1. 9046.045832
    Animal models have long been used to investigate human mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. This practice is usually justified in terms of the benefits (to humans) outweighing the costs (to the animals). I argue on utility maximization grounds that we should phase out animal models in neuropsychiatric research. Our leading theories of how human minds and behavior evolved invoke sociocultural factors whose relation to nonhuman minds, societies, and behavior has not been homologized. Thus it is not at all clear that we are gaining the epistemic or clinical benefits we want from this animal-based research.
    Found 2 hours, 30 minutes ago on PhilSci Archive
  2. 12040.045974
    The evolutionary process involved the suffering of quadrillions of sentient beings over millions of years. I argue that when we take this into account, then it is likely that when the first humans appeared, the world was already at an enormous axiological deficit, and that even on favorable assumptions about humanity, it is doubtful that we have overturned this deficit or ever will. Even if there’s no such deficit or we can overturn it, it remains the case that everything of value associated with humanity was made possible by our evolutionary history and all that animal suffering. It can seem indecent to regard all that past suffering as having been worth it simply because it was a causal precondition for our existence. But when we consider the realistic alternatives to the way evolution in fact unfolded, there is nevertheless a conditional case for regarding past sentient suffering as a kind of necessary evil.
    Found 3 hours, 20 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  3. 48892.046008
    It sure seems like there is vagueness in moral obligation. For instance, torture of the innocent is always wrong, making an innocent person’s life mildly unpleasant for a good cause is not always wrong, and in between we can run a Sorites sequence. …
    Found 13 hours, 34 minutes ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  4. 69772.046033
    Recent research has identified a tension between the Safety principle that knowledge is belief without risk of error, and the Closure principle that knowledge is preserved by competent deduction. Timothy Williamson reconciles Safety and Closure by proposing that when an agent deduces a conclusion from some premises, the agent’s method for believing the conclusion includes their method for believing each premise. We argue that this theory is untenable because it implies problematically easy epistemic access to one’s methods. Several possible solutions are explored and rejected.
    Found 19 hours, 22 minutes ago on PhilPapers
  5. 82094.046059
    Self-locating beliefs are beliefs about one’s position or situation in the world, as opposed to beliefs about how the world is in itself. Section 1 of this entry introduces self-locating beliefs. Section 2 presents several distinct arguments that self-locating beliefs constitute a theoretically distinctive category. These arguments are driven by central examples from the literature; we categorize the examples by the arguments to which they contribute. (Some examples serve multiple strands of argument at once.) Section 3 examines positive proposals for modeling self-locating belief, focusing on the two most prominent proposals, due to Lewis and Perry.
    Found 22 hours, 48 minutes ago on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  6. 112578.04609
    Sometimes one defends a thesis which turns out to be false. This is an occupational hazard; it is something every philosopher who makes substantive claims will end up doing. Much worse is to defend a position in a dispute which turns out to be merely verbal. Then one has not just taken the wrong side in a debate, but has wasted one’s time by engaging in a debate which turns out not to have been worth having in the first place. This is also, unfortunately, an occupational hazard. What I want to explore in this paper is the question of whether certain sorts of debates in which many philosophers of perception (including myself) have engaged turn out to be, on closer inspection, just verbal disputes.
    Found 1 day, 7 hours ago on Jeff Speaks's site
  7. 124484.046117
    Are the distinctions between past, present and future, and the apparent ‘passage’ of time, features of the world in itself, or manifestations of the human perspective? Questions of this kind have been at the heart of metaphysics of time since antiquity. The latter view has much in common with pragmatism, though few in these debates are aware of that connection, and few of the view’s proponents think of themselves as pragmatists. For their part, pragmatists are often unaware of this congenial application of their methodology; some associate pragmatism with the other side of the old debate in the metaphysics of time. In my view, this link between time and pragmatism only scratches the surface of the deep two-way dependencies between these two topics. The human temporal perspective turns out to be deeply implicated not merely in our temporal notions themselves, but in many other conceptual categories – arguably, in fact, in all of them, and in the nature of language and thought. In this way, reflection on our own temporal character vindicates James’ famous slogan for global pragmatism: ‘The trail of the human serpent is thus over everything.’
