And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.Having been forbidden by his father to marry a Canaanite, the Old Testament patriarch Jacob travels to the house of his grandfather where he must choose a wife from among his female cousins. (...) During the journey, Jacob stops to camp, using stones for pillows. That night he dreams the now-famous vision of "a ladder set up on the earth" whose top "reached to heaven" (Genesis 28:12).1 The Lord reveals to Jacob in the dream that the land on which he sleeps is holy. Jacob later wakes, his soul .. (shrink)
Few twentieth-century thinkers have proven as influential as Walter Benjamin, the German-Jewish philosopher and cultural and literary critic. Richard Wolin's book remains among the clearest and most insightful introductions to Benjamin's writings, offering a philosophically rich exposition of his complex relationship to Adorno, Brecht, Jewish Messianism, and Western Marxism. Wolin provides nuanced interpretations of Benjamin's widely studied writings on Baudelaire, historiography, and art in the age of mechanical reproduction. In a new Introduction written especially for this edition, Wolin discusses (...) the unfinished _Arcades Project_, as well as recent tendencies in the reception of Benjamin's work and the relevance of his ideas to contemporary debates about modernity and postmodernity. (shrink)
Pandemic plans recommend phases of response to an emergent infectious disease outbreak, and are primarily aimed at preventing and mitigating human-to-human transmission. These plans carry presumptive weight and are increasingly being operationalized at the national, regional and international level with the support of the World Health Organization. The conventional focus of pandemic preparedness for EIDs of zoonotic origin has been on public health and human welfare. However, this focus on human populations has resulted in strategically important disciplinary silos. As the (...) risks of zoonotic diseases have implications that reach across many domains outside traditional public health, including anthropological, environmental, and veterinary fora, a more inclusive ecological perspective is paramount for an effective response to future outbreaks. (shrink)
Current evolutionary and cognitive theories of religion posit that supernatural agent concepts emerge from cognitive systems such as theory of mind and social cognition. Some argue that these concepts evolved to maintain social order by minimizing antisocial behavior. If these theories are correct, then people should process information about supernatural agents’ socially strategic knowledge more quickly than non-strategic knowledge. Furthermore, agents’ knowledge of immoral and uncooperative social behaviors should be especially accessible to people. To examine these hypotheses, we measured response-times (...) to questions about the knowledge attributed to four different agents—God, Santa Claus, a fictional surveillance government, and omniscient but non-interfering aliens—that vary in their omniscience, moral concern, ability to punish, and how supernatural they are. As anticipated, participants respond more quickly to questions about agents’ socially strategic knowledge than non-strategic knowledge, but only when agents are able to punish. (shrink)
This article presents an initial analysis of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a variety of ‘modern postural yoga’. The article theorizes the embodied experience of a¯sana, drawing on ethnographic research with Western practitioners in India and Australia and on the author’s own practice. Building on phenomenological and cultural theories of embodiment, it is suggested that the experience of yoga practitioners has particular somatic foundations, and that this somatic basis helps explain the cross-cultural effectiveness of yoga.
SummaryThe hypothesis that psychological stress during early childhood leads to advanced reproductive maturation was assessed using data from the California Childhood Health and Development Study. Regression analyses failed to indicate that bed wetting, nightmares or thumb-sucking at age 5 predict age at menarche, regardless of controls for mother's age at menarche. Among socioeconomic variables suggested as contextual stressors measured at age 9–11 only mother's education was a significant predictor of daughter's age at menarche, though its effect is trivial compared to (...) mother's age at menarche. Path analysis on a subsample of the subjects failed to demonstrate the hypothesised indirect effect of mother's age at menarche on daughter's age at menarche acting through early marriage and marital dissolution. These results cast doubt on the theory that early childhood stress is the key to divergent reproductive strategies among females based on the timing of reproductive maturation. (shrink)
The appearance of an English translation of Gershom Scholem's 1975 memoir of his lifelong friendship with Walter Benjamin cannot help but raise (or, re-raise) a variety of questions, both biographical and substantive, concerning Benjamin's celebrated oscillation between theological and materialist interests. Scholem's portrait of Benjamin is undoubtedly the most intimate testimony available concerning Benjamin's early development — his early affiliations with the German Youth Movement, his virulent antiwar sentiment, his fascination for anti-positivistic, speculative modes of thought, and his taciturn and (...) often unpredictable character. The reliability of Scholem's account is buttressed by a diary he kept during these years and a vast number of letters from Benjamin to him. (shrink)
In 1936, Walter Benjamin published two important essays. The first and certainly the most celebrated is “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” which considers the place of art in contemporary mass society.1 In this essay, Benjamin offers an account of art that emphasizes its origin in religion and ritual. We may think of the magnificent cave paintings that were discovered in Lascaux, the frescoes that filled churches in Renaissance Italy, and the correlative sense of art as (...) an aspect of the sacred. Indeed, Benjamin argues that, until quite recently, the individual artwork has always possessed an “aura” insofar as it is unique and commands the viewer with its own aesthetic authority or status.... (shrink)
