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Consciousness, Attention, and Conscious Attention

Carlos Montemayor

In this book, Carlos Montemayor and Harry Haladjian consider the relationship between consciousness and attention. The cognitive mechanism of attention has often been compared to consciousness, because attention and consciousness appear to share similar qualities. But, Montemayor and Haladjian point out, attention is defined functionally, whereas consciousness is generally defined in terms of its phenomenal character without a clear functional purpose. They offer new insights and proposals about how best to understand and study the relationship between consciousness and attention by examining their functional aspects. The book's ultimate conclusion is that consciousness and attention are largely dissociated. Undertaking a rigorous analysis of current empirical and theoretical work on attention and consciousness, Montemayor and Haladjian propose a spectrum of dissociation -- a framework that identifies the levels of dissociation between consciousness and attention -- ranging from identity to full dissociation. They argue that conscious attention, the focusing of attention on the contents of awareness, is constituted by overlapping but distinct processes of consciousness and attention. Conscious attention, they claim, evolved after the basic forms of attention, increasing access to the richest kinds of cognitive contents.Montemayor and Haladjian's goal is to help unify the study of consciousness and attention across the disciplines. A focused examination of conscious attention will, they believe, enable theoretical progress that will further our understanding of the human mind.

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The Consciousness Paradox

Consciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts

Rocco J. Gennaro

A defense of a version of the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness with special attention to such topics as concepts and animal consciousness.

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Consensus and Global Environmental Governance

Deliberative Democracy in Nature's Regime

Walter F. Baber

In this book, Walter Baber and Robert Bartlett explore the practical and conceptual implications of a new approach to international environmental governance. Their proposed approach, juristic democracy, emphasizes the role of the citizen rather than the nation-state as the source of legitimacy in international environmental law; it is rooted in local knowledge and grounded in democratic deliberation and consensus. The aim is to construct a global jurisprudence based on collective will formation. Building on concepts presented in their previous book, the award-winning Global Democracy and Sustainable Jurisprudence, Baber and Bartlett examine in detail the challenges that consensus poses for a system of juristic democracy. Baber and Bartlett analyze the implications of deliberative consensus for rule-bounded behavior, for the accomplishment of basic governance tasks, and for diversity in a politically divided and culturally plural world. They assess social science findings about the potential of small-group citizen panels to contribute to rationalized consensus, drawing on the extensive research conducted on the use of juries in courts of law. Finally, they analyze the place of juristic democracy in a future "consensually federal" system for earth system governance.

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A Constitution for All Times

Pamela S. Karlan

Pamela S. Karlan is a unique figure in American law. A professor at Stanford Law School and former counsel for the NAACP, she has argued seven cases at the Supreme Court and worked on dozens more as a clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun. In her first book written for a general audience, she examines what happens in American courtrooms -- especially the Supreme Court -- and what it means for our everyday lives and to our national commitments to democracy, justice, and fairness. Through an exploration of current hot-button legal issues -- from voting rights to the death penalty, health care, same-sex marriage, invasive high-tech searches, and gun control -- Karlan makes a sophisticated and resonant case for her vision of the Constitution. At the heart of that vision is the conviction that the Constitution is an evolving document that enables government to solve novel problems and expand the sphere of human freedom. As skeptics charge congressional overreach on such issues as the Affordable Care Act and even voting rights, Karlan pushes back. On individual rights in particular, she believes the Constitution allows Congress to enforce the substance of its amendments. And she calls out the Roberts Court for its disdain for the other branches of government and for its alignment with a conservative agenda.