    Found 1 day, 10 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  8. 127459.046188
    Reality contains multiple standpoints and encompasses any fact that obtains from any such standpoint. Any fact that obtains at all, obtains relative to some standpoint. Any true representation cannot but adopt some standpoint and, because there are multiple standpoints relative to which different facts obtain, no single representation can be a truly complete representation of all the facts.
    Found 1 day, 11 hours ago on PhilPapers
  9. 198803.046214
    In physics, we hope for the following unification: there is a small set of simple laws, and all the rest of physics derives logically from these laws and the contingencies of the arrangement of stuff. …
    Found 2 days, 7 hours ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  10. 251841.046239
    The subjective Bayesian answer to the problem of induction Posted on Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022. Some people – important people, like Richard Jeffrey or Brian Skyrms – seem to believe that Laplace and de Finetti have solved the problem of induction, assuming nothing more than probabilism. …
    Found 2 days, 21 hours ago on wo's weblog
  11. 252460.046264
    How can we make moral progress on factory farming? Part of the answer lies in human moral psychology. Meat consumption remains high, despite increased awareness of its negative impact on animal welfare. Weakness of will is part of the explanation: acceptance of the ethical arguments does not always motivate changes in dietary habits. However, we draw on scientific evidence to argue that many consumers are not fully convinced that they morally ought to reduce their meat consumption. We then identify two key psychological mechanisms—motivated reasoning and social proof—that lead people to resist the ethical reasons. Finally, we show how to harness these psychological mechanisms to encourage reductions in meat consumption. A central lesson for moral progress generally is that durable social change requires socially embedded reasoning.
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on Victor Kumar's site
  12. 252470.0463
    According to ‘Excluders’, descriptive uncertainty—but not normative uncertainty— matters to what we ought to do. Recently, several authors have argued that those wishing to treat normative uncertainty differently from descriptive uncertainty face a dependence problem because one’s descriptive uncertainty can depend on one’s normative uncertainty. The aim of this paper is to determine whether the phenomenon of dependence poses a decisive problem for Excluders. I argue that existing arguments fail to show this, and that, while stronger ones can be found, Excluders can escape them.
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on PhilPapers
  13. 252512.046325
    Social environments often impose tradeoffs between pursuing personal goals and maintaining a favorable reputation. We studied how individuals navigate these tradeoffs using Reinforcement Learning (RL), paying particular attention to the role of social value orientation (SVO). We had human participants play an interated Trust Game against various software opponents and analyzed the behaviors. We then incorporated RL into two cognitive models, trained these RL agents against the same software opponents, and performed similar analyses. Our results show that the RL agents reproduce many interesting features in the human data, such as the dynamics of convergence during learning and the tendency to defect once reciprocation becomes impossible. We also endowed some of our agents with SVO by incorporating terms for altruism and inequality aversion into their reward functions. These prosocial agents differed from proself agents in ways that resembled the differences between prosocial and proself participants. This suggests that RL is a useful framework for understanding how people use feedback to make social decisions.
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on Chris Eliasmith's site
  14. 252523.04635
    Martha Nussbaum has provided a sustained critique of Cicero’s De officiis (or On Duties), concerning what she claims is Cicero’s incoherent distinction between duties of justice, which are strict, cosmopolitan, and impartial, and duties of material aid, which are elastic, weighted towards those who are near and dear, and partial. No doubt, from Nussbaum’s cosmopolitan perspective, Cicero’s distinction between justice and beneficence seems problematic and lies at the root of modern moral failures to conceptualize adequately our obligations in situations of famine and global inequality. And yet a careful reading of Cicero’s On Duties shows many duties that appear to be partial. It is hard to believe that Cicero’s discussion of these “partial duties” was a mere oversight or omission on his part. Rather, Cicero seemed to have no problem endorsing what I will call the “partial coherence” of duties in the work—namely, the claim that asserting that duties are exhaustively partial or impartial is a false dichotomy. With the help of conceptual analysis by Richard Kraut, my paper aims to establish and defend Cicero’s “partial coherence” against Nussbaum’s criticisms.
