Philosophical Progress and blog posts found on 26 January 20222022-01-26T23:59:00Z2022-01-26T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2022-01-26://<b>Daniel C. Dennett: <a href="">The User-Illusion of Consciousness</a></b> (pdf, 4679 words)<br /> <div>About thirty years ago I attended a summer ‘retreat’ of the Harvard Medical School MD/PhD programme in neuroscience and I vividly remember one lab director’s opening remarks in the first session. ‘In our lab, if you work on one neuron, that’s neuroscience; if you work on two neurons, that’s psychology’ — a term of abuse in his corner of the world. This bottom-up approach to neuroscience is still advocated in many quarters, and there are not a few neuroscientists who dismiss the ‘cognitive’ neurosciences as mere headline-grabbing speculation, but while the brute empirical researchers have provided a wealth of hard-won data in recent years, they have had next to nothing of importance to say about the mind or consciousness. This is not surprising when you confront the fact that the brain has literally trillions of moving parts. Billions of individual cells, each a complicated and rather autonomous micro-agent with an agenda, and no two exactly alike, are <i>somehow</i> coordinated to produce impressively accurate intelligence on the world outside the skulls they labour in, generating appropriate behaviour under most circumstances. How can anybody think responsibly and creatively about such a complicated organ? Clearly, one needs a model at a higher level which can systematize and rationalize the astronomical number of transactions and interactions between the parts.</div><br /> <b>Fabrizio Calzavarini, Gustavo Cevolani: <a href="">Abductive Reasoning in Cognitive Neuroscience: Weak and Strong Reverse Inference</a></b> (pdf, 12488 words)<br /> <div><i><b></b></i>Reverse inference is a crucial inferential strategy used in cognitive neuroscience to derive conclusions about the engagement of cognitive processes from patterns of brain activation. While widely employed in experimental studies, it is now viewed with increasing scepticism within the neuroscience community. One problem with reverse inference is that it is logically invalid, being an instance of abduction in Peirce’s sense. In this paper, we offer the first systematic analysis of reverse inference as a form of abductive reasoning and highlight some relevant implications for the current debate. We start by formalising an important distinction that has been entirely neglected in the literature, namely the distinction between weak (strategic) and strong (justificatory) reverse inference. Then, we rely on case studies from recent neuroscientific research to systematically discuss the role and limits of both strong and weak reverse inference; in particular, we offer the first exploration of weak reverse inference as a discovery strategy within cognitive neuroscience.</div><br /> <b>Luvell Anderson, Michael Barnes: <a href="">Hate Speech</a></b> (html, 16652 words)<br /> <div>Hate speech is a concept that many people find intuitively easy to grasp, while at the same time many others deny it is even a coherent concept. A majority of developed, democratic nations have enacted hate speech legislation—with the contemporary United States being a notable outlier—and so implicitly maintain that it is coherent, and that its conceptual lines can be drawn distinctly enough. Nonetheless, the concept of hate speech does indeed raise many difficult questions: What does the ‘hate’ in hate speech refer to? Can hate speech be directed at dominant groups, or is it by definition targeted at oppressed or marginalized communities?</div><br /> <b>Nathan Nobis: <a href="">Why IACUCs Need Ethicists</a></b> (pdf, 10240 words)<br /> <div>Some animal research is arguably morally wrong, and some animal research is morally bad but could be improved. Who is most likely to be able to identify wrong or bad animal research and advocate for improvements? I argue that philosophical ethicists have the expertise that makes them the likely best candidates for these tasks. I review the skills, knowledge, and perspectives that philosophical ethicists tend to have that makes them ethical experts<i>.</i> I argue that, insofar as Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees are expected to ensure that research is ethical, they must have philosophical ethicists as members.</div><br /> <b>Spiridon Dumitru: <a href="'s%20Cat%20Be%20Really%20a%20Quantum%20Touchstone.pdf">Can Schrodinger's Cat Be Really a Quantum Touchstone?</a></b> (pdf, 3716 words)<br /> <div>probabilistic incorrectness in the (over)rating of the subject, (ii) the possibility of imagining non-quantum scenarios but completely similar to that experiment (iii) lack of ratified practical tests having genuine essence (i.e., non-counterfeit). So, the aforesaid experiment appears as a simplistic thought exercise without any notable significance for quantum physics.