Philosophical Progress and blog posts found on 28 July 20212021-07-28T23:59:00Z2021-07-28T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-07-28://<b>Craig Callender: <a href="">On the Horns of a Dilemma: Let the Northern White Rhino Vanish or Intervene?</a></b> (pdf, 8137 words)<br /> <div>Rhinos are one of the largest and most charismatic land animals in existence. Second in size among land mammals to only elephants, all five species of the family Rhinocerotidae are in grave danger primarily due to poaching. As such they are the subject of intense international attention in conservation science. In what follows I’ll focus on the African white rhino, which is comprised of two subspecies, the southern white rhino (SWR, Ceratotherium simum simum) and the northern white rhino (NWR, Ceratotherium simum cotton). The SWR faced a tight population bottleneck roughly a century ago, but due to conservation efforts it has rebounded and currently numbers ∼20,000 individuals, most residing in South Africa. The NWR, by contrast, has vanished from the wild and is presumably the most endangered mammal in the world. Two females, 20-year-old Fatu and her 30-year-old mother, Najin, are the sole surviving NWRs, both living in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The last male, Sudan, died in 2018. Neither surviving females are viable mothers. As a result, the NWR is functionally extinct.</div><br /> <b>J. H. van Hateren: <a href="">A mechanism that realizes strong emergence</a></b> (pdf, 11085 words)<br /> <div>The causal efficacy of a material system is usually thought to be produced by the law-like actions and interactions of its constituents. Here, a specific system is constructed and explained that produces a cause that cannot be understood in this way, but instead has novel and autonomous efficacy. The construction establishes a proof-of-feasibility of strong emergence. The system works by utilizing randomness in a targeted and cyclical way, and by relying on sustained evolution by natural selection. It is not vulnerable to standard arguments against strong emergence, in particular ones that assume that the physical realm is causally closed. Moreover, it does not suffer from epiphenomenalism or causal overdetermination. The system uses only standard material components and processes, and is fully consistent with naturalism. It is discussed whether the emergent cause can still be viewed as ‘material’ in the way that term is commonly understood.</div><br /> <b>Marc Artiga: <a href="">Bacterial Communication</a></b> (pdf, 10166 words)<br /> <div>Recent research on bacteria and other microorganisms has provided interesting insights into the nature of life, cooperation, evolution, individuality or species. In this paper, I focus on the capacity of bacteria to produce molecules that are usually classi?ed as 'signals' and I defend two claims. First, I argue that certain interactions between bacteria should actually qualify as genuine forms of communication. Second, I use this case study to revise our general theories of signaling. Among other things, I argue that a plausible requirement for a state to qualify as a signal is that it is a minimal cause.</div><br /> <b>Sanford C. Goldberg: <a href="">What epistemologists of testimony should learn from philosophers of science</a></b> (doc, 9547 words)<br /> <div>The thesis of this paper is that, if it is construed individualistically, epistemic justification does not capture the conditions that philosophers of science would impose on justified belief in a scientific hypothesis. The difficulty arises from beliefs acquired through testimony. From this I derive a lesson that epistemologists generally, and epistemologists of testimony in particular, should learn from philosophers of science: we ought to repudiate epistemic individualism and move towards a more fully social epistemology.</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 27 July 20212021-07-27T23:59:00Z2021-07-27T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-07-27://<b>David Mark Kovacs: <a href="">There Is No Distinctively Semantic Circularity Objection to Humean Laws</a></b> (pdf, 7510 words)<br /> <div>Humeans identify the laws of nature with universal generalizations that systematize rather than govern the particular matters of fact. Humeanism is frequently accused of circularity: laws explain their instances, but Humean laws are, in turn, grounded by those instances. Unfortunately, this argument trades on controversial assumptions about grounding and explanation that Humeans routinely reject. However, recently an ostensibly semantic circularity objection has been offered, which seeks to avoid reading such assumptions into the Humean view. This paper argues that the new semantic version tacitly relies on the familiar metaphysical one and, therefore, it ultimately brings nothing new to the table.</div><br /> <b>Holger Andreas, Mario Guenther: <a href="">Regularity and Inferential Theories of Causation</a></b> (html, 16272 words)<br /> <div>A cause is regularly followed by its effect. This idea is at the core of regularity theories of causation. The most influential regularity theory can be found in Hume (1739). The theory has been refined by Mill (1843) who insisted that the relevant regularities are laws of nature. Further refinements used to enjoy popularity until David Lewis (1973) criticized the regularity theory and proposed an analysis of causation in terms of counterfactuals (see the entry on counterfactual theories of causation). Since then, counterfactual theories of causation have risen and regularity theories have more and more fallen into disuse.