Philosophical Progress and blog posts found on 13 April 20212021-04-13T23:59:00Z2021-04-13T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-04-13://<b>Aki Lehtinen: <a href="">Strategic Voting and the Degree of Path-Dependence</a></b> (pdf, 7084 words)<br /> <div><b></b>This paper generalises Enelow (J Polit 43(4):1062–1089, 1981) and Lehtinen’s (Theory Decis 63(1):1–40, 2007b) model of strategic voting under amendment agendas by allowing any number of alternatives and any voting order. The generalisation enables studying utilitarian efficiencies in an incomplete information model with a large number of alternatives. Furthermore, it allows for studying how strategic voting affects path-dependence. Strategic voting increases utilitarian efficiency also when there are more than three alternatives. The existence of a Condorcet winner does not guarantee path-independence if the voters engage in strategic voting under incomplete information. A criterion for evaluating path-dependence, the degree of path-dependence, is proposed, and the generalised model is used to study how strategic voting affects it. When there is a Condorcet winner, strategic voting inevitably increases the degree of path-dependence, but when there is no Condorcet winner, strategic voting decreases path-dependence. Computer simulations show, however, that on average it increases the degree of path-dependence.</div><br /> <b>Aki Lehtinen: <a href="">The Borda rule is also intended for dishonest men</a></b> (pdf, 8153 words)<br /> <div><b></b>This paper examines the welfare consequences of strategic voting under the Borda rule in a comparison of utilitarian efficiencies in simulated voting games under two behavioural assumptions: expected utility-maximising behaviour and sincere behaviour. Utilitarian efficiency is higher in the former than in the latter. Strategic voting increases utilitarian efficiency particularly if the distribution of preference intensities correlates with voter types. The Borda rule is shown to have two advantages: strategic voting is beneficial even if some but not all voter types engage in strategic behaviour, and even if the voters’ information is based on unreliable signals.</div><br /> <b>Aki Lehtinen: <a href="">A welfarist critique of social choice theory</a></b> (pdf, 12745 words)<br /> <div>This paper reconsiders the discussion on ordinal utilities versus preference intensities in voting theory. It is shown by way of an example that arguments concerning observability and risk-attitudes that have been presented in favour of Arrow’s Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives (IIA), and against utilitarian evaluation, fail due to strategic voting. The failure of these two arguments is then used to justify utilitarian evaluation of outcomes in voting. Given a utilitarian viewpoint, it is then argued that strategy-proofness is not normatively acceptable. Social choice theory is criticised not just by showing that some of its most important conditions are not normatively acceptable, but also by showing that the very idea of imposing condition on social choice function under the assumption of sincere behaviour does not make much sense because satisfying a condition does not quarantee that a voting rule actually has the properties that the condition confers to it under sincere behaviour. IIA, the binary intensity IIA, and monotonicity are used as illustrations of this phenomenon.</div><br /> <b>Aki Lehtinen, Jaakko Kuorikoski: <a href="">Philosophy of the Social Sciences</a></b> (pdf, 10624 words)<br /> <div>The most common argument against the use of rational choice models outside economics is that they make unrealistic assumptions about individual behavior. We argue that whether the falsity of assumptions matters in a given model depends on which factors are explanatorily relevant. Since the explanatory factors may vary from application to application, effective criticism of economic model building should be based on model-specific arguments showing how the result really depends on the false assumptions. However, some modeling results in imperialistic applications are relatively robust with respect to unrealistic assumptions.</div><br /> <b>Andreas Henriksson: <a href="">Fidelity and mistaken identity for symplectic quantum states</a></b> (pdf, 5344 words)<br /> <div>The distinguishability between pairs of quantum states, as measured by quantum fidelity, is formulated on phase space. The fidelity is physically interpreted as the probability that the pair are mistaken for each other upon an measurement. The mathematical representation is based on the concept of symplectic capacity in symplectic topology. The fidelity is the absolute square of the complex-valued overlap between the symplectic capacities of the pair of states. The symplec-tic capacity for a given state, onto any conjugate plane of degrees of freedom, is postulated to be bounded from below by the Gromov width h/2. This generalize the Gibbs-Liouville theorem in classical mechanics, which state that the volume of a region of phase space is invariant under the Hamiltonian flow of the system, by constraining the shape of the flow. It is shown that for closed Hamiltonian systems, the Schrodinger equation is the mathematical representation for the conservation of fidelity.</div><br /> <b>Andreas Henriksson: <a href="">Quantum superpositions and the measurement problem</a></b> (pdf, 3803 words)<br /> <div>The measurement problem is addressed from the viewpoint that it is the distinguishability between the state preparation and its quantum ensemble, i.e. the set of states with which it has a non-zero overlap, that is at the heart of the difference between classical and quantum measurements. The measure for the degree of distinguishability between pairs of quantum states, i.e. the quantum fidelity, is for this purpose generalized, by the application of the superposition principle, to the setting where there exists an arbitrary-dimensional quantum ensemble.