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Artifacts and intentions</a></b> (html, 389 words)<br /> <div>Artifacts have defining functions. It is tempting to think of these functions as coming from their maker’s intention that they be used for those functions. But that is actually incorrect. Modern-day blacksmiths routinely make weapons of war such as swords and halberds (cf. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 25 January 20222022-01-25T23:59:00Z2022-01-25T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2022-01-25://<b>Alex Worsnip: <a href="">Epistemic Normativity is Independent of Our Goals</a></b> (pdf, 8966 words)<br /> <div>In epistemology and in ordinary life, we make many normative claims about beliefs. We say that you ought to believe in the reality of climate change; that there are strong reasons to believe that there was no significant fraud in the November 2020 US election; that you should believe the testimony of victims of domestic violence; and so on. (And, of course, some people say the converse things about each of these matters.) These are perfectly ordinary and normal uses of language. As with all normative claims, philosophical questions arise about what – if anything – underwrites these kinds of normative claims. On one view, epistemic instrumentalism, facts about what we (epistemically) ought to believe, or about what is an (epistemic, normative) reason to believe what, obtain at least partly in virtue of our goals (or aims, ends, intentions, desires, etc.). More particularly, our having certain goals makes it the case that we have epistemic reasons to believe certain things, because doing so would instrumentally serve those goals. The converse view, anti-instrumentalism, denies this, and holds that the facts about what we ought or have reasons to believe are independent of our goals.</div><br /> <b>Carlo Rovelli: <a href="">Back to Reichenbach</a></b> (pdf, 10207 words)<br /> <div>In his 1956 book ‘The direction of Time’, Hans Reichenbach offered a comprensive analysis of the physical ground of the direction of time, the notion of physical cause, and the relation between the two. I review its conclusions and argue that at the light of recent advances Reichenbach analysis provides the best account of the physical underpinning of these notions. I integrate recent results in cosmology, and relative to the physical underpinning of records and agency into Reichenbach’s account, and discuss which questions it leaves open.</div><br /> <b>Chris Dorst: <a href="">Laws, Melodies, and the Paradox of Predictability</a></b> (pdf, 11959 words)<br /> <div>If the laws of nature are deterministic, then it seems possible that a Laplacean intelligence that knows the initial conditions and the laws would be able to accurately predict everything that will ever happen. However, it would be easy to construct a counterpredictive device that falsifies any revealed prediction about its future behavior. What would then occur if a Laplacean intelligence encountered a counterpredictive device? This is the paradox of predictability. A number of philosophers have proposed solutions to it, though part of my aim here is to argue that the paradox is more pernicious than has thus far been appreciated, and therefore that extant solutions are inadequate. My broader aim is to argue that the paradox motivates Humeanism about laws of nature.</div><br /> <b>Eugen Fischer, Paul E. Engelhardt: <a href="">Philosophers’ linguistic expertise: A psycholinguistic approach to the expertise objection against experimental philosophy</a></b> (pdf, 20068 words)<br /> <div>Philosophers are often credited with particularly well-developed conceptual skills. The ‘expertise objection’ to experimental philosophy builds on this assumption to challenge inferences from findings about laypeople to conclusions about philosophers. We draw on psycholinguistics to develop and assess this objection. We examine whether philosophers are less or differently susceptible than laypersons to cognitive biases that affect how people understand verbal case descriptions and judge the cases described. We examine two possible sources of difference: Philosophers could be better at deploying concepts, and this could make them less susceptible to comprehension biases (‘linguistic expertise objection’). Alternatively, exposure to different patterns of linguistic usage could render philosophers vulnerable to a fundamental comprehension bias, the linguistic salience bias, at different points (‘linguistic usage objection’). Together, these objections mount a novel ‘master argument’ against experimental philosophy. To develop and empirically assess this argument, we employ corpus analysis and distributional semantic analysis and elicit plausibility ratings from academic philosophers and psychology undergraduates. Our findings suggest philosophers are better at deploying concepts than laypeople but are susceptible to the linguistic salience bias to a similar extent and at similar points. We identify methodological consequences for experimental philosophy and for philosophical thought experiments.