Despite their centrality and importance to both science and philosophy, relatively little has been written about thought experiments. This volume brings together a series of extremely interesting studies of the history, mechanics, and applications of this important intellectual resource. A distinguished list of philosophers and scientists consider the role of thought experiments in their various disciplines, and argue that an examination of thought experimentation goes to the heart of both science and philosophy.
This paper develops a domination-based practice-dependent approach to justice, according to which it is practices of systemic domination which can be said to ground demands from justice. The domination-based approach developed overcomes the two most important objections levelled to alternative practice-dependent approaches. First, it eschews conservative implications and hence is immune to the status quo objection. Second, it is immune to the redundancy objection, which doubts whether empirical facts and practices can really play an irreducible role in grounding justice. In (...) theorising dominating practices in terms of practices of social power, a domination-based approach makes justice dependent on factual information in three ways: First, the principle of non-domination is indeterminate and can only be spelled out by taking into view particular contexts of domination. Second, the principle of non-domination is conditional on the existence of practices of social power. Third, social power possesses a structural ontology – to know whether A has social power over B we need to turn to social rules distributing agents' higher order status of normative authority towards each other. This explains in what way practices of social power – and of domination – are both factual and normative practices and hence how such practices are non-redundant in grounding justice. (shrink)
To what extent can philosophical thought experiments reveal norms? Some ethicists have argued that certain thought experiments reveal that people draw a morally significant distinction between "doing" and "allowing". I examine one such thought experiment in detail and argue that the intuitions it elicits can be explained by "prospect theory", a psychological theory about the way people reason. The extent to which such alternative explanations of the results of thought experiments in philosophy are generally available is an empirical question.
Currently there is little guidance given to teachers in selecting focal issues for socio-scientific issues -based teaching and learning. As a majority of teachers regularly collaborate with other teachers, understanding what factors influence collaborative SSI-based curriculum design is critical. We invited 18 secondary science teachers to participate in a professional development on SSI-based instruction and curriculum design. Through intentional design, we studied how these teachers formed curriculum design teams and how they selected focal issues for SSI-based curriculum units. We developed (...) substantiative grounded theory to explain these processes. Key findings include how teachers’ tensions and agential moves worked in tandem in the development of a safe and shared place to share discontentment and generate opportunities to form design teams and select issues. Teacher passion and existing resources are factors as influential as considerations for issue relevance. Implications for teacher professional development and research are included. (shrink)
Non-medical sex selection is premised on the notion that the sexes are not interchangeable. Studies of individuals who undergo sex selection for non-medical reasons, or who have a preference for a son or daughter, show that they assume their child will conform to the stereotypical roles and norms associated with their sex. However, the evidence currently available has not succeeded in showing that the gender traits and inclinations sought are caused by a “male brain” or a “female brain”. Therefore, as (...) far as we know, there is no biological reason why parents cannot have the kind of parenting experience they seek with a child of any sex. Yet gender essentialism, a set of unfounded assumptions about the sexes which pervade society and underpin sexism, prevents parents from realising this freedom. In other words, unfounded assumptions about gender constrain not only a child’s autonomy, but also the parent’s. To date, reproductive autonomy in relation to sex selection has predominantly been regarded merely as the freedom to choose the sex of one’s child. This paper points to at least two interpretations of reproductive autonomy and argues that sex selection, by being premised on gender essentialism and/or the social pressure on parents to ensure their children conform to gender norms, undermines reproductive autonomy on both accounts. (shrink)
This article focuses on the follow question: Are human enhancement technologies likely to be justice impairing or justice promoting? We argue that human enhancement technologies may not be inherently just or unjust, but when situated within obtaining social contexts they are likely to exacerbate rather than alleviate social injustices.