</div><br /> <b>Jaakko Kuorikoski, Aki Lehtinen: <a href="">Philosophy of the Social Sciences</a></b> (pdf, 12241 words)<br /> <div>Political science and economic science . . . make use of the same language, the same mode of abstraction, the same instruments of thought and the same method of reasoning. (Black 1998, 354) Proponents as well as opponents of economics imperialism agree that imperialism is a matter of unification; providing a unified framework for social scientific analysis. Uskali Mäki distinguishes between derivational and ontological unification and argues that the latter should serve as a constraint for the former. We explore whether, in the case of rational-choice political science, self-interested behavior can be seen as a common causal element and solution concepts as the common derivational element, and whether the former constraints the use of the latter. We find that this is not the case. Instead, what is common to economics and rational-choice political science is a set of research heuristics and a focus on institutions with similar structures and forms of organization.</div><br /> <b>Kristina Liefke, Markus Werning: <a href="">Experiential Imagination and the Inside/Outside-Distinction</a></b> (pdf, 7325 words)<br /> <div>Gerundive imagination reports with an embedded reflexive subject (e.g. Zeno imagines himself swimming ) are ambiguous between an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’ reading: the inside reading captures the imaginer’s directly making the described experience (here: swimming); the outside reading captures the imaginer’s having an experience of an event, involving his own counterpart, from an out-of-body point of view (watching one’s counterpart swim). Our paper explains the inside/outside-ambiguity through the observation (i) that imagining can referentially target different phenomenal experiences – esp. proprioception (i.e. bodily feeling) and visual perception (seeing, watching) – and (ii) that imagining and its associated experience can both be de se. Inside/outside readings then arise from intuitive constraints in the lexical semantics of verbs like feel, see. Keywords: Inside/outside readings · Imagistic perspective · Experiential imagining · Self-imagining · Counterfactual parasitism.</div><br /> <b>M-Phi: <a href="">What we together risk: three vignettes in search of a theory</a></b> (html, 2436 words)<br /> <div>For a PDF version of this post, see here.Many years ago, I was climbing Sgùrr na Banachdich with my friend Alex. It's a mountain in the Black Cuillin, a horseshoe of summits that surround Loch Coruisk at the southern end of the Isle of Skye. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">A metaphysical argument for survivalism</a></b> (html, 498 words)<br /> <div>Corruptionist Thomists think that after death and before the resurrection, our souls exist in a disembodied state and have mental states, but we do not exist. For we are not our souls. Survivalist Thomists think we continue to exist between death and the resurrection. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 12 April 20212021-04-12T23:59:00Z2021-04-12T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-04-12://<b>André Sant'Anna, Vilius Dranseika: <a href="">Does Macbeth See a Dagger? An Empirical Argument for the Existence-Neutrality of Seeing</a></b> (pdf, 9289 words)<br /> <div>In a recent paper, Justin D’Ambrosio (2020) has offered an empirical argument in support of a negative solution to the puzzle of Macbeth’s dagger—namely, the question of whether, in the famous scene from Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth <i>sees</i> a dagger in front of him. D’Ambrosio’s strategy consists in showing that “seeing” is not an existence-neutral verb; that is, that the way it is used in ordinary language is <i>not</i> neutral with respect to whether its complement exists. In this paper, we offer an empirical argument in favor of an existence-neutral reading of “seeing”. In particular, we argue that existence-neutral readings are readily available to language users. We thus call into question D’Ambrosio’s argument for the claim that Macbeth does not see a dagger. According to our positive solution, Macbeth <i>sees</i> a dagger, even though there is not a dagger in front of him.</div><br /> <b>Bernardo Gon¸calves, Fabio Porto: <a href="">A note on the complexity of the causal ordering problem</a></b> (pdf, 10111 words)<br /> <div>In this note we provide a concise report on the complexity of the causal ordering problem, originally introduced by Simon to reason about causal dependencies implicit in systems of mathematical equations. We show that Simon’s classical algorithm to infer causal ordering is NP-Hard—an intractability previously guessed but never proven. We present then a detailed account based on Nayak’s suggested algorithmic solution (the best available), which is dominated by computing transitive closure—bounded in time by O(|V|·|S|), where S(E, V) is the input system structure composed of a set E of equations over a set V of variables with number of variable appearances (density) |S|. We also comment on the potential of causal ordering for emerging applications in large-scale hypothesis management and analytics. Keywords: Causal ordering, Causal reasoning, Structural equations, Hypothesis management.</div><br /> <b>Dean Spears, H. Orri Stefánsson: <a href="">Additively-separable and rank-discounted variable-population social welfare functions: A characterization</a></b> (pdf, 2541 words)<br /> <div>Economic policy evaluations require social welfare functions for variable-size populations. Two important candidates are critical-level generalized utilitarianism (CLGU) and rank-discounted critical-level generalized utilitarianism, which was recently characterized by Asheim and Zuber (2014) (AZ). AZ introduce a novel axiom, existence of egalitarian equivalence (EEE). First, we show that, under some uncontroversial criteria for a plausible social welfare relation, EEE suffices to rule out the Repugnant Conclusion of population ethics (without AZ’s other novel axioms). Second, we provide a new characterization of CLGU: AZ’s set of axioms is equivalent to CLGU when EEE is replaced by the axiom same-number independence.</div><br /> <b>Dr C. Thompson, J. Himmelreich: <a href="">Epistemic landscapes, optimal search and the division of cognitive labor</a></b> (pdf, 12630 words)<br /> <div>This paper examines two questions about scientists’ search for knowledge. First, which search strategies generate discoveries effectively? Second, is it advantageous to diversify search strategies? We argue pace Weisberg and Muldoon (2009) that, on the first question, a search strategy that deliberately seeks novel research approaches need not be optimal. On the second question, we argue they have not shown epistemic reasons exist for the division of cognitive labor, identifying the errors that led to their conclusions. Furthermore, we generalize the epistemic landscape model, showing that one should be skeptical about the benefits of social learning in epistemically complex environments.