</div><br /> <b>Lucien Baumgartner, Pascale Willemsen, Kevin Reuter: <a href="">The Polarity Effect of Evaluative Language</a></b> (pdf, 4555 words)<br /> <div>Recent research on thick terms like ‘rude’ and ‘friendly’ has revealed a polarity effect, according to which the evaluative content of positive thick terms like ‘friendly’ and ‘courageous’ can be more easily cancelled than the evaluative content of negative terms like ‘rude’ and ‘selfish’. In this paper, we study the polarity effect in greater detail. We first demonstrate that the polarity effect is insensitive to manipulations of embeddings (Study 1). Second, we show that the effect occurs not only for thick terms but also for thin terms such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (Study 2). We conclude that the polarity effect is indicative of a pervasive linguistic asymmetry that holds between positive and negative evaluative terms.</div><br /> <b>Mathias Frisch: <a href="">The Babylonian conception and conventionalism about laws in physics</a></b> (pdf, 9481 words)<br /> <div>In this paper I discuss two features of laws in physics and ask to what extent these features are compatible with different philosophical accounts of laws of nature. These features are (i) that laws in physics fit what Richard Feynman has dubbed the &#34;Babylonian conception&#34; of physics, according to which laws in physics form an interlocking set of ‘theorems’; and (ii) that the distinction between dynamics and kinematics is to some extent contextual. These features, I argue, put pressure on any philosophical account of laws that presupposes that the laws of physics have a unique quasi-axiomatic structure, such as the Mill-Ramsey- Lewis account of laws and metaphysical accounts of laws that assume that there is a privileged explanatory nomological hierarchy.</div><br /> <b>Mathias Frisch: <a href="">Causal Explanation in Physics</a></b> (pdf, 7479 words)<br /> <div>Are there causal explanations in physics? Answers to this question range from the claim that there are no causal explanations in physics, since the notion of cause plays no legitimate role in physics (and, perhaps, elsewhere) to the claim that all explanations in physics are causal in virtue of the fact that <i>all</i> explanations in general (or at least all scientific explanations) are causal. In addition to these two polar opposite positions some philosophers have argued for pluralist views that allow for both causal explanations and non-causal explanations in physics.</div><br /> <b>Nicolas Delon: <a href="">Directed duties and nonhuman personhood</a></b> (pdf, 11959 words)<br /> <div>This paper defends a relational account of personhood. I argue that the structure of personhood consists of dyadic relations between persons who can wrong or be wronged by one another, even if some of them lack moral competence. I draw on recent work on directed duties to outline the structure of moral communities of persons. The upshot is that we can construct an inclusive theory of personhood that can accommodate nonhuman persons based on shared community membership. I argue that, once we unpack the internal relation between directed duties, moral status, and flourishing, relations can ground personhood. Both the basis and the form of personhood are relational, and both can eschew anthropocentrism.</div><br /> <b>Pierrick Bourrat: <a href="">Evolutionary Transitions in Individuality by Endogenization of Scaffolded Properties</a></b> (pdf, 12244 words)<br /> <div>The hierarchy of life is the result of a succession of evolutionary transitions in individuality (ETIs). During an ETI, individuals at a particular level of organization interact in such a way as to produce larger-level entities that become individuals in their own right. These new individuals are defined by their capacity to exhibit Darwinian properties of variation, differences in fitness, and heredity. One difficulty in accounting for ETIs is articulating how these properties are acquired at a higher level from the lower ones. Collaborators and I recently proposed the ‘ecological scaffolding’ model in which imposing an ecological scaffold (i.e., a structure in the environment) on lower-level entities initiates an ETI. Here, I present a new model that extends this work. Within this new model, I propose a mechanism of scaffold endogenization, demonstrating that collectives can become resilient to the ecological scaffold being removed. This type of resilience is not observed in the ecological scaffolding model. However, classically, a biological individual would be regarded as an entity capable of withstanding environmental changes. Thus, the new model proposed here represents a step towards a more complete explanation for ETIs.