Old Ideas (old + idea)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Rhetoric, Paideia and the Old Idea of a Liberal Education

This paper argues that the modern curriculum of academic subject disciplines embodies a rationalist conception of pure, universal knowledge that does little to cultivate, humanise or form the self. A liberal education in the classical humanist tradition, by contrast, develops a personal culture or paideia, an understanding of the self as a social, political and cultural being, and the practical wisdom needed to make judgements in practical, political and human affairs. The paper concludes by asking whether the old liberal curriculum, traditionally centred on the humanities and the disciplines of grammar and rhetoric, can be recovered in the modern age. [source]

Darwin on island plants

Islands played a key role in Charles Darwin's observations and experiments on plant dispersal. By means of these experiments, he expunged the old idea that a given species could originate at multiple times and in multiple places. More importantly, by seeing the capabilities for dispersal of plant seeds, fruits and branches, he was able to develop ideas of how plants reach islands and thus he is one of the founders of plant biogeography. For facts regarding floristic distribution of plants, Darwin relied on other workers, most notably Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker. Among his insights were the differences between oceanic and continental islands on a floristic basis, ideas on how age of island and distance from mainland areas influenced composition of island floras, the nature of endemism on islands and the role islands and archipelagos served as stepping stones in dispersal. Ingenious at proposing hypotheses, but always respectful of facts, Darwin sought explanations for plant adaptations on islands at a time when knowledge of island botany was little more than floristic in nature. These explanations are compared with selected recent works in island botany. 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 161, 20,25. [source]

Some Afterthoughts on Culture and Explanation in Historical Inquiry

Chris Lorenz
I argue here that the articles in this forum contain basic agreements. All three reject naturalism, reductionism, and monism while retaining causality as an explanatory category, and all three emphasize the role of time and argue for a view in which culture is regarded as both structured and contingent. The differences among the explanatory proposals of Hall, Biernacki, and Kane are as important as the similarities: while Hall favors a Weberian approach, Biernacki argues for a primarily pragmatic explanation of culture, and Kane for a primarily semiotic explanation. I argue that all three positions face immanent problems in elucidating the exact nature of cultural explanation. While Hall leaves the problem of "extrinsic" ideal-typical explanation unsolved, Biernacki simply presupposes the superiority of pragmatic over other types of cultural explanation, and Kane does the same for semiotic explanation. Hints at cultural explanation in the form of narrative remain underargued and are built on old ideas of an opposition between "analysis" and "narrative." This is also the case with the latest plea for "analytic narratves." I conclude that a renewed reflection on this opposition is called for in order to come to grips with cultural explanation and to get beyond the old stereotypes regarding the relationship between historical and social-scientific approaches to the past. [source]

Spectres of Transnationalism: Changing Terrains of Sociology of Law

Roger Cotterrell
The growth of ,legal transnationalism', that is, the reach of law across nation-state borders and the impact of external political and legal pressures on nation-state law , undermines the main foundations of sociology of law. Modern sociology of law has assumed an ,instrumentalist' view of law as an agency of the modern directive state, but now it has to adjust to the state's increasingly complex regulatory conditions. The kind of convergence theory that underpins analysis of much legal transnationalism is inadequate for socio-legal theory, and old ideas of ,law' and ,society' as the foci of sociology of law are no longer appropriate. Socio-legal theory should treat law as a continuum of unstable, competing authority claims. Instead of taking ,society' as its reference point, it should conceptualize the contrasting types of regulatory needs of the networks of community (often not confined by nation-state boundaries) that legal transnationalism addresses. [source]

Fads, Techniques and Control: The Competing Agendas of TPM and TECEX at the Royal Mail (UK)

Mike Noon
The paper offers empirical insight into how traditional thinking can continue to dominate contemporary change initiatives, and suggests that the propensity to repackage and sell ,old' management theory as new techniques reflects the persistence of fundamental, insoluble dilemmas in the nature of organizing. Empirical evidence is drawn from a detailed qualitative study of two case study sites at the Royal Mail, the UK postal service. The analysis shows how the two different change initiatives of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and Technical Centres of Excellence (TECEX) are in competition through their methods and discourse, and how this reflects underlying and competing differences in ideologies of management. It vividly demonstrates how contemporary management thinking can involve repackaging old ideas in new rhetoric and a tendency for faddism. In organizations such as Royal Mail the consequence is that far from proving to be the solution to organizational problems, the techniques perpetuate a traditional management dualism in strategies of labour management between control and autonomy. [source]

