That AI will have a major impact on society is no longer in question. Current debate turns instead on how far this impact will be positive or negative, for whom, in which ways, in which places, and on what timescale. Put another way, we can safely dispense with the question of whether AI will have an impact; the pertinent questions now are by whom, how, where, and when this positive or negative impact will be felt, and hence what governance needs to be put in place to provide the best possible answers. In order to frame these questions in a more substantive way, in this prolegomena we introduce what we consider the four core opportunities for society offered by the use of AI, four associated risks which could emerge from its overuse or misuse, and the opportunity costs associated with its underuse. We then offer a high-level view of the emerging advantages for organisations of taking an ethical approach to developing and deploying AI. Finally, we introduce a set of five principles which should guide the development and deployment of AI technologies – four of which build on existing bioethics principles and an additional one that we argue is of equal importance in the case of AI.
As a highly technological innovation, cultured meat is the subject of techno-optimistic as well as techno-sceptical evaluations. The chapter discusses this opposition and connects it with arguments about seeing the world in the right way. Both sides not only call upon us to see the world in a very particular light, but also point to mechanisms of selective attention in order to explain how others can be so biased. I will argue that attention mechanisms are indeed relevant for dealing with the Anthropocene, but that dualism has paralysing effects. In a dualistic framework, cultured meat is associated with ecomodernist optimism, bold technological control over nature and alienation from animals. But interested citizens and farmers in focus groups rather envisioned the future of cultured meat through small scale production on farms combined with intensive relations with animals. Such scenarios, involving elements from both sides of the dualistic gap, depend on constructive ways of dealing with dualisms and ambivalence.
Covid-19 vaccination take up has been disappointingly low in many countries, or parts of countries, such as in America. Given that vaccination offers significant private and public benefits, this is surprising. …
Philosophers who take rationality to consist in the satisfaction of rational requirements typically favour rational requirements that govern mental attitudes at a time rather than across times. One such account has been developed by Broome in Rationality through reasoning. He claims that diachronic functional properties of intentions such as settling on courses of actions and resolving conflicts are emergent properties that can be explained with reference to synchronic rational pressures. This is why he defends only a minimal diachronic requirement which characterises forgetting as irrational. In this paper, I show that Broome’s diachronically minimalist account lacks the resources to explain how a rational agent may resolve incommensurable choices by an act of will. I argue that one can solve this problem by either specifying a mode of diachronic deliberation or by introducing a genuinely diachronic requirement that governs the rational stability of an intention via a diachronic counterfactual condition concerning rational reconsideration. My proposal is similar in spirit to Gauthier’s account in his seminal paper ‘Assure and threaten’. It improves on his work by being both more general and explanatorily richer in its application with regard to diachronic phenomena such as transformative choices and acts of will.
There has been a lot of time and effort spent debating whether human beings have free will, and rightly so, it is an important and interesting question. However there has been very little discussion (at least until now) concerning whether God would have free will. I should note that I am talking about the Western conception of God, and more specifically the view that comes from the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, mixed with Neoplatonism and Aristotelianism, which is sometimes referred to as Classical Theism.
It is becoming more common that the decision-makers in private and public institutions are predictive algorithmic systems, not humans. This article argues that relying on algorithmic systems is procedurally unjust in contexts involving background conditions of structural injustice. Under such nonideal conditions, algorithmic systems, if left to their own devices, cannot meet a necessary condition of procedural justice, because they fail to provide a sufficiently nuanced model of which cases count as relevantly similar. Resolving this problem requires deliberative capacities uniquely available to human agents. After exploring the limitations of existing formal algorithmic fairness strategies, the article argues that procedural justice requires that human agents relying wholly or in part on algorithmic systems proceed with caution: by avoiding doxastic negligence about algorithmic outputs, by exercising deliberative capacities when making similarity judgments, and by suspending belief and gathering additional information in light of higher-order uncertainty.
Here is a familiar story about electoral democracy. Modern policymaking is incredibly complicated. Voters are rationally ignorant. This ignorance has many potential bad consequences. If elected officials are closely responsive to the ignorant voters, they will make bad decisions, resulting in bad outcomes. More plausibly, this ignorance will simply serve to insulate elected officials from voter scrutiny, making them easy targets for capture and manipulation— which will also lead to bad outcomes.
Herbert A. Simon (1955) established behavioral economics based on bounded rationality. People are unable to fully optimize due to costs of information being too high for most people and their inability to compute such behavior for mathematical and logical limits, arguing that most people follow heuristic rules of thumb to achieve an aspirational level they hold. Most firms seek a level of profit acceptable to owners rather than a possible maximum profits level. He labeled this approach to be satisficing (Simon, 1956), noting this word is in the Oxford English Dictionary from a Northumbrian dialect, basically meaning “satisfy.” But he redefined it to describe how people behave using bounded rationality.
