Philosophical Progress and blog posts found on 23 October 20202020-10-23T23:59:00Z2020-10-23T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2020-10-23://<b>Ashley Shaw: <a href="">Desire and What it’s Rational to Do</a></b> (pdf, 7546 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Christoph Kelp: <a href="">The epistemology of Ernest Sosa: an introduction</a></b> (pdf, 3940 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Martin Kusch, Robin McKenna: <a href="">The Genealogy of Relativism and Absolutism</a></b> (pdf, 8073 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Robin McKenna: <a href="">Persuasion and Epistemic Paternalism</a></b> (pdf, 7000 words)<br /> <div><b>:</b> 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 <i>descriptive</i> reading, it concerns which methods will be <i>effective</i> in persuading people that their beliefs are false. According to the <i>normative</i> reading, it concerns which methods we are <i>permitted</i> 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.</div><br /> <b>Robin McKenna: <a href="">The Disappearance of Ignorance</a></b> (pdf, 7567 words)<br /> <div>Keith DeRose’s new book <i>The Appearance of Ignorance</i> is a welcome companion volume to his 2009 book <i>The Case for Contextualism</i>. 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 <i>inter alia</i> 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.</div><br /> <b>Uwe Peters: <a href="">Objectivity, Perceptual Constancy, and Teleology in Young Children</a></b> (pdf, 10327 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Explanation and understanding</a></b> (html, 223 words)<br /> <div>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. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 22 October 20202020-10-22T23:59:00Z2020-10-22T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2020-10-22://<b>: <a href="">Propensities in a Non-Deterministic Physics</a></b> (pdf, 2276 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Anouk Barberousse, Françoise Longy, Francesca Merlin, Stéphanie Ruphy: <a href="">Natural kinds: a new synthesis</a></b> (pdf, 12630 words)<br /> <div>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 &amp; 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.</div><br /> <b>Jacob M. Nebel: <a href="">Utils and Shmutils</a></b> (pdf, 12787 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Jasper Reid: <a href="">Spinoza’s Acquiescentia</a></b> (pdf, 15490 words)<br /> <div>This article examines the affect of <i>acquiescentia</i> in Spinoza’s <i>Ethics</i>, presenting an original interpretation of <i>acquiescentia</i> which illuminates the account of blessedness developed in Part V of the <i>Ethics</i>. It also shows how Spinoza’s complex but coherent account of <i>acquiescentia</i> has been obscured by inconsistent translations of <i>acquiescentia</i>, and forms of the verb <i>acquiescere</i>, in the standard English edition of the <i>Ethics</i>. Spinoza’s discussion of <i>acquiescentia</i> both draws on and critiques the equivalent Cartesian passion, <i>la satisfaction de soi-même</i>, which is translated as ‘<i>acquiescentia in se ipso</i>’ in the Latin edition of the <i>Passions of the Soul</i>. For Spinoza, <i>acquiescentia</i> 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 <i>Ethics</i> II. Just as there are three kinds of cognition, so there are three kinds of <i>acquiescentia</i> – a point that has hitherto been missed by commentators. Two qualities – stillness and obedience – provide the criteria for distinguishing true or genuine <i>acquiescentia</i> from its false, “empty” counterpart, corresponding to <i>imaginatio</i>. According to Spinoza, Descartes’s conception of <i>acquiescentia</i> belongs entirely to this inadequate, confused kind of cognition. The qualities of stillness and obedience also distinguish between two kinds of true <i>acquiescentia</i>, corresponding to <i>ratio</i> and <i>scientia intuitiva</i>.</div><br /> <b>Jasper Reid: <a href="">Anne Conway and her Circle on Monads</a></b> (pdf, 15078 words)<br /> <div>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 <i>Principles</i>, 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 <i>did</i> 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.</div><br /> <b>Joshua May: <a href="">Bias in Science: Natural and Social</a></b> (pdf, 11328 words)<br /> <div><i>(150 words)</i>: 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.</div><br /> <b>Liam Kofi Bright: <a href="">Ethical Life</a></b> (pdf, 8430 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Manolo Martínez, Marc Artiga: <a href="">Neural Oscillations as Representations</a></b> (pdf, 13718 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Markel Kortabarria Areitio, Esa Díaz-León: <a href="">Kinds and Essences: Rescuing the New Biological Essentialism</a></b> (pdf, 11817 words)<br /> <div>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,<i> relational essentialism</i> (Okasha, LaPorte) and <i>intrinsic essentialism</i> (Devitt), and confront them with their main anti-essentialist criticisms.</div><br /> <b>Nicolas Gisin: <a href="">Real numbers are the hidden variables of classical mechanics</a></b> (pdf, 3194 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Peter van Inwagen: <a href="">Against ontological structure</a></b> (pdf, 9711 words)<br /> <div>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 <i>thing</i> – like a <i>rock</i>!,’ 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</div><br /> <b>Tamer Nawar: <a href="">Every Word is a Name: Autonymy and Quotation in Augustine</a></b> (pdf, 9557 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>William Irwin: <a href="">A Distinction between the Concepts of Humility and Modesty</a></b> (pdf, 6295 words)<br /> <div>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 <i>humus</i>, 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 <i>modestia</i> and connotes moderation, propriety, and correctness of conduct, which, as we will see, is appropriate to the concept of modesty.