Decisions are typically about outcomes that happen later in time. As such they demand comparisons of the value of outcomes now versus outcomes later. Should I buy a new car or save for retirement? Have the last piece of cake tonight or tomorrow? Lower carbon emissions now or suffer greater loss later? Intertemporal decisions have triggered hundreds of studies across many fields. Popular subjects include personal finances, addiction, nutrition, health, marketing, and environmental conservation. In many of these decisions we tend to exhibit what is called a positive time preference; that is, all else being equal, we prefer positive goods, experiences, and states of affairs to be delivered sooner rather than later. Sweets delivered to me tomorrow aren’t as valuable to me as sweets I can eat today. Descriptive and normative inquiries tackle how we make intertemporal comparisons of utility in such cases and how we should. The present paper is about the second issue, the normative question that asks how we ought to translate future utility into present utility. My focus is restricted to individuals and not societies. I want to challenge the conventional wisdom dominating the social sciences and philosophy regarding temporal discounting, the practice of discounting the value of future utility.
Wrongdoing is an inescapable fact of life. We all do wrong and are wronged from time to time and in response we often blame one another. In the broadest sense, moral blame is a personal response to wrongdoing or wrongbeing, which can manifest in a variety of mental states— e.g., judgments, desires, dispositions, and emotions—as well as in behavior. We blame for a variety of wrongs, in a variety of ways, and with a variety of consequences: one expresses disappointment with an unfaithful partner who then apologizes, another rants about injustice thereby alienating part of her Facebook community, a third turns inward in frustration with a neglectful parent who in turn mistakes her withdrawal for indifference. Such conflicts are not the whole or even the greater part of our shared social existence, but they are a defining feature of it.
Latin American feminism, which in this entry includes Caribbean
feminism, is rooted in the social and political context defined by
colonialism, the enslavement of African peoples, and the
marginalization of Native peoples. Latin American feminism focuses on
the critical work that women have undertaken in reaction to the forces
that created this context. At present, the context is dominated by
neoliberal economic policies that, in the environment of
globalization, have disproportionally impacted the most vulnerable
segments of society. Against this political backdrop, Latin American
feminism is grounded in the material lives of people, often women, as
it explores the tensions engendered by the confluence of histories
that generate relationships among gender, citizenship, race/ethnicity,
sexuality, class, community, and religion.
Moral, legal, and political philosophers have spent a great deal of time thinking about what consent is, and how consent can play the apparently transformative role that it appears to with respect to making some otherwise impermissible and objectionable conduct permissible and unobjectionable. These are hard and important metaphysical and moral questions.
Although a prominent question in ancient Greek political philosophy, the question of political expertise or political skill is one that has received little recent philosophical discussion—particularly outside of debates about exactly how to read and interpret Plato. This is unfortunate, as the idea of political expertise or skill relevant to politics continues to be prominent in popular discussions of political candidates, in empirical research relating to voter and political official competence, and, implicitly, in discussions of what have come to be called technocratic or epistocratic political systems.
Plato’s shorter ethical works show Socrates at work on topics related
to virtue, which he believes we should seek for the sake of the soul as we should
seek health for the body. Works in this group shows stylistic as well
as philosophic affinities and are generally considered to have been
written early in Plato’s career. The dialogues in this group are our
main source for the philosophical style and teaching of the Platonic
Socrates, who is thought by some scholars to be to a reasonable
approximation of the historical figure. In this article,
“Socrates” always refers to the Platonic figure in the
works under discussion here.
At the second United States Presidential Debate in 2004, President Bush was asked whom he would choose to fill a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. He replied: 1 would pick somebody who would not allow their personal opinion to get in the way of the law. ... 1 would pick people that would be strict constructionists. We’ve got plenty of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Legislators make law; judges interpret the Constitution.1
I have proposed elsewhere that questions of justice are distinctive in being allocative questions. Questions of justice are particularly prominent in the law because there is no law without adjudicative institutions – courts of law – and such institutions face unavoidably allocative tasks. They decide matters in which there must be losers as well as winners, and they are charged with deciding who will fall into which category. Often there are losses that have to be borne by somebody, and a court has to decide who will bear how much of which loss. Often a court has to decide how much to punish whom for what. Often, to do these things and others, a court has to decide how much weight to attach to whose testimony in respect of which disputes about the facts, as well as how to assign which levers of procedural control, which argumentative privileges, and which evidential or probative burdens, to which of the parties to the proceedings.