</div><br /> <b>Francesco A. Genco, Lorenzo Rossi: <a href="">Grounding, Quantifiers, and Paradoxes</a></b> (pdf, 14675 words)<br /> <div>The notion of grounding is usually conceived as an objective and explanatory relation. It connects two relata if one—the ground—determines or explains the other—the consequence. In the contemporary literature on grounding, much effort has been devoted to logically characterize the formal aspects of grounding, but a major hard problem remains: defining suitable grounding principles for universal and existential formulae. Indeed, several grounding principles for quantified formulae have been proposed, but all of them are exposed to paradoxes in some very natural contexts of application. We introduce in this paper a first-order formal system that captures the notion of grounding and avoids the paradoxes in a novel and non-trivial way. The system we present formally develops Bolzano’s ideas on grounding by employing Hilbert’s ε-terms and an adapted version of Fine’s theory of arbitrary objects.</div><br /> <b>Itzhak Gilboa, Stefania Minardi, Larry Samuelson, David Schmeidler: <a href="">States and Contingencies: How to Understand Savage without Anyone Being Hanged</a></b> (pdf, 12338 words)<br /> <div>Models of decision-making under uncertainty gain much of their power from the specification of states so as to resolve all uncertainty. However, this specification can undermine the presumed observability of preferences on which axiomatic theories of decision-making are based. We introduce the notion of a contingency. Contingencies need not resolve all uncertainty, but preferences over functions from contingencies to outcomes are (at least in principle) observable. In sufficiently simple situations, states and contingencies coincide. In more challenging situations, the analyst must choose between sacrificing observability in order to harness the power of states that resolve all uncertainty, or preserving observability by working with contingencies.</div><br /> <b>J. McKenzie Alexander: <a href="">Cheap Talk, Reinforcement Learning and the Emergence of Cooperation</a></b> (pdf, 4799 words)<br /> <div>Cheap talk has often been thought incapable of supporting the emergence of cooperation because costless signals, easily faked, are unlikely to be reliable (Zahavi and Zahavi, 1997). I show how, in a social network model of cheap talk with reinforcement learning, cheap talk does enable the emergence of cooperation, provided that individuals also temporally discount the past. This establishes one mechanism that suffices for moving a population of initially uncooperative individuals to a state of mutually beneficial cooperation even in the absence of formal institutions.</div><br /> <b>Lorenzo Rossi, Jan Sprenger: <a href="">De Finettian Logics of Indicative Conditionals Part II: Proof Theory and Algebraic Semantics</a></b> (pdf, 13106 words)<br /> <div>In Part I of this paper, we identified and compared various schemes for trivalent truth conditions for indicative conditionals, most notably the proposals by de Finetti (1936) and Reichenbach (1935, 1944) on the one hand, and by Cooper (<i>Inquiry</i>, <i>11</i>, 295–320, 1968) and Cantwell (<i>Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic</i>, <i>49</i>, 245– 260, ) on the other. Here we provide the proof theory for the resulting logics DF/TT and CC/TT, using tableau calculi and sequent calculi, and proving soundness and completeness results. Then we turn to the algebraic semantics, where both logics have substantive limitations: DF/TT allows for algebraic completeness, but not for the construction of a canonical model, while CC/TT fails the construction of a Lindenbaum-Tarski algebra. With these results in mind, we draw up the balance and sketch future research projects.</div><br /> <b>Louis Vervoort, Munesh Chauhan: <a href="">Artificial Consciousness, Superintelligence and Ethics in Robotics: How to Get There?</a></b> (pdf, 16148 words)<br /> <div>Can future robots and AI-systems have consciousness and genuinely human intelligence – or even better, superhuman intelligence? Is it possible for them to behave ethically? Here we look at these questions from the point of view of philosophy and AI, and argue that these questions are related: their answer hinges on the fulfillment of the <i>same</i> condition. Starting from an analysis of the concept of consciousness, we argue that the key capacity that computers and robots should possess in order to emulate human cognition and (ethical) consciousness is the capacity to learn and apply ‘<i>coherent webs-of-theories’</i>. We conjecture that where classic AI has been, in essence, ‘data-driven’, the greatest leap forward would be ‘theory-driven’ AI. We review prominent work in deep learning and cognitive neuroscience to back-up this claim. This paper is an attempt at synthesis between recent work in philosophy, AI and cognitive science.</div><br /> <b>László E. Szabó: <a href="">Physicalism without the idols of mathematics</a></b> (pdf, 8871 words)<br /> <div>On the basis of a coherently applied physicalist ontology, I will argue that there is nothing conceptual in logic and mathematics. What we usually call “mathematical concepts”—from the most exotic ones to the most “evident” ones—are just names tagged to various elements of mathematical formalism. In fact they have nothing to do with concepts, as they have nothing to do with the actual things; they can be completely ignored by both philosophy and physics.</div><br /> <b>Nicholas Sheabc, Joulia Smortchkovabc, Jake Quilty-Dunnbc, Sapphira R. Thorne: <a href="">Concept Appraisal</a></b> (pdf, 16488 words)<br /> <div>This paper reports the first empirical investigation of the hypothesis that epistemic appraisals form part of the structure of concepts. To date, studies of concepts have focused on the way concepts encode properties of objects, and the way those features are used in categorisation and in other cognitive tasks. Philosophical considerations show the importance of also considering how a thinker assesses the epistemic value of beliefs and other cognitive resources, and in particular, concepts.