1. 214548.317238
    According to Michael Friedman’s theory of explanation, a law X explains laws Y1 2, ... , Yn precisely when X unifies the Y’s, where unification is understood in terms of reducing the number of independently acceptable laws. Philip Kitcher criticized Friedman’s theory but did not analyze the concept of independent acceptability. Here we show that Kitcher’s objection can be met by modifying an element in Friedman’s account. In addition, we argue that there are serious objections to the use that Friedman makes of the concept of independent acceptability.
    Found 2 days, 11 hours ago on Elliott Sober's site
  2. 214704.317295
    It’s often unclear what we ought to do. Much of the time this is because it’s unclear what ma%ers. Suppose, for instance, that we’re poultry farmers wondering whether we ought to put our chickens in cages or let them roam free. We know that we’ll make more profit if we put them in cages but also that they’ll suffer more if we do. Still, if we want to know what we ought to do, we need to know whether minimizing the suffering of our chickens is something that ma%ers, and, if so, how much it ma%ers in comparison to our maximizing profits.
    Found 2 days, 11 hours ago on PhilPapers
  3. 327095.317312
    In a series of recent papers, two of which appeared in this journal, a group of philosophers, physicists, and climate scientists have argued that something they call the ‘hawkmoth effect’ poses insurmountable difficulties for those who would use nonlinear models, including climate simulation models, to make quantitative predictions or to produce ‘decision-relevant probabilites.’ Such a claim, if it were true, would undermine much of climate science, among other things. Here, we examine the two lines of argument the group has used to support their claims. The first comes from a set of results in dynamical systems theory associated with the concept of ‘structural stability.’ The second relies on a mathematical demonstration of their own, using the logistic equation, that they present using a hypothetical scenario involving two apprentices of Laplace’s omniscient demon. We prove two theorems that are relevant to their claims, and conclude that both of these lines of argument fail. There is nothing out there that comes close to matching the characteristics this group attributes to the ‘hawkmoth effect.’
    Found 3 days, 18 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  4. 416504.317326
    A counterpossible conditional is a counterfactual with an impossible antecedent. Common sense delivers the view that some such conditionals are true, and some are false. In recent publications, Timothy Williamson has defended the view that all are true. In this paper we defend the common sense view against Williamson’s objections.
    Found 4 days, 19 hours ago on David Ripley's site
  5. 422593.317339
    On a very intuitive way of thinking, if it is already determined that some event will happen, then there is no non-trivial chance (no chance between 0 and 1) of it failing to happen, and if it is already determined that some event will not happen, then there is no non-trivial chance of it happening. On this way of thinking, it does not make sense to claim both that it is already determined that Always Dreaming will win this year’s Kentucky Derby and that the chance of Classic Empire winning instead is 1/2.
    Found 4 days, 21 hours ago on Nina Emery's site
  6. 451238.317352
    Are you a liberal, socialist or conservative? Are you fiscally conservative but socially liberal? Or socially conservative and fiscally liberal? Are you a classical liberal or a neo-liberal? Are you a Marxist socialist or a neo-Marxist socialist? …
    Found 5 days, 5 hours ago on John Danaher's blog
  7. 491247.317368
    According to the Fine-Tuning Argument (FTA), the existence of life in our universe confirms the Multiverse Hypothesis (HM). A standard objection to FTA is that it violates the Requirement of Total Evidence (RTE). I argue that RTE should be rejected in favor of the Predesignation Requirement, according to which, in assessing the outcome of a probabilistic process, we should only use evidence characterizable in a manner available prior to observing the outcome. This produces the right verdicts in some simple cases in which RTE leads us astray; and, when applied to FTA, it shows that our evidence does confirm HM.
    Found 5 days, 16 hours ago on PhilPapers
  8. 548978.317381
    Pragmatic responses to skepticism have been overlooked in recent decades. This paper explores one such response by developing a character called the Pragmatic Skeptic. The Pragmatic Skeptic accepts skeptical arguments for the claim that we lack good evidence for our ordinary beliefs, and that they do not constitute knowledge. However, they do not think we should give up our beliefs in light of these skeptical conclusions. Rather, we should retain them, since we have good practical reasons for doing so. This takes the sting out of skepticism: we can be skeptics, of a kind, without thereby succumbing to practical or intellectual disaster. I respond to objections, and compare the position of the Pragmatic Skeptic to views found in the work of (among others) David Hume, William James, David Lewis, Crispin Wright, Berislav Marusic, and Robert Pasnau.