The marketing of industrial real estate: application of Taguchi loss functions

Troy A. Festervand
Abstract The marketing of industrial real estate is a resource-consuming endeavour for all parties involved consisting of many objectives that, in many cases, may be in conflict with one another. One method of minimizing resource requirements, especially time, while increasing the probability of a successful match is to select properties for presentation that maximizes buyer utility. Zionts (1992) indicated one area for future research in multiple criteria decision-making (MCDM) is in the development of ,Eclectic Approaches' using old ideas in a new way to help develop MCDM approaches. In this paper Taguchi loss functions, a procedure commonly used in quality control, is proposed as a tool that can be used by industrial real estate professionals to more efficiently determine the property that most closely matches the buyer's needs. Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Quantum criticality and novel phases: Summary and outlook

A. J. Schofield
Abstract This conference summary and outlook provides a personal overview of the topics and themes of the August 2009 Dresden meeting on quantum criticality and novel phases. The dichotomy between the local moment and the itinerant views of magnetism is revisited and refreshed in new materials, new probes, and new theoretical ideas. New universality and apparent zero temperature phases of matter move us beyond the old ideas of quantum criticality. This is accompanied by alternative pairing interactions and as yet unidentified phases developing in the vicinity of quantum critical points. In discussing novel order, the magnetic analogs of superconductivity are considered as candidate states for the hidden order that sometimes develops in the vicinity of quantum critical points in metallic systems. These analogs can be thought of as "pairing" in the particle,hole channel and are tabulated. This analogy is used to outline a framework to study the relation between ferromagnetic fluctuations and the propensity of a metal to nematic type phases , which at weak coupling correspond to Pomeranchuk instabilities. This question can be related to the fundamental relations of Fermi liquid theory. [source]

Perspectives on polyploidy in plants , ancient and neo

It is timely to re-examine the phenomenon of polyploidy in plants. Indeed, the power of modern molecular technology to provide new insights, and the impetus of genomics, make polyploidy a fit, fashionable and futuristic topic for review. Some historical perspective is essential to understand the meaning of the terms, to recognize what is already known and what is dogma, and to frame incisive questions for future research. Polyploidy is important because life on earth is predominantly a polyploid phenomenon. Moreover, civilization is mainly powered by polyploid food , notably cereal endosperm. Ongoing uncertainty about the origin of triploid endosperm epitomizes our ignorance about somatic polyploidy. New molecular information makes it timely to reconsider how to identity polyploids and what is a polyploid state. A functional definition in terms of a minimal genome may be helpful. Genes are known that can raise or lower ploidy level. Molecular studies can test if, contrary to dogma, the relationship between diploids and polyploids is a dynamic two-way system. We still need to understand the mechanisms and roles of key genes controlling ploidy level and disomic inheritance. New evidence for genome duplications should be compared with old ideas about cryptopolyploidy, and new views of meiosis should not ignore premeiotic genome separation. In practice, new knowledge about polyploidy will be most useful only when it reliably predicts which crops can be usefully improved as stable autopolyploids and which genomes combined to create successful new allopolyloids. 2004 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2004, 82, 411,423. [source]

Sexual selection: an evolutionary force in plants?

ABSTRACT Sexual selection has traditionally been used to explain exaggerated sexual traits in male animals. Today the concept has been developed and various other sexually related traits have been suggested to evolve in the same manner. In nearly all new areas where the theory of sexual selection has been applied, there has been an intense debate as to whether the application is justified. Is it the case that some scientists are all too ready to employ fashionable ideas? Or are there too many dogmatic researchers refusing to accept that science develops and old ideas are transformed? Maybe the controversies are simply a reflection of the difficulty of defining a theory under constant re-evaluation. Thus, we begin by summarizing the theory of sexual selection in order to assess the influence of sexual selection on the evolution of plant morphology. We discuss empirical findings concerning potentially affected traits. Although we have tried to address criticisms fairly, we still conclude that sexual selection can be a useful tool when studying the evolution of reproductive traits in plants. Furthermore, by including the evidence from an additional kingdom, a fuller understanding of the processes involved in sexual selection can be gained. [source]

Infections and asthma: new insights into old ideas

C. M. Sevin
Summary Cite this as: C. M. Sevin and R. S. Peebles Jr, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 1142,1154. A relationship between infections and allergic airway disease has long been recognized, and many reviews have been written on this topic. However, both clinical and basic science studies published in the last 3 years provide new insights into the relationship between infection and allergic conditions. In this review, we focus on these very recent studies, which address the role of infection in the development, maintenance, and exacerbation of asthma. Bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections have each been examined and provide a framework for these novel concepts. [source]