Our researchers

Nathaniel Barrett 

Most recent scientific publications (since 2010)

Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel (Autor de correspondencia)
Journal: ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR
ISSN 1059-7123  Vol. 28  Nº 1  2020  pp. 47 - 48
I agree with Villalobos and Razeto-Barry's main argument that living beings are autopoietic bodies. I suggest, however, that if we apply this definition of life to a consideration of living beings as dissipative systems, we find opportunities for further refinement. I propose that living bodies are autopoietic bodies that maintain themselves by using their boundaries to control their constituent processes of dissipative adaptation.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR
ISSN 1059-7123  Vol. 28  Nº 2  2020  pp. 89 - 103
A fundamental challenge for enactive theory and other radical varieties of non-representational ¿E cognition¿ is to reconceive the end-directed character of cognitive activity in naturally emergent but also experientially adequate terms. In short, it is necessary to show how cognitive activity is motivated. In this article, I present a preliminary analysis of the nature of motivation and the challenge that it presents to cognitive science. I make the case that a theory of motivation is a critical desideratum for dynamical theories of cognition, especially insofar as they understand cognition as a self-organized and ¿soft assembled¿ process. Finally, I propose that a branch of ecological psychology that conceives of cognition as a special variety of ¿dissipative adaptation¿ offers a promising framework for confronting this challenge.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR
ISSN 1059-7123  Vol. 28  Nº 2  2020  pp. 113 - 118
In this reply to the commentaries of Lyon and Swenson, I clarify the arguments of my article, ¿On the nature and origins of cognition as a form of motivated activity.¿ In particular, I focus on the nature of self-preserving behavior, considered not only as a basic and universal form of cognitive behavior but also as a key example of cognition as form of motivated activity. I clarify that my approach affirms the importance of self-preserving behavior but questions the widespread assumption that this and other varieties of motivated behavior can be explained as the product of homeostatic mechanisms. I suggest that extremal properties can not only do a better job of explaining homeostasis-like behaviors, but they can also be extended to other kinds of motivated behavior that are not homeostasis-like. Finally, I emphasize the explanatory promise of extremal properties with respect to fundamental questions about the emergence of order in living and nonliving systems.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel; Sánchez Cañizares, Javier
Journal: REVIEW OF METAPHYSICS
ISSN 0034-6632  Vol. 71  Nº 4  2018  pp. 755 - 787
The philosopher Roberto Unger and the physicist Lee Smolin have recently argued that the current explanatory framework of cosmology, which presumes a timeless background of unchanging physical laws, should be replaced by a thoroughly relational framework in which time is fundamental and all laws are subject to change. Within this alternative framework, however, Unger and Smolin find themselves confronted by a dilemma: either the laws of nature evolve according to some higher set of ¿meta-laws,¿ which reinstates a timeless background at a higher level, or the laws of nature evolve randomly and the path of inquiry is blocked. In response to this dilemma, the authors propose a theory of causal events as singular, freely chosen, and self-determined optimalities constrained only by their intrinsic relations to all other events.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel; García-Valdecasas Merino, Miguel; Sánchez Cañizares, Javier
Journal: AUSTRALASIAN PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEW
ISSN 2474-0500  Vol. 2  Nº 2  2018  pp. 209 - 213
We support the development of non-reductive cognitive science and the naturalization of phenomenology for this purpose, and we agree that the 'relational turn' defended by Gallagher is a necessary step in this direction. However, we believe that certain aspects of his relational concept of nature need clarification. In particular, Gallagher does not say whether or how teleology, affect, and other value-related properties of life and mind can be naturalized within this framework. In this paper, we argue that (1) given the phenomenological standards recognized by Gallagher, his commitment to a naturalized phenomenology should entail a commitment to a naturalized concept of value; and (2) the kind of 'relational nature' described by Gallagher in his paper is insufficient for this purpose
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: MATERIAL RELIGION
ISSN 1743-2200  Vol. 14  Nº 3  2018  pp. 415 - 416
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel; Schulkin, Jay; Bernácer María, Javier
Journal: BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES
ISSN 0140-525X  Vol. 40  2017  pp. e351
We contest the claim that musically induced sadness cannot be enjoyable in itself. This possibility is supported by closer attention to a musical experience as well as cases of affective reversal, such as the "hedonic flip" of painful feelings. We propose that the affective reversal of sadness in music is due to the high granularity of musically induced emotion.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel (Autor de correspondencia)