    Found 6 days, 8 hours ago on PhilPapers
  9. 614970.317394
    The paper has a twofold aim. On the one hand, it provides what appears to be the first game-theoretic modeling of Napole´on’s last campaign, which ended dramatically on June 18, 1815, at Waterloo. It is specifically concerned with the decision Napole´on made on June 17, 1815, to detach part of his army and send it against the Prussians, whom he had defeated, though not destroyed, on June 16 at Ligny. Military strategists and historians agree that this decision was crucial but disagree about whether it was rational. Hypothesizing a zero-sum game between Napole´on and Blu¨cher, and computing its solution, we show that dividing his army could have been a cautious strategy on Napole´on’s part, a conclusion which runs counter to the charges of misjudgment commonly heard since Clausewitz. On the other hand, the paper addresses some methodological issues relative to ‘‘analytic narratives’’. Some political scientists and economists who are both formally and historically minded have proposed to explain historical events in terms of properly mathematical game-theoretic models. We liken the present study to this ‘‘analytic narrative’’ methodology, which we defend against some of objections that it has
    Found 1 week ago on Philippe Mongin's site
  10. 678530.317409
    Kant saw science as presupposing that the natural laws bring maximal diversity under maximal unity. Many philosophers, such as David Lewis, have regarded objective chances as upshots of science’s aim at systematic unity—as ideal credences projected onto the world. This Kantian projectivism has seemed the only possible way to account for the rational constraint (codified by the ‘Principal Principle’) that our credences about chances impose on our credences regarding what they are chances of. This paper examines three ways of elaborating Lewis’s Kantian strategy for explaining this rational constraint. After arguing that none of these three approaches is unproblematic, the paper proposes a non-Kantian alternative account according to which a chance measures the strength of a causal tendency.
    Found 1 week ago on Marc Lange's site
  11. 748631.317425
    Mark Schroeder has recently proposed a new analysis of knowledge. I examine that analysis and show that it fails. More specifically, I show that it faces a problem all too familiar from the post-Gettier literature, namely, that it is delivers the wrong verdict in fake barn cases.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Daniel Whiting's site
  12. 788394.317439
    In this paper, I identify two general positions with respect to the relationship between environment and natural selection. These positions consist in claiming that selective claims need and, respectively, need not be relativized to homogenous environments. I then show that adopting one or the other position makes a difference with respect to the way in which the effects of selection are to be measured in certain cases in which the focal population is distributed over heterogeneous environments. Moreover, I show that these two positions lead to two different interpretations – the Pricean and contextualist ones – of a type of selection scenarios in which multiple groups varying in properties affect the change in the metapopulation mean of individual-level traits. Showing that these two interpretations stem from different attitudes towards environmental homogeneity allows me to argue: a) that, unlike the Pricean interpretation, the contextualist interpretation can only claim that drift or selection is responsible for the change in frequency of the focal trait in a given metapopulation if details about whether or not group formation is random are specified; b) that the traditional main objection against the Pricean interpretation – consisting in arguing that the latter takes certain side-effects of individual selection to be effects of group selection – is unconvincing. This leads me to suggest that the ongoing debate about which of the two interpretations is preferable should concentrate on different issues than previously thought.
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on PhilSci Archive
  13. 797082.317454
    . I blogged this exactly 2 years ago here, seeking insight for my new book (Mayo 2017). Over 100 (rather varied) interesting comments ensued. This is the first time I’m incorporating blog comments into published work. …
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on D. G. Mayo's blog
  14. 954662.31747
    Starting with the seminal paper [1], the so-called AGM theory of belief revision has been extensively studied by logicians, computer scientists, and philosophers. The general setup is well-known, and we review it here to fix ideas and notation. Let K be a belief set, a set of propositional formulae closed under classical consequence representing an agent’s initial collection of beliefs. Given a belief ϕ that the agent has acquired, the set K ∗ ϕ represents the agent’s collection of beliefs upon acquiring ϕ. A central project in the theory of belief revision is to study constraints on functions mapping a belief set K and a propositional formula ϕ to a new belief set K ∗ ϕ. For reference, the key AGM postulates are listed in the Appendix (Section A). This simple framework has been analyzed, extended, and itself revised in various ways (see [2] for a survey of this literature), and much has been written about the status of its philosophical foundations (cf. [10, 21, 20]).
