An emerging class of theories concerning the functional structure of the brain takes the reuse of neural circuitry for various cognitive purposes to be a central organizational principle. According to these theories, it is quite common for neural circuits established for one purpose to be exapted (exploited, recycled, redeployed) during evolution or normal development, and be put to different uses, often without losing their original functions. Neural reuse theories thus differ from the usual understanding of the role of neural plasticity (...) (which is, after all, a kind of reuse) in brain organization along the following lines: According to neural reuse, circuits can continue to acquire new uses after an initial or original function is established; the acquisition of new uses need not involve unusual circumstances such as injury or loss of established function; and the acquisition of a new use need not involve (much) local change to circuit structure (e.g., it might involve only the establishment of functional connections to new neural partners). Thus, neural reuse theories offer a distinct perspective on several topics of general interest, such as: the evolution and development of the brain, including (for instance) the evolutionary-developmental pathway supporting primate tool use and human language; the degree of modularity in brain organization; the degree of localization of cognitive function; and the cortical parcellation problem and the prospects (and proper methods to employ) for function to structure mapping. The idea also has some practical implications in the areas of rehabilitative medicine and machine interface design. (shrink)
The nature of cognition is being re-considered. Instead of emphasizing formal operations on abstract symbols, the new approach foregrounds the fact that cognition is, rather, a situated activity, and suggests that thinking beings ought therefore be considered first and foremost as acting beings. The essay reviews recent work in Embodied Cognition, provides a concise guide to its principles, attitudes and goals, and identifies the physical grounding project as its central research focus.
In this paper, I summarize an emerging debate in the cognitive sciences over the right taxonomy for understanding cognition – the right theory of and vocabulary for describing the structure of the mind – and the proper role of neuroscientific evidence in specifying this taxonomy. In part because the discussion clearly entails a deep reconsideration of the supposed autonomy of psychology from neuroscience, this is a debate in which philosophers should be interested, with which they should be familiar, and to (...) which they should contribute. Here, I outline some of the positions being advocated, and reflect on some of the possible implications of this work both for scientific and folk psychology. (shrink)
To accept that cognition is embodied is to question many of the beliefs traditionally held by cognitive scientists. One key question regards the localization of cognitive faculties. Here we argue that for cognition to be embodied and sometimes embedded, means that the cognitive faculty cannot be localized in a brain area alone. We review recent research on neural reuse, the 1/f structure of human activity, tool use, group cognition, and social coordination dynamics that we believe demonstrates how the boundary between (...) the different areas of the brain, the brain and body, and the body and environment is not only blurred but indeterminate. In turn, we propose that cognition is supported by a nested structure of task-specific synergies, which are softly assembled from a variety of neural, bodily, and environmental components (including other individuals), and exhibit interaction dominant dynamics. (shrink)
This paper argues that research on the business case for corporate social responsibility (CSR) must account for the path dependent nature of firm-stakeholderrelations, and develops the construct of stakeholder influence capacity (SIC) to fill this void. SIC helps to explain why the effects of CSR on corporate financial performance (CFP) vary across firms and across time, therein providing a missing link in the study of the business case. This paper distinguishes CSR from related and confounded corporate resource allocations and from (...) corporate social performance (CSP), then incorporates SIC into a model that explains how acts of CSR are transformed into CFP through stakeholder relationships. This paper also develops a set of propositions to aid future research on the contingencies that produce variable financial returns to investments in CSR. (shrink)
Robert Stern has argued that Levinas is a kind of command theorist and that, for this reason, Løgstrup can be understood to have provided an argument against Levinas. In this paper, I discuss Levinas’s use of the vocabulary of demand, order, and command in the light of Jewish philosophical accounts of such notions in the work of Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emil Fackenheim. These accounts revise the traditional Jewish idea of command and I show that Levinas’s use of this (...) vocabulary is also revisionary. I show that in light of this tradition of discussion, Levinas’s use is not susceptible to the interpretation Stern proposes and thus that the Løgstrup-style argument cannot be used against Levinas. (shrink)
Neural reuse is a form of neuroplasticity whereby neural elements originally developed for one purpose are put to multiple uses. A diverse behavioral repertoire is achieved by means of the creation of multiple, nested, and overlapping neural coalitions, in which each neural element is a member of multiple different coalitions and cooperates with a different set of partners at different times. Neural reuse has profound implications for how we think about our continuity with other species, for how we understand the (...) similarities and differences between psychological processes, and for how best to pursue a unified science of the mind.After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain surveys the terrain and advocates for a series of reforms in psychology and cognitive neuroscience. The book argues that, among other things, we should capture brain function in a multidimensional manner, develop a new, action-oriented vocabulary for psychology, and recognize that higher-order cognitive processes are built from complex configurations of already evolved circuitry. (shrink)
This essay introduces the massive redeployment hypothesis, an account of the functional organization of the brain that centrally features the fact that brain areas are typically employed to support numerous functions. The central contribution of the essay is to outline a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other, in such a way as to account for the supporting data on both sides of the argument. The massive redeployment hypothesis is supported by case studies (...) of redeployment, and compared and contrasted with other theories of the localization of function. (shrink)
Johnson explores the present crisis in education, especially in the US, by surveying broad changes in recent curricular and pedagogical theory and practice. These changes entail a shift from teaching to instructing from students learning what the teacher knows to learning.