</div><br /> <b>Olivier Sartenaer, Umut Baysan: <a href="">Non‑standard approaches to emergence: introduction to the special issue</a></b> (pdf, 1910 words)<br /> <div>According to one narrative about the history of the concept of <i>emergence</i> in metaphysics and philosophy of science, when British emergentists initially appealed to emergence in the early twentieth century, they aimed to lay the groundwork for a philosophy of nature that was supposed to constitute a middle course between two antagonistic worldviews: <i>reductive physicalism</i> and <i>non-physicalist dualism</i>. While reductive physicalism aims to establish that all concrete goings-on, ranging from social phenomena to biological and chemical processes, are reducible to fundamental physical states and processes explicated by, and invoked in, an ideal physics, non-physicalist dualism holds that some phenomena resist any kind of physical reducibility, and are radically autonomous <i>vis-à-vis</i> physical goings-on. The emergentist idea is that a more plausible way of making sense of the natural world is through accepting that some phenomena resist physical reduction, but that is not to say that such phenomena “float free” of the physical. Such phenomena are taken to be “emergent”, suggesting that there is an emergence <i>relation</i> between the emergent entities and their so-called physical “emergence bases”.</div><br /> <b>Philippe van Basshuysen, Lucie White: <a href="">Emerging from lockdown – what went wrong?</a></b> (pdf, 9095 words)<br /> <div>As many Western countries emerged from initial periods of lockdown in spring 2020, they had brought COVID-19 infection rates down significantly. This was followed, however, with more drastic second and third waves of viral spread, which many of these same countries are struggling to bring under control, even with the implementation of further periods of lockdown. Could this have been prevented by policymakers? We revisit two strategies that were focus of much discussion during the early stages of the pandemic, and which were implemented in several Western countries, albeit in a weakened form. These strategies both proceed by targeting certain segments of the population, while allowing others to go about their lives unhindered. The first suggests selectively isolating those that would most likely suffer severe adverse effects if infected – in particular the elderly. The second involves identifying and quarantining those who are likely to be infected through a contact tracing app that would centrally store users’ information. We suggest that both strategies showed promise in preventing the need for further lockdowns, albeit in a significantly more stringent form than anything that was implemented in Western countries. We then proceed to an ethical evaluation of these more stringent policies. We contend that selective isolation strategies face severe ethical problems due to its discriminatory nature, while the ethical issues with a more aggressive contact tracing regime can be mitigated. This analysis has implications for how to respond effectively and ethically to future pandemics, and perhaps contains lessons on how to successfully emerge from our current predicament.</div><br /> <b>Richard Zach: <a href="">Hilbert’s ‘<i>Verunglückter Beweis</i>’, the first epsilon theorem, and consistency proofs</a></b> (pdf, 8635 words)<br /> <div>In the 1920s, Ackermann and von Neumann, in pursuit of Hilbert’s Programme, were working on consistency proofs for arithmetical systems. One proposed method of giving such proofs is Hilbert’s epsilon-substitution method. There was, however, a second approach which was not reflected in the publications of the Hilbert school in the 1920s, and which is a direct precursor of Hilbert’s first epsilon theorem and a certain ‘general consistency result’ due to Bernays. An analysis of the form of this so-called ‘failed proof’ sheds further light on an interpretation of Hilbert’s Programme as an instrumentalist enterprise with the aim of showing that whenever a ‘real’ proposition can be proved by ‘ideal’ means, it can also be proved by ‘real’, finitary means.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Pascal's wager and decision theory</a></b> (html, 323 words)<br /> <div>From time to time I find myself musing whether Pascal’s Wager doesn’t simply completely destroy ordinary probabilistic decision theory. Consider an ordinary decision, such as whether to walk or bike to work. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Decisions in heaven</a></b> (html, 236 words)<br /> <div>Suppose I will live forever in heaven, and I have two infinite decks of cards. Each card specifies the good things that will happen to me over the next day. Every card in the left deck provides a hundred units of goods. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>D. G. Mayo's blog: <a href="">Intellectual conflicts of interest: Reviewers</a></b> (html, 1059 words)<br /> <div>. Where do journal editors look to find someone to referee your manuscript (in the typical “double blind” review system in academic journals)? One obvious place to look is the reference list in your paper. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>The Philosopher's Beard: <a href="">Effective Altruism Is Not Effective</a></b> (html, 2613 words)<br /> <div>Effective altruism is based on a very simple idea: we should do the most good we can. Obeying the usual rules about not stealing, cheating, hurting, and killing is not enough, or at least not enough for those of us who have the good fortune to live in material comfort, who can feed, house, and clothe ourselves and our families and still have money or time to spare. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 10 April 20212021-04-10T23:59:00Z2021-04-10T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-04-10://<b>Alex Silk: <a href="">Challenges for independence-driven and context-repair responses to the proviso problem</a></b> (pdf, 6626 words)<br /> <div>This paper presents challenge cases for prominent pragmatic responses to the proviso problem. The proviso problem (Geurts 1996, 1999) is the problem for many theories of presupposition of explaining why sentences predicted to semantically presuppose <i>ψ</i> ⊃ <i>P</i> seem in certain uses to commit the speaker to an unconditional presupposition <i>P</i> — for instance, why a use of (1) would typically commit the speaker not merely to (1a), but to the logically stronger (1b).