</div><br /> <b>Luis Oliveira: <a href="">Vagueness and the Problem of Evil: a New Reply to van Inwagen</a></b> (pdf, 8726 words)<br /> <div>One of the few points of agreement between most theists and non-theists working on the problem of evil is that the existence of a perfect God is incompatible with the existence of pointless evil. In a series of influential papers, however, Peter van Inwagen has argued that careful attention to the reasoning behind this claim reveals fatal difficulties related to the Sorites Paradox. In this paper, I explain van Inwagen’s appeal to sorites reasoning, distinguish between two different arguments in his work, and argue that they both commit the same so-far-unnoticed mistake.</div><br /> <b>Scott Aaronson's blog: <a href="">Striking new Beeping Busy Beaver champion</a></b> (html, 1038 words)<br /> <div>« Steven Weinberg (1933-2021): a personal view Striking new Beeping Busy Beaver champion For the past few days, I was bummed about the sooner-than-expected loss of Steven Weinberg. Even after putting up my post, I spent hours just watching old interviews with Steve on YouTube and reading his old essays for gems of insight that I’d missed. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 26 July 20212021-07-26T23:59:00Z2021-07-26T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-07-26://<b>Simon Saunders: <a href="">The Everett Interpretation: Probability</a></b> (pdf, 10846 words)<br /> <div>The Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics is, inter alia, an interpretation of objective probability: an account of what probability really is. In this respect, it is unlike other realist interpretations of quantum theory or indeed any proposed modification to quantum mechanics (like pilot-wave theory and dynamical collapse theories); in none of these is probability itself the locus of inquiry. As for <i>why</i> the Everett interpretation is so engaged with the question of probability, it is in its nature: its starting point is the unitary, deterministic equations of quantum mechanics, and it introduces no hidden variables with values unknown.</div><br /> <b>Wayne C. Myrvold: <a href="">On the Relation of the Laws of Thermodynamics to Statistical Mechanics</a></b> (pdf, 13315 words)<br /> <div>Much of the philosophical literature on the relations between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics has to do with the process of relaxation to equilibrium. There has been comparatively little discussion of how to obtain what have traditionally been recognized as laws of thermodynamics, the zeroth, first, and second laws, from statistical mechanics. This note is about how to obtain analogues of those laws as theorems of statistical mechanics. The difference between the zeroth and second laws of thermodynamics and their statistical mechanical analogues is that the statistical mechanical laws are probabilistically qualified; what the thermodynamical laws say will happen, their statistical mechanical analogues say will probably happen. For this reason, it is entirely appropriate — indeed, virtually inevitable — for the quantities that are statistical mechanical analogues of temperature and entropy to be attributes of probability distributions. I close with some remarks about the relations between so-called “Gibbsian” and “Boltzmannian” methods in statistical mechanics.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Material and formal mortal sin, and an insidious form of scrupulosity</a></b> (html, 1118 words)<br /> <div>This post is aimed primarily at Catholic readers, and especially Catholic readers given to a certain mode of scrupulosity (a disorder where one is unduly and irrationally worried about one’s sinfulness) I will describe further on down. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Divine simplicity and knowledge of contingent truth</a></b> (html, 688 words)<br /> <div>I think the hardest problem for divine simplicity is the problem of God’s contingent beliefs. In our world, God believes there are horses. In a horseless world, God doesn’t believe there are horses. Yet according to divine simplicity, God has the same intrinsic features in both the horsey and the horseless worlds. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 25 July 20212021-07-25T23:59:00Z2021-07-25T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-07-25://<b>Cécile Fabre: <a href="">Harming, Rescuing and the Necessity Constraint on Defensive Force</a></b> (pdf, 7573 words)<br /> <div>In <i>The Morality of Defensive Force</i>, Quong defends a powerful account of the grounds and conditions under which an agent may justifiably inflict serious harm on another person. In this paper, I examine Quong’s account of the necessity constraint on permissible harming—the RESCUE account. I argue that RESCUE does not succeed. Section 2 describes RESCUE. Section 3 raises some worries about Quong’s conceptual construal of the right to be rescued and its attendant duties. Section 4 argues that RESCUE does not deliver the verdicts that Quong wants. In those sections, I assume that the attacker is culpable for the threat he poses. Section 5 considers cases where the attacker, though responsible for the wrongful threat he poses and therefore liable to defensive force, has an epistemic justification for acting as he does and thus is not morally culpable. In his discussion of necessity, Quong does not explicitly deal with such cases. I suggest that RESCUE does not operate in the same way when attackers are mistaken as when they are morally culpable.