films have been, I submit that the postmodern framework occludes a crucial aspect of Jarmusch’s film-philosophy, namely, his investment in the ordinary. From this perspective, I intend to show the availability of Jarmusch’s films to Wittgensteinian interpretation. More specifically, I plan to situate Jarmusch’s arthouse action film Ghost Dog: The Way of (...) the Samurai between Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jacques Derrida in order to demonstrate the profound affinities between Jarmusch’s film-philosophy and Wittgenstein’s conception of ordinary language. Through a consideration of character dialogue, I will demonstrate the extent to which Jarmusch rejects the private language argument – which, by extension, amounts to a rejection of linguistic relativism as an instance, or species, of skepticism – in favor of ordinary conceptions of language, expressiveness, knowledge, and responsibility. (shrink)
At a 2011 meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers, N. T. Wright offered four reasons for rejecting the existence of soul. This was surprising, as many Christian philosophers had previously taken Wright's defense of a disembodied intermediate state as a defense of a substance dualist view of the soul. In this paper, I offer responses to each of Wright's objections, demonstrating that Wright's arguments fail to undermine substance dualism. In so doing, I expose how popular arguments against dualism fail, (...) such as dualism is merely an unwarranted influence of Greek culture on Christianity, and substance dualism is merely a soul-of-the-gaps hypothesis. Moreover, I demonstrate that Wright himself has offered a powerful reason for adopting substance dualism in his previous works. In conclusion I offer a view that explains why the human soul needs a resurrected body. (shrink)
To be honest, I have almost nothing critical to say about Jim’s presentation (and this is quite unusual for a cranky analytic philosopher like me!). What Jim has said is all very sensible, and his examples are very well chosen, etc. So, instead of making critical remarks, I will try to expand a little on one of the themes Jim briefly touched upon in his talk: the contextuality of probability.
Increasing geographical mobility and international travel augment the ease and speed by which infectious diseases can spread across large distances. It is therefore incumbent upon each state to ensure that immunisation programmes are effective and that herd immunity is achieved. Across Europe, a range of immunisation policies exist: compulsion, the offer of financial incentives to parents or healthcare professionals, social and professional pressure, or simply the dissemination of clear information and advice. Until recently, immunisation against particular communicable diseases was compulsory (...) in Italy. The Italian National Vaccination Plan paved the way for regions to suspend the sanctions associated with compulsory vaccinations for children when certain criteria are met—for example when immunisation coverage is high and when effective monitoring/surveillance systems are in place—and thus marked a milestone in the move from compulsory to voluntary immunisation. The forthcoming NVP for 2008–10 confirms the liberal approach to vaccination in Italy as it entrusts to the regions responsibility for the achievement and maintenance of herd immunity. This paper reviews the arguments for and against compulsory and voluntary immunisation in relation to the Italian NVP and in the context of the diverse immunisation policies that exist across Europe. It concludes with cautious support for the NVP and an associated shift from compulsory to voluntary immunisation in Italy, and draws similarities between issues concerning regional variation in immunisation policy in Italy and national variation in immunisation policy across Europe and beyond. (shrink)
This is one of a pair of discussion notes comparing some features of the account of causation in Wolfgang Spohn’s Laws of Belief with the “interventionist” account in James Woodward’s Making Things Happen. This note locates the core difference of the accounts in the fact that Woodward’s account follows an epistemological order, while Spohn’s follows a conceptual order. This unfolds in five further differences: type- versus token-level causation, reference to time, actual/counterfactual intervention versus epistemic/suppositional wiggling, a circular versus a circle-free (...) conception of the circumstances of a direct causal relation, and absolute versus model-relative causation. (shrink)
In this paper, I provide a new reading of Wittgenstein’s N operator, and of its significance within his early logical philosophy. I thereby aim to resolve a longstanding scholarly controversy concerning the expressive completeness of N. Within the debate between Fogelin and Geach in particular, an apparent dilemma emerged to the effect that we must either concede Fogelin’s claim that N is expressively incomplete, or reject certain fundamental tenets within Wittgenstein’s logical philosophy. Despite their various points of disagreement, however, Fogelin (...) and Geach nevertheless share several common and problematic assumptions regarding Wittgenstein’s logical philosophy, and it is these mistaken assumptions which are the source of the dilemma. Once we recognize and correct these, and other, associated expository errors, it will become clear how to reconcile the expressive completeness of Wittgenstein’s N operator, with several commonly recognized features of, and fundamental theses within, the Tractarian logical system. (shrink)
Background. As the development and use of genetic tests have increased, so have concerns regarding the uses of genetic information. Genetic discrimination, the differential treatment of individuals based on real or perceived differences in their genomes, is a recently described form of discrimination. The range and significance of experiences associated with this form of discrimination are not yet well known and are investigated in this study. Methods. Individuals at-risk to develop a genetic condition and parents of children with specific genetic (...) conditions were surveyed by questionnaire for reports of genetic discrimination. A total of 27,790 questionnaires were sent out by mail. Of 917 responses received, 206 were followed up with telephone interviews. The responses were analyzed regarding circumstances of the alleged discrimination, the institutions involved, issues relating to the redress of grievances, and strategies to avoid discrimination. (shrink)
The paper gives insight into the revaluation of popular Gothic aesthetics in Jim Jarmusch’s 2014 production Only Lovers Left Alive. Drawing on critical theory and the postmodern theoretical framework, the article suggests that the film transgresses contemporary culture immersed in a “culture of death” that has produced a vast amount of cultural texts under the rubric of “Gothicism.” By considering Jean Baudrillard’s concept of transaesthetics and Judith Halberstam’s writings on contemporary monstrosity, the paper shows that a commodified Gothic mode has (...) lost its older deconstructive functions that operated on the margins of the mainstream. Now entirely focused on the duplication of the same aesthetic codes and signs, Gothic productions conform to the rules of postindustrial culture, enriching entertainment imagery with the neutralized concept of “otherness.” Hence, the article engages primarily with Jarmusch’s indie aesthetics that goes beyond easily recognizable patterns and generic conventions and allows the director to emphasize that the arts are rejuvenating forces, the antidote to a commoditized environment. Then, the focus is on the construction of main characters—Adam and Eve, ageless vampires and spouses—who thanks to nostalgic theatricality and performance reconfigure the mainstream monstrosity. Ultimately, the article emphasizes that Jarmusch’s film, to a large extent, becomes a warning against the inevitable results of advanced capitalism practiced on a global scale. (shrink)