</div><br /> <b>Alfredo Vernazzani: <a href=",%20PhCogSci,%20Artworks.pdf">How Artworks Modify Our Perception of the World</a></b> (pdf, 10648 words)<br /> <div><b>ABSTRACT:</b> Many artists, art critics, and poets suggest that an aesthetic appreciation of artworks may modify our perception of the world, including quotidian things and scenes. I call this Art-to-World, AtW. Focusing on visual artworks, in this paper I articulate an empirically-informed account of AtW that is based on content-related views of aesthetic experience, and on Goodman’s and Elgin’s concept of exemplification. An aesthetic encounter with artworks demands paying attention to its aesthetic, expressive, or design properties that realize its purpose. Attention to these properties make percipients better able to spot them in other entities and scenes as well. The upshot is that an aesthetic commerce with artworks enlarges the scope of what we are able to see and has therefore momentous epistemic consequences.</div><br /> <b>Kyle B. Heine, Elay Shech: <a href="">Roles of mitonuclear ecology and sex in conceptualizing evolutionary fitness</a></b> (pdf, 10012 words)<br /> <div>We look to mitonuclear ecology and the phenomenon of Mother’s Curse to argue that the sex of parents and offspring among populations of eukaryotic organisms, as well as the mitochondrial genome, ought to be taken into account in the conceptualization of evolutionary fitness. Subsequently, we show how characterizations of fitness considered by philosophers that do not take sex and the mitochondrial genome into account may suffer. Last, we reflect on the debate regarding the fundamentality of trait versus organism fitness and gesture at the idea that the former lies at the conceptual basis of evolutionary theory.</div><br /> <b>Seungbae Park: <a href="">Quantum Entanglement Undermines Structural Realism</a></b> (pdf, 5813 words)<br /> <div>Quantum entanglement poses a challenge to the traditional metaphysical view that an extrinsic property of an object is determined by its intrinsic properties. So structural realists might be tempted to cite quantum entanglement as evidence for structural realism. I argue, however, that quantum entanglement undermines structural realism. If we classify two entangled electrons as a single system, we can say that their spin properties are intrinsic properties of the system, and that we can have knowledge about these intrinsic properties. Specifically, we can know that the parts of the system are entangled and spatially separated from each other. In addition, the concept of supervenience neither illuminates quantum entanglement nor helps structural realism.</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 09 April 20212021-04-09T23:59:00Z2021-04-09T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-04-09://<b>Borut Trpin: <a href="">Against Methodological Gambling</a></b> (pdf, 10550 words)<br /> <div>Should a scientist rely on methodological triangulation? Heesen et al. (Synthese 196(8):3067–3081, 2019) recently provided a convincing affirmative answer. However, their approach requires belief gambles if the evidence is discordant. We instead propose epistemically modest triangulation (EMT), according to which one should withhold judgement in such cases. We show that for a scientist in a methodologically diffident situation the expected utility of EMT is greater than that of Heesen et al.’s (2019) triangulation or that of using a single method. We also show that EMT is more appropriate for increasing epistemic trust in science. In short: triangulate, but do not gamble with evidence.</div><br /> <b>Brian Rabern, Landon Rabern: <a href="">Playing cards with Vizing’s demon</a></b> (pdf, 3310 words)<br /> <div>For the uninitiated, the dense nature of mathematical language can act as an obscuring force. With this essay we aim to bring two classical results of discrete mathematics into the light. To this end we analyze winning strategies in a certain class of solitaire games. The gains are non-standard proofs of the results of K˝onig [3] and Vizing [7]. For the standard treatment of these results, see [6]. (For a dense and obscure version of the non-standard proofs presented here, see [4].) First, let’s introduce the games.</div><br /> <b>Brian Rabern, Landon Rabern: <a href="">In defense of the two question solution to the hardest logic puzzle ever</a></b> (pdf, 6337 words)<br /> <div>In Rabern and Rabern (2008) we presented a two question solution to ‘the hardest logic puzzle ever’ (as presented in Boolos (1996)), which relied on self-referential questions. In this note we respond to several worries related to this solution. We clarify our claim that some yes-no questions cannot be answered by the gods and thus that asking such questions of the gods will result in head explosion. We argue that the inclusion of exploding head possibilities is neither cheating nor ad hoc but is instead forced upon us by principles related to Tarski’s theorem. We also respond to concerns that have been raised about our use of self-referential questions in support of the two question solution. In particular, we address the worry that there is a revenge problem lurking, which is analogous to revenge problems that arise for purported solutions to the liar paradox. And we make some further observations about the relationship between self-referential questions, truth-telling gods and the semantic paradoxes. In the appendix we give a two question solution to the modified puzzle (where Random randomly answers ‘ja’ or ‘da’).</div><br /> <b>Brian Rabern, Landon Rabern: <a href="">Structural Fixed-Point Theorems</a></b> (pdf, 1191 words)<br /> <div>The semantic paradoxes are often associated with self-reference or referential circularity. However, Yablo has shown in [2] that there are infinitary versions of the paradoxes that do not involve this form of circularity. It remains an open question what relations of reference between collections of sentences afford the structure necessary for paradoxicality. In [1] we laid the groundwork for a general investigation into the nature of reference structures that support the semantic paradoxes. The remaining task is to classify the so-called dangerous directed graphs. In appendix A of [1], we sketched a reformulation of the problem in terms of fixed points of certain functions. Here we expand on this reformulation, removing all syntactic considerations to get a purely mathematical problem. It is definitely possible that the problem’s solution depends on the axioms of set theory we choose—this would be an interesting outcome.