</div><br /> <b>Glauber De Bona, Julia Staffel: <a href="">Updating Incoherent Credences - Extending the Dutch Strategy Argument for Conditionalization</a></b> (pdf, 14307 words)<br /> <div>In this paper, we ask: how should an agent who has incoherent credences update when they learn new evidence? The standard Bayesian answer for coherent agents is that they should conditionalize; however, this updating rule is not defined for incoherent starting credences. We show how one of the main arguments for conditionalization, the Dutch strategy argument, can be extended to devise a target property for updating plans that can apply to them regardless of whether the agent starts out with coherent or incoherent credences. The main idea behind this extension is that the agent should avoid updating plans that increase the possible sure loss from Dutch strategies. This happens to be equivalent to avoiding updating plans that increase incoherence according to a distance-based incoherence measure.</div><br /> <b>Stephan Hartmann, Ulrike Hahn: <a href="">How to Revise Beliefs from Conditionals: A New Proposal</a></b> (pdf, 4634 words)<br /> <div>A large body of work has demonstrated the utility of the Bayesian framework for capturing inference in both specialist and everyday contexts. However, the central tool of the framework, conditionalization via Bayes’ rule, does not apply directly to a common type of learning: the acquisition of conditional information. How should an agent change her beliefs on learning that “If A, then C”? This issue, which is central to both reasoning and argumentation, has recently prompted considerable research interest. In this paper, we critique a prominent proposal and provide a new, alternative, answer.</div><br /> <b>Scott Aaronson's blog: <a href="">Steven Weinberg (1933-2021): a personal view</a></b> (html, 3609 words)<br /> <div>« Slowly emerging from blog-hibervacation Steven Weinberg (1933-2021): a personal view Steven Weinberg was, perhaps, the last truly towering figure of 20th-century physics. In 1967, he wrote a 3-page paper saying in effect that as far as he could see, two of the four fundamental forces of the universe—namely, electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force—had actually been the same force until a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, when a broken symmetry caused them to decouple. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 24 July 20212021-07-24T23:59:00Z2021-07-24T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-07-24://<b>: <a href="">From Speech to Voice: On the Content of Inner Speech</a></b> (pdf, 11929 words)<br /> <div>Theorists have found it difficult to reconcile the unity of inner speech as a mental state kind with the diversity of its manifestations. I argue that existing views concerning the content of inner speech fail to accommodate both of these features because they mistakenly assume that its content is to be found in the ‘speech processing hierarchy’, which includes semantic, syntactic, phonemic, phonetic, and articulatory levels. Upon rejecting this assumption, I offer a position on which the content of inner speech is determined by voice processing, of which speech processing is but one component. The resulting view does justice to the idea that inner speech is a motley assortment of episodes that nevertheless form a kind.</div><br /> <b>Douglas W. Portmore: <a href="">Consequentializing Constraints A Kantsequentialist Approach</a></b> (pdf, 12707 words)<br /> <div><b></b>There is, on a given moral view, a constraint against performing acts of a certain type if and only if that view prohibits agents from performing an instance of that act-type even to prevent two or more others from each performing a morally comparable instance of that act-type. The fact that commonsense morality includes many such constraints has been seen by several philosophers as a decisive objection against consequentialism. Despite this, I argue that constraints are actually best accommodated with a consequentialist framework. For I argue that when we combine agent-relative consequentialism with a Kantian theory of value, we arrive at a version of consequentialism, which I call <i>Kantsequentialism</i>, that has several advantages over the standard side-constraint approach to accommodating constraints. What’s more, I argue that this theory doesn’t have any of the disadvantages that critics of consequentializing have presumed that it must have.</div><br /> <b>Duligur Ibeling: <a href="">A Topological Perspective on Causal Inference</a></b> (pdf, 11873 words)<br /> <div>For many purposes we need to move beyond passive observation, focusing instead on what <i>would</i> happen were we to <i>act</i> upon a given system. Even further, we sometimes desire to <i>explain</i> the behavior of a system, raising questions about what <i>would have</i> occurred had some aspects of a situation been different. Such questions depend not just on the data distribution; they depend on deeper features of underlying data-generating <i>processes</i> or <i>mechanisms</i>. It is thus generally acknowledged that stronger assumptions are required if we want to draw <i>causal</i> conclusions from data [39, 30, 21, 32, 35].</div><br /> <b>Guy Longworth: <a href="">Review: David Wiggins, Ethics: Twelve Lectures on the Philosophy of Morality</a></b> (pdf, 1620 words)<br /> <div>David Wiggins’ extraordinary book is a kind of opinionated introduction—or, as he suggests (vii), a <i>re</i>introduction—to the philosophy of morality. It aims to put its reader in a position to begin addressing three interconnected questions: (A) …the question of the substance or content of morality, its nature, and its extent. (B) …the question of the reasons there may be—and the reasons agents may make their own—to participate, persevere, and persist in morality.