1. 1251.829196
    . What’s would I say is the most important takeaway from last week’s NISS “statistics debate” if you’re using (or contemplating using) Bayes factors (BFs)–of the sort Jim Berger recommends– as replacements for P-values? …
    Found 20 minutes ago on D. G. Mayo's blog
  2. 6814.829254
    In this short survey article, I discuss Bell’s theorem and some strategies that attempt to avoid the conclusion of non-locality. I focus on two that intersect with the philosophy of probability: (1) quantum probabilities and (2) super-determinism. The issues they raised not only apply to a wide class of no-go theorems about quantum mechanics but are also of general philosophical interest.
    Found 1 hour, 53 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  3. 7100.829273
    The propensity nature of evolutionary fitness has long been appreciated and is nowadays amply discussed (Abrams, 2009, 2012; Ariew and Ernst, 2009; Ariew and Lewontin, 2004; Beatty and Finsen, 1989; Brandon, 1978; Drouet and Merlin, 2015; Mills and Beatty, 1979; Millstein, 2003, 2016; Pence and Ramsey, 2013; Sober, 1984, 2001, 2013, 2019; Walsh, 2010; Walsh, Ariew, Mahen, 2016; etc). The discussion has, however, on occasion followed long standing conflations in the philosophy of probability between propensities, probabilities, and frequencies. In this article, I apply a more recent conception of propensities in modelling practice (the ‘complex nexus of chance’, CNC) to some key issues, regarding whether and how fitness is explanatory, and how it ought to be represented mathematically. The ensuing complex nexus of fitness (CNF) emphasises the distinction between biological propensities and the probability distributions over offspring numbers that they give rise to; and how critical it is to distinguish the possession conditions of the underlying dispositional (physical and biological) properties from those of their probabilistic manifestations.
    Found 1 hour, 58 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  4. 12452.829288
    To a first approximation, epistemic utility theory is an application of standard decision theoretic tools to the study of epistemic rationality. The strategy consists in identifying a particular class of decision problems—epistemic decision problems—and using the recommendations that our decision theory makes for them in order to motivate principles of epistemic rationality. The resulting principles will of course be a function of, among other things, what we take epistemic decision problems to be and of what specific brand of decision theory we rely on.1 But regardless of the details, epistemic utility theory inherits from the decision theoretic framework a distinction between axiological notions—of epistemic value or epistemic utility—and deontological notions—like epistemic rationality or epistemic permissibility.
    Found 3 hours, 27 minutes ago on Alejandro Pérez Carballo's site
  5. 35784.829302
    David Hilbert was promoting formalized mathematics, in which every real number with its infinite series of digits is a completed individual object. On the other side the Dutch mathematician, Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer, was defending the view that each point on the line should be represented as a never-ending process that develops in time, a view known as intuitionistic mathematics (Box 1).
    Found 9 hours, 56 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  6. 35815.829317
    This paper defends the Limited Use Viewof our duties to save. The Limited Use View holds that the duty to save is a duty to treat oneself, and perhaps one’s resources, as a means for preventing harm to others. But the duty to treat oneself as a means for the sake of others is limited. One need not treat oneself as a means when doing so is either very costly, or conflicts with one’s more stringent duties to others. This provides an agent-neutral account of the duty to save. When the cost of saving passes a certain threshold, one is permitted to fail to save, and it is impermissible for others to force one to save, if doing so will force one to incur an equal or greater cost. I argue that the Limited Use View is to be preferred to agent-relative accounts of the duty to save, which hold that the limit on our duty to save is grounded in an agent-relative prerogative to weight our own interests (and those of special others) more heavily than other people’s interests.
    Found 9 hours, 56 minutes ago on Helen Frowe's site
  7. 108997.829331
    In the 1960s, it dawned on philosophers of science that: Other things being equal, low-probability explanation confers equally good understanding as high-probability explanation. If I have a quantum coin that has a probability 0.4 of heads and 0.6 of tails, and it yields heads, I understand why it yielded heads no less well than I would have had it yielded tails—the number is simply different. …
    Found 1 day, 6 hours ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  8. 109735.829345
    Can young children such as 3-year-olds represent the world objectively? Some prominent developmental psychologists (Perner, Tomasello) assume so. I argue that this view is susceptible to a prima facie powerful objection: to represent objectively, one must be able to represent not only features of the entities represented but also features of objectification itself, which 3-year-olds can’t do yet. Drawing on Tyler Burge’s work on perceptual constancy, I provide a response to this objection and motivate a distinction between three different kinds of objectivity. This distinction helps advance current research on both objectivity and teleological action explanations in young children.