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Contiguity Theory

Norvin Richards

Languages differ in the types of overt movement they display. For example, some languages (including English) require subjects to move to a preverbal position, while others (including Italian) allow subjects to remain postverbal. In its current form, Minimalism offers no real answer to the question of why these different types of movements are distributed among languages as they are. In Contiguity Theory, Norvin Richards argues that there are universal conditions on morphology and phonology, particularly in how the prosodic structures of language can be built, and that these universal structures interact with language-specific properties of phonology and morphology. He argues that the grammar begins the construction of phonological structure earlier in the derivation than previously thought, and that the distribution of overt movement operations is largely determined by the grammar's efforts to construct this structure. Rather than appealing to diacritic features, the explanations will generally be rooted in observable phenomena. Richards posits a different kind of relation between syntax and morphology than is usually found in Minimalism. According to his Contiguity Theory, if we know, for example, what inflectional morphology is attached to the verb in a given language, and what the rules are for where stress is placed in the verb, then we will know where the verb goes in the sentence. Ultimately, the goal is to construct a theory in which a complete description of the phonology and morphology of a given language is also a description of its syntax.

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Convergent Evolution

Limited Forms Most Beautiful

George McGhee

An analysis of convergent evolution from molecules to ecosystems, demonstrating the limited number of evolutionary pathways available to life.

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Creating Language

Integrating Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing

Morten H. Christiansen

Language is a hallmark of the human species; the flexibility and unbounded expressivity of our linguistic abilities is unique in the biological world. In this book, Morten Christiansen and Nick Chater argue that to understand this astonishing phenomenon, we must consider how language is created: moment by moment, in the generation and understanding of individual utterances; year by year, as new language learners acquire language skills; and generation by generation, as languages change, split, and fuse through the processes of cultural evolution. Christiansen and Chater propose a revolutionary new framework for understanding the evolution, acquisition, and processing of language, offering an integrated theory of how language creation is intertwined across these multiple timescales.Christiansen and Chater argue that mainstream generative approaches to language do not provide compelling accounts of language evolution, acquisition, and processing. Their own account draws on important developments from across the language sciences, including statistical natural language processing, learnability theory, computational modeling, and psycholinguistic experiments with children and adults. Christiansen and Chater also consider some of the major implications of their theoretical approach for our understanding of how language works, offering alternative accounts of specific aspects of language, including the structure of the vocabulary, the importance of experience in language processing, and the nature of recursive linguistic structure.

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Cultivating Food Justice

Race, Class, and Sustainability

edited by Alison Hope Alkon and Julian Agyeman

Documents how racial and social inequalities are built into our food system, and how communities are creating environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives.

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Democracy's Arsenal

Creating a Twenty-First-Century Defense Industry

Jacques S. Gansler

An expert explains why the security needs of the twenty-first century require a transformation of the defense industry of the twentieth century.

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Demographic Change and Long-Run Development

Matteo Cervellati

Over the last two hundred years, mortality and fertility levels in the Western world have dropped to unprecedented levels. This demographic transition was accompanied by an economic transition that led to widespread education and economic growth after centuries of near-stagnation. At the same time, other changes have occurred in family structures, culture, and the organization of society. Economists have only recently begun to take into account the demographic transition from high mortality and high fertility when modeling and researching economic development. This CESifo volume reviews recent approaches to economic demography, considering such topics as the bio-geographic origins of comparative development differences, the role of health improvements and mortality decline, as well as physiological, familial, cultural, and social aspects.

After an overview of the study of demography and economic demography, the chapters cover subjects including the Neolithic era and the period of the formation of states and social institutions; longevity and economic growth; household decision making and fertility; land inequality, education, and marriage in nineteenth century Prussia; and caste systems and technology in pre-modern societies. The book concludes with a call for further investigation of the institutional and social factors that influence demographics and economies, suggesting that unified growth theory offers a potential approach to studying development.

ContributorsMatteo Cervellati, Francesco Cinnirella, David de la Croix, Carl-Johann Dalgaard, Matthias Doepke, Elena Esposito, Davide Fiaschi, Tamara Fioroni, Oded Galor, Boris Gershman, Erik Hornung, Fabian Kindermann, Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, Holger Strulik, Uwe Sunde, David N. Weil

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