</div><br /> <b>Leora Batnitzky: <a href="">Leo Strauss</a></b> (html, 10236 words)<br /> <div>Leo Strauss was a twentieth-century German Jewish émigré to the United States whose intellectual corpus spans ancient, medieval and modern political philosophy and includes, among others, studies of Plato, Maimonides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, and Nietzsche. Strauss wrote mainly as a historian of philosophy and most of his writings take the form of commentaries on important thinkers and their writings. Yet as he put it: “There is no inquiry into the history of philosophy that is not at the same time a <i>philosophical</i> inquiry” (PL, p. 41). While much of his philosophical project involved an attempt to rethink pre-modern philosophy, the impetus for this reconsideration and the philosophical problems that vexed Strauss most were decidedly modern.</div><br /> <b>Matthew Macauley, Brian Rabern, Landon Rabern: <a href="">Compactness: From Godel to Heine-Borel</a></b> (pdf, 2710 words)<br /> <div>Every beginning real analysis student learns the classic Heine-Borel theorem, that the interval [0, 1] is compact. The standard proof involves techniques such as constructing a sequence and appealing to the completeness of the reals (which some may find unsatisfying). In this article, we present a different perspective by showing how the Heine- Borel theorem can be derived from a few fundamental results in mathematical logic. In particular, we put an ultrametric on the space of infinite binary sequences. Compactness of this space can be established from Brouwer’s fan theorem. This result can be derived from either Konig’s infinity lemma or from Godel’s compactness theorem in model theory. The Heine-Borel theorem is an immediate corollary. This illustrates an interesting connection between the fundamental yet different notions of compactness in analysis and compactness in logic.</div><br /> <b>Paolo Santorio: <a href="">General Triviality for Counterfactuals</a></b> (pdf, 4681 words)<br /> <div>On an influential line of thinking tracing back to Ramsey, conditionals are closely linked to the attitude of supposition. When applied to counterfactuals, this view suggests a subjunctive version of the so-called Ramsey test: the probability of a counterfactual <i>If</i> A<i>, would</i> B ought to be equivalent to the probability of B, under the subjunctive supposition that A. I present a collapse result for any view that endorses the subjunctive version of the Ramsey test. Starting from plausible assumptions, the result shows that one’s rational credence in a <i>would</i>-counterfactual and in the corresponding <i>might</i>-counterfactual have to be identical.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Punishment, criticism and authority</a></b> (html, 569 words)<br /> <div>It is always unjust to punish without the right kind of authority over those that one punishes. Sometimes that authority may be given to us by them (as in the case of a University’s authority over adult students, or maybe even in the case of mutual authority in friendship) and sometimes it may come from some other relationship (as in the case of the state’s authority over us). &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 08 April 20212021-04-08T23:59:00Z2021-04-08T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-04-08://<b>Amy M. Schmitter: <a href="">17th and 18th Century Theories of Emotions</a></b> (html, 12381 words)<br /> <div>Early modern philosophy in Europe and Great Britain is awash with discussions of the emotions: they figure not only in philosophical psychology and related fields, but also in theories of epistemic method, metaphysics, ethics, political theory and practical reasoning in general. Moreover, interest in the emotions links philosophy with work in other, sometimes unexpected areas, such as medicine, art, literature, and practical guides on everything from child-rearing to the treatment of subordinates. Because of the breadth of the topic, this article can offer only an overview, but perhaps it will be enough to give some idea how philosophically rich and challenging the conception of the emotions was in this period.</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 07 April 20212021-04-07T23:59:00Z2021-04-07T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2021-04-07://<b>: <a href="">Disquotation, Translation, and Context-Dependence</a></b> (pdf, 8841 words)<br /> <div>It has been known for some time that context-dependence poses a problem for disquotationalism, but the problem has largely been regarded as one of detail: one that will be solved by the right sort of cleverness. I argue here that the problem is one of principle and that extant solutions, which are based upon the notion of translation, cannot succeed.</div><br /> <b>Adam P. Kubiak: <a href="">Applying Perspectival Realism to Frequentist Statistics: The Case of Jerzy Neyman’s Methodology and Philosophy</a></b> (pdf, 9534 words)<br /> <div>I investigate the extent to which perspectival realism (PR) agrees with frequentist statistical methodology and philosophy, with an emphasis on J. Neyman’s views. Based on the example of the stopping rule problem I argue that PR can naturally be associated with frequentist statistics. Then I analyze Neyman’s conception of statistical inference to conclude that PR and Neyman’s conception are incongruent. Additionally, I show that Neyman’s philosophy is internally inconsistent. I conclude that Neyman’s frequentism weakens the philosophical validity and universality of PR as analyzed from the point of view of statistical methodology.</div><br /> <b>Alex Voorhoeve: <a href="">Policy Evaluation under Severe Uncertainty: A Cautious, Egalitarian Approach</a></b> (pdf, 8121 words)<br /> <div><b></b>In some severely uncertain situations, exemplified by climate change and novel pandemics, policymakers lack a reasoned basis for assigning probabilities to the possible outcomes of the policies they must choose between. I outline and defend an uncertainty averse, egalitarian approach to policy evaluation in these contexts. The upshot is a theory of distributive justice which offers especially strong reasons to guard against individual and collective misfortune.