</div><br /> <b>Pierrick Bourrat: <a href="">Unifying heritability in evolutionary theory</a></b> (pdf, 12271 words)<br /> <div>Despite being widely used in both biology and psychology as if it were a single notion, heritability is not a unified concept. This is also true in evolutionary theory, in which the word ‘heritability’ has at least two technical definitions that only partly overlap. These yield two approaches to heritability: the ‘variance approach’ and the ‘regression approach.’ In this paper, I aim to unify these two approaches. After presenting them, I argue that a —‘general applicability’ and ‘separability of the general notion of heritability ought to satisfy two desiderata causes of resemblance.’ I argue that neither the variance nor the regression approach satisfies these two desiderata concomitantly. From there, I develop a general definition of heritability that relies on the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties. I show that this general definition satisfies the two desiderata. I then illustrate the potential usefulness of this general definition in the context of microbiome research. evolutionary biology, genetics, and psychology. When asking whether a trait is heritable in everyday language, one typically wants to know whether this trait is transmitted across generations so that offspring resemble their parents (Fox Keller, 2010, chap. 3). Following a more genetic-centred usage of the term, heritability is often associated with the process of genetic transmission. That it recurs over generations does not entail that a trait is heritable—sharing genes with one’s parents must be the reason the phenotype is transmitted. (Lynch &amp; Walsh, 1998 , pp. 170–175).</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">A problem for non-command divine command theories</a></b> (html, 235 words)<br /> <div>Some divine “command” theories do not ground obligations in commands as such, but in divine mental states, such as his willings, intentions or desires. It’s occurred to me that there is a down-side to such theories. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">A divine intentional promotion account of duty</a></b> (html, 1058 words)<br /> <div>In my previous post, I argued against divine desire versions of divine command theory. Reflecting on that post, I saw that there is a simple variant of divine desire that helps with some of the problems in that post. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 24 January 20222022-01-24T23:59:00Z2022-01-24T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2022-01-24://<b>Christian Loew, Andreas Hüttemann: <a href="">Are We Free to Make the Laws?</a></b> (pdf, 8698 words)<br /> <div><b></b>Humeans about laws maintain that laws of nature are nothing over and above the complete distribution of non-modal, categorical properties in spacetime. ‘Humean compatibilists’ argue that if Humeanism about laws is true, then agents in a deterministic world can do otherwise than they are lawfully determined to do because of the distinctive nature of Humean laws. More specifically, they reject a central premise of the Consequence argument by maintaining that deterministic laws of nature are ‘up to us’. In this paper, we present a new argument for Humean compatibilism. We argue that Humeans about laws indeed have resources for defending compatibilism that non-Humeans lack (though not for the reasons typically discussed in the literature). Moreover, we show that utilizing these resources does not lead to objectionable consequences. Humeans about laws should thus embrace Humean compatibilism.</div><br /> <b>Duygu Uygun Tunç: <a href="">The subject of knowledge in collaborative science</a></b> (pdf, 13295 words)<br /> <div>The epistemic subject of collective scientific knowledge has been a matter of dispute in recent philosophy of science and epistemology. Following the distributed cognition framework, both collective-subject accounts (most notably by Knorr-Cetina, in <i>Epistemic Cultures</i>, Harvard University Press, 1999) as well as no-subject accounts of collective scientific knowledge (most notably by Giere, Social Epistemology 21:313–320, 2007; in Carruthers, Stich, Siegal (eds), The Cognitive Basis of Science, Cambridge University Press, 2002a) have been offered. Both strategies of accounting for collective knowledge are problematic from the perspective of mainstream epistemology. Postulating genuinely collective epistemic subjects is a high-commitment strategy with little clear benefits. On the other hand, eliminating the epistemic subject radically severs the link between knowledge and knowers. Most importantly, both strategies lead to the undesirable outcome that in some cases of scientific knowledge there might be no individual knower that we can identify. I argue that distributed cognition offers us a fertile framework for analyzing complex socio-technical processes of contemporary scientific knowledge production, but scientific knowledge should nonetheless be located in individual knowers. I distinguish between the production and possession of knowledge, and argue that collective knowledge is collectively produced knowledge, not collectively possessed knowledge. I propose an account of non-testimonial, expert scientific knowledge which allows for collectively produced knowledge to be known by individuals.