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An Analysis of Energy and US Foreign Policy

The United States is addicted to crude oil. In this book, Andrew Price-Smith argues that this addiction has distorted the conduct of American foreign policy in profound and malign ways, resulting in interventionism, exploitation, and other illiberal behaviors that hide behind a facade of liberal internationalism. The symbiotic relationship between the state and the oil industry has produced deviations from rational foreign energy policy, including interventions in Iraq and elsewhere that have been (at the very least) counterproductive or (at worst) completely antithetical to national interests.

Liberal internationalism casts the United States as a benign hegemon, guaranteeing security to its allies during the Cold War and helping to establish collaborative international institutions. Price-Smith argues for a reformulation of liberal internationalism (which he terms shadow liberalism) that takes into account the dark side of American foreign policy. Price-Smith contends that the “free market” in international oil is largely a myth, rendered problematic by energy statism and the rise of national oil companies. He illustrates the destabilizing effect of oil in the Persian Gulf, and describes the United States' grand energy strategy, particularly in the Persian Gulf, as illiberal at its core, focused on the projection of power and on periodic bouts of violence. Washington’s perennial oscillation between liberal phases of institution building and provision of public goods and illiberal bellicosity, Price-Smith argues, represents the shadow liberalism that is at the core of US foreign policy.

Experiments in Cooperative Cognitive Architecture

In this book, Whitman Richards offers a novel and provocative proposal for understanding decision making and human behavior. Building on Valentino Braitenberg’s famous “vehicles,” Richards describes a collection of mental organisms that he calls “daemons”—virtual correlates of neural modules. Daemons have favored choices and make decisions that control behaviors of the group to which they belong, with each daemon preferring a different outcome. Richards arranges these preferences in graphs, linking similar choices, which thus reinforce each other. “Anigrafs” refers to these two components—animals, or the mental organisms (agents or daemons), and the graphs that show similarity relations. Together these two components are the basis of a new cognitive architecture.

In Richards’s account, a collection of daemons compete for control of the cognitive system in which they reside; the challenge is to get the daemons to agree on one of many choices. Richards explores the results of group decisions, emphasizing the Condorcet voting procedure for aggregating preferences. A neural mechanism is proposed. Anigrafs presents a series of group decisions that incorporate simple and complex movements, as well as aspects of cognition and belief. Anigrafs concludes with a section on “metagrafs,” which chart relationships between different anigraf models.

Environmental Philosophy after the End of Nature

Environmentalism, in theory and practice, is concerned with protecting nature. But if we have now reached “the end of nature,” as Bill McKibben and other environmental thinkers have declared, what is there left to protect? In Thinking like a Mall, Steven Vogel argues that environmental thinking would be better off if it dropped the concept of “nature” altogether and spoke instead of the “environment”—that is, the world that actually surrounds us, which is always a built world, the only one that we inhabit. We need to think not so much like a mountain (as Aldo Leopold urged) as like a mall. Shopping malls, too, are part of the environment and deserve as much serious consideration from environmental thinkers as do mountains.

Vogel argues provocatively that environmental philosophy, in its ethics, should no longer draw a distinction between the natural and the artificial and, in its politics, should abandon the idea that something beyond human practices (such as “nature”) can serve as a standard determining what those practices ought to be. The appeal to nature distinct from the built environment, he contends, may be not merely unhelpful to environmental thinking but in itself harmful to that thinking. The question for environmental philosophy is not “how can we save nature?” but rather “what environment should we inhabit, and what practices should we engage in to help build it?”

The Language of Human Movement

In Motion and Representation, Nicolás Salazar Sutil considers the representation of human motion through languages of movement and technological mediation. He argues that technology transforms the representation of movement and that representation in turn transforms the way we move and what we understand to be movement. Humans communicate through movement, physically and mentally. To record and capture integrated movement (both bodily and mental), by means of formal language and technological media, produces a material record and cultural expression of our evolving kinetic minds and identities.

Salazar Sutil considers three forms of movement inscription: a written record (notation), a visual record (animation,) and a computational record (motion capture). He focuses on what he calls kinetic formalism—formalized movement in such pursuits as dance, sports, live animation, and kinetic art, as well as abstract definitions of movement in mathematics and computer science. He explores the representation of kinetic space and spatiotemporality; the representation of mental plans of movement; movement notation, including stave notation (Labanotation) and such contemporary forms of notation as Choreographic Language Agent; and the impact of digital technology on contemporary representations of movement—in particular motion capture technology and Internet transfer protocols.