</div><br /> <b>Carolin Antos, Deborah Kant: <a href="">A general framework for a Second Philosophy analysis of set-theoretic methodology</a></b> (pdf, 10339 words)<br /> <div>Penelope Maddy’s Second Philosophy is one of the most well-known approaches in recent philosophy of mathematics. She applies her second-philosophical method to analyze mathematical methodology by reconstructing historical cases in a setting of means-ends relations. However, outside of Maddy’s own work, this kind of methodological analysis has not yet been extensively used and analyzed. In the present work, we will make a first step in this direction. We develop a general framework that allows us to clarify the procedure and aims of the Second Philosopher’s investigation into set-theoretic methodology; provides a platform to analyze the Second Philosopher’s methods themselves; and can be applied to further questions in the philosophy of set theory.</div><br /> <b>David Faraci: <a href="">Wage Exploitation and the Nonworseness Claim: Allowing the Wrong, To Do More Good</a></b> (pdf, 10900 words)<br /> <div>Many believe that employment can be wrongfully exploitative, even if it is consensual and mutually beneficial. At the same time, it may seem third parties should not do anything to preclude or eliminate such arrangements, given these same considerations of consent and benefit. I argue that there are perfectly sensible, intuitive ethical positions that vindicate this “Reasonable View.” The view requires such defense because the literature often suggests that there is no theoretical space for it. I respond to arguments for the clearest symptom of this obscuration: the so-called <i>nonworseness claim</i> that a consensual, mutually beneficial transaction cannot be “morally worse” than its absence. In addition to making space for the Reasonable View, this serves my dialectical goal of encouraging distinct attention to first- and third-party obligations.</div><br /> <b>Durham E-Theses: <a href="">Listening and Normative Entanglement: A Pragmatic Foundation for Conversational Ethics</a></b> (pdf, 82748 words)<br /> <div>People care very much about being listened to. In everyday talk, we make moral-sounding judgements of people as listeners: praising a doctor who listens well even if she does not have a ready solution, or blaming a boss who does not listen even if the employee manages to get her situation addressed. In this sense, listening is a <i>normative</i> behaviour: that is, we <i>ought</i> to be good listeners. Whilst several disciplines have addressed the normative importance of interpersonal listening—particularly in sociology, psychology, media and culture studies— analytic philosophy does not have a framework for dealing with listening as a normative interpersonal behaviour. Listening usually gets reduced mere speech-parsing (in philosophy of language), or into a matter of belief and trust in the testimony of credible knowers (in social epistemology). My preliminary task is to analyse why this reductive view is taken for granted in the discipline; to diagnose the problem behind the reduction and propose a more useful alternative approach.</div><br /> <b>Hans-Peter Leeb: <a href="">A Metasemantic Analysis of Gödel’s Slingshot-Argument</a></b> (pdf, 13471 words)<br /> <div>Gödel’s slingshot-argument proceeds from a referential theory of definite descriptions and from the principle of compositionality for reference. It outlines a metasemantic proof of Frege’s thesis that all true sentences refer to the same object—as well as all false ones. Whereas Frege drew from this the conclusion that sentences refer to truth-values, Gödel rejected a referential theory of definite descriptions. By formalising Gödel’s argument, it is possible to reconstruct all premises that are needed for the derivation of Frege’s thesis. For this purpose, a reference-theoretical semantics for a language of first-order predicate logic with identity and referentially treated definite descriptions will be defined. Some of the premises of Gödel’s argument will be proven by such a reference-theoretical semantics, whereas others can only be postulated. For example, the principle that logically equivalent sentences refer to the same object cannot be proven but must be assumed in order to derive Frege’s thesis. However, different true (or false) sentences can refer to different states of affairs if the latter principle is rejected and the other two premises are maintained. This is shown using an identity criterion for states of affairs according to which two states of affairs are identical if and only if they involve the same objects and have the same necessary and sufficient condition for obtaining.</div><br /> <b>Krist Vaesen: <a href="">The Logic, Psychology, and Sociology of Scientific Discovery</a></b> (pdf, 7838 words)<br /> <div>This article is concerned with one of the notable but forgotten research strands that developed out of French nineteenth-century positivism, a strand that turned attention to the study of scientific discovery and was actively pursued by French epistemologists around the turn of the nineteenth century. I first sketch the context in which this research program emerged. I show that the program was a natural offshoot of French neopositivism; the latter was a current of twentieth-century thought that, even if implicitly, challenged the positivism of first-generation positivists such as Comte. I then survey what French epistemologists—including Ernest Naville, Élie Rabier, Pierre Duhem, Édouard Le Roy, Abel Rey, André Lalande, Théodule-Armand Ribot, Edmond Goblot, and Jacques Picard, among others—had to say about the logic, psychology, and sociology of discovery. My story demonstrates the inaccuracy of existing historical accounts of the philosophical study of scientific discovery.</div><br /> <b>Michael Albert, Vincent Conitzer, Giuseppe Lopomo, Peter Stone: <a href="">Mechanism Design for Correlated Valuations: Efficient Methods for Revenue Maximization</a></b> (pdf, 20738 words)<br /> <div>Traditionally, the mechanism design literature has been primarily focused on settings where the bidders’ valuations are independent. However, in settings where valuations are correlated, much stronger results are possible. For example, the entire surplus of efficient allocations can be extracted as revenue. These stronger results are true, in theory, under generic conditions on parameter values. But in practice, they are rarely, if ever, implementable due to the stringent requirement that the mechanism designer knows the distribution of the bidders types exactly. In this work, we provide a computationally efficient and sample efficient method for designing mechanisms that can robustly handle imprecise estimates of the distribution over bidder valuations. This method guarantees that the selected mechanism will perform at least as well as any ex-post mechanism with high probability. The mechanism also performs nearly optimally with sufficient information and correlation. Further, we show that when the distribution is not known, and must be estimated from samples from the true distribution, a sufficiently high degree of correlation is essential to implement optimal mechanisms. Finally, we demonstrate through simulations that this new mechanism design paradigm generates mechanisms that perform significantly better than traditional mechanism design techniques given sufficient samples.