</div><br /> <b>Hannes Fraissler: <a href=",H-Thought_Language_Reasoning.pdf">Thought, Language, and Reasoning: Perspectives on the Relation Between Mind and Language</a></b> (pdf, 108366 words)<br /> <div>This dissertation is an investigation into the relation between mind and language from different perspectives, split up into three interrelated but still, for the most part, self-standing parts. Parts I and II are concerned with the question how thought is affected by language while Part III investigates the scope covered by mind and language respectively. Part I provides a reconstruction of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s famous Private Language Argument in order to apply the rationale behind this line of argument to the relation between mind and language. This argumentative strategy yields the conclusion that reasoning – an important type of thought – is constitutively dependent on language possession and is therefore not available to non-linguistic creatures. This result is achieved by considering the preconditions for reasoning – given that it is a rule-governed activity – and eliminating competitors to language for providing reasoners with what it takes to reason.</div><br /> <b>Kai von Fintel: <a href="">How weak is your <i>want</i>?</a></b> (pdf, 2640 words)<br /> <div>More than twenty years ago, I published a paper (von Fintel 1999) that among other things presented an analysis of the semantics of desire ascriptions. In a footnote, I wrote: with a good glass of red wine and paper and pencil it is astonishingly easy to come up with candidate analyses that are not blatantly implausible. Wouldn’t it be nice if the language learner got some obvious clues about which meanings are serious contenders …?</div><br /> <b>Kenneth Silver: <a href="">How to Justify Holding Corporations Responsible</a></b> (pdf, 13808 words)<br /> <div>The literature on corporate moral responsibility (CMR) is largely focused on the question of whether corporations are the kinds of things that can be morally responsible. The assumption is that if we judge corporations to be responsible, then we ought to hold them responsible by punishing them both socially and criminally. However, opponents have long emphasized the high costs and few benefits of this punishment. Because of the apparent harm to stakeholders, some have even argued that we are not justified in holding corporations responsible even if they technically are. Here, I respond to these concerns. By contextualizing the harm to stakeholders that does occur and emphasizing what is lost in our failing to adequately punish corporations, I show why a proponent of CMR should presumptively take us to be justified in holding corporations responsible.</div><br /> <b>Mark Sainsbury: <a href="">Hume and Kahneman’s dual systems</a></b> (pdf, 3069 words)<br /> <div>This paper draws attention to similarities between Hume and Kahneman: Hume’s contrast between custom and reason anticipates Kahneman’s contrast between System 1 and System 2. Each appeals to similar psychological and epistemic features to make the contrast.</div><br /> <b>Oscar A. Piedrahita: <a href="">Can Hinge Epistemology Close the Door on Epistemic Relativism?</a></b> (pdf, 14296 words)<br /> <div>I argue that a standard formulation of hinge epistemology is host to epistemic relativism and show that two leading hinge approaches (Coliva’s acceptance account and Pritchard’s nondoxastic account) are vulnerable to a form of incommensurability that leads to relativism. Building on both accounts, I introduce a new, minimally epistemic conception of hinges that avoids epistemic relativism and rationally resolves hinge disagreements. According to my proposed account, putative cases of epistemic incommensurability are rationally resolvable: hinges are propositions that are the objects of our belief-like attitudes and are rationally revisable in virtue of our overarching commitment to avoid systematic deception in our epistemic practices.</div><br /> <b>Richard Cookson, Ieva Skarda, Owen Cotton‐Barratt, Matthew Adler, Miqdad Asaria, Toby Ord: <a href="">Quality adjusted life years based on health and consumption: A summary wellbeing measure for cross‐sectoral economic evaluation</a></b> (pdf, 15962 words)<br /> <div>We introduce a summary wellbeing measure for economic evaluation of cross‐ sectoral public policies with impacts on health and living standards. We show how to calculate period‐specific and lifetime wellbeing using quality‐adjusted life years based on widely available data on health‐related quality of life and consumption and normative assumptions about three parameters—minimal consumption, standard consumption, and the elasticity of the marginal value of consumption. We also illustrate how these three parameters can be tailored to the decision‐making context and varied in sensitivity analysis to provide information about the implications of alternative value judgments. As well as providing a general measure for cost‐effectiveness analysis and cost‐benefit analysis in terms of wellbeing, this approach also facilitates distributional analysis in terms of how many good years different population subgroups can expect to live under different policy scenarios.</div><br /> <b>Robert Weston Siscoe: <a href="">Accuracy Across Doxastic Attitudes: Recent Work on the Accuracy of Belief</a></b> (pdf, 188 words)<br /> <div>James Joyce’s article “A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism” introduced an approach to arguing for credal norms by appealing to the epistemic value of accuracy. The central thought was that credences ought to accurately represent the world, a guiding thought that has gone on to generate an entire research paradigm on the rationality of credences. Recently, a number of epistemologists have begun to apply this same thought to full beliefs, attempting to explain and argue for norms of belief in terms of epistemic value. This paper examines these recent attempts, showing how they interact with work on the accuracy of credences. It then examines how differing judgments about epistemic value give rise to distinct rational requirements for belief, concluding by considering some of the fundamental questions and issues yet to be fully explored.