When interacting with other people, we assume that they have their reasons for what they do and believe, and experience recognizable feelings and emotions. When people act from weakness of will or are otherwise irrational, what they do can still be comprehensible to us, since we know what it is like to fall for temptation and act against one’s better judgment. Still, when someone’s experiences, feelings and way of thinking is vastly different from our own, understanding them becomes increasingly difficult. Delusions and psychosis are often seen as marking the end of intelligibility. In this paper, I argue first for the importance of seeing other people as intelligible as long as this is at all possible. Second, I argue, based on both previous literature and my own lived experience, that more psychotic phenomena than previously thought can be rendered at least somewhat intelligible. Besides bizarre experiences like illusions, hallucinations and intense feelings of significance, I also explain what it is like to lose one’s bedrock, and how this loss impacts which beliefs one has reason to reject. Finally, I give an inside account of some disturbances of reason, and show that there are important similarities between certain psychotic reasoning problems and common non-pathological phenomena.
Is it permissible to be a fan of an artist or a sports team that has behaved immorally? While this issue has recently been the subject of widespread public debate, it has received little attention in the philosophical literature. This paper will investigate this issue by examining the nature and ethics of fandom. I will argue that the crimes and misdemeanors of the object of fandom provide three kinds of moral reasons for fans to abandon their fandom. First, being a fan of the immoral may provide support for their immoral behavior. Second, fandom alters our perception in ways that will often lead us to be fail to perceive our idol’s faults and even to adopting immoral points of view in order to be able to maintain the positive view we have of them. Third, fandom, like friendship, may lead us to engage in acts of loyalty to protect the interests of our idols. This gives fans of the immoral good reason to abandon their fandom. However, these reasons will not always be conclusive and, in some cases, it may be possible to instead adopt a critical form of fandom.
According to lexical views in population axiology, there are good lives a: and 3/ such that some number of lives equally good as x is not worse than any number of lives equally good as 3/. Such views can avoid the Repugnant Conclusion without violating Transitivity or Separability, but they imply a dilemma: either some good life is better than any number of slightly worse lives, or else the ‘at least as good as’ relation on populations is radically incomplete, in a sense to be explained. One might judge that the Repugnant Conclusion is preferable to each of these horns and hence embrace an Archimedean view. This is, roughly, the claim that quantity can always substitute for quality: each population is worse than a population of enough good lives. However, Archimedean views face an analogous dilemma: either some good life is better than any number of slightly worse lives, or else the ‘at least as good as’ relation on populations is radically and symmetrically incomplete, in a sense to be explained. Therefore, the lexical dilemma gives us little reason to prefer Archimedean views. Even if we give up on lexicality, problems of the same kind remain.
People’s attitudes towards social norms play a crucial role in understanding group behavior. Norm psychology accounts focus on processes of norm internalization that influence people’s norm following attitudes but pay considerably less attention to social identity and group identification processes. Social identity theory studies group identity but works with a relatively thin and instrumental notion of social norms. We argue that to best understand both sets of phenomena, it is important to integrate the insights of both approaches. We highlight tensions between the two approaches and conflicting observations, and sketch the contours of an integrated account. We conclude with some observations on how a twofold account may contribute to studying the evolution of human groups and understanding behavior and social norms in complex societies.
For many people, the phenomenon of divine hiddenness is so total that it is far from clear to them that God (roughly speaking, the God of Jewish and Christian tradition) exists at all. Reasonably enough, they therefore do not believe that God exists. Yet it is possible, whilst lacking belief in God’s reality, nonetheless to see it as a possibility that is both realistic and attractive; and in this situation, one will likely want to be open to the considerable benefits that would be available if God were real. In this paper I argue that certain kinds of desire for God can aid this non-believing openness. It is possible to desire God even in a state of non-belief, since desire does not require belief that its object exists. I argue that if we desire God in some particular capacity, and with some sense of what would constitute satisfaction, then through the desire we have knowledge – incomplete yet vivid in its personal significance – about the attributes God would need in order to satisfy us; thus, if God is real and does have those attributes, one knows something about God through desiring him. Because desire does not require belief, neither does the knowledge in question. Expanding on recent work by Vadas and Wynn, I sketch the epistemology of desire needed to support this argument. I then apply this epistemology to desire for God. An important question is how one might cultivate the requisite kinds desire for God; and one way, I argue, is through engaging with certain kinds of sacred music. I illustrate desire’s religiously epistemic power in this context, before replying to two objections.
Attributed to William Walwyn, leader of the Levellers in the England of 1647 The individual differences of which so much is made (…) will always survive, and they are to be welcomed, not regretted. But their existence is no reason for not seeking to establish the largest possible measure of equality of environment, and circumstance, and opportunity. On the contrary, it is a reason for redoubling our efforts to establish it, in order to ensure that these diversities of gifts may come to fruition.
