Primordial emotions are the subjective element of the instincts which are the genetically programmed behaviour patterns which contrive homeostasis. They include thirst, hunger for air, hunger for food, pain and hunger for specific minerals etc.There are two constituents of a primordial emotion—the specific sensation which when severe may be imperious, and the compelling intention for gratification by a consummatory act. They may dominate the stream of consciousness, and can have plenipotentiary power over behaviour.It is hypothesized that early in animal evolution (...) complex reflex mechanisms in the basal brain subserving homeostatic responses, in concert with elements of the reticular activating system subserving arousal, melded functionally with regions embodied in the progressive rostral development of the telencephalon. This included the emergent limbic and paralimbic areas, and the insula. This phylogenetically ancient organization subserved the origin of consciousness as the primordial emotion, which signalled that the organisms existence was immediately threatened. Neuroimaging confirms major activations in regions of the basal brain during primordial emotions in humans. The behaviour of decorticate humans and animals is discussed in relation to the possible existence of primitive awareness.Neuroimaging of the primordial emotions reveals that rapid gratification of intention by a consummatory act such as ingestion causes precipitate decline of both the initiating sensation and the intention. There is contemporaneous rapid disappearance of particular regions of brain activation which suggests they may be part of the jointly sufficient and severally necessary activations and deactivations which correlate with consciousness [Crick, F. & Koch, C. . A framework for consciousness. NatureNeuroscience,6, 119–126]. (shrink)
Here we discuss the challenge posed by self-organization to the Darwinian conception of evolution. As we point out, natural selection can only be the major creative agency in evolution if all or most of the adaptive complexity manifest in living organisms is built up over many generations by the cumulative selection of naturally occurring small, random mutations or variants, i.e., additive, incremental steps over an extended period of time. Biological self-organization—witnessed classically in the folding of a protein, or in the (...) formation of the cell membrane—is a fundamentally different means of generating complexity. We agree that self-organizing systems may be fine-tuned by selection and that self-organization may be therefore considered a complementary mechanism to natural selection as a causal agency in the evolution of life. But we argue that if self-organization proves to be a common mechanism for the generation of adaptive order from the molecular to the organismic level, then this will greatly undermine the Darwinian claim that natural selection is the major creative agency in evolution. We also point out that although complex self-organizing systems are easy to create in the electronic realm of cellular automata, to date translating in silico simulations into real material structures that self-organize into complex forms from local interactions between their constituents has not proved easy. This suggests that self-organizing systems analogous to those utilized by biological systems are at least rare and may indeed represent, as pre-Darwinists believed, a unique ascending hierarchy of natural forms. Such a unique adaptive hierarchy would pose another major challenge to the current Darwinian view of evolution, as it would mean the basic forms of life are necessary features of the order of nature and that the major pathways of evolution are determined by physical law, or more specifically by the self-organizing properties of biomatter, rather than natural selection. (shrink)
The vegetation eaten by animals on large areas of several continents is deficient in phosphate and deleterious effects on physiology, particularly reproduction, ensue. Records on bone chewing behaviour by both pastoral andwild game animals extend over two centuries. In laboratory investigation of this apt behaviour it has been shown that the appetite for bones is innate and specific and cued predominantly by olfactory stimuli. It is suppressed by rapidly increasing the plasma phosphate concentration to normal but not influenced by increasing (...) the phosphate concentration in cerebrospinal fluid. The central organization of this genetically programmed behaviour appears to differ from systems subserving thirst and sodium appetite. (shrink)
Using as a springboard a three-way debate between theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright and myself, I address in layman’s terms the issues of why we need a unified theory of the fundamental interactions and why, in my opinion, string and M-theory currently offer the best hope. The focus will be on responding more generally to the various criticisms. I also describe the diverse application of string/M-theory techniques to other branches of physics and mathematics which render the (...) whole enterprise worthwhile whether or not “a theory of everything” is forthcoming. (shrink)
This long-awaited book replaces Hughes and Cresswell's two classic studies of modal logic: _An Introduction to Modal Logic_ and _A Companion to Modal Logic_. _A New Introduction to Modal Logic_ is an entirely new work, completely re-written by the authors. They have incorporated all the new developments that have taken place since 1968 in both modal propositional logic and modal predicate logic, without sacrificing tha clarity of exposition and approachability that were essential features of their earlier works. The book takes (...) readers from the most basic systems of modal propositional logic right up to systems of modal predicate with identity. It covers both technical developments such as completeness and incompleteness, and finite and infinite models, and their philosophical applications, especially in the area of modal predicate logic. (shrink)
Expressions in a language, whether words, phrases, or sentences, have meanings. So it seems reasonable to suppose that there are meanings that expressions have. Of course, it is fashionable in some philosophical circles to deny this.
The book offers a proposal on how to define truth in all its complexity, without reductionism, showing at the same time which questions a theory of truth has to answer and which questions, although related to truth, do not belong within the scope of such a theory. Just like any other theory, a theory of truth has its structure and limits. The semantic core of the position is that truth-ascriptions are pro-forms, i.e. natural language propositional variables. The book also offers (...) an explanation of the syntactic behaviour of truth-terms, and the pragmatic roles of truth-acts. The theory of truth we present is a technical proposal, relatively uncontaminated by radical philosophical discussion. It makes indeed philosophical points, but it is intended to be a conceptual analysis, as neutral as possible, of the aspects that may serve as a point of departure for more philosophically-laden destinations. Like the Fregean account of quantifiers, which is prior to and, to a large extent, independent of the metaphysical debate about existence and its forms, or the Kaplanian view on demonstratives, that is neutral regarding the debate about individuals and the possibilities we have to actually “reach” them in a referring act, we intend our proposal about truth to be a sophisticated and explicative setting that helps to situate other debates about truth accurately, far from the distorted and sometimes strongly ideological discussions that have turned the topic into a paradigm of philosophical impasse. (shrink)