</div><br /> <b>Roman Frigg, Daniel Greenberger, Brigitte Falkenburg: <a href="">GRW Theory (Ghirardi, Rimini, Weber Model of Quantum Mechanics)</a></b> (pdf, 2155 words)<br /> <div>Consider a toy system consisting of a marble and box. The marble has two states, |<i>"</i>in? and |<i>"</i>out?, corresponding to the marble being inside or outside the box. These states are eigenvectors of the operator ˆ<i>B</i>, measuring whether the marble is inside or outside the box. The formalism of quantum mechanics (QM) has it that not only |<i>"</i>in? and |<i>"</i>out? themselves, but any ? superposition |<i>"m</i>? = <i>a</i> |<i>"</i>in? + <i>b</i> |<i>"</i>out? where <i>a</i> and <i>b</i> are complex numbers such that |<i>a</i>| + |<i>b</i>| = 1, can be the state of the marble. What are the properties of the marble in such a state? This question is commonly answered by appeal to the so-called Eigenstate-Eigenvalue Rule (EER): An observable ˆ<i>O</i> has a well-defined value for a quantum a system <i>S</i> in state |<i>"</i>? if, and only if, |<i>"</i>? is an eigenstate of ˆ . Since |<i>"</i>in? and |<i>"</i>out? are eigen-states of ˆ<i>B</i>, EER yields that the marble is either inside (or outside) the box if its state is |<i>"</i>in? (or |<i>"</i>out?). However, states like |<i>"m</i>? defy interpretation on the basis of EER and we have to conclude that if the marble is in such a state then it is neither inside nor outside the box. This is unacceptable because we know from experience that marbles are always either inside or outside boxes. Reconciling this fact of everyday experience with the quantum formalism is the infamous measurement problem. See also ? Bohmian mechanics; Measurement theory; Metaphysics in Quantum Mechanics; Modal Interpretation; Objectification; Projection Postulate.</div><br /> <b>Stephen Perry: <a href="">What Is “Applied Mathematics” Anyway? How the History of Fluid Mechanics Demonstrates the Role of Concepts in Applied Mathematics</a></b> (pdf, 39025 words)<br /> <div>Introduction: Intepreting Physical Theory in Modern Science 0.1 The Syntactic and Semantic Views of Scientific Theories . . . . . 0.2 Scientific Theories and Metaphysics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.3</div><br /> <b>Thomas Bolander, Lasse Dissing, Nicolai Herrmann: <a href="">DEL-based Epistemic Planning for Human-Robot Collaboration: Theory and Implementation</a></b> (pdf, 10091 words)<br /> <div>Epistemic planning based on Dynamic Epistemic Logic (DEL) allows agents to reason and plan from the perspective of other agents. The framework of DEL-based epistemic planning thereby has the potential to represent significant aspects of Theory of Mind in autonomous robots, and to provide a foundation for human-robot collaboration in which coordination is achieved implicitly through perspective shifts. In this paper, we build on previous work in epistemic planning with implicit coordination. We introduce a new notion of indistinguishability between epistemic states based on bisimulation, and provide a novel partition refinement algorithm for computing unique representatives of sets of indistinguishable states. We provide an algorithm for computing implicitly coordinated plans using these new constructs, embed it in a perceive-plan-act agent loop, and implement it on a robot. The planning algorithm is benchmarked against an existing epistemic planning algorithm, and the robotic implementation is demonstrated on human-robot collaboration scenarios requiring implicit coordination.</div><br /> <b>Toby Ord: <a href="">Proposal for a New ‘Three Lines of Defence’ Approach to UK Risk Management</a></b> (pdf, 10905 words)<br /> <div>We do not know which extreme risk will come next, but we do know what many of the most extreme risks are, and that our preparation needs to be much better. This paper proposes a new Three Lines of Defence system to ensure that extreme risks are sufficiently captured in UK risk management. It suggests going beyond simply ‘fighting the last war’ and focusing solely on better pandemic preparedness, instead of transforming the UK’s resilience to extreme risks across the board.</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 23 July 20212021-07-23T23:59:00Z2021-07-23T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-07-23://<b>: <a href="">Thomistic Foundations for Moderate Realism about Mathematical Objects</a></b> (pdf, 5259 words)<br /> <div>Contemporary philosophers of mathematics are deadlocked between two alternative ontologies for numbers: Platonism and nominalism. According to contemporary mathematical Platonism, numbers are <i>real abstract objects</i>, i.e. particulars which are nonetheless “wholly nonphysical, nonmental, nonspatial, nontemporal, and noncausal.” While this view does justice to intuitions about numbers and mathematical semantics, it leaves unclear how we could ever learn anything by mathematical inquiry. Mathematical nominalism, by contrast, holds that numbers do not exist extra-mentally, which raises difficulties about how mathematical statements could be true or false. Both theories, moreover, leave inexplicable how mathematics could have such a close relationship with natural science, since neither abstract nor mental objects can influence concrete physical objects.