Journal: JOURNAL OF BELIEFS AND VALUES
ISSN 1361-7672  Vol. 38  Nº 3  2017  pp. 318 - 327
This article explores questions raised by the scholarly view that modern popular discourse about religion overemphasises the role of belief. It asks how this alleged overemphasis on belief might be investigated, especially with regard to its effects on religious self-understanding and interreligious relations. In an effort to stimulate discussion and empirical inquiry, this article provides an initial definition of 'belief-centred religious constructs' and suggests that the use of these constructs is context-sensitive, tending to become more prevalent in situations marked by conditions of religious pluralism.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel; Schulkin, J.;
Journal: FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY
ISSN 1664-1078  Vol. 8  2017  pp. 2187
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: PALGRAVE COMMUNICATIONS
ISSN 2055-1045  Vol. 3  Nº 17061  2017  pp. 1 - 4
Within disciplines of religious studies, discussions of religious experience tend to revolve around the most rare and extraordinary cases, while neglecting much more common varieties of ¿ordinary religious experience¿¿that is, experiences of regular practitioners in the midst of normal religious activities such as worship or prayer. This comment will, first, call attention to this essential aspect of religious life, and, second, will suggest ways in which it can be made more accessible to investigation. This article suggests that researchers focus on the variability of engagement in religious practice and the processes of learning and adaptation by which regular practitioners enhance their experience of religious practice. It also suggests that ethnographic studies be extended by carefully selected theories of perception and cognition that address the role of material conditions in ordinary religious experience.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: DAO
ISSN 1540-3009  Vol. 15  Nº 2  2016  pp. 301 - 305
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: CONSTRUCTIVIST FOUNDATIONS
ISSN 1782-348X  Vol. 11  Nº 2  2016  pp. 249 - 251
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR
ISSN 1059-7123  Vol. 23  Nº 4  2015  pp. 234 - 240
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY & PHILOSOPHY
ISSN 0194-3448  Vol. 36  Nº 1  2015  pp. 85 - 93
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: TOPOI-AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF PHILOSOPHY
ISSN 0167-7411  2015  pp. 1 - 13
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel; Güell Pelayo, Francisco; Murillo Gómez, José Ignacio
Journal: CUENTA Y RAZON
ISSN 1889-1489  Nº 34  2015  pp. 71 - 76
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: SCIENTIA ET FIDES
ISSN 2300-7648  Vol. 2  Nº 2  2014  pp. 303 - 309
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE
ISSN 1662-5161  Vol. 8  Nº 682  2014 
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: SOPHIA
ISSN 0038-1527  2014 
This essay develops a Confucian theory of shame within a framework of related concepts, including concepts of value, personhood, and human flourishing. It proposes that all of these concepts should be understood in terms of a metaphysical concept of harmony (he). Moreover, it argues that this concept of harmony entails a relational experience of value, such that the experience of self-value and `other value¿ are deeply intertwined. An important implication of this theory is that the harmonic realization of value that is required for human flourishing necessarily involves heightened sensitivity to shame. The goal of this essay is not only to describe Confucian shame but also to view the human experience of shame through a distinctly Confucian lens. Accordingly, it offers a Confucian take on the pathology of shame, as well as recent debates concerning the role of shame in modern society.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: RELIGION, BRAIN & BEHAVIOR
ISSN 2153-599X  2013 
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: RELIGION, BRAIN & BEHAVIOR
ISSN 2153-599X  2013 
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: RELIGION, BRAIN & BEHAVIOR
ISSN 2153-599X  2013 
The perception of value is one of the most important dimensions of religious experience, and yet the cognitive science of religion has so far had little to say about it. This neglect may be the result of a widespread assumption that value is constructed, that is, a special quality added to sensory input by the mind. However, such a view not only divorces value from meaning, but it also cannot register the ways in which value is discovered and enriched through skillful engagement. Accordingly, it is proposed that the experience of value is better understood in ecological terms, as the richness of meaningful interaction between a skilled perceiver and a suitably complex environment. An ecological approach opens up new opportunities for the investigation of the environmental conditions of value-rich religious experience. For example, it may be possible to determine how the experience of divine presence is supported by the structural features of music used in religious settings.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY & PHILOSOPHY
ISSN 0194-3448  Vol. 33  Nº 2  2012  pp. 178 - 181
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: RELIGION, BRAIN & BEHAVIOR
ISSN 2153-599X  Vol. 2  Nº 3  2012  pp. 225 - 270
Authors: Jordan, William; Barrett, Nathaniel; Curtis, Kip; et al.