</div><br /> <b>Xiaosheng Mu Luciano Pomatto Philipp Strack Omer Tamuz: <a href="">Background Risk and Small-Stakes Risk Aversion</a></b> (pdf, 9214 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Preprint: Conditional, Regular Hyperreal and Regular Qualitative Probabilities Invariant Under Symmetries</a></b> (html, 169 words)<br /> <div>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. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">A simpler formulation of the paradox of short pains</a></b> (html, 225 words)<br /> <div>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. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 21 October 20202020-10-21T23:59:00Z2020-10-21T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2020-10-21://<b>Alexander Schumm, Waldemar Rohlof, Gualtiero Piccinini: <a href="">Composition as Trans-Scalar Identity</a></b> (doc, 13081 words)<br /> <div>We define mereologically invariant composition as the relation between a whole object and its parts when the object retains the same parts during a time interval. We argue that mereologically invariant composition is identity between a whole and its parts taken collectively. Our reason is that parts and wholes are equivalent measurements of a portion of reality at diferent scales in the precise sense employed by measurement theory. The purpose of these scales is the numerical representation of primitive relations between quantities of being. To show this, we prove representation and uniqueness theorems for composition. Thus, mereologically invariant composition is trans-scalar identity.</div><br /> <b>Fiona Woollard: <a href="">Why Is Having a Baby like Running a Marathon? Gendered Embodied Reproductive Achievements and Philosophical Analyses of Achievement</a></b> (doc, 7894 words)<br /> <div>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.</div><br /> <b>Johan E. Gustafsson: <a href="">Is Psychology What Matters in Survival?</a></b> (pdf, 7296 words)<br /> <div>According to the Psychological-Continuity Account of What Matters, you are justified in having special concern for the well-being of a person at a future time if and only if that person will be psychologically continuous with you as you are now. On some versions of the account, the psychological continuity is required to be temporally ordered, whereas, on other versions, it is allowed to be temporally unordered. In this paper, I argue that the account is implausible if the psychological continuity is allowed to be temporally unordered. I also argue that, if the psychological continuity is required to be temporally ordered, it cannot plausibly be purely psychological (in the sense that the psychological continuity is not required to be caused through spatio-temporal continuity of a brain). The upshot is that no plausible version of the Psychological- Continuity Account of What Matters is purely psychological. So, psychological continuity is not what matters in survival.</div><br /> <b>Jonathan Vandenburgh: <a href="">Causal Models and the Relevant Alternatives Theory of Knowledge</a></b> (pdf, 11611 words)<br /> <div>One approach to knowledge, termed the relevant alternatives theory, stipulates that a belief amounts to knowledge if one can eliminate all relevant alternatives to the belief in the epistemic situation. This paper uses causal graphical models to formalize the relevant alternatives approach to knowledge. On this theory, an epistemic situation is encoded through the causal relationships between propositions, which determine which alternatives are relevant and irrelevant. This formalization entails that statistical evidence is not sufficient for knowledge, provides a simple way to incorporate epistemic contextualism, and can rule out many Gettier cases from knowledge. The interpretation in terms of causal models offers more precise predictions for the relevant alternatives theory, strengthening the case for it as a theory of knowledge.</div><br /> <b>Julian J. Schlöder: <a href="">Mathematical Proof Methods for Logic</a></b> (pdf, 54267 words)<br /> <div>I am indebted to my own teachers, Prof. Peter Koepke and Prof. Stefan Geschke, who taught me everything in these notes. Prof. Geschke’s scriptum for Einführung in die Logik und Modelltheorie (Bonn, Summer 2010) provided an invaluable basis for the compilation of these notes.</div><br /> <b>Sacha Golob: <a href="">What Does it Mean to ‘Act in the Light of’ a Norm?</a></b> (pdf, 9323 words)<br /> <div>This paper examines Heidegger’s position on a foundational distinction for Kantian and post- Kantian philosophy: that between acting ‘in the light of’ a norm and acting ‘merely in accordance with it’. In section 1, I introduce the distinction and highlight several relevant similarities between Kant and Heidegger on ontology and the first-person perspective. In section 2, I press the Kantian position further, focusing on the role of inferential commitments in perception: this provides a foil against which Heidegger’s account can be In section 3, I contrast this Kantian approach with Crowell’s highly sophisticated reading of Heidegger on care: I argue that, subject to certain conditions on how we view explanation, the two approaches are compatible and indeed mutually supporting. I close in section 4 by addressing an importantly distinct dimension of normativity, that marked by critique, broadly construed. I argue that we ultimately need to locate Heidegger in a context that runs from Kant’s ‘What is Enlightenment’ through Nietzsche’s <i>Genealogy</i>.