    Found 1 day, 6 hours ago on PhilPapers
  9. 118842.829359
    There can be no question that Ernest Sosa is one of the most influential voices in contemporary epistemology. He has made pathbreaking contributions to a wide range of topics in the field and beyond, including on its most central issues such as the nature of knowledge, the structure of knowledge, the value of knowledge and the extent of knowledge. It is fair to say that his most widely discussed contributions, at least in recent times, are on virtue epistemology and safety conditions on knowledge. Whilst both topics are intimately related in Sosa’s own work, they have generated discussions that have lives of their own. Since the bulk of the contributions to this special issue also focus on these two topics, I will take a few moments to sketch a few key ideas in what follows.
    Found 1 day, 9 hours ago on Christoph Kelp's site
  10. 161211.829373
    This paper applies Edward Craig’s and Bernard Williams’ ‘genealogical’ method to the debate between relativism and its opponents in epistemology and in the philosophy of language. We explain how the central function of knowledge attributions -- to ‘flag good informants’ -- explains the intuitions behind five different positions (two forms of relativism, absolutism, contextualism, and invariantism). We also investigate the question whether genealogy is neutral in the controversy over relativism. We conclude that it is not: genealogy is most naturally taken to favour an anti-realism about epistemic norms. And anti-realism threatens absolutism.
    Found 1 day, 20 hours ago on Robin McKenna's site
  11. 161400.82939
    : Many of us hold false beliefs about matters that are relevant to public policy such as climate change and the safety of vaccines. What can be done to rectify this situation? This question can be read in two ways. According to the descriptive reading, it concerns which methods will be effective in persuading people that their beliefs are false. According to the normative reading, it concerns which methods we are permitted to use in the service of persuading people. Some effective methods—a programme of brainwashing, say—would not be permissible. In this paper I compare “methods of rational persuasion” with what you might call “marketing methods” such as how one frames the problem of climate change. My aim is to show that “marketing methods” are preferable to “methods of rational persuasion”. My argument has two parts. First, I argue that the evidence suggests that “marketing methods” are more effective in persuading people to change their minds. Second, I argue that “marketing methods” are an acceptable response to the normative question.
    Found 1 day, 20 hours ago on Robin McKenna's site
  12. 161466.829406
    Keith DeRose’s new book The Appearance of Ignorance is a welcome companion volume to his 2009 book The Case for Contextualism. Where latter focused on contextual-ism as a view in the philosophy of language, the former focuses on how contextualism contributes to our understanding of (and solution to) some perennial epistemological problems, with the skeptical problem being the main focus of six of the seven chapters. DeRose’s view is that a solution to the skeptical problem must do two things. First, it must explain how it is that we can know lots of things, such as that we have hands. Second, it must explain how it can seem that we don’t know these things. In slogan form, DeRose’s argument is that a contextualist semantics for knowledge attributions is needed to account for the “appearance of ignorance”—the appearance that we don’t know that skeptical hypotheses fail to obtain. In my critical discussion, I will argue inter alia that we don’t need a contextualist semantics to account for the appearance of ignorance, and in any case that the “strength” of the appearance of ignorance is unclear, as is the need for a philosophical diagnosis of it.
    Found 1 day, 20 hours ago on Robin McKenna's site
  13. 167511.82942
    It is often taken for granted that our desires can contribute to what it is rational for us to do. This paper examines an account of desire that promises an explanation of this datum, the guise of the good. I argue that extant guise-of-the-good accounts fail to provide an adequate explanation of how a class of desires—basic desire—contribute to practical rationality. I develop an alternative guise-of-the-good account on which basic desires attune us to our reasons for action in virtue of their biological function. This account emphasises the role of desire as part of our competence to recognise and respond to normative reasons.
