1. 12548.07564
    What I call the active mind approach revolves around the claim that what is “on” a person’s mind is in an important sense brought on and held on to through the agent’s self-conscious rational activity. In the first part, I state the gist of this perspective in a deliberately strong way in order to create a touchstone for critical discussion. In the second part, I engage with two categories of our mental lives that seem to speak against construing the mind as active. First, I discuss affectivity, in particular emotion, and show that emotional episodes are active engagements. Second, I discuss habitual action, and in particular those manifestations of habit which are initially opaque to the agent. In my responses to both objections, the notion of a practical self-understanding will play a central role. The result will be a qualified defence and expansion of the active mind position.
    Found 3 hours, 29 minutes ago on Jan Slaby's site
  2. 70966.075892
    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.
    Found 19 hours, 42 minutes ago on Aki Lehtinen's site
  3. 71138.076025
    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.
    Found 19 hours, 45 minutes ago on Aki Lehtinen's site
  4. 71274.076166
    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.
    Found 19 hours, 47 minutes ago on Aki Lehtinen's site
  5. 71459.076269
    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.
    Found 19 hours, 50 minutes ago on Aki Lehtinen's site
  6. 74508.076398
    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. …
    Found 20 hours, 41 minutes ago on M-Phi
  7. 133044.076438
    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.
    Found 1 day, 12 hours ago on Itzhak Gilboa's site
  8. 133173.076612
    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.
    Found 1 day, 12 hours ago on Jake Quilty-Dunn's site
  9. 133202.076691
    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 sees 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 not 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 sees a dagger, even though there is not a dagger in front of him.
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on PhilPapers
  10. 133220.076787
    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.
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on Jeffrey Barrett's site
  11. 133224.07687
    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.
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on Jeffrey Barrett's site
  12. 133263.077
    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.
    Found 1 day, 13 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  13. 195404.077095
    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.
    Found 2 days, 6 hours ago on H. Orri Stefánsson's site
  14. 196027.07725
    . 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. …
    Found 2 days, 6 hours ago on D. G. Mayo's blog
  15. 371574.077311
    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 ψP seem in certain uses to commit the speaker to an unconditional presupposition P — for instance, why a use of (1) would typically commit the speaker not merely to (1a), but to the logically stronger (1b).
    Found 4 days, 7 hours ago on Alex Silk's site
  16. 386123.077417
    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 If A, would 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 would-counterfactual and in the corresponding might-counterfactual have to be identical.
    Found 4 days, 11 hours ago on PhilPapers
  17. 444250.077498
    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.
    Found 5 days, 3 hours ago on PhilPapers
  18. 560319.077522
    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.
    Found 6 days, 11 hours ago on PhilPapers
  19. 560384.077542
    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.
    Found 6 days, 11 hours ago on PhilPapers
  20. 570994.077556
    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. …
    Found 6 days, 14 hours ago on The Splintered Mind
  21. 591900.077573
    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.
    Found 6 days, 20 hours ago on Alex Voorhoeve's site
  22. 592060.077587
    The pragmatism—anti-pragmatism debate concerns whether practical considerations can constitute genuinely normative wrong-kind reasons (WKRs) for and against doxastic attitudes, whereas the encroachment—anti-encroachment debate concerns whether practical considerations can affect what right-kind reasons (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.
    Found 6 days, 20 hours ago on Stephanie Leary's site
  23. 592069.077604
    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.
    Found 6 days, 20 hours ago on Vincent Conitzer's site
  24. 592159.077619
    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 nonworseness claim 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.
    Found 6 days, 20 hours ago on Brian Berkey's site
  25. 618561.077637
    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.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilPapers
  26. 676395.077651
    It seems plausible that visual experiences of darkness have perceptual, phenomenal content which clearly differentiates them from absences of visual experiences. I argue, relying on psychological results concerning auditory attention, that the analogous claim is true about auditory experiences of silence. More specifically, I propose that experiences of silence present empty spatial directions like ‘right’ or ‘left’, and so have egocentric spatial content. Furthermore, I claim that such content is genuinely auditory and phenomenal in the sense that one can, in principle, recognize that she is experiencing silence. This position is far from obvious as the majority of theories concerning silence perception do not ascribe perceptual, phenomenal content to experiences of silence.
    Found 1 week ago on PhilPapers
  27. 691604.077665
    In defence of pluralism Recently, after a couple of hours discussing a problem in the philosophy of mathematics, a colleague mentioned that he wanted to propose a sort of pluralism as a solution. We were debating the foundations of mathematics, and he wanted to consider the claim that there might be no single unique foundation, but rather many different foundations, no one of them better than the others. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on M-Phi
  28. 734205.077679
    Act consequentialism states that an act is right iff the expected value of its outcome is at least as great as the expected value of any other act’s outcome. Two objections to this view are as follows. The first is that act consequentialism cannot account for our normative ambivalence in cases where agents perform the right act out of bad motives. The second is that act consequentialism is silent on questions of character: questions like ‘What are the right motives to have?’ and ‘What kind of person ought I be?’. These objections have been taken to motivate a move to global consequentialism, on which acts are not the only subjects of normative assessment. Motives and decision-procedures (amongst other things) are also judged right or wrong by direct reference to their consequences. In this paper, I argue that these objections fail to motivate the move from act to global consequentialism.
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on PhilPapers
  29. 749418.077711
    Some people think that expected utilities determine credences and some thing that credences determine expected utilities. I think neither is the case, and want to sketch a bit of a third view. Let’s say that I observe people playing a slot machine. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Alexander Pruss's Blog
  30. 749419.077751
    [My thanks to Zach Barnett for writing the following guest post...]At its best, philosophy encourages us to challenge our deepest and most passionately held convictions. No paper does this more forcefully than John Taurek’s “Should the Numbers Count?” Taurek’s paper challenges us to justify the importance of numbers in ethics.Six people are in trouble. …
    Found 1 week, 1 day ago on Philosophy, et cetera