</div><br /> <b>Scott Scheall: <a href="">Author’s Reply: Governed by Ignorance</a></b> (pdf, 6558 words)<br /> <div><i>F. A. Hayek and the Epistemology of Politics</i> is primarily intended as a contribution to the philosophy and methodology of the Austrian School of economics (pp. 1-2). However, as the symposium participants are all quick to note, several of the book’s central arguments, especially those advanced in the first chapter, are of potential significance far beyond Austrian economics. The arguments of the first chapter present an important <i>methodological</i> challenge to multiple fields of political inquiry, to traditional political philosophy and theory, and to modern political science, as well as a significant <i>practical</i> problem for anyone concerned with the effectiveness of political action. Professional political thinkers and laypersons alike conceive the basic political problem to concern the motivations, reasons, incentives, etc., of policymakers. On this way of thinking, the fundamental problem to be solved, analytically, by the disciplines of political inquiry, and, practically, in political life, is <i>how to ensure that policymakers are adequately motivated to pursue policy goals either that are in constituents’ interests or that constituents’ want pursued</i>. I do not deny the significance of this problem or the value of the proposed solutions, whether analytical or practical-constitutional, that have been offered in the long course of the history of politics and political thought. The book does not suggest that we should scrap thousands of years of political inquiry and start all over again.</div><br /> <b>Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, Jakub Szymanik: <a href="">Complexity/informativeness trade-off in the domain of indefinite</a></b> (pdf, 6672 words)<br /> <div>The vocabulary of human languages has been argued to support efficient communication by optimizing the trade-off between complexity and informativeness (Kemp &amp; Regier 2012). The argument has been based on cross-linguistic analyses of vocabulary in semantic domains of content words such as kinship, color, and number terms. The present work extends this analysis to a category of function words: indefinite pronouns (e.g. someone, anyone, no-one, cf. Haspelmath 2001). We build on previous work to establish the meaning space and featural make-up for indefinite pronouns, and show that indefinite pronoun systems across languages optimize the complexity/informativeness trade-off. This demonstrates that pressures for efficient communication shape both content and function word categories, thus tying in with the conclusions of recent work on quantifiers by Steinert-Threlkeld (2019). Furthermore, we argue that the trade-off may explain some of the universal properties of indefinite pronouns, thus reducing the explanatory load for linguistic theories.</div><br /> <b>Shawn Standefer: <a href=";idno=12405314.0007.008;format=pdf">Actual Issues for Relevant Logics</a></b> (pdf, 16306 words)<br /> <div>In this paper, I motivate the addition of an actuality operator to relevant logics. Straightforward ways of doing this are in tension with standard motivations for relevant logics, but I show how to add the operator in a way that permits one to maintain the intuitions behind relevant logics. I close by exploring some of the philosophical consequences of the addition.</div><br /> <b>Simon Lohse, Karim Bschir: <a href="">Epistemic pluralism in evidence-based public health policy</a></b> (pdf, 1609 words)<br /> <div><b></b>This paper uses the example of the Covid-19 pandemic to analyse the danger associated with insufficient pluralism in evidence-based public health policy. Drawing on certain elements in Paul Feyerabend’s political philosophy of science, it discusses reasons for implementing more pluralism as well as challenges to be tackled on the way forward.</div><br /> <b>Timothy Sandefur: <a href="">Think Inside the Box</a></b> (pdf, 6091 words)<br /> <div>Scott Scheall has done an admirable job of making the occasionally dry and complicated issues of Hayekian political theory readable and even amusing. And he shows that he is an attentive student of Friedrich Hayek, particularly in the emphasis he places on epistemic humility which is certainly Hayek’s own principal teaching. But the result of Scheall’s skillful presentation is to lay bare just how flimsy that teaching really is as a guide to political wisdom, shorn of a normative framework.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">More on the problem of short pains</a></b> (html, 620 words)<br /> <div>Consider these two very plausible theses: Whether I feel pain at t does not depend on any future facts. There is a length of time δt such that you cannot feel a pain lasting no more than δt, but you can feel a pain lasting 4δt. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>D. G. Mayo's blog: <a href="">My Responses (at the P-value debate)</a></b> (html, 3137 words)<br /> <div>. How did I respond to those 7 burning questions at last week’s (“P-Value”) Statistics Debate? Here’s a fairly close transcript of my (a) general answer, and (b) final remark, for each question–without the in-between responses to Jim and David. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 20 October 20202020-10-20T23:59:00Z2020-10-20T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2020-10-20://<b>Han van Wietmarschen: <a href="">Attitudinal social norms</a></b> (pdf, 4277 words)<br /> <div>Two of the most systematic and well-developed theories of social norms analyse such norms in terms of patterns of individual attitudes. On Bicchieri’s view (2006, 2017), social norms most centrally involve a pattern of preferences among the members of a relevant population, conditional on their normative and empirical expectations of other members. According to Brennan et al. (2013; hereafter I will refer to this as the ‘BEGS account’), social norms most centrally involve patterns of normative attitudes among the members of a given group, grounded in a social practice of that group. This paper argues that the existence of attitudinal social norms speaks in favour of Bicchieri’s preference-based view, and against the BEGS account’s normative attitude-based view. I will first present some reasons to think that there are attitudinal social norms – social norms that demand not just behaviour, but also a variety of attitudes. I will then argue that, with a very minor modification, Bicchieri’s account can properly capture such attitudinal social norms and that the BEGS account cannot.