</div><br /> <b> Mark Robert Baker: <a href="">Noether’s first theorem and the energy-momentum tensor ambiguity problem</a></b> (pdf, 14819 words)<br /> <div>Noether’s theorems are widely praised as some of the most beautiful and useful results in physics. However, if one reads the majority of standard texts and literature on the application of Noether’s first theorem to field theory, one immediately finds that the “canonical Noether energy-momentum tensor” derived from the 4-parameter translation of the Poincar´e group does not correspond to what’s widely accepted as the “physical” energy-momentum tensor for central theories such as electrodynamics. This gives the impression that Noether’s first theorem is in some sense not working. In recognition of this issue, common practice is to “improve” the canonical Noether energy-momentum tensor by adding suitable ad-hoc “improvement” terms that will convert the canonical expression into the desired result. On the other hand, a less common but distinct method developed by Bessel-Hagen considers gauge symmetries as well as coordinate symmetries when applying Noether’s first theorem; this allows one to uniquely derive the accepted physical energy-momentum tensor without the need for any ad-hoc improvement terms in theories with exactly gauge invariant actions. Given these two distinct methods to obtain an energy-momentum tensor, the question arises as to whether one of these methods corresponds to a preferable application of Noether’s first theorem. Using the converse of Noether’s first theorem, we show that the Bessel- Hagen type transformations are uniquely selected in the case of electrodynamics, which powerfully dissolves the methodological ambiguity at hand. We then go on to consider how this line of argument applies to a variety of other cases, including in particular the challenge of defining an energy-momentum tensor for the gravitational field in linearised gravity. Finally, we put the search for proper Noether energy-momentum tensors into context with recent claims that Noether’s theorem and its converse make statements on equivalence classes of symmetries and conservation laws: We aim to identify clearly the limitations of this latter move, and develop our position by contrast with recent philosophical discussions about how symmetries relate to the representational capacities of our theories.</div><br /> <b>Alex Davies: <a href="">Communicating in Contextual Ignorance</a></b> (pdf, 10935 words)<br /> <div>The discernible context in which linguistic communication takes place typically underdetermines which proposition is literally expressed by a context-sensitive (declarative) sentence (in context) used to do the communication. A growing number of theorists believe this underdetermination to have exciting and unexpected implications for our understanding of linguistic communication. For instance, and roughly speaking, some think it shows that you cannot mean that a man is dying down at the local bar by saying “A man is dying down at the local bar”, while others think that in many circumstances where you wouldn’t expect it, if someone tells you that a man is dying down at the local bar by saying “A man is dying down at the local bar” then you cannot know that a man is dying down at the local bar because you don’t know that this is what that someone said. But it is not self-evident that underdetermination has any such special implications for the nature of linguistic communication: if it were self-evident, there would be no need to publish arguments defending the implications.</div><br /> <b>André Casajus: <a href="">Second-order productivity, second-order payoffs, and the Shapley value</a></b> (pdf, 5513 words)<br /> <div>We introduce the concepts of the players’second-order productivities in cooperative games with transferable utility (TU games) and of the players’second-order payoffs for one-point solutions for TU games. Second-order productivities are conceptualized as second-order marginal contributions, that is, how one player affects another player’s marginal contributions to coalitions containing neither of them by entering these coalitions. Second-order payoffs are conceptualized as the effect of one player leaving the game on the payoff of another player. We show that the Shapley value is the unique e¢ cient one-point solution for TU games that re‡ects the players’second-order productivities in terms of their second-order payoffs.</div><br /> <b>Bryan Frances: <a href="">Metaphysics, Bullshit, and the Analysis of Philosophical Problems</a></b> (pdf, 6535 words)<br /> <div>Although metaphysics has made an impressive comeback over the past half century, there are still a great many philosophers today who think it is bullshit, under numerous precisifications of ‘That’s just bullshit’ so that it’s a negative assessment and doesn’t apply to most philosophy (so it singles out metaphysics as particularly worse off than most other fields of philosophy). One encounters this attitude countless times in casual conversations, social media, and occasionally in print (e.g. Ladyman and Ross, 2007). Is it true?</div><br /> <b>C. D. McCoy: <a href="">Understanding the Progress of Science</a></b> (pdf, 7153 words)<br /> <div>Much of the recent explosion of literature on scientific progress was ignited by Bird’s provocative article “What Is Scientific Progress?” (Bird, 2007), where he advocates an “epistemic” account of scientific progress, a kind of view which he alleges is lately overlooked, despite its venerable history. In making room for his account, Bird criticizes what he takes to have been the most prominent accounts of scientific progress advanced in the latter half of the 20th century. He claims that realist philosophers of science have often taken truth to be the ultimate goal of science and its progress to be properly characterized by an accumulation of truths, or at least an approximating approach to them. By contrast, historically-minded philosophers of science and anti-realists have frequently rejected the realists’ notion of truth as a goal of science, instead preferring to characterize progress in terms of, among other things, success in problem-solving, as in the well-known views of Kuhn (1996) and Laudan (1977). In his paper, Bird criticizes the realists for overlooking the importance of justification to progress and the anti-realists for giving up on truth—both regarded as being essential elements of the generally received conception of knowledge in analytic epistemology. According to Bird, it is knowledge that should properly be regarded as the principal aim of science: science makes progress precisely when it realizes the accumulation of scientific knowledge.