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Feb 27, 2024

Gassendi’s second thought. From a materialistic picture of cognition to the defence of dualism: the lasting influence of the polemic with Descartes

Posted by in category: materials

Whether matter could engender cogitation was a very divisive topic of early modern reflection. In his polemic with Descartes, Gassendi appeared to endorse a ‘materialistic’ understanding of cognition. Two objections by Gassendi were particularly relevant to this claim: he challenged the distinction between imagination and intellect, and argued that animal and human cognition only differed quantitatively. Since the intellect was traditionally seen as immaterial, while the imagination was understood as a bodily faculty, these claims appeared to entail a naturalized image of the human soul, and the potential that matter could generate cogitation. Here, I argue that Gassendi’s claims were not only a result of his polemical vein against Descartes; rather, they were part of an intellectual agenda that Gassendi had been pursuing since the early 1620s. I then analyse Gassendi’s change of perspective in Animadversiones (1649) and Syntagma philosophicum (1658), where Gassendi presented arguments for the immateriality of the intellect and its true distinction from the imagination. I argue that Gassendi’s early objections against Descartes provided him with material to revise his own position on these subjects. I then show some of the implications of such a change of heart. Lastly, I address some hypotheses of its cause.

Whether matter in general, and vital matter in particular, could engender cogitation was a much-discussed and divisive topic of early modern reflection. Crucial to this debate was the issue of the distinction between animal and human thinking faculties. Generally, both men and animals were believed to possess imagination or phantasy—a faculty that was seen as depending on the body. Conversely, only men could perform higher thinking by virtue of their possession of the intellect; in turn, this was commonly identified with an operation of the immaterial soul. However, early modern authors sometimes downplayed these distinctions, for instance by presenting a purely materialistic explanation of the soul and of its functions. In doing so, they brought attention, whether explicitly or implicitly, to the ability of vital matter to generate cognition.

Feb 27, 2024

Deforestation’s Hidden Toll: Impact on Child Health

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, economics, education, health, sustainability

Do the impacts of deforestation go beyond the environment? What about human health, specifically the health of children? This is what a recent study published in Economics & Human Biology hopes to address as Dr. Gabriel Fuentes Cordoba, who is an associate professor of economics from Sophia University in Japan, investigated how deforestation in Cambodia effects the health of children around the time of their birth. This study holds the potential to help scientists, conservationists, and the public better understand the health effects of deforestation, specifically with the increasing effects of climate change around the world.

For the study, Dr. Fuentes Cordoba analyzed data obtained from the Cambodian Demographic Health Surveys and forest loss to ascertain the health impacts for pregnant women and children under five years of age who reside in areas of deforestation. In the end, Dr. Fuentes Cordoba discover alarming results that suggest deforestation exposure to women less than one year before pregnancy could lead to development of anemia, which is a precursor to malaria. This could result in significant health impacts on children being born, specifically reductions in birth weight, along with overall height and weight as they age.

“This research shows a negative impact of deforestation on child health,” Dr. Fuentes Cordoba said in a statement. “This negative impact may persist into adulthood and affect other aspects of wellbeing such as education acquisition and even wages. My findings indicate that future research should explore this aspect further.”

Feb 27, 2024

Evo: DNA foundation modeling from molecular to genome scale

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Evo is a long-context biological foundation model that generalizes across the fundamental languages of biology: DNA, RNA, and proteins.

Introducing Evo, a biological foundation model that generalizes across the fundamental languages of biology: DNA, RNA and proteins. Evo is capable of both prediction tasks, and generative design from molecular to whole genome scale.

Feb 27, 2024

Transplanting a Gene Common in Centenarians Could Rewind The Heart’s Age by Years

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

We are all ultimately overtaken by age, yet for some people, the correct genes can make the journey into old age rather slow.

Italian researchers made a unique discovery regarding people who survive well into their 90s and beyond a few years ago: they frequently possess a variant of the gene BPIFB4 that guards against cardiovascular disease and maintains the heart in excellent condition for a longer period of time.

Feb 27, 2024

Swiss startup unveils the world’s first hydrogen VTOL jet

Posted by in category: transportation

Swiss startup Sirius Aviation has unveiled what it says is the world’s first hydrogen VTOL (vertical take off and landing) aircraft — and an ambitious plan to have it in the air by 2025.

The challenge: Electric VTOLs (eVTOLs) are widely promoted as the next big thing in aviation, and dozens of companies developing their own versions of the vehicles — fleets of flying electric taxis planned to zip around cities and over traffic jams.

Continue reading “Swiss startup unveils the world’s first hydrogen VTOL jet” »

Feb 27, 2024

Lenovo’s Project Crystal is the world’s first laptop with a transparent microLED display

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

It’s not often you encounter a device that looks like it came straight out of a movie set. But Lenovo’s Project Crystal, supposedly the world’s first laptop with a transparent microLED display, is an example of sci-fi come to life.

Currently there are no plans to turn Project Crystal into a retail product. Instead Lenovo’s latest concept device was commissioned by its ThinkPad division to explore the potential of transparent microLED panels and AI integration. The most obvious use case would be sharing info somewhere, like a doctor’s office or a hotel desk. Instead of needing to flip a screen around, you could simply reverse the display via software, allowing anyone on the other side to see it while getting an in-depth explanation.

Feb 27, 2024

Chinese philosopher’s brain frozen for science, causing stir among scholars

Posted by in categories: cryonics, life extension, neuroscience, science

Science and Technology: I don’t want to die.

A friend of the academic, who died in the US in 2021, says his brain has been cryonically preserved in accordance with his final wishes.

Feb 27, 2024

A Theory Says Our Universe Keeps Expanding Because It’s Eating Baby Universes

Posted by in category: futurism

We can’t stop snacking on our smaller celestial counterparts.

Feb 27, 2024

Research Roundup: Dark Energy, Scientific Censorship, and More

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

What can the night sky tell us about the expansion of the universe?

It’s a loaded question, one that researchers across the globe have been trying to answer for decades. Since 2013, they’ve been helped by the Dark Energy Survey (DES), a collaboration of more than 400 scientists at 25 institutions. At Penn, this includes Masao Sako, Arifa Hasan Ahmad and Nada Al Shoaibi Presidential Professor of Physics and Astronomy; Bhuvnesh Jain, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Natural Sciences; Gary Bernstein, Reese W. Flower Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics; and a handful of others from the Department of Physics & Astronomy.

In 2019, the DES finished collecting data, but analysis and discoveries continue, including one that Sako and colleagues announced recently in which they validated the “cosmic acceleration” model and dark energy’s role in it. That research is one of five recent studies detailed below, in this second iteration of Omnia’s new research roundup.

Feb 27, 2024

Philip K Dick’s handbook of narrative warfare

Posted by in category: military

Become a member of the Science Fiction community to continue the discussionWebsite — https://damiengwalter.comYouTube

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