</div><br /> <b>Walter Veit, Heather Browning: <a href="">Life, Mind, Agency: Why Markov Blankets Fail the Test of Evolution</a></b> (pdf, 1260 words)<br /> <div>There has been much criticism of the idea that Friston’s free energy principle can unite the life and mind sciences. Here, we argue that perhaps the greatest problem for the totalizing ambitions of its proponents is a failure to recognize the importance of evolutionary dynamics and to provide a convincing adaptive story relating free energy minimization to organismal fitness.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Against divine desire theories of morality</a></b> (html, 665 words)<br /> <div>On the divine desire version of divine command theory, the right thing to do is what God wants us to do. But what if God’s desires conflict? God does’t want us to commit murder. But suppose a truthful evildoer tells me that if I don’t murder one innocent person, then a thousand persons will be given a choice to murder an innocent person or die. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 23 January 20222022-01-23T23:59:00Z2022-01-23T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2022-01-23://<b>: <a href="">Temporal Passage Demystified</a></b> (doc, 2928 words)<br /> <div>Suppose we set out to describe the passing scene. Singling out an unremarkable portion we observe: Mary kneels; Mary sits; Mary stands; Mary jumps. We have described the passing scene. More exactly, we have described a scene that passes. But we have not captured the <i>passing</i> of the scene. I propose that the only additional item required to capture the passing of the scene is this: Mary kneels; <i>and then</i> Mary sits; <i>and then</i> Mary stands. Succession is what makes our scene and time pass. Schematically, I propose that time passes iff: P, and then Q for any tensed P and Q. When Mary kneels and then sits, that constitutes a passing scene because Mary kneels—present tense—and then she sits—again, present tense. Just to have a label, I will call this the dynamic succession account of passage. The account of temporal passage enables a straightforward and appealing explanation of the connection between temporal passage, persistence, and change, which I elaborate here. With its emphasis on both tense and succession, the view combines while rejecting elements of A-theoretic (tense focused) and B-theoretic (succession focused) theories of time. I explain how this theory of temporal passage plausibly combines and rejects elements of each theory.</div><br /> <b>Alex Voorhoeve: <a href="">What Makes Personal Data Processing by Social Networking Services Permissible?</a></b> (pdf, 10722 words)<br /> <div>Social Networking Services (SNS) provide access to information, goods, and services in return for rights to process and commercialize users’ personal data. We investigate what makes such transactions morally permissible. The well-known Autonomous Authorization (AA) account holds that, insofar as one considers users’ claims to their personal data, users’ autonomous consent to the SNS using their personal data is both necessary and sufficient for such permissibility. We reject this account for several reasons. First, requiring autonomous consent would set the bar for access to SNS too high. Second, the AA account is insufficiently sensitive to the power of SNS to set the terms of exchange. Third, it is incomplete, because it does not consider the third-party effects of individual exchanges. We then offer an alternative account, based on T.M. Scanlon’s Value of Choice view, on which such transactions are rendered permissible by the provision of sufficiently valuable opportunities to exchange access to personal data for services. We argue that the value of these opportunities must be assessed for both (a) a wide variety of users, given their cognitive limitations and decision-making abilities and (b) all who are affected by the general availability of these opportunities. A key implication is that regulatory regimes should shift from attempting to obtain autonomous consent towards ensuring that users face options that they can be expected to use to advance individual and common interests.