This article starts by noting the general lack of acknowledgment of alternative traditions in the dominant western sustainability discourse in education. After critically analyzing the western human–nature relationship in the context of Enlightenment, modernity and colonial expansion, this article introduces two non-western ecological discourses from Eurasia and Asia, Noöspherism and Neo-Confucianism, which offer clear contrasts to the western sustainability framework. Using theoretical argumentations, the article goes on to examine the cosmological and ontological categories expounded by Vladimir Vernadsky of Russia and (...) Yulgok Yi of Korea, whose philosophical foundations with unique foci on the anthropocosmic and cosmoanthropic types of human–nature relationships could well be alternatives and/or additions to the dominant western discourse. The article concludes with a twofold comparison: between Eurasian and Confucian heritages, and these two with the mainstream western ecological discourse. (shrink)
This paper offers a novel reading of Immanuel Kant’s mature political philosophy. It argues that Kant’s doctrine of right is best understood as dealing with the question of how to justify practices of social power. It thereby suggests that the main object of Kant’s doctrine of right should be read in terms of individuals’ higher order power of free choice and action. It then argues that the main normative problem Kant discusses in the doctrine of right is the problem of (...) domination. While Kant must allow persons the exercises of their capacities for free choice and action for reasons of freedom, the structural upshots of such exercises by a multitude of empirically interconnected persons leads to a structure of private right, which is normatively problematic. This paper suggests interpreting this problem as one of structural domination. This reading sheds new light on Kant’s institutional theory of global justice. It enables us to better understand Kant’s theory of global institutionalization, particularly with regard to the question of why national and global institutionalization are so important in Kant’s theory and with regard to the question of what type of law cosmopolitan law is. (shrink)
In this paper I propose a partition semantics for sentences containing objective predicates that takes into account the phenomenon of occasion-sensitivity associated with so-called Travis cases. The key idea is that the set of worlds in which a sentence is true has a more complex structure as a result of different ways in which it is made true. Different ways may have different capacities to support the attainment of a contextually salient domain goal. I suggest that goal-conduciveness decides whether some (...) utterance of a sentence is accepted as true on a particular occasion at a given world. The utterance will not be accepted as true at a world which belongs to a truth-maker which is less conducive to a contextually salient goal than other truth-makers. Finally, the proposed occasion-sensitive semantics is applied to some cases of disagreement and cancellability. (shrink)
Peter Hacker defends an interpretation of the later Wittgenstein's notion of grammar, according to which the inherently general grammatical rules are sufficient for sense-determination. My aim is to show that this interpretation fails to account for an important contextualist shift in Wittgenstein's views on sense-determination. I argue that Hacker attributes to the later Wittgenstein a rule-based, combinatorial account of sense, which Wittgenstein puts forward in the Tractatus. I propose that this is not how we should interpret the later Wittgenstein because (...) he insists that particular circumstances of use play a necessary role in determining the boundary between sense and nonsense. (shrink)
What reason does one have to resist oppression? The reasons that most easily come to mind are those having to do with justice—reasons that arise from commitments to human equality and the common good. In this paper, I argue that there are also reasons of love—reasons that arise from personal attachments to specific people, projects, or activities. I defend a distinctive form of resistance that is characteristically undertaken for reasons of love, which I call Quiet Resistance. Contrary to theories that (...) build reasons of justice into the definition of resistance, I argue that we have strong reason to consider Quiet Resistance a genuine form of resistance. Finally, I argue that the reasons in favor of engaging in Quiet Resistance help to explain its distinctive value. In short, when one engages in Quiet Resistance, one’s actions are valuable in large part because they allow one to maintain respect for one’s personal values and meaning in life under oppressive conditions. (shrink)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder was recently moved to a full category in the DSM-5 . It also appears set for inclusion as a separate disorder in the ICD-11 . This paper argues that PMDD should not be listed in the DSM or the ICD at all, adding to the call to recognise PMDD as a socially constructed disorder. I first present the argument that PMDD pathologises understandable anger/distress and that to do so is potentially dangerous. I then present evidence that PMDD (...) is a culture-bound phenomenon, not a universal one. I also argue that even if medication produces a desired effect, there are biological correlates with premenstrual anger/distress, such anger/distress seems to occur monthly, and women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with affective disorders, none of these factors substantiates that premenstrual anger/distress is caused by a mental disorder. I argue that to assume they do is to ignore the now accepted role that one’s environment and psychology play in illness development, as well as arguments concerning the social construction of mental illness. In doing so, I do not claim that there are no women who experience premenstrual distress or that their distress is not a lived experience. My point is that such distress can be recognised and considered significant without being pathologised and that it is unethical to describe premenstrual anger/distress as a mental disorder. Further, if the credibility of women’s suffering is subject to doubt without a clinical diagnosis, then the way to address this problem is to change societal attitudes towards women’s suffering, not to label women as mentally ill. The paper concludes with some broader implications for women and society of the change in status of PMDD in the DSM-5 as well as a sketch of critical policy suggestions to address these implications. (shrink)