</div><br /> <b>Mohammad Hosseini, Bert Gordijn: <a href="">A Review of the Literature on Ethical Issues Related to Scientific Authorship</a></b> (pdf, 16352 words)<br /> <div>The article at hand presents the results of a literature review on the ethical issues related to scientific authorship. These issues are understood as questions and/or concerns about obligations, values or virtues in relation to reporting, authorship and publication of research results. For this purpose, the Web of Science core collection was searched for English resources published between 1945 and 2018, and a total of 324 items were analyzed. Based on the review of the documents, ten ethical themes have been identified, some of which entail several ethical issues. Ranked on the basis of their frequency of occurrence these themes are: 1) attribution, 2) violations of the norms of authorship, 3) bias, 4) responsibility and accountability, 5) authorship order, 6) citations and referencing, 7) definition of authorship, 8) publication strategy, 9) originality, and 10) sanctions. In mapping these themes, the current article explores major ethical issue and provides a critical discussion about the application of codes of conduct, various understandings of culture, and contributing factors to unethical behavior.</div><br /> <b>Pekka Väyrynen: <a href="">Against Moral Contingentism</a></b> (pdf, 4688 words)<br /> <div>The conventional wisdom in ethics is that pure moral laws are metaphysically necessary. By contrast, Moral Contingentism holds that pure moral laws are metaphysically contingent. This paper raises a normative objection to Moral Contingentism: it is worse equipped than Moral Necessitarianism to account for the normative standing or authority of the pure moral laws to govern the lives of the agents in the worlds where they hold.</div><br /> <b>Richard Yetter Chappell: <a href="">Negative Utility Monsters</a></b> (pdf, 2727 words)<br /> <div>Many consider Nozick’s “utility monster”—a being more efficient than ordinary people at converting resources into well-being, with no upper limit—to be a damning counterexample to utilitarianism. But our intuitions may be reversed by considering a variation in which the utility monster starts from a baseline status of massive suffering. This suggests a rethinking of the force of the original objection.</div><br /> <b>Simone Gozzano: <a href="">Phenomenal Roles: A Dispositional Account of Bodily Pain</a></b> (pdf, 11584 words)<br /> <div>To this end, I maintain that this property is individuated by its phenomenal roles, which can be internal – individuating the property <i>per se</i> – and external – determining further phenomenal or physical properties or states. I then argue that this individuation allows phenomenal roles to be organized in a necessarily asymmetrical net, thereby overcoming the circularity objection to dispositionalism. Finally, I provide reasons to argue that these roles satisfy modal fixity, as posited by Bird, and are not fundamental properties, <i>contra</i> Chalmers’ panpsychism. Thus, bodily pain can be considered a substantial dispositional property entrenched in non-fundamental laws of nature.</div><br /> <b>Stephanie Leary: <a href="">Banks, Bosses, and Bears: a pragmatist argument against encroachment</a></b> (pdf, 9835 words)<br /> <div>The pragmatism—anti-pragmatism debate concerns whether practical considerations can constitute genuinely normative <i>wrong-kind reasons</i> (WKRs) for and against doxastic attitudes, whereas the encroachment—anti-encroachment debate concerns whether practical considerations can affect what <i>right-kind reasons</i> (RKRs) one has or needs to have in order to enjoy some epistemic status. While these are two separate issues, my main aim is to show that pragmatists have a plausible debunking explanation to offer of encroachment cases: that the practical considerations in these cases only generate WKRs against belief, rather than affect the RKRs, so that the agents in these cases ought to withhold belief, but only in a practical or all-things-considered sense. Moreover, I argue that the pragmatist debunker’s explanation of what’s going on in encroachment cases is more plausible than the encroacher’s because they’re structurally identical to cases involving WKRs against other attitudes like admiration and fear. These analogous WKR-cases not only support the surprising conclusion that pragmatists should be anti-encroachers, but they also challenge the encroacher’s view independently of whether pragmatism is true.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">What does it mean for persons to have infinite value?</a></b> (html, 843 words)<br /> <div>It is intuitive to say that persons have infinite value, and recently Rasmussen and Bailey have given some cool arguments for this thesis. But what does it mean to say that humans have infinite value? &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Non-propositional representations</a></b> (html, 472 words)<br /> <div>I used to think that it’s quite possible that all our mental representations of the world are propositional in nature. To do that, I had to have a broad notion of proposition, much broader than what we normally consider to be linguistically expressible. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>The Splintered Mind: <a href="">On Scientific Trust, Loose Summaries, and Henrich's WEIRDest People in the World</a></b> (html, 1972 words)<br /> <div>Joseph Henrich's ambitious tome, The WEIRDest People in the World, is driving me nuts. It's good enough and interesting enough that I want to read it. Henrich's general idea is that people in Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, Democratic (WEIRD) societies differ psychologically from people in more traditionally structured societies, and that the family policies of the Catholic Church in medieval Europe lie at the historical root of this difference. &hellip;</div><br />