</div><br /> <b>Kristin Gjesdal: <a href="">Georg Friedrich Philipp von Hardenberg [Novalis]</a></b> (html, 10264 words)<br /> <div>The philosophical impact of early German romanticism in general and Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis) in particular has typically been traced back to a series of fragments and reflections on poetry, art, and beauty. Moreover, his name has been associated with an aestheticization of philosophy, an illegitimate valorizing of the medieval, and a politically reactionary program. This view of von Hardenberg, however, is to a large extent rooted in the image created posthumously by his increasingly conservative friends within the romantic circle. Furthermore, von Hardenberg’s philosophical reputation has been shaped by his critics, the most prominent of whom was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.</div><br /> <b>Samuel H. Baker: <a href="">Aristotle on the Nature and Politics of Medicine</a></b> (pdf, 20494 words)<br /> <div>According to Aristotle, the medical art aims at health, which is a virtue of the body, and does so in an unlimited way. Consequently, medicine does not determine the extent to which health should be pursued, and “mental health” falls under medicine only via pros hen predication. Because medicine is inherently oriented to its end, it produces health in accordance with its nature and disease contrary to its nature—even when disease is good for the patient. Aristotle’s politician understands that this inherent orientation can be systematically distorted, and so would see the need for something like the Hippocratic Oath.</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 19 October 20202020-10-19T23:59:00Z2020-10-19T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2020-10-19://<b>: <a href="">Oppressive Double Binds</a></b> (pdf, 12564 words)<br /> <div>Imagine you are an untenured Professor and the only woman and person of color amongst the faculty in a Philosophy department. You are frequently approached by students, typically women or members of other underrepresented groups, looking for mentorship and emotional support as they navigate their academic experience. While you believe this service work is valuable with a view to increasing the representation of minorities in philosophy, it is also emotionally draining and takes significant time away from your own research. You feel trapped. If you do this sort of mentorship work, you help diversify the field in a way that will be better for you and other members of underrepresented groups. Moreover, if you refuse to do this work, you indirectly help to maintain a status quo in which women and people of color like yourself remain dramatically underrepresented and under-served. But, by doing this service work, you compromise your own research, and reinforce a system where disproportionate burdens are placed on women and people of color, making them less likely to succeed in the profession.</div><br /> <b>Dilip Ninan: <a href="">The Projection Problem for Predicates of Taste</a></b> (pdf, 10400 words)<br /> <div>Utterances of simple sentences containing taste predicates (e.g. delicious, fun, frightening) typically imply that the speaker has had a particular sort of firsthand experience with the object of predication. For example, an utterance of The carrot cake is delicious would typically imply that the speaker had actually tasted the cake in question, and is not, for example, merely basing her judgment on the testimony of others. According to one approach, this acquaintance inference is essentially an implicature, one generated by the Maxim of Quality together with a certain principle concerning the epistemology of taste (Ninan 2014). We first discuss some problems for this approach, problems that arise in connection with disjunction and generalized quantifiers. Then, after stating a conjecture concerning which operators ‘obviate’ the acquaintance inference and which do not, we build on Anand &amp; Korotkova 2018 and Willer &amp; Kennedy Forthcoming by developing a theory that treats the acquaintance requirement as a presupposition, albeit one that can be obviated by certain operators.</div><br /> <b>Gérard Eberl, Thomas Pradeu: <a href="">Towards a general theory of immunity?</a></b> (pdf, 2002 words)<br /> <div>Theories are indispensable to organize immunological data into coherent, explanatory, and predictive frameworks. Here we propose to combine different models to develop a unifying theory of immunity, which situates immunology in the wider context of physiology. We believe that the immune system will be increasingly understood as a central component of a network of partner physiological systems that connect to maintain homeostasis.</div><br /> <b>Thomas Pradeu, Edgardo D. Carosella: <a href="">On the definition of a criterion of immunogenicity</a></b> (pdf, 4231 words)<br /> <div><b>The main objective of immunology is to establish why and when an immune response occurs, that is, to determine a criterion of immunogenicity. According to the consensus view, the proper criterion of immunogenicity lies in the discrimination between self and nonself. Here we challenge this consensus by suggesting a simpler and more comprehensive criterion, the criterion of continuity. Moreover, we show that this criterion may be considered as an interpretation of the immune ‘‘self.’’ We conclude that immunologists can continue to speak of the self, provided that they admit that the self</b>兾<b>nonself discrimination is not an adequate criterion of immunogenicity.