    Found 1 day, 22 hours ago on PhilPapers
  14. 180525.829434
    We explore the contribution made by oscillatory, synchronous neural activity to representation in the brain. We closely examine six prominent examples of brain function in which neural oscillations play a central role, and identify two levels of involvement that these oscillations take in the emergence of representations: enabling (when oscillations help to establish a communication channel between sender and receiver, or are causally involved in triggering a representation) and properly representational (when oscillations are a constitutive part of the representation). We show that even an idealized informational sender-receiver account of representation makes the representational status of oscillations a non-trivial matter, which depends on rather minute empirical details.
    Found 2 days, 2 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  15. 180736.829448
    Do scientific theories limit human knowledge? In other words, are there physical variables hidden by essence forever? We argue for negative answers and illustrate our point on chaotic classical dynamical systems. We emphasize parallels with quantum theory and conclude that the common real numbers are, de facto, the hidden variables of classical physics. Consequently, real numbers should not be considered as “physically real” and classical mechanics, like quantum physics, is indeterministic.
    Found 2 days, 2 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  16. 180813.829462
    Propensities are presented as a generalization of classical determinism. They describe a physical reality intermediary between Laplacian determinism and pure randomness, such as in quantum mechanics. They are characterized by the fact that their values are determined by the collection of all actual properties. It is argued that they do not satisfy Kolmogorov axioms; other axioms are proposed.
    Found 2 days, 2 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  17. 191891.829476
    (150 words): Moral, social, political, and other “nonepistemic” values can lead to bias in science, from prioritizing certain topics over others to the rationalization of questionable research practices. Such values might seem particularly common or powerful in the social sciences, given their subject matter. However, I argue first that the well-documented phenomenon of motivated reasoning provides a useful framework for understanding when values guide scientific inquiry (in pernicious or productive ways). Second, this analysis reveals a parity thesis: values influence the social and natural sciences about equally, particularly because both are so prominently affected by desires for social credit and status, including recognition and career advancement. Ultimately, bias in natural and social science is both natural and social— that is, a part of human nature and considerably motivated by a concern for social status (and its maintenance). Whether the pervasive influence of values is inimical to the sciences is a separate question.
    Found 2 days, 5 hours ago on Josh May's site
  18. 192164.829513
    Abstract: Classical countably additive real-valued probabilities come at a philosophical cost: in many infinite situations, they assign the same probability value---namely, zero---to cases that are impossible as well as to cases that are possible. …
    Found 2 days, 5 hours ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  19. 192166.829547
    On reflection, my paradox of short pains can be simplified. Start with: Whether I have had a pain does not depend on the future. It is impossible for me to have a pain that lasts less than a picosecond. …
    Found 2 days, 5 hours ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  20. 193153.829563
    We show that under plausible levels of background risk, no theory of choice under risk—such as expected utility theory, prospect theory, or rank dependent utility—can simultaneously satisfy the following three economic postulates: (i) Decision makers are risk-averse over small gambles, (ii) they respect stochastic dominance, and (iii) they account for background risk.