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on PhilPapers
  15. 252527.046372
    Passages from the recently excavated Guodian manuscripts bear a surprising resemblance to a position ascribed to Gaozi and his followers in the Mengzi at 6A4-5, namely that righteousness is “external.” Although such a resemblance has been noted, the philosophical implications of it for the debate between Gaozi and Mengzi and, by extension, for Mengzian ethics have been largely unexplored. I argue that a Guodian-inspired reading of 6A4-5 is one that takes the debate to be about whether standing in certain family relations makes a difference to whether one’s actions are righteous. Gaozi denies that it does, holding the view that one’s family relations, i.e., relations internal to the household, are irrelevant when it comes to matters of righteousness, while Mengzi disagrees, arguing that all relational properties, including family relations, are just as much reason-giving properties for performing righteous actions as they are in the case of performing benevolent actions. I argue that such a Guodian-based reading provides us a simple, yet explanatorily powerful reading of 6A4-5 that has broader implications for Mengzian ethics and our understanding of the early Chinese intellectual milieu in general.
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on PhilPapers
  16. 252534.046394
    A general view in philosophy of science says that the appropriateness of an object to act as a surrogate depends on the user’s decision to utilize it as such. This paper challenges this claim by examining the role of surrogative reasoning in high-throughput sequencing technologies (technology-driven surrogates) as they are used in contemporary microbiome science. Drawing on this, we argue that, in technology-driven surrogates, knowledge about the type of inference practically permitted and epistemically justified by the surrogate constrains their use and thus puts a limit to the user’s intentions to use any object as a surrogate for what they please. Ignoring this leads to a serious epistemic misalignment, which ultimately prevents surrogative reasoning. Thus, we conclude that knowledge about the type of surrogate reasoning that the technologies being used allow is fundamental to avoid misinterpreting the consequences of the data obtained with them, the hypothesis this data supports, and what these technologies are surrogates of.
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  17. 252539.046418
    We analyse insufficient epistemic pluralism and associated problems in science-based policy advice during the COVID-19 pandemic drawing on specific arguments in Paul Feyerabend’s philosophy. Our goal is twofold: to deepen our understanding of the epistemic shortcomings in science-based policy during the pandemic, and to assess the merits and problems of Feyerabend’s arguments for epistemic pluralism as well as their relevance for policy-making. We discuss opportunities and challenges of integrating a plurality of viewpoints from within and outside science into policy advice thus contributing to discussions about normative issues concerning evidence and expertise in policy-making.
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  18. 252552.046442
    Recent work on scientific concepts has established that they often have a patchwork structure, in which use is regimented into distinct patches of application associated with distinct size- and/or time-scales, measurement techniques, and licensed inferences. Patchworks thus inherently involve structured polysemy. Why tolerate such conceptual complexity? Why not use distinct terms for each patch to avoid the threat of equivocation? At the very least, an account is owed about when such complexity goes too far: how and when do patchwork concepts fail? We address these questions by considering two cases of conceptual housekeeping: cases where the relevant scientists themselves judged a patchwork concept to have gone too far and took steps to clean up the mess. On the basis of these case studies (plus supporting normative arguments), we defend two theses. We argue, first, that such housekeeping efforts are context-sensitive: concept deviance cannot be read off concept structure alone. Second, we defend minimalism about such housekeeping: tolerance for conceptual complexity is an appropriate default attitude.