The surprisingly high reliability of Wikipedia has often been seen as a beneficial effect of the aggregation of diverse contributors, or as an instance of the wisdom of crowds phenomenon; additional factors such as elite contributors, Wikipedia’s policy or its administration have also been mentioned. We adjudicate between such explanations by modelling and simulating the evolution of a Wikipedia entry. The main threat to Wikipedia’s reliability, namely the presence of epistemically disruptive agents such as disinformers and trolls, turns out to be offset only by a combination of factors: Wikipedia’s administration and the possibility to instantly revert entries, both of which are insufficient when considered in isolation. Our results suggest that the reliability of Wikipedia should receive a pluralist explanation, involving factors of different kinds.
Those who endorse the harm-based account of the wrongness of discrimination hold that ‘an instance of discrimination is wrong, when it is, because it makes people worse off’. In a co-authored piece with Adam Slavny, I pressed two objections against this view. First, the harm-based account implausibly fails to recognize that harmless discrimination can be wrong. Second, the harm-based account fails to identify all of the wrong-making properties of discriminatory acts. In the light of these failings, we concluded that a more promising account of the wrongness of discrimination must ‘focus not only on the harmful outcomes of discriminatory acts but also on the deliberation of the discriminator and in particular on the reasons that motivate or fail to motivate her action’. In this brief paper, I defend these conclusions against an objection that has recently been pressed against our view by Richard Arneson. This task is important not only because Arneson’s objection is an intriguing one, but also -- and more importantly -- because my response sheds further light on the content and structure of an attractive theory of wrongful discrimination, as well as on more fundamental ideas in moral philosophy.
At the heart of meta-ethics is a debate about whether people’s moral claims (e.g., statements such as “Abortion is wrong!”) assert moral facts— and if they do, whether it is assumed that those moral facts are non-relative or mind-dependent. This debate not only involves the question about what is in fact the case about moral claims, but also the question of what ordinary, competent language users (the “folk”) take to be the case when they utter moral statements. That is, when people say things like “Abortion is wrong!”, do they take themselves to be merely expressing their positive/ negative feelings toward abortion, or other “pro/con” attitudes or affective affiliations with community norms? Or, do they take themselves to be conveying beliefs about matters of fact? And, if the latter, do they consider those facts to be objective or non-objective in nature? Philosophers have long been divided on this issue. Cognitivists maintain that people take themselves to be stating moral facts, though they disagree about whether people take those facts to be objective or mind-dependent/relative (Mackie 1977; Brink 1989; Smith 1994; Harman 1996; Darwall 1998; Shafer-Landau 2003). Non-cognitivists maintain that people take themselves to be expressing attitudes when they engage in the best analysis of our ordinary moral discourse.
Eye-tracking technology allows researchers to record and analyse a range of information about what people visually attend to and how they process visual information. For example, eye-tracking technology can be used to document the order in which people attend to different features of a visual image, whether they gaze at (i.e. fixate on) particular elements of an image (or completely avoid them), and, if so, the frequency and duration of these gazes. It can also be used to track more basic processing information, such as pupil dilation (see Chapter 2 in this volume) and gaze ‘directionality’ (i.e. whether people’s eyes tend to gaze in particular directions first or most dominantly). There are a variety of ways that researchers can track people’s eye movements and gaze direction. For example, there are free-standing systems that are typically placed in front of the person – and, thus, require that the person remain still in one location, typically while viewing visual stimuli on a screen – as well as systems that can be secured to a person’s head, and are thus more mobile, able to move with the person and track eye movement and gaze more organically, during motion (see suggested readings for reviews).
In this reply to J. Edward Hackett’s “Why James Can Be an Existential Pluralist,” we show that Hackett’s argument against our 2005 thesis that pragmatism and pluralism are inconsistent fails. First, his rejection of our distinction between epistemic and metaphysical forms of pluralism does not affect our original argument’s soundness. Second, his proposed existential pluralism is a form of monism, and so fails as an example of pragmatist pluralism. Though we no longer hold the inconsistency thesis that we defended in 2005, Hackett’s criticism of it nevertheless fails.
We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better understand genderqueer identities, we must recognize a new type of gender kind: critical gender kinds, or kinds whose members resist dominant gender ideology. After developing a model of critical gender kinds, I suggest that genderqueer is best modeled as one such kind. In particular, I propose that its members are united by resisting ‘the binary assumption’, or the prevalent assumption that they must comply with binary gender classification.
This paper attempts to develop an ethico-aesthetic framework for enriching one’s life and ethical outlook. Drawing primarily from Nietzsche, Foucault, and Heidegger, an argument is made that Heidegger’s understanding of this issue was mistaken. The ontological crisis of modernity is not the overt influence of mathematics as a worldview over poetics and more traditionally aesthetic approaches. It is the rampant mis- and over-application of abstraction within one's view of the world while denying the material realities of life as we live it. This runaway abstractive worldview leads to the misapplication of mathematics and other sciences which in turn facilitate the dehumanization of life and those within it. When we try to solve the real problems of our material human lives through overly abstractive means, then we arrive at inauthentic arguments that fuel popular disdain for philosophy as irrelevant and nothing more than the purview of the elite. The goal is a recalibration of the argument toward addressing the denial of materiality within Modernism.