Fredrik Svenaeus has applied Heidegger’s concept of ‘being-in-the-world’ to health and illness. Health, Svenaeus contends, is a state of ‘homelike being-in-the-world’ characterised by being ‘balanced’ and ‘in-tune’ with the world. Illness, on the other hand, is a state of ‘unhomelike being-in-the-world’ characterised by being ‘off-balance’ and alienated from our own bodies. This paper applies the phenomenological concepts presented by Svenaeus to cases from a study of depression. In doing so, we show that while they can certainly enrich our understanding of (...) depression, they can also reveal a clash between some societal definitions of illness and the individual’s definition. Phenomenological analysis may thus cause us to question what we mean, or think should be meant, by the terms ‘health’ and ‘illness’. (shrink)
Resisting oppression evokes images of picket lines and crowds of protestors demanding large-scale reform. But not all resistance is political or publicly broadcast. Some acts of resistance are done solo, in private, aim to achieve personal goals, and may not even be recognizable as resistance by others. I present a taxonomy of resistance to oppression that distinguishes acts of resistance along four dimensions: their subject, target, scope, and tone. The taxonomy brings to light a range of forms of resistance that (...) differ significantly from political activism and that theories of the morality of resistance should be able to evaluate. (shrink)
Citizenship status is meant to be secure, that is, inviolable. Recently, however, several democratic states have adopted or are considering adopting laws that allow them the power to revoke citizenship. This claimed right forces us to consider whether citizenship can be treated as a “conditional” status, in particular whether it can be treated as conditional on the right sort of behavior. Those who defend such a view argue that citizenship is a privilege rather than a right, and thus in principle (...) is revocable. Participating in a foreign state's military, treason, spying, or committing acts that otherwise threaten the national security of one's state may all warrant revocation. This article assesses the justifications given for the claimed power to revoke citizenship in democratic states and concludes that, ultimately, such a power is incompatible with democracy.I begin with a brief account of the claims given by contemporary democratic states for the “right to revoke.” Democratic citizenship is today commonly understood to beegalitarian, that is, it protects an equal basic package of rights for all citizens; and to be “the highest and most secure legal status,” that is, it is meant to be secure from unilateral withdrawal by the state. Formally, many democratic states have revocation laws on the books, but most of these have long been in disuse. Although I argue in this article that all revocation laws are inconsistent with democratic citizenship, I focus on the recent surge in proposed and implemented revocation laws, which are justified as essential to protecting national security.In the second section I outline three reasons to object to revocation laws. First, revocation laws discriminate between citizens based on their citizenship status. Second, since they single out those who are eligible for revocation, they apply unequal penalties for the same crime. Third, they are inadequately justified, in general, but also particularly to those who may be subject to them, because they are not adequately connected to the policy goal they are said to fulfill. I conclude with some brief observations concerning the ways in which revocation permits states to abrogate their shared responsibility for protecting the global community from dangerous individuals. (shrink)
This essay examines texts from Kierkegaard's signed and pseudonymous authorship on immortality and the resurrection, challenging the received opinion that Kierkegaard's account of eternal life merely connotes a temporal, existential modality of experience as a present eternity. Kierkegaard's thoughts on immortality are more complicated than this reading allows. I demonstrate that Kierkegaard's ideas on the afterlife emerge out of a context in which the topic had been vigorously debated in both Germany and Denmark for more than a decade. In responding (...) to these debates, Kierkegaard establishes a "new argument" for immortality that stands as a robust account of the Christian resurrection and highlights the power of a personal God at the center of life, death, and post-mortem existence. (shrink)
The creation of the latest version of psychiatry's 'bible' has been surrounded by a great deal of controversy. The latest revision, the DSM-5, contains several controversial diagnoses that have been the subject of much debate. One of the central criticisms of DSM-5 is that it pathologizes some behaviors that were previously considered simply problematic, or variations of normal behavior—for example, fidgetiness, noisiness, abundance of energy, shyness, anxiety, and bereavement. Diagnoses such as Binge Eating Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder...
