Environmental historians are not sufficiently aware of the extent to which mid twentieth-century thinkers turned to medical geography—originally a nineteenth-century area of study—in order to think through ideas of ecology, environment, and historical reasoning. This article outlines how the French–Croatian Mirko D. Grmek, a major thinker of his generation in the history of medicine, used those ideas in his studies of historical epidemiology. During the 1960s, Grmek attempted to provide, in the context of the Annales School’s research (...) program under the leadership of Fernand Braudel, a new theoretical framework for a world history of disease. Its development was inspired by several sources, most notably the French–American Jacques M. May, who was then pioneering an opening up of medical geography and movement towards the concept of disease ecology. The cornerstone of Grmek’s “synthetic approach” to the field was the notion of “pathocenosis”. The diverse uses of this notion in the course of time—from his early agenda focused on a longue durée history of diseases in Western Antiquity to his last, relating to the new epidemiological threat of emerging infectious diseases, specifically HIV/aids—enables us firstly, to note how concepts of ecology sat uneasily alongside those of medical geography; secondly, to assess the reach and limits of his theoretical contribution to historical epidemiology; and thirdly, to understand better the uneven fortunes of his concept of pathocenosis at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries. (shrink)
Grmek's important article on pathocenosis, which appeared in 1969 in the Annales, did not achieve the fame and significance which it seemed to merit. This needs to be explained not only in terms of Grmek's own history, but also in changes in intellectual fashion, including in the Annales themselves. The work was also eclipsed by W.H. McNeill's best-selling Plagues and Peoples. History's 'cultural turn' since the 1980s has also limited the article's perceived utility. Nevertheless, the value of the (...) concept is underlined by the articles in this collection. (shrink)
Von Hippel & Trivers (VH&T) propose that self-deception has evolved to facilitate the deception of others. However, they ignore the subjective moral costs of deception and the crucial issue of credibility in self-deceptive speech. A self-signaling interpretation can account for the ritualistic quality of some self-deceptive affirmations and for the often-noted gap between what self-deceivers say and what they truly believe.
BackgroundAlthough some of the most radical hypothesis related to the practical implementations of human enhancement have yet to become even close to reality, the use of cognitive enhancers is a very tangible phenomenon occurring with increasing popularity in university campuses as well as in other contexts. It is now well documented that the use of cognitive enhancers is not only increasingly common in Western countries, but also gradually accepted as a normal procedure by the media as well. In fact, its (...) implementation is not unusual in various professional contexts and it has its peak in colleges. Even when certain restrictions in the legislation of a country are indeed in place, they are without doubts easy to overcome. The legitimacy and appropriateness of such restrictions will not be the focus of our investigation.DiscussionOur concern is instead related to the moral and social reasons to publicly acknowledge the use of cognitive enhancers in competitive-selective contexts. These reasons are linked to a more neutral analysis of contemporary Western society: it is a fact that an increasing number of competitive-selective contexts have a substantial number of contenders using cognitive enhancers.SummaryThrough the use of five explicative examples, in this paper we want to analyse the problems related to its use. In particular, it will be our aim to show the tension between one of the main argument used by bio-liberals and the actual implementation of the drugs in competitive, or semi-competitive contexts. (shrink)
Block (Trends Cogn Sci 7:285–286, 2003) and Prinz (PSYCHE 12:1–19, 2006) have defended the idea that SSD perception remains in the substituting modality (auditory or tactile). Hurley and Noë (Biol Philos 18:131–168, 2003) instead argued that after substantial training with the device, the perceptual experience that the SSD user enjoys undergoes a change, switching from tactile/auditory to visual. This debate has unfolded in something like a stalemate where, I will argue, it has become difficult to determine whether the perception acquired (...) through the coupling with an SSD remains in the substituting or the substituted modality. Within this puzzling deadlock two new approaches have been recently suggested. Ward and Meijer (Conscious Cogn 19:492–500, 2010) describe SSD perception as visual-like but characterize it as a kind of artificially induced synaesthesia. Auvray et al. (Perception 36:416–430, 2007) and Auvray and Myin (Cogn Sci 33:1036–1058, 2009) suggest that SSDs let their users experience a new kind of perception. Deroy and Auvray (forthcoming) refine this position, and argue that this new kind of perception depends on pre-existing senses without entirely aligning with any of them. So, they have talked about perceptual experience in SSDs as going "beyond vision". In a similar vein, MacPherson (Oxford University Press, New York, 2011a) claims that “if the subjects (SSD users) have experiences with both vision-like and touch-like representational characteristics then perhaps they have a sense that ordinary humans do not” (MacPherson in Oxford University Press, New York, 2011a, p. 139). (shrink)