Motion and Representation offers a unique cultural theory of movement and of the ever-changing ways of representing movement.

Pivotal Events in Valuing Work and Delivering Results

In 2009, the Ford Motor Company was the only one of the Big Three automakers not to take the federal bailout package. How did Ford remain standing when its competitors were brought to their knees? It was a gutsy decision, but it didn’t happen in isolation. The United Auto Workers joined with Ford to make this possible—not only in 2009, but in a series of more than fifty pivotal events during three decades that add up to a transformation that simultaneously values work and delivers results.

The pivotal events—some planned and some unplanned; some at the facility level and some at the enterprise level –were not all successful. All had the potential, however, to further the transformation, and all provide insight into how large-scale system change really happens. The authors— each with years of experience with Ford, the UAW, and the industry—provide an unprecedented inside look at how core operating assumptions are shifted and at the emergence of integrated operating systems for quality, safety, and other aspects of the enterprise. It is a transformation built on a foundation of dignity and mutual respect, guided by a vision of combining good jobs with high performance.

New Directions in the Study of Concepts

The study of concepts has advanced dramatically in recent years, with exciting new findings and theoretical developments. Core concepts have been investigated in greater depth and new lines of inquiry have blossomed, with researchers from an ever broader range of disciplines making important contributions. In this volume, leading philosophers and cognitive scientists offer original essays that present the state-of-the-art in the study of concepts. These essays, all commissioned for this book, do not merely present the usual surveys and overviews; rather, they offer the latest work on concepts by a diverse group of theorists as well as discussions of the ideas that should guide research over the next decade. The book is an essential companion volume to the earlier Concepts: Core Readings, the definitive source for classic texts on the nature of concepts.

The essays cover concepts as they relate to animal cognition, the brain, evolution, perception, and language, concepts across cultures, concept acquisition and conceptual change, concepts and normativity, concepts in context, and conceptual individuation. The contributors include such prominent scholars as Susan Carey, Nicola Clayton, Jerry Fodor, Douglas Medin, Joshua Tenenbaum, and Anna Wierzbicka.

Aurore Avarguès-Weber, Eef Ameel, Megan Bang, H. Clark Barrett, Pascal Boyer, Elisabeth Camp, Susan Carey, Daniel Casasanto, Nicola S. Clayton, Dorothy L. Cheney, Vyvyan Evans, Jerry A. Fodor, Silvia Gennari, Tobias Gerstenberg, Martin Giurfa, Noah D. Goodman, J. Kiley Hamlin, James A. Hampton, Mutsumi Imai, Charles W. Kalish, Frank Keil, Jonathan Kominsky, Stephen Laurence, Gary Lupyan, Edouard Machery, Bradford Z. Mahon, Asifa Majid, Barbara C. Malt, Eric Margolis, Douglas Medin, Nancy J. Nersessian, bethany ojalehto, Anna Papafragou, Joshua M. Plotnik, Noburo Saji, Robert M. Seyfarth, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Sandra Waxman, Daniel A. Weiskopf, Anna Wierzbicka

Toward a New Ethical Framework for the Art of Dying Well
Edited by Lydia Dugdale

Most of us are generally ill-equipped for dying. Today, we neither see death today nor prepare for it. But this has not always been the case. In the fourteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church published the Ars moriendi texts, which established prayers and practices for an art of dying. In the twenty-first century, physicians rely on procedures and protocols for the efficient management of hospitalized patients. How can we recapture an art of dying that can facilitate our dying well? In this book, physicians, philosophers, and theologians attempt to articulate a bioethical framework for dying well in a secularized, diverse society.

Contributors discuss such topics as the acceptance of human finitude; the role of hospice and palliative medicine; spiritual preparation for death; and the relationship between community, and individual autonomy. They also consider special cases, including children, elderly patients with dementia, and death in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, when doctors could do little more than accompany their patients in humble solidarity.

These chapters make the case for a robust bioethics—one that could foster both the contemplation of finitude and the cultivation of community that would be necessary for a contemporary art of dying well.