Cosmopolitan principles of justice tell us that it is the responsibility of the wealthy to ensure the immediate transfer of resources to the poor. Yet, it cannot be denied that most countries, and most individual citizens, seem unwilling to act as these principles demand. At issue is motivation: although many people would agree that cosmopolitan principles of justice are right, at least to some extent, few seem motivationally inspired to act upon them. This paper evaluates one set of proposals for (...) securing the transfer of resources from the wealthy to the poor, namely, those that suggest that the right way to achieve cosmopolitan objectives is to generate institutions that will, over time, produce cosmopolitans. I argue that we should focus, doubly, on the generation of supra-national institutions as a way to create a?global demos? and on harnessing the motivational resources available at the nation-state level. (shrink)
What role should the state have in recognizing and regulating marriage? Until recently, liberal political theorists paid little attention to this question. Yet the challenges that the public–private boundary-crossing institution of marriage poses to liberalism are substantial. Tensions in contemporary debates suggest that these challenges remain unaddressed and thus, invite attempts to formulate a coherent and compelling model of the relationship between marriage and the liberal state. This article responds to this invitation. Marriage has long been a concern of at (...) least some liberal thinkers. Typically they focused on the dual character of marriage, or its role in producing gender inequality. While these critical insights are essential to any adequate account of marriage and the state, they are only part of the picture. To grasp the sources of confusion and silences in contemporary debates, and formulate a robust liberal model of marriage and the state, we must examine the functions — intended and effective — of public recognition of marriage. This examination highlights the relevance to the marriage-state relationship of familiar liberal approaches to negotiating the religion-state relationship. Drawing on these approaches and liberal feminist thought, I sketch a model of marriage and the state that aims to expand the area of protected freedom without sacrificing equality, fairness or marriage. Under the model I propose, marriage would be disestablished. The state would neither confer marital status, nor use 'marriage' as a category for dispersing benefits. Legitimate public welfare goals currently treated through marriage would be addressed through an intimate caregiving union status. (shrink)
Leading experts and rising stars in the field explore whether cosmopolitanism becomes impossible in the theoretical framework that assumed the absence of a final ground. The questions that the volume addresses refer exactly to the foundational predicament that characterizes cosmopolitanism: How is it possible to think cosmopolitanism after the critique of foundations? Can cosmopolitanism be conceived without an ‘ultimate’ ground? Can we construct theories of cosmopolitanism without some certainties about the entire world or about the cosmos? Should we continue to (...) look for foundations of cosmopolitan rights, norms and values? Alternatively, should we aim towards cosmopolitanism without foundations or towards cosmopolitanism with ‘contingent foundations’? Could cosmopolitanism be the very attempt to come to terms with the failure of ultimate grounds? Written accessibly and contributing to key debates on political philosophy, and social and political thought, this volume advances the concept of post-foundational cosmopolitanism by bridging the polarised approaches to the concept. (shrink)
Attitudes toward sow husbandry differ between citizens and conventional pig farmers. Research showed that moral values could only predict the judgment of people in case of culling healthy animals in the course of a disease epidemic to a certain extent. Therefore, we hypothesized that attitudes of citizens and pig farmers cannot be predicted one-on-one by moral values. Furthermore, we were interested in getting insight in whether moral values can be useful in bridging the gap between attitudes toward sow husbandry of (...) citizens and pig farmers. Based on a questionnaire, it was found that pig farmers and citizens, when considered as one group, shared the valuation of most moral values. However, when studying the four clusters of citizens with different attitudes toward sow husbandry, determined in a previous study, a variation in valuation of the moral values between the clusters of citizens and farmers came to the fore. This means that moral values are interpreted differently by groups of people when forming attitudes toward sow husbandry. The results of our study give an indication of which moral values are weighed differently between clusters of citizens and pig farmers. This information can be useful in future research on attitudes toward animal husbandry in order to understand why attitudes differ between groups of people. Besides, our results can be useful for the pig sector and citizens to learn to understand each other’s attitudes. With this understanding it is possible to invest in a husbandry system that can build on societal support. (shrink)