</div><br /> <b>Daniel Munro, Margot Strohminger: <a href="">Are We Free to Imagine What We Choose?</a></b> (pdf, 9854 words)<br /> <div><b></b>It has long been recognized that we have a great deal of freedom to imagine what we choose. This paper explores a thesis—what we call “intentionalism (about the imagination)”—that provides a way of making this evident (if vague) truism precise. According to intentionalism, the contents of your imaginings are simply determined by whatever contents you intend to imagine. Thus, for example, when you visualize a building and intend it to be of King’s College rather than a replica of the college you have imagined the former rather than the latter because you intended to imagine King’s College.</div><br /> <b>Fabrizio Cariani: <a href="">Human Foreknowledge</a></b> (pdf, 10848 words)<br /> <div>I explore the motivation and logical consequences of the idea that we have some (limited) ability to know contingent facts about the future, even in presence of the assumption that the future is objectively unsettled or indeterminate. I start by formally characterizing skepticism about the future. This analysis nudges the anti-skeptic towards the idea that if some propositions about the future are objectively indeterminate, then it may be indeterminate whether a suitably positioned agent knows them.</div><br /> <b>Malvina Ongaro, Mattia Andreoletti: <a href="">Non-empirical uncertainties in evidence-based decision making</a></b> (pdf, 6891 words)<br /> <div>The increasing success of the evidence-based policy movement is raising the demand of empirically informed decision making. As arguably any policy decision happens under conditions of uncertainty, following our best available evidence to reduce the uncertainty seems a requirement of good decision making. However, not all the uncertainty faced by decision makers can be resolved by evidence. In this paper, we build on a philosophical analysis of uncertainty to identify the boundaries of scientific advice in policy decision making. We start by introducing a distinction between empirical and non-empirical types of uncertainty, and we explore the role of two non-empirical uncertainties in the context of policy making. We argue that the authority of scientific advisors is limited to empirical uncertainty and cannot extend beyond it. While the appeal of evidence-based policy rests on a view of scientific advice as limited to empirical uncertainty, in practice there is a risk of over-reliance on experts beyond the legitimate scope of their authority. We conclude by applying our framework to a real-world case of evidence-based policy, where experts have overstepped their boundaries by ignoring non-empirical types of uncertainty.</div><br /> <b>Matthew Rachar: <a href="">Quasi-Psychologism about Collective Intention</a></b> (pdf, 8086 words)<br /> <div>This paper argues that a class of popular views of collective intention, which I call “quasipsychologism”, faces a problem explaining common intuitions about collective action. Views in this class hold that collective intentions are realized in or constituted by individual, mental, participatory intentions. I argue that this metaphysical commitment entails persistence conditions that are in tension with a purported obligation to notify co-actors before leaving a collective action attested to by participants in experimental research about the interpersonal normativity of collective action. I then explore the possibilities open to quasi-psychologists for responding to this research.</div><br /> <b>Pierrick Bourrat, Paul Griffiths: <a href="">The Idea of Mismatch in Evolutionary Medicine</a></b> (pdf, 11373 words)<br /> <div>Mismatch is a prominent concept in evolutionary medicine and a number of philosophers have published analyses of this concept. The word ‘mismatch’ has been used in a diversity of ways across a range of sciences, leading these authors to regard it as a vague concept in need of philosophical clarification. Here, in contrast, we concentrate on the use of mismatch in modelling and experimentation in evolutionary medicine. This reveals a rigorous theory of mismatch within which the term ‘mismatch’ is indeed used in several ways, not because it is ill-defined but because different forms of mismatch are distinguished within the theory. Contemporary evolutionary medicine has unified the idea of ‘evolutionary mismatch’, derived from the older idea of ‘adaptive lag’ in evolution, with ideas about mismatch in development and physiology derived from the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) paradigm. A number of publications in evolutionary medicine have tried to make this theoretical framework explicit. We build on these to present the theory in as simple and general a form as possible. We introduce terminology, largely drawn from the existing literature, to distinguish the different forms of mismatch. This integrative theory of mismatch captures how organisms track environments across space and time on multiple scales in order to maintain an adaptive match to the environment, and how failures of adaptive tracking lead to disease. Mismatch is a productive organising concept within this theory which helps researchers articulate how physiology, development and evolution interact with one another and with environmental change to explain health outcomes.</div><br /> <b>Richard Dawid, C. D. McCoy: <a href="">Testability and Viability: Is Inflationary Cosmology “Scientific”?