    Found 2 days, 22 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  19. 292506.04647
    An action is unratifiable when, on the assumption that one performs it, another option has higher expected utility. Unratifiable actions are often claimed to be somehow rationally defective. But in some cases where multiple options are unratifiable, one unratifiable option can still seem preferable to another. We should respond, I argue, by invoking a graded notion of ratifiability.
    Found 3 days, 9 hours ago on David James Barnett's site
  20. 292536.046494
    This paper explores an underappreciated interaction between Descartes’ epistemology and his metaphysics of the self, with the aim of explaining two puzzling features of his response to skepticism. The first feature is that Descartes vindicates the reliability of reason using reason, but not the reliability of other sources like sensory perception or testimony using sensory perception or testimony. The second is that Descartes grants momentary knowledge (cognitio) of a geometrical theorem to an atheist, who lacks proof of the reliability of his own cognitive faculties, yet denies this knowledge can persist when the the atheist is not consciously entertaining the theorem’s demonstration. The resolution of these puzzles, I argue, can be found only if we go beyond the epistemology to Descartes’ views on free will and mind-body interaction. According to Descartes, the difference between knowledge and true belief is that the knower is in control of whether he assents to the truth, whereas the believer is dependent on external events working out in his favor. Descartes furthermore thought that the immaterial mind interacts with a material brain, and that our freedom and responsibility extend only to what is internal to the mind.
    Found 3 days, 9 hours ago on David James Barnett's site
  21. 292606.046535
    Self-verifying judgments like I exist seem rational, and self-defeating ones like It will rain, but I don’t believe it will rain seem irrational. But one’s evidence might support a self-defeating judgment, and fail to support a self-verifying one. This paper explains how it can be rational to defy one’s evidence if judgment is construed as a mental performance or act, akin to inner assertion. The explanation comes at significant cost, however. Instead of causing or constituting beliefs, judgments turn out to be mere epiphenomena, and self-verification and self-defeat lack the broader philosophical import often claimed for them.
    Found 3 days, 9 hours ago on David James Barnett's site
  22. 307056.046563
    The ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi (4th c. BCE) often contradicted himself, or at least made statements whose superficial readings stood in tension with each other. This self-contradiction, I contend, is not sloppy, nor does it necessarily reflect different authorship of different parts of the text or different stages in the development of Zhuangzi's thought. …
    Found 3 days, 13 hours ago on The Splintered Mind
  23. 309730.046589
    She buys the clothes he prefers, invites the guests he wants to entertain, and makes love whenever he is in the mood. She willingly moves to a new city in order for him to have a more attractive job, counting her own friendships and geographical preferences insignificant by comparison. She loves her husband, but her conduct is not simply an expression of love. She is happy, but she does not subordinate herself as a means to happiness. She does not simply defer to her husband in certain spheres as a trade-off for his deference in other spheres. On the contrary, she tends not to form her own interests, values, and ideals, and when she does, she counts them as less important than her husband’s... she is quite glad, and proud, to serve her husband as she does.
    Found 3 days, 14 hours ago on PhilPapers
  24. 309758.046612
    Genre discourse is widespread in appreciative practice, whether that is about hip-hop music, romance novels, or film noir. It should be no surprise then, that philosophers of art have also been interested in genres. Whether they are giving accounts of genres as such or of particular genres, genre talk abounds in philosophy as much as it does the popular discourse. As a result, theories of genre proliferate as well. However, in their accounts, philosophers have so far focused on capturing all of the categories of art that we think of as genres and have focused less on ensuring that only the categories we think are genres are captured by those theories. Each of these theories populates the world with far too many genres because they call a wide class of mere categories of art genres. I call this the problem of genre explosion. In this paper, I survey the existing accounts of genre and describe the kinds of considerations they employ in determining whether a work is a work of a given genre. After this, I demonstrate the ways in which the problem of genre explosion arises for all of these theories and discuss some solutions those theories could adopt that will ultimately not work. Finally, I argue that the problem of genre explosion is best solved by adopting a social view of genres, which can capture the difference between genres and mere categories of art.