    Found 2 days, 5 hours ago on Luciano Pomatto's site
  21. 209570.829577
    Let us use the term ‘individual’ for the common objects of everyday perception and thought and reference and also for any things sufficiently like them that those things count as, well, let us say, ‘the same sort of thing for metaphysical purposes.’ I use the word without regard for any philosophical associations it may have (e.g. it may be hard for some philosophers to hear or read the word ‘individual’ without supposing that one of its functions is to stand in opposition to some other word, such as ‘universal’ or ‘attribute’). So: we human beings are individuals, tables and chairs are individuals, pebbles and boulders are individuals, protons and variable stars are individuals, elves and goblins are individuals, gods and demons are individuals, reflections in a mirror and shadows and holes and surfaces are individuals . . . That is to say, the items in this list are individuals provided (i) that they exist, and (ii) that they really are ‘the same sort of thing for metaphysical purposes’ as the common objects of everyday perception and thought and reference. (As to the point of the second qualification, consider the case of protons. Suppose that ‘a proton is a thing – like a rock!,’ a statement I once heard a Nobel laureate in physics make. That statement, if it were taken as a serious contribution to metaphysics, would seem to imply that ‘protons’ are indeed sufficiently like pebbles and boulders to count as the same sort of thing for metaphysical purposes. But it has been said that – owing to the very non-everyday properties ascribed to protons by quantum-field theories like the Standard Model – to take that statement and other such offhand statements by physicists at metaphysical face-value
    Found 2 days, 10 hours ago on Peter van Inwagen's site
  22. 223253.829591
    The following gives an overview of my beliefs about what it is to live an ethical life. At no point do I defend the beliefs or elaborate in sufficient detail to really persuade, I am simply trying to state them roughly and indicate how they interrelate. Often the claims are more an expression of mood or sentiment than anything to be taken too literally. Even the citations are not generally to defences of the views they are attached to, and in some cases the author’s views may be opposed to mine. Rather, at some point in writing this the bibliography became something like an intellectual auto-biography. The citations are thus to indicate pieces on the topic in question, which I have at some point over many years I read at least part of, and which made a noticeable impression on me. My views on ethics are not especially interesting, novel, or coherent. I imagine this document will mainly be of interest to me, but I share it on the encouragement of friends. I intend to return to this at some point and make the writing more aesthetically pleasing.
    Found 2 days, 14 hours ago on Liam Kofi Bright's site
  23. 223292.829605
    What is a natural kind? This old yet lasting philosophical question has recently received new competing answers (e.g., Chakravartty, 2007; Magnus, 2014; Khalidi, 2013; Slater, 2015; Ereshef-sky & Reydon, 2015). We show that the main ingredients of an encompassing and coherent account of natural kinds are actually on the table, but in need of the right articulation. It is by adopting a non-reductionist, naturalistic and non-conceptualist approach that, in this paper, we elaborate a new synthesis of all these ingredients. Our resulting proposition is a multiple-compartment theory of natural kinds that defines them in purely ontological terms, clearly distinguishes and relates ontological and epistemological issues —more precisely, two grains of ontological descriptions and two grains of explanatory success of natural kinds—, and which sheds light on why natural kinds play an epistemic role both within science and in everyday life.
    Found 2 days, 14 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  24. 223352.829619
    After the rise of Darwin’s theory of evolution it seemed that the much-feared ghost of traditional essentialism had disappeared from biology. However, developments of the last century in analytic metaphysics (Kripke, Putnam, Wiggins) appear to have resurrected the Aristotelian monster in various forms. The aim of this paper is to investigate the revival of the essentialist doctrine as applied to biological species, namely the thesis that organisms belong to a particular natural kind in virtue of possessing certain essential properties, and examine to what extent these new biological essentialisms are sustainable. For this purpose, I intend to analyze these proposals in both their forms, relational essentialism (Okasha, LaPorte) and intrinsic essentialism (Devitt), and confront them with their main anti-essentialist criticisms.
    Found 2 days, 14 hours ago on PhilPapers
  25. 223402.829633
    There is a rich and growing philosophical literature on humility and modesty, but, as Sara Rushing observes, “a fair number of professional philosophers … conflate humility with modesty without critically reflecting on the implications of treating the two terms as equivalent.” This conflation is unsurprising, because in ordinary language the terms are often used synonymously and interchangeably. Nonetheless, the concepts are distinct. Rushing herself does not do the work to distinguish between the concepts of humility and modesty, but her reflection on humility in Christian and Confucian traditions does gesture at the difference that I will argue for: Humility is internal; it is a matter of thought and feeling. Modesty is external; it is a matter of expression. The term ‘humility’ is etymologically connected with the Latin humus, meaning earth or soil. Although it can have connotations of lowliness, the concept of humility is perhaps better understood as being “down to earth” in one’s perspective. The term ‘modesty’ comes from the Latin modestia and connotes moderation, propriety, and correctness of conduct, which, as we will see, is appropriate to the concept of modesty.