With All Your Mind makes a compelling case for the value of thinking deeply about education in America from a historically orthodox and broadly ecumenical Christian point of view. Few people dispute that education in America is in a state of crisis. But not many have posed workable solutions to this serious problem. Michael Peterson contends that thinking philosophically about education is our only hope for meaningful progress. In this refreshing book, he invites all who are concerned about education (...) in America to "participate" in his study, which analyzes representative theories and practical strategies that reveal the power of Christian ideas in this vital area. Peterson addresses the most fundamental questions facing educators, and society in general, such as: What is the purpose of education? What goals do new techniques and methods serve? What kind of person is our educational system supposed to produce? He also explores questions of unique importance to Christians, such as: What is the relation between Christianity and the pursuit of intellectual excellence? How can Christians bring their faith to bear on all areas of knowledge? Can educated Christians significantly influence culture? With All Your Mind examines the key assumptions and implications of influential classical and contemporary philosophies with respect to education, including idealism, naturalism, Thomism, experimentalism, existentialism, linguistic analysis, and postmodernism. Based on this analysis, Peterson develops an unapologetically Christian philosophy of education in regard to curriculum design, instilling ethics and values, and the nature of teaching and learning. Peterson further advances the merits of an ecumenical Christian philosophy of education by showing how it can be used to analyze key issues in educational theory, such as the relation of general education to liberal learning, the integration of faith and learning, and the demand for professional and technical training. From a practical standpoint, Peterson's approach brings balance and common sense to issues such as the clash between public and private education, the rise of multiculturalism, the changing demographic and psychological profile of America's youth, and the impact of computer and Internet technology. With All Your Mind concludes with a stirring vision for education that is embedded in an all-encompassing Christian view of life. Using clear, jargon-free language, Peterson teaches a good deal of basic philosophy while developing a powerful argument for the value of liberal arts education iinteracting with Christian faith at all levels of schooling. (shrink)
The philosophy of mind is an especially flourishing plot of philosophical terrain these days. In part this activity derives from the quality of the work and in part from the topic's location, at the intersection of science--computer science, mathematics, biology, and cognitive psychology--and metaphysics and epistemology, even ethics. If recent developments date from Ryle and his iconoclasm, the modern study of mind has an older provenance in the writings of Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and other figures whose work coincided (...) with the rise of the new science, the fragmentation of religious hegemony, and the recovery of ancient traditions. In this period, of special importance to the treatment of human experience and mental phenomena was the retrieval of Epicurean and Stoic texts and ideas. It is, therefore, an opportune moment to have a sophisticated and comprehensive introduction to the philosophy of mind of the ancient Stoics and Epicureans. In this book, Julia Annas has provided just that. (shrink)
In Discovering Levinas, Michael L. Morgan shows how this thinker faces in novel and provocative ways central philosophical problems of twentieth-century philosophy and religious thought. He tackles this task by placing Levinas in conversation with philosophers such as Donald Davidson, Stanley Cavell, John McDowell, Onora O'Neill, Charles Taylor, and Cora Diamond. He also seeks to understand Levinas within philosophical, religious, and political developments in the history of twentieth-century intellectual culture. Morgan demystifies Levinas by examining his unfamiliar and surprising vocabulary, (...) interpreting texts with an eye to clarity, and arguing that Levinas can be understood as a philosopher of the everyday. Morgan also shows that Levinas's ethics is not morally and politically irrelevant nor is it excessively narrow and demanding in unacceptable ways. Neither glib dismissal nor fawning acceptance, this book provides a sympathetic reading that can form a foundation for a responsible critique. (shrink)
Emmanuel Levinas conceives of our lives as fundamentally interpersonal and ethical, claiming that our responsibilities to one another should shape all of our actions. While many scholars believe that Levinas failed to develop a robust view of political ethics, Michael L. Morgan argues against understandings of Levinas’s thought that find him politically wanting or even antipolitical. Morgan examines Levinas’s ethical critique of the political as well as his Jewish writings—including those on Zionism and the founding of the Jewish state—which (...) are controversial reflections of Levinas’s political expression. Unlike others who dismiss Levinas as irrelevant or anarchical, Morgan is the first to give extensive treatment to Levinas as a serious social political thinker whose ethics must be understood in terms of its political implications. Morgan reveals Levinas’s political commitments to liberalism and democracy as well as his revolutionary conception of human life as deeply interconnected on philosophical, political, and religious grounds. (shrink)