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  15. 954709.317483
    The intuitive notion of evidence has both semantic and syntactic features. In this paper, we develop an evidence logic for epistemic agents faced with possibly contradictory evidence from different sources. The logic is based on a neighborhood semantics, where a neighborhood N indicates that the agent has reason to believe that the true state of the world lies in N . Further notions of relative plausibility between worlds and beliefs based on the latter ordering are then defined in terms of this evidence structure, yielding our intended models for evidence-based beliefs. In addition, we also consider a second more general flavor, where belief and plausibility are modeled using additional primitive relations, and we prove a representation theorem showing that each such general model is a p-morphic image of an intended one. This semantics invites a number of natural special cases, depending on how uniform we make the evidence sets, and how coherent their total structure. We give a structural study of the resulting ‘uniform’ and ‘flat’ models. Our main result are sound and complete axiomatizations for the logics of all four major model classes with respect to the modal language of evidence, belief and safe belief. We conclude with an outlook toward logics for the dynamics of changing evidence, and the resulting language extensions and connections with logics of plausibility change.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  16. 954730.317496
    Building on the work of [20] and [6], Savage showed that any agent with a preference ordering satisfying certain intuitive axioms can be represented as an expected utility maximizer [21]. The idea behind Savage’s result is to take as primitive an agent’s (state-based) preference over a set of prizes and define the agent’s beliefs and utilities from its preference. Thus properties of an agent’s beliefs, represented as subjective probability distributions, are derived from properties of the agent’s preferences. See, for example, Chapter 1 of [17] for a discussion of the literature on the axiomatic foundations of decision theory. Building on Savage’s work and the fundamental contribution by Anscombe and Aumann [1], a number of different belief operators have been proposed in the literature. Ansheim and Sovik provide an excellent survey of these contributions [3].
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  17. 954775.317509
    Dynamic epistemic logic, broadly conceived, is the study of logics of information change. This is the first paper in a two-part series introducing this research area. In this paper, I introduce the basic logical systems for reasoning about the knowledge and beliefs of a group of agents.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  18. 954834.317521
    A rational belief must be grounded in the evidence available to an agent. However, this relation is delicate, and it raises interesting philosophical and technical issues. Modeling evidence requires richer structures than found in standard epistemic semantics where the accessible worlds aggregate all reliable evidence gathered so far. Even recent more finely-grained plausibility models ordering the epistemic ranges identify too much: belief is indistinguishable from aggregated best evidence. At the opposite extreme, one might model evidence syntactically as “formulas received”, but this seems overly detailed, and we we lose the intuition that evidence can be semantic in nature, zooming in on some actual world.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  19. 954865.317534
    A recurring issue in any formal model representing agents’ (changing) informational attitudes is how to account for the fact that the agents are limited in their access to the available inference steps, possible observations and available messages. This may be because the agents are not logically omniscient and so do not have unlimited reasoning ability. But it can also be because the agents are following a predefined protocol that explicitly limits statements available for observation and/or communication. Within the broad literature on epistemic logic, there are a variety of accounts that make precise a notion of an agent’s “limited access” (for example, Awareness Logics, Justification Logics, and Inference Logics). This paper interprets the agents’ access set of formulas as a constraint on the agents’ information gathering process limiting which formulas can be observed.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  20. 954891.317547
    Deontic Logic goes back to Ernst Mally’s 1926 work, Grundgesetze des Sollens: Elemente der Logik des Willens [Mally. E.: 1926, Grundgesetze des Sollens: Elemente der Logik des Willens, Leuschner & Lubensky, Graz], where he presented axioms for the notion ‘p ought to be the case’. Some difficulties were found in Mally’s axioms, and the field has much developed. Logic of Knowledge goes back to Hintikka’s work Knowledge and Belief [Hintikka, J.: 1962, Knowledge and Belief: An Introduction to the Logic of the Two Notions, Cornell University Press] in which he proposed formal logics of knowledge and belief.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  21. 954999.31756
    This is the second paper in a two-part series introducing logics for reasoning about the dynamics of knowledge and beliefs. Part I introduced different logical systems that can be used to reason about the knowledge and beliefs of a group of agents. In this second paper, I show how to adapt these logical systems to reason about the knowledge and beliefs of a group of agents during the course of a social interaction or rational inquiry. Inference, communication and observation are typical examples of informative events, which have been subjected to a logical analysis. The main goal of this article is to introduce the key conceptual and technical issues that drive much of the research in this area.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  22. 955297.317572
    Results in social choice theory such as the Arrow and Gibbard- Satterthwaite theorems constrain the existence of rational collective decision making procedures in groups of agents. The Gibbard—Satterthwaite theorem says that no voting procedure is strategy-proof. That is, there will always be situations in which it is in a voter’s interest to misrepresent its true preferences i.e., vote strategically. We present some properties of strategic voting and then examine 7 via a bimodal logic utilizing epistemic and strategizing modalities 7 the knowledge-theoretic properties of voting situations and note that unless the voter knows that it should vote strategically, and how, i.e., knows what the other voters’ preferences are and which alternate preference P' it should use, the voter will not strategize. Our results suggest that opinion polls in election situations effectively serve as the first n — 1 stages in an n stage election.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Eric Pacuit's site
  23. 1022324.317585
    Does perceptual consciousness require cognitive access? Ned Block argues that it does not. Central to his case are visual memory experiments that employ post-stimulus cueing—in particular, Sperling’s classic partial report studies, change-detection work by Lamme and colleagues, and a recent paper by Bronfman and colleagues that exploits our perception of ‘gist’ properties. We argue contra Block that these experiments do not support his claim. Our reinterpretations differ from previous critics’ in challenging as well a longstanding and common view of visual memory as involving declining capacity across a series of stores. We conclude by discussing the relation of probabilistic perceptual representations and phenomenal consciousness.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Steven Gross's site
  24. 1058336.317605
    The causal dominance principle that is the crucial premise of the standard argument for two-boxing in Newcomb’s problem is false. We present some counterexamples to the principle. We then offer a metaethical explanation for why the counterexamples arise. Our explanation reveals a new and superior argument for two-boxing, one that eschews the causal dominance principle in favor of a principle linking rational choice to guidance and actual value maximization.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on Jack Spencer's site
  25. 1127072.317618
    This paper targets a series of potential issues for the discussion of, and modal resolution to, the alethic paradoxes advanced by Scharp (2013). I aim, then, to provide a novel, epistemicist treatment of the alethic paradoxes. In response to Curry’s paradox, the epistemicist solution that I advance enables the retention of both classical logic and the traditional rules for the alethic predicate: truth-elimination and truth-introduction. By availing of epistemic modal logic, the epistemicist approach permits, further, of a descriptively adequate explanation of the indeterminacy that is exhibited by epistemic states concerning liar-paradoxical sentences.