It is unclear whether the regulatory distinction between non-identifiable and identifiable information—information used to determine informed consent practices for the use of clinically derived samples for genetic research—is meaningful to patients. The objective of this study was to examine patients' attitudes and preferences regarding use of anonymous and identifiable clinical samples for genetic research. Telephone interviews were conducted with 1,193 patients recruited from general medicine, thoracic surgery, or medical oncology clinics at five United States academic medical centers. Wanting to know (...) about research being done was important to 72% of patients when samples would be anonymous and to 81% of patients when samples would be identifiable. Only 17% wanted to know about the identifiable scenario but not the anonymous scenario. Curiosity-based reasons were the most common among patients who wanted to know about anonymous samples. Of patients wanting to know about either scenario, approximately 57% would require researchers to seek permission, whereas 43% would be satisfied with notification only. Patients were more likely to support permission in the anonymous scenario if they had more education, were Black, less religious, in better health, more private, and less trusting of researchers. The sample, although not representative of the general population, does represent patients at academic medical centers whose clinical samples may be used for genetic research. Few patients expressed preferences consistent with the regulatory distinction between non-identifiable and identifiable information. Data from this study should cause policy-makers to question whether this distinction is useful in relation to research with previously collected clinically derived samples. (shrink)
Developing work in the theories of action and explanation, Eldridge argues that moral and political philosophers require accounts of what is historically possible, while historians require rough philosophical understandings of ideals that merit reasonable endorsement. Both Immanuel Kant and Walter Benjamin recognize this fact. Each sees a special place for religious consciousness and critical practice in the articulation and revision of ideals that are to have cultural effect, but they differ sharply in the forms of religious-philosophical understanding, cultural criticism, and (...) political practice that they favor. Kant defends a liberal, reformist, Protestant stance, emphasizing the importance of liberty, individual rights, and democratic institutions. His fullest picture of movement toward a moral culture appears in Religion within the Bounds of Mere Reason, where he describes conjecturally the emergence of an ethical commonwealth.Benjamin defends a politics of improvisatory alertness and consciousness-raising that is suspicious of progress and liberal reform. He practices a form of modernist, materialist criticism that is strongly rooted in his encounters with Kant, Hölderlin, and Goethe. His fullest, finished picture of this critical practice appears in One-Way Street, where he traces the continuing force of unsatisfied desires.By drawing on both Kant and Benjamin, Eldridge hopes to avoid both moralism and waywardness. And in doing so, he seeks to make better sense of the commitment-forming, commitment-revising, anxious, reflective and sometimes grownup acculturated human subjects we are. (shrink)
Prevention neuroscience investigates the brain basis of attitude and behavior change. Over the years, an increasingly structurally and functionally resolved “persuasion network” has emerged. However, current studies have only identified a small handful of neural structures that are commonly recruited during persuasive message processing, and the extent to which these structures are sensitive to numerous individual difference factors remains largely unknown. In this project we apply a multi-dimensional similarity-based individual differences analysis to explore which individual factors—including characteristics of messages and (...) target audiences—drive patterns of brain activity to be more or less similar across individuals encountering the same anti-drug public service announcements. We demonstrate that several ensembles of brain regions show response patterns that are driven by a variety of unique factors. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for neural models of persuasion, prevention neuroscience and message tailoring, and methodological implications for future research. (shrink)
ABSTRACTBenjamin Vaughan had a passion for anonymity and Kenneth E. Carpenter’s is the first attempt to provide a full list of his many and significant contributions to intellectual life and letters in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, up to his emigration to North America in 1797. This is an introduction to Carpenter’s important research.
Complex student models often include key parameters critical to their behavior and effectiveness. For example, one meta-cognitive model of student help-seeking in intelligent tutors includes 15 rules and 10 parameters. We explore whether or not this model can be improved both in accuracy and generalization by using a variety of techniques to select and tune parameters.We show that such techniques are important by demonstrating that the normal method of fitting parameters on an initial data set generalizes poorly to new test (...) data sets. We then show that stepwise regression can improve generalization, but at a cost to initial performance. Finally, we show that causal search algorithms can yield simpler models that perform comparably on test data, but without the loss in training set performance. The resulting help-seeking model is easier to understand and classifies a more realistic number of student actions as help-seeking errors. (shrink)
This book explores the persistence of absolute in Benjamin's work by sketching out the relationship between philosphy and theology apparent in his diverse writings, from the early youth movement essays to the later books, essays and fragments. Lane examines Benjamin from two main perspectives: a history-of-ideas approach situating Benjamin in relation to the new German-Jewish thinking at the turn of the twentieth-century, as well as the German youth movements, Surrealism and the "Georgekreis"; and a conceptual approach examining more critical issues (...) in relation to Benjamin and Kant, modern aesthetics and narrative order. (shrink)
This interview was conducted with one of the closest friends of the visual artist Ray Johnson, the late photographer and writer William S. Wilson. Johnson was a fixture of the New York downtown art scene in the late 1940, 1950s, and 1960s. He was influenced by Abstract Expressionists and Pop artists alike, but was a true original, widely considered to be the founder of “mail art” and also an important collagist and performance artist. Wilson helped Johnson to formulate the idea (...) of “mail art” as they exchanged correspondence, thoughts, ideas, experiences, and much else besides. In this interview, Wilson discusses Johnson's sexuality, sadomasochistic practice, and philosophy of friendship. He provides hitherto unknown details about Johnson's intimate relations with the artist Richard Lippold and life at Black Mountain College. Wilson also recounts details of Johnson's relation to women in terms of art, friendship, love, and sex. But more than anything, this interview captures the atmosphere of queer life in the middle decades of the twentieth century and Johnson's particular experiences of that era. (shrink)