Neuroplasticity, the capacity of the brain to induce changes in response to environmental stimuli, entails a continuous rearrangement of the neural network through a complex interaction between genetics and environment. Within this process, the plastic brain uses its internal representations to predict future conditions and proactively proceed to actions. It can be said that plasticity demands a rethinking of the concept of determinism as the process of coming-to-be is directly related to modifications produced by experience. Pure determinism and complete randomness (...) are the two ends of a spectrum of positions relevant to the debate of the existence of free will. However, none conceptually supports free decision-making. How brain activity and the conscious experience of volition are related to one another has been a matter of significant research, with a plethora of findings indicating that early brain signals precede the self-reported time of the decision to act. The meaning of these findings, however, has been debated at both a theoretical and empirical level and the controversy is still ongoing. Consciousness is intertwined with free will along the dimension of time as it would otherwise be purposeless, taking place right at the next moment. Electrical activity of the brain is a measure of neurophysiological function and contributes to the understanding of processes that underlie high-order cognitive functions. A multidisciplinary approach in the study of free will could be designed in a way that philosophical concepts are connected to neural correlates by psychologically functionalizing them in terms of cognitive abilities. Such abilities are at the margins of conscious and nonconscious sensory information and are closely linked to brain processes of executive functions like attentional control and working memory. (shrink)
Exploring both the intrapersonal and interpersonal nature of death and dying in the context of their development, Dying in a Transhumanist and Posthuman Society shows how death and dying have been and will continue to be governed in any given society. Drawing on transhumanism and discourses about posthumanity, life prolongation and digital life, the book analyses death, dying and grief via the governance of dying. It states that the bio-medical dimensions of our understanding of death and dying have predominated not (...) only the discourses about death in society and the care of the dying, but their policy and practice as well. It seeks to provoke thinking beyond the benefits of technology and within the confinements of the world transhumanists describe. This book is written for all who have an interest in thanatology but will be useful specifically to those investigating the experiences of dying and grieving in contemporary societies, wherein technology, biology and medicine continuously advance. Thus, the manuscript will be of interest to researchers in a broad range of areas including health and social care, social policy, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, cultural studies, and, of course, thanatology. (shrink)
During the Covid-19 pandemic, public policy was not driven by findings from public health research, but by politicians’ desire to pursue their own interests. The media and politicians inflamed mass hysteria and then imposed ill-considered lockdowns to “solve” the problem. Lockdowns not only failed to protect those at risk from the virus, but also caused enormous collateral damage. Public choice theory helps explaining this decision-making. -/- .
Against the traditional interpretation of Doxa as intrinsically and thoroughly deceiving and untrustworthy, the present essay examines the passages which follow the self-characterization of the goddess’ speech as ‘deceitful.’ The traits of an extensive cosmogony and cosmology open up the possibility for discerning two aspects of Doxa: first a presentation of mortal erroneous opinions, but then also their correction within the framework of the ‘appropriate world-arrangement’ presented by the goddess.
In A Philosophy for Communism: Rethinking Althusser Panagiotis Sotiris attempts a reading of the work of the French philosopher centered upon his deeply political conception of philosophy. Althusser's endeavour is presented as a quest for a new practice of philosophy that would enable a new practice of politics for communism, in opposition to idealism and teleology. The central point is that in his trajectory from the crucial interventions of the 1960s to the texts on aleatory materialism, Althusser remained a (...) communist in philosophy. This is based upon a reading of the tensions and dynamics running through Althusser's work and his dialogue with other thinkers. Particular attention is paid to crucial texts by Althusser that remained unpublished until relatively recently. (shrink)