This volume collects four published articles by the late Tamara Horowitz and two unpublished papers on decision theory: "Making Rational Decisions When Preferences Cycle" and the monograph-length "The Backtracking Fallacy." An introduction is provided by editor Joseph Camp. Horowitz preferred to recognize the diversity of rationality, both practical and theoretical rationality. She resisted the temptation to accept simple theories of rationality that are quick to characterize ordinary reasoning as fallacious. This broadly humanist approach to philosophy is exemplified by the (...) articles in this collection. As just one example, in "The Backtracking Fallacy," she argues that there are policies for decision-making a person may adopt if the person prefers to do so, but need not adopt. A person who employs such a policy no longer can regard standard expected utility theory as exceptionless, thereby sacrificing theoretical simplicity. But it is a mistake, Horowitz argues, to preserve theoretical simplicity by falsifying the decision making methods real people really use. (shrink)
In 1951, the eight o’clock nightly news reported on Jean-Paul Sartre for the first time. By the end of the twentieth century, more than 3,500 programs dealing with philosophy and its practitioners—including Bachelard, Badiou, Foucault, Lyotard, and Lévy—had aired on French television. According to Tamara Chaplin, this enduring commitment to bringing the most abstract and least visual of disciplines to the French public challenges our very assumptions about the incompatibility of elite culture and mass media. Indeed, it belies the (...) conviction that television is inevitably anti-intellectual and the quintessential archenemy of the book. Chaplin argues that the history of the televising of philosophy is crucial to understanding the struggle over French national identity in the postwar period. Linking this history to decolonization, modernization, and globalization, _Turning On the Mind _claims that we can understand neither the markedly public role that philosophy came to play in French society during the late twentieth century nor the renewed interest in ethics and political philosophy in the early twenty-first unless we acknowledge the work of television. Throughout, Chaplin insists that we jettison presumptions about the anti-intellectual nature of the visual field, engages critical questions about the survival of national cultures in a globalizing world, and encourages us to rethink philosophy itself, ultimately asserting that the content of the discipline is indivisible from the new media forms in which it has found expression. (shrink)
What makes anger an appropriate response to systemic injustice? Let us assume that it cannot merely be its positive effects. That is, sometimes we should be angry even when getting angry is bound to make things worse. What makes such anger appropriate? According to Amia Srinivasan (2017), counterproductive anger is only apt if it passes a necessary condition that I call the Matching Constraint: one’s personal reason for getting angry must match the fact that justifies their anger. When the Matching (...) Constraint is satisfied, anger can be an intrinsically worthwhile way of affectively appreciating injustice. I argue that the Matching Constraint is incorrect. More precisely, I take issue with its status as a necessary condition on apt anger. Anger can be an apt response to injustice even when it fails to be a form of affective appreciation. Often enough, one does not know why they are angry, or one is not angry for the reason that justifies their anger. For all that, it may still be appropriate for them to be angry. After presenting several cases of apt anger that fail the Matching Constraint, I suggest an alternative standard for aptness based on the general function of anger in our psychology. On my view, anger is apt when and because it alerts one, however coarsely or crudely, to threats against one’s values. (shrink)