1. Introduction. A genealogy would be an historical account of how someone, or some number of people, came to believe or to value the things that they do. What is genealogy for? The question may seem unfair: couldn’t genealogy be pursued for its own sake and without ulterior motive? Even if its pursuit serves wider ends, perhaps it serves them by instancing those ends rather than by providing an independently specifiable means to them. If, for example, there is value in knowing, then insofar as genealogical inquiry promises to furnish knowledge, its fruits might instance the wider value of our coming to know. Relatedly, insofar as the activities associated with inquiry are themselves valuable, independently of their resulting in knowing, then the activities associated with genealogical inquiry might instance those values, and that might be so independently of whether those activities also terminated in our acquiring genealogical knowledge. However, even if it were accepted that genealogy can have a value of its own, or can instance what is intrinsically valuable, that need not exclude that it also serves further ends. Let us therefore allow the question.
« More quantum computing popularization! On Guilt
The other night Dana and I watched “The Internet’s Own Boy,” the 2014 documentary about the life and work of Aaron Swartz, which I’d somehow missed when it came out. …
I've previously argued that sadistic pleasure (in oppressing the innocent) lacks value. But consider a complication. Suppose this time that the sadistic majority are all conscientious utilitarians who would never willingly increase net suffering in the world. …
Though not all scholars agree on the meaning of the term,
“neoliberalism” is now generally thought to label the
philosophical view that a society’s political and economic
institutions should be robustly liberal and capitalist, but
supplemented by a constitutionally limited democracy and a modest
welfare state. Recent work on neoliberalism, thus understood, shows
this to be a coherent and distinctive political philosophy. This entry
explicates neoliberalism by examining the political concepts,
principles, and policies shared by F. A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, and
James Buchanan, all of whom play leading roles in the new historical
research on neoliberalism, and all of whom wrote in political
philosophy as well as political economy.
I was watching Biogen’s stock (BIIB) climb over 100 points yesterday because its Alzheimer’s drug, aducanumab [brand name: Aduhelm], received surprising FDA approval? I hadn’t been following the drug at all (it’s enough to try and track some Covid treatments/vaccines). …
Exchange is fundamental to business. ‘Business’ can mean
an activity of exchange. One entity (e.g., a person, a firm)
“does business” with another when it exchanges a good or
service for valuable consideration, i.e., a benefit such as money. ‘Business’ can also mean an entity that offers goods and
services for exchange, i.e., that sells things. Target is a business. Business ethics can thus be understood as the study of the ethical
dimensions of the exchange of goods and services, and of the entities
that offer goods and services for exchange. This includes related
activities such as the production, distribution, marketing, sale, and
consumption of goods and services (cf.
The vast literature on negative treatment of outgroups and favoritism toward ingroups provides many local insights but is largely fragmented, lacking an overarching framework that might provide a unified overview and guide conceptual integration. As a result, it remains unclear where different local perspectives conflict, how they may reinforce one another, and where they leave gaps in our knowledge of the phenomena. Our aim is to start constructing a framework to help remedy this situation. We first identify a few key ideas for creating a theoretical roadmap for this complex territory, namely the principles of etiological functionalism and the dual inheritance theory of human evolution. We show how a “molecular” approach to emotions fits into this picture, and use it to illuminate emotions that shape intergroup relations. Finally, we weave the pieces together into the beginnings of a systematic taxonomy of the emotions involved in social interactions, both hostile and friendly. While it is but a start, we have developed the argument in a way that illustrates how the foundational principles of our proposed framework can be extended to accommodate further cases.
Members of marginalized groups who desire to pursue ambitious ends that might lead them to overcome disadvantage often face evidential situations that do not support the belief that they will succeed. Such agents might decide, reasonably, that their efforts are better expended elsewhere. If an agent has a less risky, valuable alternative, then quitting can be a rational way of avoiding the potential costs of failure. However, in reaching this pessimistic conclusion, she adds to the evidence that formed the basis for her pessimism in the first place, not just for herself but for future agents who will be in a similar position as hers. This is a pessimism trap. Might believing optimistically against the evidence offer a way out? In this paper, I argue against practical and moral arguments to turn to optimism as a solution to pessimism traps. I suggest that these theories ignore the opportunity costs that agents pay when they settle on difficult long-term ends without being sensitive to evidence of potential failure. The view I defend licenses optimism in a narrow range of cases. Its limitations show us that the right response to many pessimism traps is not to be found through individual optimism.
Evidence about epidemiological risk and corporate market-share played a decisive role in litigation on asbestos-poisoning and pharmaceutical negligence. These cases bear on what is now a central question in applied legal philosophy, namely should we ever allow bare statistics to settle legal disputes? A swathe of recent work agrees that it is never appropriate to settle a legal case solely using statistical evidence or, alternatively, that it is only appropriate to do so when the odds are overwhelming such as DNA evidence with a < 1 in 10,000,000 chance of error.