Ancient political philosophy is understood here to mean ancient Greek
and Roman thought from the classical period of Greek thought in the
fifth century BCE to the end of the Roman empire in the West in the
fifth century CE, excluding the development of Jewish and Christian
ideas about politics during that period. Political philosophy as a
genre was invented in this period by Plato and, in effect, reinvented
by Aristotle: it encompasses reflections on the origin of political
institutions, the concepts used to interpret and organize political
life such as justice and equality, the relation between the aims of
ethics and the nature of politics, and the relative merits of
different constitutional arrangements or regimes.
This essay covers two criticisms of Brennan’s Against Democracy. The first charges that the public political ignorance findings upon which Brennan relies are not epistemically nuanced to the degree required by his argument. The second covers an internal difficulty with his trio of political personae, hobbits, Vulcans, and hooligans. As it is part of the nature of hooligans to take themselves to be Vulcans, any epistocratic arrangement that does not favor the hooligans’ perspectives will be met by them with hostility. Thus, it is not clear whether any epistocratic order could be stable if Brennan’s tripartite scheme of political personalities is correct. Finally, the paper raises the possibility that Brennan’s favored forms of epistocracy are ultimately not truly anti-democratic at all, but rather forms of democracy epistemic enhancement.
How does affect relate to time? This chapter offers a phenomenological perspective on the temporal character of affectivity. It argues that the past predominates, and that a concrete, ongoing history prevails within the embodied and embedded unfolding of affect. While affect happens in the present and instigates, pre-figures and transitions to the future, it is decisively anchored in what has been: in a materially sedimented past which continues to weigh on all conceivable ways of being. With reference to Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Fanon and contemporary feminist and anti-racist phenomenologists, I outline the contours of a temporal account of affectivity that foregrounds the past. Subsequently, I relate this outlook to Christina Sharpe’s powerful conceptual metaphor ‘the Wake’, suggesting that it is not historicity as such but a particular ongoing history of violent appropriation, oppression and displacement that keeps setting the tone for affective being-in-the-world in this day and age. Thereby, the present account makes tentative contact with a strand of work in black studies that is sometimes called ‘Afro-Pessimism’.
This entry carves out two central segments of the meaning of “political affect” without aspiring to an exhaustive analysis. In the first half of the text, we will explore the ontological proximity between “affect and the political” in a philosophical key, drawing on Spinoza’s considerations on the affect-politics nexus. Spinoza sketches a vision of a radically democratic polity in which individuals realize their potential by forming affective alliances that jointly strive for insights into what enables or hinders their thriving. However, such active affects of allegiance present only one possible way to flesh out the philosophical meaning of “political affect” – other options will be discussed as well. In the second half of the entry, we draw on Foucault, Ann Stoler and others to explore ways in which affective phenomena get mobilized and regimented in order to support and sustain political rule. This rubric – “affects in politics” – includes a broad range of official and unofficial techniques of governance that target or involve affect, as well the affective modes of resistance that these efforts often evoke.
In this initial entry of the Affective Societies: Key Concepts volume we outline a basic understanding of affect circumscribing a general tendency that we deem fruitful as an analytical perspective. This understanding builds on a notion of affect as relational dynamics between evolving bodies in a setting, thus contrasting with approaches to affect as inner states, feelings or emotions. “Affect” designates specifically those encounters between bodies that involve a change – either enhancement or diminishment – in their respective bodily capacities or micro-powers. Thus, affect is inextricable from an approach to power, understood as relations of reciprocal efficaciousness between bodies – human as well as non-human – in a particular domain. This suggests an affect-based perspective on the dynamic formation and subsequent transformation of individual entities – their ontogenesis and individuation – instead of assuming that entities, whether ordinary objects or human actors, are ready-made, stable and fixed. For human actors, affects are material and ideational relations that, in the short term, increase or diminish their agentive and existential capacities in relation to their surroundings and all other actors and entities present in a situation. In the longer term, affective relations constitute human and nonhuman actors, insofar as affective relations over time both establish and subsequently modulate – make, unmake, remake – individual capacities and dispositions. In other words, relational affect is a central factor in the process of subject formation. Moreover, relational affect is a driving force in the formation and subsequent consolidation of larger aggregates of bodies, that is, in processes of collectivization.