Two Conceptions of Wittgenstein's Contextualism How should we understand Wittgenstein's proposals that "the meaning of a word is its use in the language" and that a name only has a meaning in a language-game? Are they incompatible with occasion-invariant semantics? In this paper I present two leading interpretations of Wittgenstein's contextualism: James Conant's meaning-eliminativism and Charles Travis's meaning-underdetermination. I argue that, even though these two interpretations are very similar, the latter gives a more nuanced account of Wittgenstein's contextualism which does (...) not involve a commitment to the claim that words have no meaning outside immediate contexts of use. (shrink)
Calls to expand temporary work programmes come from two directions. First, as global justice advocates observe, every year thousands of poor migrants cross borders in search of better opportunities, often in the form of improved employment opportunities. As a result, international organizations now lobby in favour of expanding ‘guest-work’ opportunities, that is, opportunities for citizens of poorer countries to migrate temporarily to wealthier countries to fill labour shortages. Second, temporary work programmes permit domestic governments to respond to two internal, contradictory (...) political pressures: (1) to fill labour shortages and (2) to do so without increasing rates of permanent migration. Temporary work programmes permit governments to appear ‘tough’ on migration, while responding to employer pressure to locate workers willing to work in low-skilled, poorly remunerated positions. The coincidence of national self-interest and global justice generates a strong case in favour of expanding guest-work. We evaluate the moral benefits and burdens of expanding guest-work opportunities, and conclude that although there are benefits to be gleaned from the perspective of global wealth redistribution, at present, temporary work programmes are generally unjust. We will argue that just temporary work programmes, in time, permit temporary workers to attain citizenship. This spells the end of traditional temporary work programmes, which require that workers return to their home country in time; instead, what is temporary is the employment obligation that must be fulfilled as a requirement to access citizenship. As long as this requirement is met, we endorse guest-work programmes as a tool to respond to global inequality. (shrink)
On the most common interpretation of occasion-sensitivity what varies cross-contextually is the truth-conditional content of representations. Jerry Fodor argues that when extended to mental representation this view has some problematic consequences. In this paper I outline an approach to occasion-sensitivity which circumvents Fodor’s objections but still maintains that the aspect of thought that guides deliberation and action is occasion-sensitive. On the proposed view, what varies cross-contextually are not truth conditions but rather the conditions for accepting a representation as true relative (...) to a practical goal that is pursued on an occasion. I show that although the proposal entails an error theory this theory is not problematic since it is meant to compensate for the over-generating nature of semantic competence, namely, the fact that not all of the representation’s truth-makers are conducive to a given contextually salient goal. (shrink)
The generalized second law of thermodynamics states that entropy always increases when all event horizons are attributed with an entropy proportional to their area. We test the generalized second law by investigating the change in entropy when dust, radiation and black holes cross a cosmological event horizon. We generalize for ﬂat, open and closed Friedmann–Robertson–Walker universes by using numerical calculations to determine the cosmological horizon evolution. In most cases, the loss of entropy from within the cosmological horizon is more than (...) balanced by an increase in cosmological event horizon entropy, maintaining the validity of the generalized second law of thermodynamics. However, an intriguing set of open universe models shows an apparent entropy decrease when black holes disappear over the cosmological event horizon. We anticipate that this apparent violation of the generalized second law will disappear when solutions are available for black holes embedded in arbitrary backgrounds. (shrink)
Offering a panoramic view of much of Benjamin’s thought, and concentrating in particular on his early writings, this book derives from a philosophical analysis of readings and studies by Benjamin that have not heretofore been considered in detail.