Do firms benefit from their voluntary efforts to alleviate the many problems confronting society? A vast literature establishing a “business case” for corporate social responsibility appears to find that usually they do. However, as argued herein, the business case literature has established only that firms usually benefit from responding to the demands of their primary stakeholders. The nature of the relationship between the interests of business and those of broader society, beyond a subset of powerful primary stakeholders, remains an open (...) question despite this vast literature. This article develops a set of propositions that highlight constraints on firms’ ability to profit from CSR and outlines a set of managerial challenges on which researchers must focus their attention to truly determine whether and when firms can profit by responding to the needs of society. (shrink)
Abstract: The massive redeployment hypothesis (MRH) is a theory about the functional topography of the human brain, offering a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other. Central to MRH is the claim that cognitive evolution proceeded in a way analogous to component reuse in software engineering, whereby existing components-originally developed to serve some specific purpose-were used for new purposes and combined to support new capacities, without disrupting their participation in existing programs. If the (...) evolution of cognition was indeed driven by such exaptation, then we should be able to make some specific empirical predictions regarding the resulting functional topography of the brain. This essay discusses three such predictions, and some of the evidence supporting them. Then, using this account as a background, the essay considers the implications of these findings for an account of the functional integration of cognitive operations. For instance, MRH suggests that in order to determine the functional role of a given brain area it is necessary to consider its participation across multiple task categories, and not just focus on one, as has been the typical practice in cognitive neuroscience. This change of methodology will motivate (even perhaps necessitate) the development of a new, domain-neutral vocabulary for characterizing the contribution of individual brain areas to larger functional complexes, and direct particular attention to the question of how these various area roles are integrated and coordinated to result in the observed cognitive effect. Finally, the details of the mix of cognitive functions a given area supports should tell us something interesting not just about the likely computational role of that area, but about the nature of and relations between the cognitive functions themselves. For instance, growing evidence of the role of “motor” areas like M1, SMA and PMC in language processing, and of “language” areas like Broca’s area in motor control, offers the possibility for significantly reconceptualizing the nature both of language and of motor control. (shrink)
This book provides a clear and helpful overview of the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, one of the most significant and interesting philosophers of the late twentieth century. Michael L. Morgan presents an overall interpretation of Levinas' central principle that human existence is fundamentally ethical and that its ethical character is grounded in our face-to-face relationships. He explores the religious, cultural and political implications of this insight for modern Western culture and how it relates to our conception of selfhood and (...) what it is to be a person, our understanding of the ground of moral values, our experience of time and the meaning of history, and our experience of religious concepts and discourse. Includes an annotated list of recommended readings and a selected bibliography of books by and about Levinas. An excellent introduction to Levinas for readers unfamiliar with his work and even for those without a background in philosophy. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article examines the under-researched figure A.W. Rehberg in his exchange with Kant over the relationship between theory and practice in the philosophy of right. I argue that Rehberg raises, what I call, two problems of political matter which attempt to show that Kant's overly formal approach to political theory cannot justifiably determine political practice. The first problem is the problem of positive determinations of right, rather than merely negative prohibitions. Rehberg takes this to mean that Kant cannot determine (...) us to a specific form of constitution. I argue that Kant's innovation of intelligible property functions as a response to this critique in that it provides the possibility of synthetic propositions of right a priori. Second, Rehberg insists that an a priori system of right cannot relate to already formed historical communities. Here Kant's response comes close to agreeing with Rehberg as Kant takes prudential or historical reasoning to harmonize with the demands of a priori right in order to applied to the sensible world. Kant, in this instance, comes closer to Rehberg by denying centralized enlightened monarchy and the reliance on natural and historical development for the application of right. (shrink)
b>. Recent findings in cognitive science suggest that the epistemic subject is more complex and epistemically porous than is generally pictured. Human knowers are open to the world via multiple channels, each operating for particular purposes and according to its own logic. These findings need to be understood and addressed by the philosophical community. The current essay argues that one consequence of the new findings is to invalidate certain arguments for epistemic anti-realism.