</a></b> (pdf, 12405 words)<br /> <div>We provide a philosophical reconstruction and analysis of the debate on the scientific status of cosmic inflation that has played out in recent years. In a series of critical papers, Ijjas et al. have questioned the scientificality of the current views on cosmic inflation. Proponents of cosmic inflation have in turn defended the scientific credentials of their approach. We argue that, while this defense, narrowly construed, is successful against Ijjas et al., the latters’ reasoning does point to a significant epistemic issue that arises with respect to inflation. A broadening of the concept of theory assessment is needed to address that issue in an adequate way.</div><br /> <b>Steven French: <a href="">Putting Some Flesh on the Participant in Participatory Realism</a></b> (pdf, 8782 words)<br /> <div>The history of QBism is interestingly complex (see Stacey 2019) leading to misunderstandings and misapprehensions as to its core features (Earman 2019; Fuchs and Stacey 2020). Fuchs has usefully situated those features within the framework constituted by forms of ‘participatory realism’ (Fuchs 2016). Within that context I shall consider the claim that measurement devices should be considered to be extensions of agents. Examining that claim, Peinaar (2020) has articulated the conditions that measurement devices must meet to be so considered. However, there has yet been little similar consideration of the conditions that agents must meet in this regard. Here I shall examine claims that adopting a phenomenological stance may fill the gap in the QBists’ picture and I shall conclude by exploring certain concerns that arise as a result.</div><br /> <b>Toby Newberry, Toby Ord: <a href="">The Parliamentary Approach to Moral Uncertainty</a></b> (pdf, 7744 words)<br /> <div>We introduce a novel approach to the problem of decision-making under moral uncertainty, based on an analogy to a parliament. The appropriate choice under moral uncertainty is the one that would be reached by a parliament comprised of delegates representing the interests of each moral theory, who number in proportion to your credence in that theory. We present what we see as the best specific approach of this kind (based on proportional chances voting), and also show how the parliamentary approach can be used as a general framework for thinking about moral uncertainty, where extant approaches to addressing moral uncertainty correspond to parliaments with different rules and procedures.</div><br /> <b>John Danaher's blog: <a href="">Ethical Behaviourism and the Moral Risks of Human-Robot Relationships</a></b> (html, 6153 words)<br /> <div> Over the past few years, I have occasionally defended a position called 'ethical behaviourism'. Ethical behaviourism holds that when it comes to determining the moral status of our relationship with another being, behaviour is a sufficient form of evidence for establishing that status. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 22 July 20212021-07-22T23:59:00Z2021-07-22T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-07-22://<b>Julian De Freitas, Peter DeScioli, Kyle A. Thomas, Steven Pinker: <a href="">Maimonides’ Ladder: States of Mutual Knowledge and the Perception of Charitability</a></b> (pdf, 12637 words)<br /> <div>Why do people esteem anonymous charitable giving? We connect normative theories of charitability (captured in Maimonides’ Ladder of Charity) with evolutionary theories of partner choice to test predictions on how attributions of charitability are affected by states of knowledge: whether the identity of the donor or of the beneficiary is revealed to the other. Consistent with the theories, in Experiments 1-2 participants judged a double-blind gift as more charitable than one to a revealed beneficiary, which in turn was judged as more charitable than one from a revealed donor. We also found one exception: Participants judged a donor who revealed only himself as slightly <i>less</i>, rather than more, charitable than one who revealed both identities. Experiment 3 explains the exception as a reaction to the donor’s perceived sense of superiority and disinterest in a social relationship. Experiment 4 found that donors were judged as more charitable when the gift was shared knowledge (each aware of the other’s identity, but unsure of the other’s awareness) than when it was common knowledge (awareness of awareness). Experiment 5, which titrated anonymity against donation size, found that not even a hundredfold larger gift could compensate for the disapproval elicited by a donor revealing his identity. Experiments 6-7 showed that participants’ judgments of charitability flip depending on whose perspective they take: observers disapprove of donations that they would make as donors and would prefer as beneficiaries. Together, these experiments provide insight into why people care about <i>how</i> a donor gives, not just how much.</div><br /> <b>Valia Allori: <a href="">Wave-Functionalism</a></b> (pdf, 11199 words)<br /> <div>In this paper I present a new perspective for interpreting the wavefunction as a non-material, nonepistemic, non-representational entity. I endorse a functional view according to which the wavefunction is defined by its roles in the theory. I argue that this approach shares some similarities with the nomological account of the wave function as well as with the pragmatist and epistemic approaches to quantum theory, while avoiding the major objections of these alternatives.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Measuring rods</a></b> (html, 185 words)<br /> <div>In his popular book on relativity theory, Einstein says that distance is just what measuring rods measure. I am having a hard time making sense of this in Einstein’s operationalist setting. Either Einstein is talking of real measuring rods or idealized ones. &hellip;</div><br />