In this thesis I discuss the epistemological problems Socrates' faces as he inquires in the early Platonic dialogues into the nature of virtue , the way these problems are brought to a head in the Meno, and the way in which Plato resolves them in the Phaedo. ;I argue that Socrates conducts his investigation on the assumption that a human being will be virtuous, and happy, if and only if he is successful in instilling in his soul the arrangement that (...) is objectively proper for it. To do that he must improve his epistemic standing in quite a specific way: he must come to know in a substantive and practically efficacious way what is good and bad in general. Possession of this knowledge, in addition to being what it is to instill virtue in one's soul, is also the necessary and sufficient condition for one's happiness. ;I then argue that recent claims that Socrates distinguishes between different epistemic standards and that he disavows knowledge in a strict, but not in a weaker, sense are versions of the Insincerity Thesis . The Insincerity Thesis lacks philosophical motivation, and textual support. ;In the light of this, Meno's challenge in the Meno becomes a real, not a sophistical, problem, given the Socratic connections between being virtuous, knowing what virtue is in a substantive way, and being able to give in account of what one knows. The final solution is delivered in the Phaedo: There is an ontological affinity between us qua souls and the constitutive elements of the world, the ethical world included, on the basis of which we are epistemically able to carve the world at its natural joints. (shrink)
"Plato's Statesman reconsiders many questions familiar to readers of the Republic: questions in political theory - such as the qualifications for the leadership of a state and the best from of constitution (politeia) - as well as questions of philosophical methodology and epistemology. Instead of the theory of Forms that is the centrepiece of the epistemology of the Republic, the emphasis here is on the dialectical practice of collection and division (diairesis), in whose service the interlocutors also deploy the ancillary (...) methods of myth and of models (paradeigmata). Plato here introduces the doctrine of due measure (to metrion) and a conception of statecraft (politikē) as an architectonic expertise that governs subordinate disciplines such as rhetoric and the military - doctrines later developed by Aristotle. Readers will find a sustained defence of the importance of expertise (technē or epistēmē) in the conduct of affairs of state, a robust (although not unqualified) defence of the rule of law, and an unsparing but nuanced critique of democratic government. The chapters in this volume provide a comprehensive and detailed philosophical engagement with the entirety of Plato's wide-ranging dialogue, with successive chapters devoted to the sections of the dialogue as it unfolds, and an introduction that places the dialogue in the context of Plato's philosophy as a whole. While not a commentary in the traditional sense, the volume engages with Plato's Statesman in its entirety" -- Publisher's description. (shrink)
We present various results regarding the decidability of certain sets of sentences by Simple Type Theory. First, we introduce the notion of decreasing sentence, and prove that the set of decreasing sentences is undecidable by Simple Type Theory with infinitely many zero-type elements ; a result that follows directly from the fact that every sentence is equivalent to a decreasing sentence. We then establish two different positive decidability results for a weak subtheory of math formula. Namely, the decidability of math (...) formula and math formula. Finally, we present some consequences for the set of existential-universal sentences. All the above results have direct implications for Quine's theory of “New Foundations” and its weak subtheory math formula. (shrink)
Do psychological perspectives constitute the only way through which the role of musical creativity in education can be addressed, researched and theorised? This essay attempts to offer an alternative view of musical creativity as a deeply social and political form of human praxis, by proposing a perspective rooted in the thought of the political philosopher and activist Cornelius Castoriadis (1922–1997). This is done in two steps. First, an attempt is made to place the pursuit of the concept of musical creativity (...) within a larger educational and societal context of conflicting trajectories that run through (a) Modernity and (b) Education. Then, I revisit the issue of educational value of improvising and composing through creating conceptual links between the process of music-making through improvisation and composition and the project of political autonomy as conceived by Castoriadis. By foregrounding instituting imaginary over instituted imaginary, improvising and composing become active processes of positing new legitimacies, and of creating a music-making context that searches for its own foundations. It is in and through creative musical praxis that we can think about issues of hierarchies, musical values, social dimensions of different music-making processes, our relationship to past values and to historical dimensions of music. By arguing that improvisation and composition might be seen as ways of positing the issue of political autonomy in musical terms, this paper emphasises the role of improvisation and composition as a mode of potentially transformative educational practice that may foster the development of critical consciousness, linking music education to a larger project of re-discovering and at the same time re-defining democracy. (shrink)
COVID-19 is not only a health emergency but also a strategic challenge for any politics of resistance, struggle and transformation. Understanding the social and political dynamics associated with morbidity and mortality and the many ‘ecologies of disease’ associated with the pandemic is necessary if we want to think beyond the limits of the lockdown strategy. It is here that the possibility of a democratic biopolitics emerges as part of a broader strategy for communism.