Medical rules of eligibility permit severely injured Iraqi and Afghan nationals to receive care in Coalition medical facilities only if bed space is available and their injuries result directly from Coalition fire. The first rule favors Coalition soldiers over host-nation nationals and contradicts the principle of impartial, needs-based medical care. To justify preferential care for compatriots, wartime medicine invokes associative obligations of care that favor friends, family, and comrades-in-arms. Associative obligations have little place in peacetime medical care but significantly affect (...) wartime medicine. The second rule suggests liability for collateral harm that is unsupported by international law and military ethics. Absent liability, there are pragmatic reasons to offer medical care to injured local civilians if it quells resentment and cements support for Coalition forces. In contrast to peacetime medicine, military necessity and associative obligations outweigh distributive principles based on medical need during war. (shrink)
This article examines an appendix to the Doctrine of Virtue which has received little attention. I argue that this passage suggests that Kant makes it a duty, internal to his system of duties, to ‘join the graces with virtue’ and so to ‘make virtue widely loved’ (MM, 6: 473). The duty to make virtue widely loved obligates us to bring the standards of respectability, and so the social graces, into a formal agreement with what morality demands of us, such that (...) the social graces give the illusion of virtue. The existence of such a duty can answer Schiller’s persistent objection that Kant’s ethics scares away the Graces with Duty. (shrink)
As part of the ongoing attempt to fully naturalize the concept of human being--and, more specifically, to re-center it around the notion of agency--this essay discusses an approach to defining the content of representations in terms ultimately derived from their central, evolved function of providing guidance for action. This 'guidance theory' of representation is discussed in the context of, and evaluated with respect to, two other biologically inspired theories of representation: Dan Lloyd's dialectical theory of representation and Ruth Millikan's biosemantics.
Asymmetric conflict is changing the way that we practise and think about war. Torture, rendition, assassination, blackmail, extortion, direct attacks on civilians, and chemical weapons are all finding their way to the battlefield despite longstanding international prohibitions. This book offers a practical guide for policy makers, military officers, students, and others who ask such questions as: do guerillas deserve respect or long jail sentences? Are there grounds to torture guerillas for information or assassinate them on the battlefield? Is there room (...) for nonlethal weapons to subdue militants and safeguard the lives of noncombatants? Who are noncombatants in asymmetric war? What is the status of civilians who shelter and aid guerillas? And, do guerillas have any right to attack civilians, particularly those who aid and shelter members of the stronger army? If one side can expand the scope of civilian vulnerability, then why can't the other? (shrink)
Shame is one of a family of self-conscious emotions that includes embarrassment, guilt, disgrace, and humiliation. _On Shame_ examines this emotion psychologically and philosophically, in order to show how it can be a galvanizing force for moral action against the violence and atrocity that characterize the world we live in. Michael L. Morgan argues that because shame is global in its sense of the self, the moral failures of all groups in which we are a member – including the (...) entire human race – reflect on each person individually. Drawing on historical and current affairs to explore the emotion of shame, as well as films such as _Night and Fog_, _Hotel Rwanda_ and _Life is Beautiful_ and the work of Primo Levi, Bernard Williams, and Stanley Cavell, Michael Morgan illustrates how moral responsibility can be facilitated by calling upon an emotional reaction that is familiar, complex, and central to our conception of ourselves as individuals and as members of society. (shrink)
Because the goal of military medicine is salvaging the wounded who can return to duty, military medical ethics cannot easily defend devoting scarce resources to those so badly injured that they cannot return to duty. Instead, arguments turn to morale and political obligation to justify care for the seriously wounded. Neither argument is satisfactory. Care for the wounded is not necessary to maintain an army's morale. Nor is there any moral or logical connection between the right to health care (a (...) universal human right) and the duty to defend one's nation (a local political duty). Once badly wounded, soldiers enjoy the same right to medical care as any similarly ill or injured individual. National health care systems grasp this point and offer few additional health care benefits to veterans. In the United States, however, lack of universal health coverage skews the debate to focus on special entitlements for veterans without considering the health care rights that other citizens enjoy. (shrink)