</b></div><br /> <b>Travis Timmerman, Yishai Cohen: <a href="">The Limits of Virtue Ethics</a></b> (pdf, 9550 words)<br /> <div>A wide variety of normative ethical views have been developed as the field of ethics has progressed. Proponents of each view disagree with one another about the deontic status of acts and about the exact right-making features of acts. Utilitarians, for instance, believe that an action is right because it maximizes utility, while Kantians believe an action is right because it accords with the categorical imperative. Virtue ethics is often understood as a set of normative ethical views that are purported rivals to versions of consequentialism, deontology, contractualism, and other normative ethical views. To be sure, not all accounts of virtue ethics are developed to fit this role. Some accounts of virtue ethics don’t consider the virtues to be directly tied to right action, but nevertheless assign the virtues a non-trivial role with respect to what makes an action right. Nevertheless, numerous contemporary accounts of virtue ethics <i>are</i> developed to rival existing substantive normative ethical views, irrespective of whether such accounts should be categorized in this manner. We will henceforth collectively refer to virtue ethics positions that purport to rival existing normative ethical views as VNET (for virtue-theoretic normative ethical theory).</div><br /> <b>Robbie Williams's blog: <a href="">Comparative conventionality</a></b> (html, 3704 words)<br /> <div>The TL;DR summary of what follows is that we should quantify the conventionality of a regularity (David-Lewis-style) as follows: A regularity R in the behaviour of population P in a recurring situation S, is a convention of depth x, breadth y and degree z when there is a recurring situation T that refines S, and in each instance of T there is a subpopulation K of P, such that it’s true and common knowledge among K in that instance that:(A) BEHAVIOUR CONDITION: everyone in K conforms to R (B) EXPECTATION CONDITION: everyone in K expects everyone else in K to conform to R (C) SPECIAL PREFERENCE CONDITION: everyone in K prefers that they conform to R conditionally on everyone else in K conforming to R. where x (depth) is the fraction of S-situations which are T, y (breadth) is the fraction of all Ps involved who are Ks in this instance, and z is the degree to which (A-C) obtaining resembles a coordination equilibrium that solves a coordination problem among the Ks. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 18 October 20202020-10-18T23:59:00Z2020-10-18T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2020-10-18://<b>Adrian Currie: <a href="">Stepping Forwards by Looking Back: Underdetermination, Epistemic Scarcity &amp; Legacy Data</a></b> (pdf, 11308 words)<br /> <div>Debate about the epistemic prowess of historical science has focused on local underdetermination problems generated by a lack of historical data; the prevalence of information loss over geological time, and the capacities of scientists to mitigate it. Drawing on Leonelli’s recent distinction between ‘phenomena-time’ and ‘data-time’ I argue that factors like data generation, curation and management significantly complexifies and undermines this: underdetermination is a bad way of framing the challenges historical scientists face. In doing so, I identify circumstances of ‘epistemic scarcity’ where underdetermination problems are particularly salient, and discuss cases where ‘legacy data’—data generated using differing technologies and systems of practice—are drawn upon to overcome underdetermination. This suggests that one source of overcoming underdetermination is our knowledge of science’s past. Further, data-time makes agnostic positions about the epistemic fortunes of scientists working under epistemic scarcity more plausible. But agnosticism seems to leave philosophers without much normative grip. So, I sketch an alternative approach: focusing on the strategies scientists adopt to maximize their epistemic power in light of the resources available to them.</div><br /> <b>C. Maria Keet: <a href="">The Computer Program as a Functional Whole</a></b> (pdf, 8983 words)<br /> <div>Sharing, downloading, and reusing software is common-place, some of which is carried out legally with open source software. When it is not legal, it is unclear how many infringements have taken place: does an infringement count for the artefact as a whole or for each source file of a computer program? To answer this question, it must first be established whether a computer program should be considered as an integral whole, a collection, or a mere set of distinct files, and why. We argue that a program is a functional whole, availing of, and combining, arguments from mereology, granularity, modularity, unity, and function to substantiate the claim. The argumentation and answer contributes to the ontology of software artefacts, may assist industry in litigation cases, and demonstrates that the notion of unifying relation is operationalisable.</div><br /> <b>Ethan Jerzak: <a href="">Review of Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne’s Narrow Content</a></b> (pdf, 2898 words)<br /> <div>It might seem, and has seemed to many, that what I think is up to me. I go about life representing the world with thoughts, and my intrinsic state fixes the content of those thoughts—fixes, that is, what they require of the world in order to be true. Call this idea internalism about mental content (henceforth, internalism). Juhani Yli-Vakkuri and John Hawthorne (henceforth, YVH) have written a book that attempts to refute internalism in all its reasonable manifestations. There is much of value in Narrow Content. The central argument, with its protagonist Mirror Man, constitutes a formidable stumbling-block that all future internalists will have to contend with. And the authors have done substantial work to iron out a more precise characterization of the conceptual landscape than existed hitherto. That said, the book is not without frustrations, for reasons both stylistic and substantive. Stylistically, while the authors are admirably clear about defining the views at issue, they’re not always great about explaining why the definitions are as they are, especially in cases where their framework is more complicated than what you might have expected. Substantively (and, I’ll argue, relatedly), the authors largely neglect to address one of the most prominent roles certain philosophers (e.g. Dennett, Stalnaker, and Lewis) have taken content to play, that of explaining and predicting behavior. It’s not clear, so I’ll argue, that the central argument of the book refutes internalists of that kind.