    Found 1 week, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  26. 1248714.317631
    Dicing with death Posted on Tuesday, 13 Jun 2017 In his "Dicing with Death" (2014), Arif Ahmed presents the following scenario as a counterexample to causal decision theory (CDT): You are thinking about going to Aleppo or staying in Damascus. …
    Found 2 weeks ago on wo's weblog
  27. 1290916.317644
    According to a view that I will call ‘attributor virtue epistemology’ (‘AVE’ for short), S knows that p only if her true belief that p is attributable to some intellectual virtue, competence, or ability that she possesses. AVE captures a wide range of our intuitions about the nature and value of knowledge, and it has many able defenders.
    Found 2 weeks ago on Blake Roeber's site
  28. 1290927.317658
    You might think any number of things about your evidential situation with respect to some proposition p. You might think you have excellent evidence for p, terrible evidence for p, and so on. One thing you might think is that, while your total evidence rules out disbelief, it supports believing p and suspending on p equally well, so that both attitudes are rationally permissible responses to your evidence. And possibly, while thinking this, you might experience no compulsion to believe p, nor any compulsion to suspend on p. In this paper I argue that, if you find yourself in a situation like this, there is no reason why you couldn’t believe p at will. In §1, I argue that these situations cause decisive problems for the best conceptual arguments for doxastic involuntarism. In §2, I argue that the best psychological arguments for doxastic involuntarism are toothless without successful conceptual arguments. And finally, in §3, I respond to the suggestion that epistemically rational belief at will isn’t possible even if belief at will is possible.
    Found 2 weeks ago on Blake Roeber's site
  29. 1291422.317673
    The thesis of this paper is that we can justify induction deductively relative to one end, and deduction inductively relative to a different end. I will begin by presenting a contemporary variant of Hume (1739; 1748)’s argument for the thesis that we cannot justify the principle of induction. Then I will criticize the responses the resulting problem of induction has received by Carnap (1963; 1968) and Goodman (1954), as well as praise Reichenbach (1938; 1940)’s approach. Some of these authors compare induction to deduction. Haack (1976) compares deduction to induction, and I will critically discuss her argument for the thesis that we cannot justify the principles of deduction next. In concluding I will defend the thesis that we can justify induction deductively relative to one end, and deduction inductively relative to a different end, and that we can do so in a non-circular way. Along the way I will show how we can understand deductive and inductive logic as normative theories, and I will briefly sketch an argument to the effect that there are only hypothetical, but no categorical imperatives.
    Found 2 weeks ago on Franz Huber's site
  30. 1301867.317688
    A-theoretic presentness is commonly regarded as non-solipsist and non-relative. The non-solipsism of a non-relative, A-theoretic presentness requires at least two space-like separated things to be present simpliciter together – this co-presentness further implies the global, non-relative, non-conventional simultaneity of them. Yet, this implication clashes with the general view that there is no global, non-relative, non-conventional simultaneity in Minkowski space-time. In order to resolve this conflict, this paper explores the possibility that the non-solipsism of a non-relative, A-theoretic presentness does not require at least two space-like separated things to be present simpliciter together. This can be done by holding exclusive disjunctivism – that mutually space-like separated things are present simpliciter exclusively disjunctively, and each one of them gets to be present simpliciter in a non-successive way (just like mutually time-like related things are present simpliciter exclusively disjunctively, and each one of them gets to be present simpliciter, but in a successive way).
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on PhilPapers