Emmanuel Levinas emerged as an influential philosophical voice in the final decades of the twentieth century, and his reputation has continued to flourish and increase in our own day. His central themes--the primacy of the ethical and the core of ethics as our responsibility to and for others--speak to readers from a host of disciplines and perspectives. However, his writings and thought are challenging and difficult. The Oxford Handbook of Levinas contains essays that aim to clarify and engage Levinas and (...) his writings in a number of ways. Some focus on central themes of his work, others on the ways in which he read and was influenced by figures from Plato, Hobbes, Descartes, and Kant to Blanchot, Husserl, Heidegger, and Derrida. And there are essays on how his thinking has been appropriated in moral and political thought, psychology, film criticism, and more, and on the relation between his thinking and religious themes and traditions. Finally, several essays deal primarily with how readers have criticized him and found him wanting. The volume exposes and explores both the depth of Levinas's philosophical work and the range of applications to which it has been put, with special attention to clarifying why his interests in the human condition, the crisis of civilization, the centrality and character of ethics and morality, and the very meaning of human experience should be of interest to the widest range of readers. (shrink)
This new book by Michael Slater significantly extends the argument articulated in his earlier study of William James on Ethics and Faith, also published by Cambridge University Press. Slater was committed there as here to demonstrating the compatibility of pragmatism with some form of metaphysical realism. There as here he was interested in showing the affinities between James’s thought and certain ideas developed by contemporary analytical philosophers of religion. In Pragmatism and the Philosophy of Religion, however, the scope of (...) analysis is broadened from a focus on James to a consideration of pragmatism more generally conceived. Two early chapters on James are followed by chapters on Charles S. Peirce... (shrink)
Multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) is a popular analytical technique in neuroscience that involves identifying patterns in fMRI BOLD signal data that are predictive of task conditions. But the technique is also frequently used to make inferences about the regions of the brain that are most important to the tasks in question, and our analysis shows that this is a mistake. MVPA does not provide a reliable guide to what information is being used by the brain during cognitive tasks, nor where (...) that information is. This is due in part to inherent run to run variability in the decision space generated by the classifier, but there are also several other issues, discussed below, that make inference from the characteristics of the learned models to relevant brain activity deeply problematic. These issues have significant implications both for many papers already published, and for how the field uses this technique in the future. (shrink)
The only complete edition in English of Baruch Spinoza's works, this volume features Samuel Shirley’s preeminent translations, distinguished at once by the lucidity and fluency with which they convey the flavor and meaning of Spinoza’s original texts. Michael L. Morgan provides a general introduction that places Spinoza in Western philosophy and culture and sketches the philosophical, scientific, religious, moral and political dimensions of Spinoza’s thought. Morgan’s brief introductions to each work give a succinct historical, biographical, and philosophical overview. A (...) chronology and index are included. (shrink)
Rival causal and interpretive approaches to explaining social phenomena have important ethical differences. While human actions can be explained as a result of causal mechanisms, as a meaningful choice based on reasons, or as some combination of the two, it is morally important that social scientists respect others by recognizing them as persons. Interpretive explanations directly respect their subjects in this way, while purely causal explanations do not. Yet although causal explanations are not themselves expressions of respect, they can be (...) used in respectful ways if they are incorporated into subjects’ self-directed projects. This can occur when subjects correctly understand and freely adopt researchers’ goals through a process of informed consent. It can also occur when researchers correctly understand and adopt their subject’s goals, using their research to empower those they study. (shrink)