Alvin and Heidi Toffler’s 1970 book Future Shock is a classic of the futurist genre. The book makes a simple but striking argument: our world is changing too quickly for humans to keep up. Whatever the reality was in 1970, this is a sentiment that seems to be widely shared today. …
Excursion 3 Exhibit (i)
Exhibit (i) N-P Methods as Severe Tests: First Look (Water Plant Accident)
There’s been an accident at a water plant where our ship is docked, and the cooling system had to be repaired. …
I have elsewhere given three arguments for the claim that there can be a reason for a person to perform an action only if this person can perform this action. Henne, Semler, Chituc, De Brigard, and Sinnott-Armstrong make several objections to my arguments. I here respond to their objections.
It is a great privilege to have an opportunity to engage the wonderful papers by Esa Díaz León, Jennifer Saul, and Rachel Sterken. All of them have raised important challenges to my work and this has helped me think through the issues more deeply. There are many points and arguments that deserve more attention than I can give them here. However, in an effort to provide some unity to my response, I’m going to focus on issues of explanation, since they are raised, in some way or other, by all of them.
I am delighted to have this chance to comment on Kate Manne’s (2018) book Down Girl. It is a powerful, eloquent, courageous, and important book. Since reading it, I have found myself drawing on her ideas, arguments, and terminology to understand our current social world (the term ‘himpathy’ is absolutely essential to understand the Kavanaugh hearings!). The book is an ideal of what philosophy can offer.
Building, restoring and maintaining well-placed trust between scientists and the public is a difficult yet crucial social task requiring the successful cooperation of various social actors and institutions. Philip Kitcher’s (2011) takes up this challenge in the context of liberal democratic societies by extending his ideal model of “well-ordered science” that he had originally formulated in his (2001). However, Kitcher nowhere offers an explicit account of what it means for the public to invest epistemic trust in science. Yet in order to understand how his extended model and its implementation in the actual world address the problem of trust as well as to evaluate it critically, an explicit account of epistemic public trust in science needs to be given first. In this article we first present such an account and then scrutinize his project of building public trust in science in light of it. We argue that even though Kitcher’s ideal model and his proposals for its implementation in the real world face a number of problems, they can be addressed with the resources of our account.
Current debates about the integration of traditional and academic ecological knowledge (TEK and AEK) struggle with a dilemma of division and assimilation. On the one hand, the emphasis on differences between traditional and academic perspectives has been criticized as creating an artificial divide that brands TEK as “nonscientific” and contributes to its marginalization. On the other hand, there has been increased concern about inadequate assimilation of Indigenous and other traditional perspectives into scientific practices that disregards the holistic nature and values of TEK. The aim of this article is to develop a practice-based account of the epistemic relations between TEK and AEK that avoids both horns of the dilemma. While relations between TEK and AEK are often described in terms of the “holistic” nature of the former and the “mechanistic” character of the latter, we argue that a simple holism–mechanism divide misrepresents the epistemic resources of both TEK and AEK. Based on the literature on mechanistic explanations in philosophy of science, we argue that holders of TEK are perfectly capable of identifying mechanisms that underlie ecological phenomena while AEK often relies on non-mechanistic strategies of dealing with ecological complexity. Instead of generic characterizations of knowledge systems as either mechanistic or holistic, we propose to approach epistemic relations between knowledge systems by analyzing their (partly mechanistic and partly holistic) heuristics in practice.
. Stephen Senn
In a previous post I considered Lord’s paradox from the perspective of the ‘Rothamsted School’ and its approach to the analysis of experiments. …
More attention has been devoted to providing evolutionary scenarios accounting for the development of beliefs, or belief-like states, than for desires or preferences. Here I articulate and defend an evolutionary rationale for the development of psychologically real preference states. Preferences token or represent the expected values of discriminated states, available actions, or action-state pairings. The argument is an application the ‘environmental complexity thesis’ found in Godfrey-Smith and Sterelny, although my conclusions differ from Sterelny’s. I argue that tokening expected utilities can, under specified general conditions, be a powerful design solution to the problem of allocating the capacities of an agent in an efficient way. Preferences are for efficient action selection, and are a ‘fuel for success’ in the sense urged by Godfrey-Smith for true beliefs. They will tend to be favoured by selection when environments are complex in ways that matter to an organism, and when organisms have rich behavioural repertoires with heterogenous returns and costs.
by Eric Schwitzgebel and Christopher McVey
... or at least this is so for one narrative we've tried and one type of philosophical argument. Introduction
From 2009 to 2015, Eric published a series of studies that consistently found, using a wide variety of measures, that ethics professors do not behave any morally better than comparison groups of other professors (summarized here). …