</div><br /> <b>Florian Marion: <a href="">The ἐξαίφνης in the Platonic Tradition: from Kinematics to Dynamics</a></b> (pdf, 53024 words)<br /> <div>Studies on Platonic ‘Theoria motus abstracti’ are often focused on dynamics rather than kinematics, in particular on psychic self-motion. This state of affairs is, of course, far from being a bland academic accident: according to Plato, dynamics is the higher science while kinematics is lower on the ‘scientific’ spectrum . Furthermore, when scholars investigate Platonic <i>abstract</i> kinematics, in front of them there is a very limited set of texts . Among them, one of the most interesting undoubtedly remains a passage of <i>Parmenides</i> in which Plato challenges the puzzle of the ‘instant of change’, namely the famous text about the ‘sudden’ (τὸ ἐξαίφνης).</div><br /> <b>Harvey R. Brown: <a href="">Do symmetries “explain” conservation laws? The modern converse Noether theorem vs pragmatism</a></b> (pdf, 12198 words)<br /> <div>Noether’s first theorem does not establish a one-way explanatory arrow from symmetries to conservation laws, but such an arrow is widely assumed in discussions of the theorem in the physics and philosophy literature. It is argued here that there are pragmatic reasons for privileging symmetries, even if they do not strictly justify explanatory priority. To this end, some practical factors are adduced as to why Noether’s direct theorem seems to be more well-known and exploited than its converse, with special attention being given to the sometimes overlooked nature of Noether’s converse result and to its strengthened version due to Luis Martinez Alonso in 1979 and Peter Olver in 1986.</div><br /> <b>Javier de Lorenzo, Andoni Ibarra: <a href="">The fanciful optimism of Miguel Sánchez-Mazas. Let us calculate... = Freedom and Justice</a></b> (pdf, 5522 words)<br /> <div>May 2020 marked the 25<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the death of Miguel Sánchez-Mazas, founder of <i>Theoria. An International Journal of Theory, History and Foundations of Science,</i> and regarded as the person who brought mathematical logic to Spain. Here we present some of his biographical features and a summary of his contributions, from his early work in the 1950s - introducing contemporary advances in logic and philosophy of science in a philosophically backward milieu dominated by the scholasticism of that era in Spain - to the development of a project of Lebnizian lineage aimed at producing an arithmetic calculation that would elude some of the difficulties confronting Leibniz’s calculus. KEYWORDS: Miguel Sánchez-Mazas, Leibniz, numerical characteristic, calculation of norms, jurisprudence.</div><br /> <b>Justin Clarke-Doane, Kathryn Tabb: <a href="">From Compatibilism to Skepticism: The Paradigm of the Addict</a></b> (pdf, 5839 words)<br /> <div>Compatibilist defenses of moral responsibility provide conditions under which an action can be blameworthy or praiseworthy even if that action is determined. It is often thought, however, that there are certain sorts of causal factors that should mitigate praise and blame attributions, notwithstanding that those conditions for responsibility are met. In other words, even for the compatibilist, there are certain causes that might lead one to act that would render typical punishments or rewards unfair, and require a different sort of moral response. A paradigmatic case is that of addiction, insofar as addicts may be seen, by the compatibilist, as lacking freedom in two senses: the usual one of existing in a determined universe, and an extraordinary one, resulting from their compulsive prioritization of using over all else. Often in the philosophical literature, as well as in popular media, the character of the addict is portrayed as compelled or “seduced” by their addiction, even as they are, in some sense, <i>choosing</i> when they act on it (Cummins 2014; Grim 2007, 191). The paradigm of addiction is therefore useful for philosophers interested in thinking about free will and moral responsibility, but worried about the possible scope of mitigating causal histories (Berofsky 2005, Kane 2020, Levy 2011, Shatz 1988, Yaffe 2011). The compulsive prioritization of using over other desires is taken to indicate a difference in kind between the addict and the rest of us, and gives grounds for delineating exceptional cases from typical ones when it comes to assigning desert.</div><br /> <b>Marina DiMarco: <a href="">Wishful Intelligibility, Black Boxes, and Epidemiological Explanation</a></b> (pdf, 5045 words)<br /> <div>Epidemiological explanation often has a “black box” character, meaning the intermediate steps between cause and effect are unknown. Filling in black boxes is thought to improve causal inferences by making them intelligible. I argue that adding information about intermediate causes to a black box explanation is an unreliable guide to pragmatic intelligibility because it may mislead us about the stability of a cause. I diagnose a problem that I call wishful intelligibility, which occurs when scientists misjudge the limitations of certain features of an explanation. Wishful intelligibility gives us a new reason to prefer black box explanations in some contexts.