    Found 3 days, 14 hours ago on PhilPapers
  25. 348501.046635
    Aquinas, Ockham, and Burdan all claim that a person can be numerically identical over time, despite changes in size, shape, and color. How can we reconcile this with the Indiscernibility of Identicals, the principle that numerical identity implies indiscernibility across time? Almost all contemporary metaphysicians regard the Indiscernibility of Identicals as axiomatic. But I will argue that Aquinas, Ockham, and Burdan would reject it, perhaps in favor of a principle restricted to indiscernibility at a time.
    Found 4 days ago on John Morrison's site
  26. 359835.046682
    In the recent debate about scientific concepts, pluralists claim that scientists can legitimately use concepts with multiple meanings, while eliminativists argue that scientists should abandon such concepts in favor of more precisely defined subconcepts. While pluralists and eliminativists already share key assumptions about conceptual development, their normative positions still appear to suggest that the process of revising concepts is a dichotomous choice between keeping the concept and abandoning it altogether. To move beyond pluralism and eliminativism, I discuss three options of revising concepts in light of new findings, and when scientists should choose each of them.
    Found 4 days, 3 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  27. 359910.046713
    Quantum states containing records of incompatible outcomes of quantum measurements are valid states in the tensor product Hilbert space. Since they contain false records, they conflict with the Born rule and with our observations. I show that excluding them requires a fine-tuning to a zero-measure subspace of the Hilbert space that seems “conspiratorial”, in the sense that ˆ it depends on future events, in particular of future choices of the measurement settings, ˆ it depends on the evolution law (normally thought to be independent of the initial conditions), ˆ it violates statistical independence (even in interpretations that satisfy it in the context of Bell’s theorem, like standard quantum mechanics, pilot-wave theories, collapse theories, many-worlds etc.). Even the innocent assumption that there are measuring devices requires this kind of fine tuning. These results are independent of the interpretation of quantum mechanics. To explain away this apparent fine-tuning, I propose that an yet unknown law or superselection rule may restrict the full tensor product Hilbert space to this very special subspace.
    Found 4 days, 3 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  28. 367681.046738
    In a series of recent papers, I presented a puzzle and theory of definition.2 I did not, however, indicate how the theory resolves the puzzle. This was an oversight, on my part, and one I hope to correct. My aim here is to provide that resolution: to demonstrate that my theory can consistently embrace the principles I prove to be inconsistent. To the best of my knowledge, this theory is the only one capable of this embrace—which marks yet another advantage it has over competitors.
    Found 4 days, 6 hours ago on PhilPapers
  29. 367714.046761
    In everyday justifications offered on behalf of contested claims, simply noting that someone once said something about case X offers little or no help in substantiating a claim about case Y, regardless of how esteemed the speaker may have been. For instance, if I want to know how many people live in Greater Manchester today, it is of very little help to cite the remark by Friedrich Engels, in The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844, that Greater Manchester “contains about four hundred thousand inhabitants, rather more than less” (Engels 1892, p. 45).
    Found 4 days, 6 hours ago on PhilPapers
  30. 409474.0468
    A metainference is usually understood as a pair consisting of a collection of inferences, called premises, and a single inference, called conclusion. In the last few years, much attention has been paid to the study of metainferences—and, in particular, to the question of what are the valid metainferences of a given logic. So far, however, this study has been done in quite a poor language. Our usual sequent calculi have no way to represent, e.g. negations, disjunctions or conjunctions of inferences. In this paper we tackle this expressive issue. We assume some background sentential language as given and define what we call an inferential language, that is, a language whose atomic formulas are inferences. We provide a model-theoretic characterization of validity for this language—relative to some given characterization of validity for the background sentential language—and provide a proof-theoretic analysis of validity. We argue that our novel language has fruitful philosophical applications. Lastly, we generalize some of our definitions and results to arbitrary metainferential levels.
    Found 4 days, 17 hours ago on Buenos Aires Logic Group