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Ontologies and Politics of Biogenomic 'Race'

Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther and Jonathan Michael Kaplan

All eyes are turned towards genomic data and models as the source of knowledge about whether human races exist or not. Will genomic science make the final decision about whether racial realism (e.g. racial population naturalism) or anti-realism (e.g. racial scepticism) is correct? We think not. The results of even our best and most impressive genomic technologies under-determine whether biogenomic races exist, or not. First, different sub-disciplines of biology interested in population structure employ distinct concepts, aims, measures and models, producing cross-cutting categorisations of population subdivisions rather than a single, universal biogenomic concept of 'race.' Second, within each sub-discipline (e.g. phylogenetics, conservation biology), genomic results are consistent with, and map multiply to, racial realism and anti-realism. Indeed, racial ontologies are constructed conventionally, rather than discovered. We thus defend a constructivist conventionalism about biogenomic racial ontology. Choices and conventions must always be made in identifying particular kinds of groups. Political agendas, social programmes, and moral questions premised on the existence of naturalistic race should accept that no scientifically grounded racial ontology is forthcoming, and adjust presumptions, practices and projects accordingly.

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Romantic Philosophy and Natural Sciences

Blurred Boundaries and Terminological Problems

Elías Palti

Departing from a recent work by Helmut Müller-Sievers the author charts the intricacies of the debate between preformationism and epigeneticism and its theoretico-epistemological repercussions during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although the most common interpretation equals preformationism to mechanism and fixism, on one side, and evolutionism to epigeneticism and organicism, on the other, the actual picture, once key authors are analyzed, is far more complex. All preformationist theories were, in principle, mechanistic, but not all mechanistic theories were preformationist: they could also be epigenetist, which means that not all epigenetist theories were necessarily organicist. Although all organicist theories were, in principle, evolutionary, not all mechanistic theories were fixist. And finally, all preformationist theories were, in principle, fixist, but not all fixist theories were preformationist. The redefinition of the notion of embryonic preformation in the first decades of the nineteenth-century resulted, in turn, in a new concept of the “organism,” crystallizing a view of nature that combined fixism (at a phylogenetical level) and evolutionism (at the embryological level).

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Enslaving Central Executives: Toward a Brain Theory of Cinema

Yadin Dudai

This article proposes that a major drive in the fast evolution of cinema is that film uniquely fits, exploits and expands the potential of a specialized cognitive machinery in the human brain. This is working memory (WM), a limited capacity processing system that temporarily holds and processes on-line and off-line information under attentional control during the planning and execution of a task. A dominant model of WM depicts multiple components, including a central executive, subordinate workspaces for spatio-visual information and for sound and language, and an episodic buffer that binds episodes on the go and is capable of sorting them into long-term memory. The distinct generic attributes of film and their relevance to the subcomponents and operation of WM in the spectator are described. It is proposed that in watching a movie, WM operates in a special mode, dubbed the representation-of-representation (ROR) mode, in which normal motor response to reality is suppressed. It is further proposed that under proper contextual settings and mind set, the central executive of the spectator relinquishes control to the film information, culminating in a transient rewarding dissociative state. The usefulness of the model is discussed in the framework of the newly emerging discipline of neurocinematics. In evolutionary context, the interaction of film and brain is bidirectional. Film in its broadest sense is an extra-corporeal audiovisual space that allows the human brain to perform detailed past and future mental time travel which, unlike WM and human memory in general, has unlimited capacity, variability and endurance. This augments the original phylogenetic advantage that had probably led to the emergence of episodic memory in the first place.

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The grey zone, distortion and the ownership of causation

A response to Don Gardner

Nigel Rapport

consciousness) arise. If we deny the social processes that produce a self we misconstrue its essence. (iv) Phylogenetically, too, our species evolution shows us to be obligate co-operators. Language and communication are a condition of our being, essentially

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Carroll on the Emotion of Horror

Filippo Contesi

mammals and that of birds. But, then, one would have to explain why, for example, people in New Guinea eat fried grasshoppers (see Herz 2012 ). In some cases, such an endeavor might even have good chances of success. Although disgust is phylogenetically

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Comment on cosmopolitan politesse

Goodness, justice, civil society

Don Gardner

was the author's point. I would also suggest Rapport misrepresents the phylogenetic (and historical) processes responsible for our evolution, to the extent that he addresses them: we are obligate co-operators, and it seems clear that language and

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Fanon on the Dialectic of Madness and Struggle

Gregory Maxaulane

jurisprudence of colonial ethnopsychiatrists prevented them from understanding this complexity because they regarded criminality and lying as proof of the phylogenetic weakness of the colonised subject. To use Jean Baudrillard (1993: 152) , these are some of

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The Eisenstein-Vygotsky-Luria Collaboration

Triangulation and Third Culture Debates

Julia Vassilieva

simultaneous functioning is crucial for human consciousness when encountering works of art. This central tenet of Eisenstein's Grundproblem corresponds directly to Luria's and Vygotsky's idea that the phylogenetic history of the organization of behavior is

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Introduction to the Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities

Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood, and Frank G. Karioris

.15167/2279-5057/AG2017.6.11.394 . Levisen , Carsten . 2017 . “ From Basic to Cultural Semantics: Postcolonial Futures for a Cognitive Creolistics .” In Creole Studies–Phylogenetic Approaches , ed. Peter Bakker , Finn Borchsenius , Carsten Levisen

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On Ethnographic Games of Doubt and Certainty

Stephan Palmié

. 8 I should probably add: phylogenetically speaking. Ontogenetically that world is found (in O'Gorman's sense), and laboriously acquired – or rather jointly invented – by each and every human infant. 9 And that pertains not only to Cecilia and