Journal: ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
ISSN 0163-4275  Vol. 34  Nº 3  2012  pp. 291 - 312
ICS In their effort to emphasize the positive role of nature in our lives, environmental thinkers have tended to downplay or even to ignore the negative aspects of our experience with nature and, even when acknowledging them, have had little to offer by way of psychologically and spiritually productive ways of dealing with them. The idea that the experience of value begins with the experience of existential shame¿arising from awareness of the limitations that define the self¿needs to be explored. The primary purpose of the ¿technologies of the imagination¿¿myth, symbol, ritual and the arts¿is to provide a passage through this shame to the experience of values such as community, meaning, beauty, and the sacred and, through these experiences, to inscribe them into conscience. The implications of this idea for environmental thinking and practice can be explored in two areas involving strong engagement with nature: ecological restoration and the production and eating of food. An environmentalism that fails to provide productive ways of dealing with existential shame may well prove inadequate to the task of providing means for achieving a healthy, sustain­able relationship between humans and the rest of nature.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: RELIGION, BRAIN & BEHAVIOR
ISSN 2153-599X  Vol. 1  Nº 3  2011  pp. 252 - 255
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: ARS DISPUTANDI
ISSN 1566-5399  Vol. 11  Nº 1  2011  pp. 133 - 136
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY & PHILOSOPHY
ISSN 0194-3448  Vol. 32  Nº 2  2011  pp. 197 - 200
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
ISSN 1187-7863  Vol. 24  Nº 6  2011  pp. 659 - 668
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: PHILOSOPHY EAST AND WEST
ISSN 0031-8221  Vol. 61  Nº 4  2011  pp. 679 - 706
Much of recent scholarship on the Zhuangzi has focused on the distinctive picture of spiritual fulfillment offered by its various "knack" stories. These stories describe a special kind of skillful action marked by fine-tuned responsiveness, non-deliberative spontaneity, effortlessness, and enjoyment. Scholars agree that the Zhuangzian theme of effortless action, or wuwei, indicates an intimate relationship between spiritual satisfaction and skill. However, this emerging consensus has so far failed to produce a clear analysis of the transcendence of wuwei with respect to everyday instances of skillful spontaneity. This essay attempts to clarify the issue of transcendence by using the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's theory of flow as a reference point. While flow may not provide a comprehensive theory of wuwei spirituality, it sharpens our thinking about the various kinds of transcendence that wuwei might entail. A comparison between wuwei and flow also helps to clarify more general questions about spirituality and its alleged separation from religious belief in the modern world.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY & PHILOSOPHY
ISSN 0194-3448  Vol. 32  Nº 2  2011  pp. 139 - 155
ICS Writing in 1992, biologist E. O. Wilson prophesied, "Here is the means to end the great extinction spasm. The next century will, I believe, be the era of restoration in ecology." This statement has become the rallying cry for advocates of ecological restoration, an emerging international environmental movement focused on the renewal of damaged or destroyed ecosystems. The benefits promised by ecological restoration are manifold. In addition to its primary ecological goals of replenished biodiversity and improved ecosystem functioning, restoration fosters intimate, participatory kinds of community between practitioners and their local environments. Moreover, the idea that we can heal our environments rather than just minimize the damage we do to them is a much-needed positive message in the midst of our ongoing environmental crisis.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGION, NATURE AND CULTURE
ISSN 1749-4907  Vol. 4  Nº 3  2010  pp. 235 - 238
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF RELIGION
ISSN 0002-7189  Vol. 78  Nº 3  2010  pp. 629 - 632
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Journal: JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF RELIGION
ISSN 0002-7189  Vol. 78  Nº 3  2010  pp. 583 - 621