</div><br /> <b>Ayelet Shavit: <a href="">Communal Philosophy? A Possible Framework for Science-Society Interaction</a></b> (pdf, 5059 words)<br /> <div>Interaction with local communities is now labeled academia's &#34;third mission,&#34; yet science-society rifts are still common, running deeper in marginalized communities. A first step towards bridging the gap is clarification. I review core concepts (e.g., 'outreach,' 'accessibility,' 'engagement'), sort them into two model frameworks – &#34;Ivory Tower&#34; and &#34;Mutualism&#34; – and describe their distinct structures. Both are helpful in relevant context yet their default application practically reinforces hierarchical boundaries, increases epistemic injustice, hampers science's epistemic values, and couples 'diversity' with ethnic divergence. Therefore, another model is suggested: 'Communal Academia.' I unfold how this model practically foregrounds activism, heterogeneity, and pluralistic interaction and advocate its evaluation based on heterogeneity rather than diversity measures. Imaginary and real-life examples demonstrate the practice-based advantages of this model, and the philosophical relevance of a communal approach is reflected upon.</div><br /> <b>Justin Clarke-Doane, William McCarthy: <a href="">Modal Pluralism and Higher-Order Logic</a></b> (pdf, 19378 words)<br /> <div>In this article, we discuss a simple argument that modal metaphysics is misconceived, and responses to it. Unlike Quine’s, this argument begins with the banal observation that there are different candidate interpretations of the predicate ‘could have been the case’. This is analogous to the observation that there are different candidate interpretations of the predicate ‘is a member of’. The argument then infers that the search for metaphysical necessities is misguided in much the way the ‘set-theoretic pluralist’ (Hamkins and Clarke-Doane [2017] claims that the search for the true axioms of set theory is. We show that the obvious responses to this argument fail.</div><br /> <b>Lucien von Schomberg: <a href="">Raising the Sail of Innovation</a></b> (pdf, 40828 words)<br /> <div>1. The assumption that innovation can be regulated towards societally desirable outcomes cannot be maintained. <i>(this thesis)</i> 2. The inclusion of society in innovation requires active involvement of individual citizens beyond representative stakeholders.</div><br /> <b>Marco Masi: <a href="">The Metaphysics of Physics from the Perspective of Sri Aurobindo’s Cosmology</a></b> (pdf, 17659 words)<br /> <div>The rationale of our study is to question whether the observation of the physical world from the standpoint of the mystic experience could furnish some ontological indications of the structure of the world itself. Taking perspectives from the states of consciousness described by mystics may furnish us with a deeper understanding of the material and metaphysical character of physical categories such as matter, energy, force, space, time and space-time. We chose as a particularly interesting case study the spiritual cosmology of the 20<sup>th</sup>-century Indian mystic and yogi, Sri Aurobindo. This is an introductory overview of his metaphysics relevant for physical sciences with particular attention paid to quantum physics.</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 22 January 20222022-01-22T23:59:00Z2022-01-22T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2022-01-22://<b>Andreas De Block, Daniel Kelly: <a href="">Culture and Cognitive Science</a></b> (pdf, 26611 words)<br /> <div>Human behavior and thought often exhibit a familiar pattern of within group similarity and between group difference. Many of these patterns are attributed to cultural differences. For much of the history of its investigation into behavior and thought, however, cognitive science has been disproportionately focused on uncovering and explaining the more universal features of human minds—or the universal features of minds in general.</div><br /> <b>Michael Klenk: <a href="">Pragmatism and Moral Objectivity</a></b> (pdf, 10398 words)<br /> <div>Michael Klenk, “Pragmatism and Moral Objectivity”, <i>European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy</i> [Online], XIII-2 | 2021, Online since 20 December 2021, connection on 22 December 2021.</div><br /> <b>Michael Klenk, Martin Sand: <a href="">Moral Luck and Unfair Blame</a></b> (pdf, 8583 words)<br /> <div>Killer drove drunk and, for reasons beyond his control, killed a child that ran onto the street. Merely Reckless also drove drunk but, for reasons beyond his control, was lucky and killed nobody. Suppose that the outcome in each case differs solely due to factors beyond the agents’ control. Still, these factors supposedly influence the respective moral praise- and blameworthiness of both agents: Killer seems more blameworthy than Merely Reckless, and so the latter is morally lucky. However, it is also widely accepted that only things within one’s control shall determine how praise- and blameworthy one is; accordingly, there should be no moral luck.