    Found 2 days, 14 hours ago on Reason Papers
  26. 223428.829647
    This article examines the affect of acquiescentia in Spinoza’s Ethics, presenting an original interpretation of acquiescentia which illuminates the account of blessedness developed in Part V of the Ethics. It also shows how Spinoza’s complex but coherent account of acquiescentia has been obscured by inconsistent translations of acquiescentia, and forms of the verb acquiescere, in the standard English edition of the Ethics. Spinoza’s discussion of acquiescentia both draws on and critiques the equivalent Cartesian passion, la satisfaction de soi-même, which is translated as ‘acquiescentia in se ipso’ in the Latin edition of the Passions of the Soul. For Spinoza, acquiescentia is an inherently cognitive affect, since it involves an idea of oneself (as the cause of one’s joy). As such, the affect is closely correlated to the three kinds of cognition identified by Spinoza in Ethics II. Just as there are three kinds of cognition, so there are three kinds of acquiescentia – a point that has hitherto been missed by commentators. Two qualities – stillness and obedience – provide the criteria for distinguishing true or genuine acquiescentia from its false, “empty” counterpart, corresponding to imaginatio. According to Spinoza, Descartes’s conception of acquiescentia belongs entirely to this inadequate, confused kind of cognition. The qualities of stillness and obedience also distinguish between two kinds of true acquiescentia, corresponding to ratio and scientia intuitiva.
    Found 2 days, 14 hours ago on Jasper Reid's site
  27. 225473.829664
    Augustine famously claims every word is a name. Some readers take Augustine to thereby maintain a purely referentialist semantic account according to which every word is a referential expression whose meaning is its extension. Other readers think that Augustine is no referentialist and is merely claiming that every word has some meaning. In this paper, I clarify Augustine’s arguments to the effect that every word is a name and argue that ‘every word is a name’ amounts to the claim that for any word, there exist tokens of that word which are autonymous nouns. Augustine takes this to be the result of universal lexical ambiguity or equivocity (that is, the fact that every word has more than one literal meaning) and I clarify how Augustine’s account of metalinguistic discourse, which is one of the most detailed to have survived from antiquity, differs from some ancient and modern theories.
    Found 2 days, 14 hours ago on PhilPapers
  28. 225573.82968
    How should governments decide between alternative taxation schemes, environmental protection regulations, infrastructure plans, climate change policies, healthcare systems, and other policies? One kind of consideration that should bear on such decisions is their effects on people’s well-being. The most rigorous methodology for evaluating such effects is the “social welfare function” (SWF) approach originating in the work of Abram Bergson and Paul Samuelson and further developed by Kenneth Arrow, Amartya Sen, and other economists.
    Found 2 days, 14 hours ago on PhilPapers
  29. 245516.829694
    The goal of this article is to counter a belief, still widely held in the secondary literature, that Anne Conway espoused a theory of monads. By exploring her views on the divisibility of both bodies and spirits, I argue that monads could not possibly exist in her system. In addition, by offering new evidence about the Latin translation of Conway’s Principles, and the possible authorship of its annotations, I argue that she never even suggested that there could be such things as monads. Alongside this, I explore the theories of monads that did get developed by the philosophers closest to Conway—Henry More, Francis Mercury van Helmont, and Christian Knorr von Rosenroth—thereby further underlining Conway’s originality and philosophical daring.
    Found 2 days, 20 hours ago on Jasper Reid's site
  30. 256583.82971
    During pregnancy, birth and, the early days of parenthood, we do amazing things with our bodies, easily comparable to the achievements of any marathon runner. When we are pregnant, we use our bodies to shelter and nourish the growing human from microscopic blastocyst to full-term foetus. We push the boundaries of human endurance with peaks of energy use comparable to elite athletes. In labour, the cervix dilates to ten centimetres wide, roughly the size of a bagel , while the uterus exerts 100-400 Newtons of downwards force with each contraction during birth, equivalent to the force exerted by many men’s Olympic weightlifting record holders (and outdoing some of them). When lactating, we might produce over 1000g of milk a day. This milk is tailor made to meet our babies’ needs, becoming higher in calories when the baby signals a growth spurt by feeding frequently throughout the day and contains antibodies to protect the baby when either the mother or the baby gets sick.
    Found 2 days, 23 hours ago on Fiona Woollard's site