Cognitive science of the last half-century has been dominated by the computational theory of mind and its picture of thought as information processing. Taking this picture for granted, the most prominent evolutionary theories of religion of the last fifteen years have sought to understand human religiosity as the product or by-product of universal information processing mechanisms that were adaptive in our ancestral environment. The rigidity of such explanations is at odds with the highly context-sensitive nature of historical studies of religion, and thus contributes to the apparent tug-of-war between scientific and humanistic perspectives. This essay argues that this antagonism stems in part from a deep flaw of computational theory, namely its notion of information as pre-given and context-free. In contrast, non-computational theories that picture mind as an adaptive, interactive process in which information is jointly constructed by organism and environment offer an alternative approach to an evolutionary understanding of human religiosity, one that is compatible with historical studies and amenable to a wide range of inquiries, including some limited kinds of theological inquiry.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Book title:  The Wiley Blackwell Companion to religion and materiality
2020  pp. 108 - 127
Insofar as studies of religious materiality include embodiment within their purview, they call for interdisciplinary collaboration with cognitive science, which in recent decades has taken an `embodied turn¿. However, not only is the meaning of embodied cognition still unsettled, but some of the most prominent theories interpret the body as the fixed `ground¿ of experience in a way that curtails the role of materials outside the body. In an attempt to clarify the issues at stake, this chapter explores the problematic concept of embodiment within cognitive science and marks an important difference between so¿called `radical¿ theories of embodied mind and those that remain within the sway of functionalism. Insofar as the former are concerned with the dynamic emergence and context¿sensitivity of mental processes, they would seem to make ideal partners for studies of the dynamic character of religious objects and practices.
Authors: Arrondo Ostíz, Gonzalo; Barrett, Nathaniel; Güell Pelayo, Francisco; et al.
Book title:  Psychiatry and neuroscience update: from translational research to a humanistic approach
Vol. III  2019  pp. 83 - 97
Authors: Murillo Gómez, José Ignacio; García-Valdecasas Merino, Miguel; Barrett, Nathaniel
Book title:  Biology and Subjectivity. Philosophical Contributions to Non-reductive Neuroscience
2016  pp. 1 - 12
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Book title:  A.N. Whitehead's thought through a new prism
2016  pp. 161 - 185
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Title: Mind and value
Book title:  Biology and subjectivity: Philosophical contributions to non-reductive neuroscience
2016  pp. 151 - 180
Within cognitive science, most accounts of value define it as the product of a special subsystem or structure which is extrinsic to basic mental functions of acting, perceiving, and knowing. Not only do such attempts fail to account for our experience of value, but they also fail to recognize the fundamental role of value in all mentality and the corresponding need for value to be grounded in the world. In search of a better account, this chapter explores a naturalistic but non-reductive approach to value based on the American traditions of pragmatism and process philosophy, especially as represented by the works of John Dewey and Alfred North Whitehead. Rather than attempt to objectify value by denuding it of subjective character, this approach seeks to formulate a general notion of valuation that extends certain value-related characteristics of subjectivity¿such as selectivity and differential importance¿to all natural processes. The essay also explores the possibility that the ubiquitous phenomenon of collective dynamics, now the focus of several non-reductive research programs in cognitive science, exhibits these very same value-related characteristics.
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Book title:  El dinamismo de los valores: crisis y creatividad en la sociedad moderna
Vol. Barcelona  2014  pp. 267 - 292
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel
Book title:  Evolution, religion, and cognitive science: critical and constructive essays
2014  pp. 92 - 108
Authors: Barrett, Nathaniel; Jordan, William
Book title:  The routledge companion to religion and science
2012  pp. 333 - 344
Authors: García-Valdecasas Merino, Miguel (Editor); Murillo Gómez, José Ignacio (Editor); Barrett, Nathaniel (Editor)
2016