</div><br /> <b>Michael Levin, Daniel C Dennett: <a href="">Cognition all the way down</a></b> (pdf, 6044 words)<br /> <div>Biologists like to think of themselves as properly scientific behaviourists<i>,</i> explaining and predicting the ways that proteins, organelles, cells, plants, animals and whole biota behave under various conditions, thanks to the smaller parts of which they are composed. ey identify causal mechanisms that reliably execute various functions such as copying DNA, attacking antigens, photosynthesising, discerning temperature gradients, capturing prey, finding their way back to their nests and so forth, but they don’t think that this acknowledgment of functions implicates them in any discredited teleology or imputation of reasons and purposes or understanding to the cells and other parts of the mechanisms they investigate.</div><br /> <b>Natalia Carrillo, Tarja Knuuttila: <a href="">An Artifactual Perspective on Idealization: Constant Capacitance and the Hodgkin and Huxley Model</a></b> (pdf, 9465 words)<br /> <div>There are two traditions of thinking about idealization offering almost opposite views on their functioning and epistemic status. While one tradition views idealizations as epistemic deficiencies, the other one highlights the epistemic benefits of idealization. Both of these accounts agree in that idealizations are deliberate misrepresentations. In this article, we approach idealization from the artifactual account of models, comparing it to the traditional accounts of idealization as misrepresentation, and exemplifying it through the case of the Hodgkin and Huxley model of nerve impulse. From the artifactual perspective, the epistemic benefits and deficiencies introduced by idealization frequently come in a package due to the way idealization draws together different resources in model construction. Accordingly, idealization tends to be holistic in that it is not often easily attributable to just some specific parts of the model. We argue that the artifactual approach lends a unifying view into idealization in that it is able to recover several basic philosophical insights motivating both the deficiency and epistemic benefit accounts, being simultaneously detached from the idea of distortion by misrepresentation.</div><br /> <b>Nicolas Gisin: <a href="">Indeterminism in Physics, Classical Chaos and Bohmian Mechanics: Are Real Numbers Really Real?</a></b> (pdf, 6559 words)<br /> <div>It is usual to identify initial conditions of classical dynamical systems with mathematical real numbers. However, almost all real numbers contain an infinite amount of information. I argue that a finite volume of space can’t contain more than a finite amount of information, hence that the mathematical real numbers are not physically relevant. Moreover, a better terminology for the so-called real numbers is “random numbers”, as their series of bits are truly random. I propose an alternative classical mechanics, which is empirically equivalent to classical mechanics, but uses only finite-information numbers. This alternative classical mechanics is non-deterministic, despite the use of deterministic equations, in a way similar to quantum theory. Interestingly, both alternative classical mechanics and quantum theories can be supplemented by additional variables in such a way that the supplemented theory is deterministic. Most physicists straightforwardly supplement classical theory with real numbers to which they attribute physical existence, while most physicists reject Bohmian mechanics as supplemented quantum theory, arguing that Bohmian positions have no physical reality.</div><br /> <b>Thomas Pradeu: <a href="">Thirty years of <i>Biology &amp; Philosophy:</i> Philosophy of which biology? Final draft. To appear in <i>Biology and Philosophy</i></a></b> (pdf, 7656 words)<br /> <div>Which domains of biology do philosophers of biology primarily study? The fact that philosophy of biology has been dominated by an interest for evolutionary biology is widely admitted, but it has not been strictly demonstrated. Here I analyse the topics of all the papers published in <i>Biology &amp; Philosophy</i>, just as the journal celebrates its thirtieth anniversary. I then compare the distribution of biological topics in <i>Biology &amp; Philosophy</i> with that of the scientific journal <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA</i>, focusing on the recent period 2003-2015. This comparison reveals a significant mismatch between the distributions of these topics. I examine plausible explanations for that mismatch. Finally, I argue that many biological topics underrepresented in philosophy of biology raise important philosophical issues and should therefore play a more central role in future philosophy of biology.</div><br /> <b>Thomas Pradeu: <a href="">A Mixed Self: The Role of Symbiosis in Development</a></b> (pdf, 6841 words)<br /> <div>Since the 1950s, the common view of development has been internalist: development is seen as the result of the unfolding of potentialities already present in the egg cell. In this paper I show that this view is incorrect, because of the crucial influence of the environment on development. I focus on a fascinating example, that of the role played by symbioses in development, especially bacterial symbioses, a phenomenon found in virtually all organisms (plants, invertebrates, vertebrates). I claim that we must consequently modify our conception of the boundaries of the developing entity, and I show how immunology can help us in accomplishing this task. I conclude that the developing entity encompasses many elements traditionally seen as “foreign”, while I reject the idea that there is no possible distinction between the organism and its environment.