It is often suspected, of various works of fourteenth-century English literature, that they show the influence of philosophical voluntarism. This is an especially tempting thought to have with regard to Piers Plowman, both because of the poem’s explicit engagement with philosophy and theology, and because of the poem’s choice to make Will its central character. It is Will, in Nicolette Zeeman’s vivid phrase, who is the “single, holistic protagonist, the narrator and motive force of the whole text” (2006, 66). So although the extent of Langland’s familiarity with the philosophical ideas of his era is a matter of conjecture, it is hard to resist the thought that he is writing under the influence of the fourteenth-century voluntarist movement. An obstacle to such claims, however, is that no one has ever produced a clear and systematic account of what the voluntarist movement was. I hope to do that in detail elsewhere, but here I will attempt something more modest: to distinguish between a few claims that might be associated with voluntarism, and to consider some signs of their presence within Piers Plowman. A clear understanding of the philosophical character of voluntarism, and its implications for human nature, makes for a compelling case that we should understand the poem as the supreme medieval attempt to imbue an abstract philosophical thesis about the primacy of will with concrete meaning, set within the context of ordinary life.
It is tempting to suppose that the reason why the world remains profoundly unjust is that not enough of us hold the correct beliefs about the demands of justice and/or are motivated to bring it about. As Allen Buchanan shows, however, this is to miss a crucially important part of the picture: agents' mistaken beliefs about what it takes to achieve justice can seriously hamper prospects for such achievements. In this paper, I expand on Buchanan's taxonomy of mistaken beliefs about what it takes to achieve justice, and I bring his account (so expanded) to bear on the notion of epistemic justice.
Current discussions of hermeneutical injustice, I argue, poorly characterise the cognitive state of victims by failing to account for the communicative success that victims have when they describe their experience to other similarly situated persons. I argue that victims, especially when they suffer moral wrongs that are yet unnamed, are able (1) to grasp certain salient aspects of the wrong they experience and (2) to cultivate the ability to identify instances of the wrong in virtue of moral emotions. By moral emotions I mean emotions like indignation that reflect an agent’s ethical commitments and bear on her ethical assessments. Further, I argue that victims can impart their partial understanding of the wrong they suffer to others who are not similarly situated by eliciting moral emotions such as pity that are tied to broad notions of justice and fairness.
Many classic moral paradoxes involve conditional obligations, such as the obligation to be gentle if one is to murder. Many others involve supererogatory acts, or “good deeds beyond the call of duty.” Less attention, however, has been paid to the intersection of these topics. We develop the first general account of conditional supererogation. It has the power to solve both some familiar puzzles as well as several that we introduce. Moreover, our account builds on two familiar insights: the idea that conditionals restrict quantification and the idea that supererogation emerges from a clash between justifying and requiring reasons.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant economic hardships for millions of people around the world. Meanwhile, many of the world’s richest people have seen their wealth increase substantially during the pandemic, despite the significant economic disruptions that it has caused on the whole. It is uncontroversial that these effects, which have exacerbated already unacceptable levels of poverty and inequality, call for robust policy responses from governments. In this paper, I argue that the disparate economic effects of the pandemic also generate direct obligations of justice for those who have benefitted from pandemic windfalls. Specifically, I argue that even if we accept that those who benefit from distributive injustice in the ordinary, predictable course of life within unjust institutions do not have direct obligations to redirect their unjust benefits to those who are unjustly disadvantaged, there are powerful reasons to hold that benefitting from pandemic windfalls does ground such an obligation.
Most philosophical accounts of human rights accept that all persons have human rights. Typically, ‘personhood’ is understood as unitary and binary. It is unitary because there is generally supposed to be a single threshold property required for personhood (e.g. agency, rationality, etc.). It is binary because it is all-or-nothing: you are either a person or you are not. A difficulty with binary views is that there will typically be subjects, like children and those with dementia, who do not meet the threshold, and so who are not persons with human rights, on these accounts. It is consequently unclear how we ought to treat these subjects. This is the problem of marginal cases.
Persons are not timeless: the changes worked by time do not halt at their retina, but they themselves are profoundly affected by them. The most noticeable of these changes, no doubt, are physical; others are mental. Here I will be concerned especially with moral changes: changes in moral attitudes and beliefs. Typically, a person not only changes morally, but also entertains conceptions, explicitly or intuitively, about what kind of moral change, if any, is morally best. Such conceptions may guide the direction of a person’s mOral change or his resistance to such changes. The question I wish to address here is that of the relation between such conceptions on the one hand, and theories on the nature of a person’s identity on the other. Are some of these conceptions supported by par— ticular theories on personal identity, and are particular theories on per— sonal identity incompatible with other such conceptions?