Different why-questions emerge under different contexts and require different information in order to be addressed. Hence a relevance relation can hardly be invariant across contexts. However, what is indeed common under any possible context is that all explananda require scientific information in order to be explained. So no scientific information is in principle explanatorily irrelevant, it only becomes so under certain contexts. In view of this, scientific thought experiments can offer explanations, should we analyze their representational strategies. Their representations involve (...) empirical as well as hypothetical statements. I call this the “representational mingling” which bears scientific information that can explain events. Buchanan’s thought experiment from constitutional economics is examined to show how mingled representations explain. (shrink)
The paper examines more broadly the intellectual formation, early carreer and research activity of Franz Dölger with the aim to elucidate, on the one hand, the shift that took place in Byzantine Studies in Munich during the Thirties of the previous century from a philological to a historical direction. On the other hand, the paper offers a detailed analysis of Dölger’s concept of Byzantine literature and its history, the development of this concept and its immediate impact on Byzantine Philology as (...) a separate field within Byzantine Studies. Pivotal in understanding Dölger’s concept are his connection with and use of the Nazi regime and its ideology, as well as a latent but visible antagonism to Karl Krumbacher. The paper includes an analysis of hitherto unknown publications of Dölger from the Nazi era and a number of unpublished documents pertaining to the Athos Expedition of July 1941 and its aftermath. (shrink)
Immersive virtual reality (VR) emerges as a promising research and clinical tool. However, several studies suggest that VR induced adverse symptoms and effects (VRISE) may undermine the health and safety standards, and the reliability of the scientific results. In the current literature review, the technical reasons for the adverse symptomatology are investigated to provide suggestions and technological knowledge for the implementation of VR head-mounted display (HMD) systems in cognitive neuroscience. The technological systematic literature indicated features pertinent to display, sound, motion (...) tracking, navigation, ergonomic interactions, user experience, and computer’s hardware that should be considered by the researchers. Subsequently, a meta-analysis of 44 neuroscientific or neuropsychological studies involving VR HMD systems was performed. The meta-analysis of the VR studies demonstrated that the new generation HMDs induced significantly fewer dropouts and VRISE. Importantly, the commercial versions of the new generation HMDs with ergonomic interactions had zero incidents of adverse symptomatology and dropouts. Solely, HMDs equivalent to or greater than the commercial versions of contemporary HMDs accompanied with ergonomic interactions are suitable for implementation in cognitive neuroscience. In conclusion, researchers’ technological competency, along with meticulous methods and reports pertinent to software, hardware, and VRISE, are paramount to ensure the health and safety standards and the reliability of neuroscientific results. (shrink)
This article deals with theories and political projects that can be defined as ‘left populism’. It begins with a reading and critique of the work of Ernesto Laclau on the theory of populism and then moves to recent debates about the possibility of left-populist movements. In contrast to these positions it attempts to present an alternative theoretical framework based on Gramscian notions, in order to rethink the notion of the people in ways that do not de-link it from class analysis (...) and social relations of production. (shrink)
This monograph evaluates public policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic through a public choice lens. The book compares two prominent, albeit mutually exclusive, theories in social sciences—public interest theory and public choice theory—and explores how their predictions perform within the framework of the Covid-19 pandemic. The chapters present different pandemic policies alongside empirical data in order to draw conclusions about their efficacy, and, in turn, draw conclusions about the veracity of each theory. By the end of the volume, the reader (...) will be able to draw their own conclusions about whether the pandemic policy responses served the public interest, as public interest theory suggests, or the personal interests of the politicians who implemented them, as public choice theory holds. (shrink)
Civil Protection and disaster risk specific agencies legally responsible to enhance individual and community resilience, still utilize in their risk and crisis communication efforts, the “deficit model” even though its basic assumption and approach have been criticized. Recent studies indicate that information seeking behavior is not necessarily a measure of enhanced individual preparedness. A qualitative change from “blindly” following directions to practicing emergency planning and becoming your own disaster risk manager is required. For pandemics, the challenge is even more complicated (...) due to their unique characteristics. Community based exercises, a framework concept encompassing a variety of interactive activities, have recently started being utilized to develop resilience amongst citizens. Existing models of resilience can pinpoint to the required knowledge, skills and attitude. Research in the factors influencing behavioral change could offer new understanding of the interplay between cognitive and demographic drivers/factors of resilience. Such knowledge could be utilized for setting targeted objectives, developing appropriate activities and the corresponding training for the CBEx facilitators. Despite the importance of preparation, the current covid-19 crisis indicates that high levels of adaptive resilience can be displayed even in the absence of any risk communication effort beforehand by utilizing a pre-existing collective understanding of the system situation. (shrink)