The attention being paid to ethics education in accounting has been increasing, especially after the corporate accounting scandals at the turn of the century. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the existing research in the field of ethics education in accounting. To synthesize past research, a bibliometric analysis that references 134 primary studies is performed and three bibliometric methods are applied. First, we visualize the historical evolution of ethics education in accounting research through historiography. Second, we use bibliographic coupling (...) to identify clusters of ethics education in accounting research before, during, and after major corporate scandals. Third, we perform a co-word analysis to connect the identified patterns into a map of a contextual space. The results reveal, in each decade, not only an increasing academic focus on this field of research, but also an increasing number of different research clusters. While the clusters Factors affecting moral judgement, Perception of ethics, and Lack of ethics topics in the last research period develop further from the respective clusters in the previous periods, Accounting beyond technical skills, Integration of ethics in accounting education, Use of developed ethics frameworks, and Professional values on the contrary develop anew in the last decade, as a consequence of a growing demand for teaching ethics. Overall, the paper presents the development patterns of ethics education in accounting research and sets up a research agenda that encourages future research. (shrink)
Primate research suggests that affiliation is a highly complex construct. Studies of primate affiliation demonstrate the need to distinguish between various affiliative behaviors, consider relationships as emergent properties of these behaviors, define affiliation in the context of general environmental responsiveness, and address developmental changes in affiliation across the lifespan.
The state of Alaska has a complex historical relationship with its wild wolf packs. The authors expand Connell's concept of frontier masculinity to interpret articles from the Anchorage Daily News as an alternative way to understand Alaska's shifting wolf policies. Originally, state policies were shaped by frontier masculinity and characterized by claims of sportsmen's rights to kill wolves. With the reinstitution of an aggressive wolf-eradication project, Alaska policy makers retooled frontier masculinity. This altered form of masculinity, retro frontier masculinity, is (...) constructed at the state level and deploys new strategic emphases: vilifying opponents as feminized sissies, casting wolf hunters as paternalist protectors, reifying the masculine family provider role, and framing the issue as fundamentally about competition. (shrink)
Three experiments demonstrate that biological movement facilitates young infants’ recognition of the whole human form. A body discrimination task was used in which 6-, 9-, and 12-month-old infants were habituated to typical human bodies and then shown scrambled human bodies at the test. Recovery of interest to the scrambled bodies was observed in 9- and 12-month-old infants in Experiment 1, but only when the body images were animated to move in a biologically possible way. In Experiment 2, nonbiological movement was (...) incorporated into the typical and scrambled body images, but this did not facilitate body recognition in 9- and 12-month-olds. A preferential looking paradigm was used in Experiment 3 to determine if infants had a spontaneous preference for the scrambled versus typical body stimuli when these were both animated. The results showed that 12-month-olds preferred the scrambled body stimuli, 9-month-olds preferred the typical body stimuli and the 6-month-olds showed no preference for either type of body stimuli. These findings suggest that human body recognition involves integrating form and movement, possibly in the superior temporal sulcus, from as early as 9 months of life. (shrink)
Through my personal lenses as a scholar/sevak at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, I explore the ashram’s efforts to raise environmental awareness through the performative practice of Ganga aarti. Simultaneously a religious event and an environmental rally, the daily Ganga aarti on the bank of the Ganga River represents an environmentally focused innovation upon an existing religious practice. Aside from being a devotional act of reverence to the goddess Ganga Ma, Ganga aarti at Parmarth Niketan is a self-consciously performative (...) practice intended to draw and entertain audiences from all walks of life and from all over the globe. Ganga aarti combines the ritual practice of Ganga puja, bhajan-kirtan, guru darshan, bhakti, and sometimes bliss via the total sensorial experience. “Mobile” Ganga aarti performances in other parts of North India are often day-long events featuring impassioned lectures about the importance of the environment, a traveling puppet show in which Shiva and Ganga Ma urge the crowds not to dump rubbish in the river, classical dance performances, distribution of hats and t-shirts, and girls dressed as the swarup of various river goddesses. I argue that as religious institutions increasingly engage in pro-environment endeavors with the public support of government officials, this public performance style will become an increasingly visible and influential feature of Indian environmentalism. (shrink)