</div><br /> <b>Robert Johnson, Adam Cureton: <a href="">Kant’s Moral Philosophy</a></b> (html, 20398 words)<br /> <div>Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argued that the supreme principle of morality is a principle of practical rationality that he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative” (CI). Kant characterized the CI as an objective, rationally necessary and unconditional principle that we must follow despite any natural desires we may have to the contrary. All specific moral requirements, according to Kant, are justified by this principle, which means that all immoral actions are irrational because they violate the CI. Other philosophers, such as Hobbes, Locke and Aquinas, had also argued that moral requirements are based on standards of rationality.</div><br /> <b>Philosophy, et cetera: <a href="">Utilitarianism and Reflective Equilibrium</a></b> (html, 819 words)<br /> <div>In 'Why I Am Not a Utilitarian', Michael Huemer objects that "there are so many counter-examples, and the intuitions about these examples are strong and widespread, it’s hard to see how utilitarianism could be justified overall." &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 21 January 20222022-01-21T23:59:00Z2022-01-21T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2022-01-21://<b>Gabriele Contessa: <a href="">Shopping for Experts</a></b> (pdf, 11289 words)<br /> <div>This paper explores the socio-epistemic practice of shopping for experts. I argue that expert shopping is particularly likely to occur on what Thi Nguyen calls cognitive islands (i.e., a domain that is both subtle and isolated). To support my claim, I focus on the case of macroeconomics. First, I make a <i>prima-facie</i> case for thinking that macroeconomics is a cognitive island. I, then, argue that ordinary people are particularly likely to engage in expert shopping when it comes to macroeconomic matters. I go on to distinguish two kinds of expert shopping, which I call cynical and wishful expert shopping, and introduce the notion of assisted expert shopping, which occurs when people or organizations shop for experts on behalf of other people. I argue that assisted expert shopping can consist of a particularly worrisome combination of cynical and wishful expert shopping, which sometimes result in what I call a propagandistic use of expertise. Finally, I critically examine some possible reasons for optimism and find them wanting. I conclude by suggesting that that much of what I said about shopping for macroeconomic experts might also apply <i>mutatis mutandis</i> to other policy-relevant domains of expertise.</div><br /> <b>Joshua Habgood-Coote: <a href="">Knowing More (About Questions)</a></b> (pdf, 11901 words)<br /> <div>How should we measure knowledge? According to the <i>Counting Approach</i>, we can measure knowledge by counting pieces of knowledge. Versions of the Counting Approach that try to measure knowledge by counting true beliefs with suitable support or by counting propositions known run into problems, stemming from infinite numbers of propositions and beliefs, difficulties in individuating propositions and beliefs, and cases in which knowing the same number of propositions contributes differently to knowledge. In this paper I develop a novel question-relative and contextualist version of the counting approach, which measures an agent's knowledge by counting the number of complete answers of a contextually salient issue they can rule out. The question-relative and contextualist version of the Counting Approach avoids the issues for the proposition and belief-based systems, and offers a general, systematic, and explanatory system for measuring knowledge.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">An argument for the unity of the virtues</a></b> (html, 503 words)<br /> <div>Alice and Bob are friends, but Carl is a friend of neither. Carl pays Bob to betray Alice in some nasty way, and Bob being greedy does so. What Carl has done is as bad as what Alice has done. However, Alice was disloyal whereas Carl’s action was not a failure of loyalty. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Azimuth: <a href="">The Periodic Table</a></b> (html, 589 words)<br /> <div>I like many kinds of periodic table, but hate this one. See the problem? Element 57 is drawn right next to element 72, replacing the element that should be there: element 71. So lutetium, element 71, is being denied its rightful place as a transition metal and is classified as a rare earth. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 20 January 20222022-01-20T23:59:00Z2022-01-20T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2022-01-20://<b>Bryan Cheng, James Read: <a href="">Shifts and reference</a></b> (pdf, 16577 words)<br /> <div>Maudlin’s ‘metric essentialist’ response to the hole argument of general relativity is well-known, but differs strikingly from his response to what is often regarded as being the analogous problem in the context of Newtonian gravity (viz., the possibility of a Leibnizian static shift), which centres around a certain epistemological argument. In this paper, we explicate the reasons underlying this divergence of responses. We then apply recent work from the philosophy of language in order to assess Dasgupta’s arguments, centred around the notion of ‘inexpressible ignorance’, that Maudlin’s epistemological argument given in response to the static shift is unsuccessful. Finally, we analyse how the epistemological argument plays out in the context of the gauge redundancy in electromagnetism, finding that the situation is interestingly different from the spacetime case.</div><br /> <b>Francesco Nappo: <a href="">Confirmation by Analogy</a></b> (doc, 13702 words)<br /> <div>This paper proposes a framework for representing in Bayesian terms the idea that analogical arguments of various degrees of strength may provide inductive support to yet untested scientific hypotheses. On this account, contextual information plays a crucial role in determining whether, and to what extent, a given similarity or dissimilarity between source and target may confirm an empirical hypothesis over a rival one. In addition to showing confirmation by analogy compatible with the adoption of a Bayesian standpoint, the proposal outlined in this paper reveals a close agreement between the fulfillment of Hesse’s (1963) criteria for analogical arguments capable of inductive support and the attribution of confirmatory power by the lights of Bayesian confirmation theory. In this sense, the Bayesian representation not only enriches a framework, Hesse’s, of enduring relevance for understanding scientific activity, but may offer something akin to a proof of concept of it.</div><br /> <b>Kyle Swan: <a href="">Liberty</a></b> (pdf, 9010 words)<br /> <div>The value of liberty fi gures prominently in people’s individual self- conceptions. They see themselves as free agents capable of deliberating about and choosing what they should pursue or do. This value in turn features in accounts of moral and political philosophy concerning whether an action or policy is permissible, reasonable, or legitimate. People want to be free and it’s hard to think of a theoretical tradition that doesn’t at least aff ord lip service to some notion of liberty. Indeed, even proponents of presumptively <i>illiberal</i> theories will tend to off er some putative justifi cation in terms of some other value to account for whatever impositions against liberty they tolerate. Authoritarians of all stripes feel at least some pressure to argue that these are necessary to promote virtue, for example, or protect important traditions. Alternatively, they may provide some conception of liberty according to which the imposition is necessary to secure or protect it. Accordingly, “work makes you free” (even in a forced labor camp!) rather than merely useful, manageable, or whatever. Every ideological outpost claims the mantle of liberty in one way or another, however plausible their claims appear and however successfully they withstand scrutiny.</div><br /> <b>Thomas Schindler: <a href="">Unrestricted quantification and ranges of significance</a></b> (pdf, 11514 words)<br /> <div>Call a quantifier ‘unrestricted’ if it ranges over absolutely all objects. Arguably, unrestricted quantification is often presupposed in philosophical inquiry. However, developing a semantic theory that vindicates unrestricted quantification proves rather difficult, at least as long as we formulate our semantic theory within a classical first-order language. It has been argued that using a type theory as framework for our semantic theory provides a resolution of this problem, at least if a broadly Fregean interpretation of type theory is assumed. However, the intelligibility of this interpretation has been questioned. In this paper I introduce a type-free theory of properties that can also be used to vindicate unrestricted quantification. This alternative emerges very naturally by reflecting on the features on which the type-theoretic solution of the problem of unrestricted quantification relies. Although this alternative theory is formulated in a non-classical logic, it preserves the deductive strength of classical strict type theory in a natural way. The ideas developed in this paper make crucial use of Russell’s notion of range of significance.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Normal parental effort and abortion</a></b> (html, 328 words)<br /> <div>We owe our children at least a normal degree of effor for their welfare. For instance, we owe it to them to provide food, water, education and affection in normal circumstances by the normal means of doing so. &hellip;</div><br />