</div><br /> <b>Thomas Pradeu Lucie Laplane Michel Morange, Antonine Nicoglou Michel Vervoort: <a href="">The Boundaries of Development</a></b> (pdf, 1929 words)<br /> <div>This thematic section of Biological Theory is focused on development; it raises the problem of the temporal and spatial boundaries of development. From a temporal point of view, when does development start and stop? From a spatial point of view, what is it exactly that ‘‘develops,’’ and is it possible to delineate clearly the developing entity? This section explores the possible answers to these questions, and thus sheds light on the definition of development itself.</div><br /> <b>The Splintered Mind: <a href="">Ethics Without the Costs: Two Tropes in Fiction</a></b> (html, 1194 words)<br /> <div>I've been binge-watching Doctor Who, and two days ago I finished Susanna Clarke's new novel Piranesi. I love them both! Doctor Who is among my favorite TV series ever, and the images of Piranesi will probably linger with me for the rest of my life. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Tristan Haze's blog: <a href="">On the Failures of Nonsense-Policing and Ordinary Language Philosophy</a></b> (html, 1462 words)<br /> <div>In this post I reflect on the failures of nonsense-policing and ordinary language philosophy, and the fact that notwithstanding these failures, paying critical attention to semantic issues is of central importance in philosophy, and in metaphysics as well as philosophy of language. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 17 October 20202020-10-17T23:59:00Z2020-10-17T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2020-10-17://<b>Alexander Dinges, Julia Zakkou: <a href=";idno=3521354.0020.027;format=pdf">A Direction Effect on Taste Predicates</a></b> (pdf, 13273 words)<br /> <div>Consider an utterance of ‘Fish sticks are tasty’ as made by a speaker who likes fish sticks. How will the speaker assess this claim when, at some later point in her life, she comes to dislike fish sticks? As true or as false? Will she retract her earlier statement or stand by it? More generally, will she use her present taste standard in assessing the claim or the standard she had at the time of the original utterance? The answer to this question is of vital importance for the recent discussion on the semantics and pragmatics of so-called “predicates of personal taste” (e.g. “tasty” and “fun”).</div><br /> <b>J. George Rautenbach, C. Maria Keet: <a href="">Toward Equipping Artificial Moral Agents with Multiple Ethical Theories</a></b> (pdf, 2726 words)<br /> <div>Management and use of robots, and Artificial Moral Agents (AMAs) more broadly, may involve contexts where the machines are expected to make moral decisions. The design of an AMA is typically compartmentalised among AI researchers and engineers on the one hand and philosophers on the other. This has had the effect that of the current AMAs, either none or at most one specified normative ethical theory is incorporated as basis. This is problematic because it narrows down the AMA’s functional ability and versatility since it results in moral outcomes that only some people agree with, and possibly going counter to cultural norms, thereby undermining an AMA’s ability to be moral in a human sense. We aim to address this by taking a first step toward normed behaviour. We propose a three-layered model for general normative ethical theories, therewith enabling the representation of multiple normative theories, and users’ specific instances thereof.</div><br /> <b>John D. Norton: <a href="">How to Make Possibility Safe for Empiricists</a></b> (pdf, 13711 words)<br /> <div>What is possible, according to the empiricist conception, is what our evidence positively allows; and what is necessary is what it compels. These notions, along with logical possibility, are the only defensible notions of possibility and necessity. In so far as nomic and metaphysical possibility are defensible, they fall within empirical possibility. These empirical conceptions are incompatible with traditional possible world semantics. Empirically necessary propositions cannot be defined as those true in all possible worlds. There can be empirical possibilities without empirical necessities. The duality of possibility and necessity can be degenerate and can even be falsified.</div><br /> <b>Pablo R. Fillottrani, C. Maria Keet: <a href="">An Analysis of Commitments in Ontology Language Design</a></b> (pdf, 8279 words)<br /> <div>Multiple ontology languages have been developed over the years, which brings afore two key components: how to select the appropriate language for the task at hand and language design itself. This engineering step entails examining the ontological ‘commitments’ embedded into the language, which, in turn, demands for an insight into what the effects of philosophical viewpoints may be on the design of a representation language. But what are the sort of commitments one should be able to choose from that have an underlying philosophical point of view, and which philosophical stances have a knock-on effect on the specification or selection of an ontology language? In this paper, we provide a first step towards answering these questions. We identify and analyse ontological commitments embedded in logics, or that could be, and show that they have been taken in well-known ontology languages. This contributes to reflecting on the language as enabler or inhibitor to formally characterising an ontology or an ontological investigation, as well as the design of new ontology languages following the proposed design process.</div><br /> <b>Kevin Dorst's blog: <a href="">Confirmation Bias Maximizes Expected Accuracy</a></b> (html, 1838 words)<br /> <div>(1700 words; 8 minute read.) What rational polarization looks like. ​It’s September 21, 2020. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just died. Republicans are moving to fill her seat; Democrats are crying foul.​Fox News publishes an op-ed by Ted Cruz arguing that the Senate has a duty to fill her seat before the election. &hellip;</div><br />