Jeffrey P. Bishop, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Daniel Callahan, Farr A. Curlin, Lydia S. Dugdale, Michelle Harrington, John Lantos, Stephen R. Latham, M. Therese Lysaught, Autumn Alcott Ridenour, Peter A. Selwyn, Daniel Sulmasy

Perceptual Science and the Puzzle of Color in Philosophy

Is color real or illusory, mind independent or mind dependent? Does seeing in color give us a true picture of external reality? The metaphysical debate over color has gone on at least since the seventeenth century. In this book, M. Chirimuuta draws on contemporary perceptual science to address these questions. Her account integrates historical philosophical debates, contemporary work in the philosophy of color, and recent findings in neuroscience and vision science to propose a novel theory of the relationship between color and physical reality.

Chirimuuta offers an overview of philosophy’s approach to the problem of color, finds the origins of much of the familiar conception of color in Aristotelian theories of perception, and describes the assumptions that have shaped contemporary philosophy of color. She then reviews recent work in perceptual science that challenges philosophers’ accounts of color experience. Finally, she offers a pragmatic alternative whereby perceptual states are understood primarily as action-guiding interactions between a perceiver and the environment. The fact that perceptual states are shaped in idiosyncratic ways by the needs and interests of the perceiver does not render the states illusory. Colors are perceiver-dependent properties, and yet our awareness of them does not mislead us about the world. Colors force us to reconsider what we mean by accurately presenting external reality, and, as this book demonstrates, thinking about color has important consequences for the philosophy of perception and, more generally, for the philosophy of mind.

A Key to Understanding Energy Sources and Uses

In this book, Vaclav Smil argues that power density is a key determinant of the nature and dynamics of energy systems. Any understanding of complex energy systems must rely on quantitative measures of many fundamental variables. Power density—the rate of energy flux per unit of area—is an important but largely overlooked measure. Smil provides the first systematic, quantitative appraisal of power density, offering detailed reviews of the power densities of renewable energy flows, fossil fuels, thermal electricity generation, and all common energy uses.

Smil shows that careful quantification, critical appraisals, and revealing comparisons of power densities make possible a deeper understanding of the ways we harness, convert, and use energies. Conscientious assessment of power densities, he argues, proves particularly revealing when contrasting the fossil fuel–based energy system with renewable energy conversions.

Smil explains that modern civilization has evolved as a direct expression of the high power densities of fossil fuel extraction. He argues that our inevitable (and desirable) move to new energy arrangements involving conversions of lower-density renewable energy sources will require our society—currently dominated by megacities and concentrated industrial production—to undergo a profound spatial restructuring of its energy system.

Between Humanities and the Digital offers an expansive vision of how the humanities engage with digital and information technology, providing a range of perspectives on a quickly evolving, contested, and exciting field. It documents the multiplicity of ways that humanities scholars have turned increasingly to digital and information technology as both a scholarly tool and a cultural object in need of analysis.

The contributors explore the state of the art in digital humanities from varied disciplinary perspectives, offer a sample of digitally inflected work that ranges from an analysis of computational literature to the collaborative development of a “Global Middle Ages” humanities platform, and examine new models for knowledge production and infrastructure. Their contributions show not only that the digital has prompted the humanities to move beyond traditional scholarly horizons, but also that the humanities have pushed the digital to become more than a narrowly technical application.

Ian Bogost, Anne Cong-Huyen, Mats Dahlström, Cathy N. Davidson, Johanna Drucker, Amy E. Earhart, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Maurizio Forte, Zephyr Frank, David Theo Goldberg, Jennifer González, Jo Guldi, N. Katherine Hayles, Geraldine Heng, Larissa Hjorth, Tim Hutchings, Henry Jenkins, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Cecilia Lindhé, Alan Liu, Elizabeth Losh, Tara McPherson, Chandra Mukerji, Nick Montfort, Jenna Ng, Bethany Nowviskie, Jennie Olofsson, Lisa Parks, Natalie Phillips, Todd Presner, Stephen Rachman, Patricia Seed, Nishant Shah, Ray Siemens, Jentery Sayers, Jonathan Sterne, Patrik Svensson, William G. Thomas III, Whitney Anne Trettien, Michael Widner

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