We discuss economic environments in which individual choice sets are fixed and the level of a certain parameter that systematically biases the preferences of all agents is determined endogenously to achieve equilibrium. Our equilibrium concept, Biased Preferences Equilibrium, is reminiscent of competitive equilibrium: agents’ choice sets and their preferences are independent of the behavior of other agents, the combined choices have to satisfy overall feasibility constraints and the endogenous adjustment of the equilibrating preference parameter is analogous to the equilibrating price adjustment. The concept is applied to a number of economic examples.
For two centuries, collaborative research has become increasingly widespread. Various explanations of this trend have been proposed. Here, we offer a novel functional explanation of it. It differs from accounts like that of Wray (2002) by the precise socio-epistemic mechanism that grounds the beneficialness of collaboration. Boyer-Kassem and Imbert (2015) show how minor differences in the step-efficiency of collaborative groups can make them much more successful in particular configurations. We investigate this model further, derive robust social patterns concerning the general successfulness of collaborative groups, and argue that these patterns can be used to defend a general functional account.
This entry discusses the relationship between disability and wellbeing. Disabilities are commonly thought to be unfortunate, but whether this is true is unclear, and if it is true, it is unclear why it is true. The entry first explains the disability paradox, which is the apparent discrepancy between the level of wellbeing that disabled people self-report, and the level of wellbeing that nondisabled people predict disabled people to have. It then turns to an argument that disabilities must be bad, because it is wrong to cause them in others. Sections 4 and 5 discuss whether disabilities might be intrinsically bad or even bad by definition. The final section turns to discuss the claim that to whatever extent disabilities are bad, this is not because disabilities themselves are harmful because only because society discriminates against people with disabilities.
Recent philosophical work has praised the reward structure of science, while recent empirical work has shown that many scientific results may not be reproducible. I argue that the reward structure of science incentivizes scientists to focus on speed and impact at the expense of the reproducibility of their work, thus contributing to the so-called reproducibility crisis. I use a rational choice model to identify a set of sufficient conditions for this problem to arise, and I argue that these conditions plausibly apply to a wide range of research situations. Currently proposed solutions will not fully address this problem. Philosophical commentators should temper their optimism about the reward structure of science.
The capacity for cognition allows human and nonhuman animals to navigate the physical world effectively and adaptively. For instance, animals can estimate distances, memorize events, track objects in space, detect regularities, discriminate between small sets of objects exactly and between large sets approximately, and make causal inferences. Thus, over the last decades, developmental and comparative research have gained more and more insights into the development of human and nonhuman thinking about the natural world including its entities, regularities, and causal structure (Baillargeon and Carey 2012; Call and Tomasello 2005; Rakoczy 2014; Tomasello 2014).
When evaluating norm transgressions, children begin to show some sensitivity to the agent’s intentionality around preschool age. However, the specific developmental trajectories of different forms of such intent- based judgments and their cognitive underpinnings are still largely unclear. The current studies, therefore, systematically investigated the development of intent- based normative judgments as a function of two crucial factors: (a) the type of the agent’s mental state underlying a normative transgression, and (b) the type of norm transgressed (moral versus conventional). In Study 1, 5- and 7- year- old children as well as adults were presented with vignettes in which an agent transgressed either a moral or a conventional norm. Crucially, she did so either intentionally, accidentally (not intentionally at all) or unknowingly (intentionally, yet based on a false belief regarding the outcome). The results revealed two asymmetries in children’s intent- based judgments. First, all age groups showed greater sensitivity to mental state information for moral compared to conventional transgressions. Second, children’s (but not adults’) normative judgments were more sensitive to the agent’s intention than to her belief. Two subsequent studies investigated this asymmetry in children more closely and found evidence that it is based on performance factors: children are able in principle to take into account an agent’s false belief in much the same way as her intentions, yet do not make belief- based judgments in many existing tasks (like that of Study 1) due to their inferential complexity. Taken together, these findings contribute to a more systematic understanding of the development of intent- based normative judgment.
Martin Luther affirms his theological position by saying “Here I stand. I can do no other.” Supposing that Luther’s claim is true, he lacks alternative possibilities at the moment of choice. Even so, many libertarians have the intuition that he is morally responsible for his action. One way to make sense of this intuition is to assert that Luther’s action is indirectly free, because his action inherits its freedom and moral responsibility from earlier actions when he had alternative possibilities and those earlier directly free actions formed him into the kind of person who must refrain from recanting. Surprisingly, libertarians have not developed a full account of indirectly free actions. I provide a more developed account. First, I explain the metaphysical nature of indirectly free actions such as Luther’s. Second, I examine the kind of metaphysical and epistemic connections that must occur between past directly free actions and the indirectly free action. Third, I argue that an attractive way to understand the kind of derivative moral responsibility at issue involves affirming the existence of resultant moral luck.
Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids, assuming it will rise to the occasion, for certainly I cannot suit you all. For instance, how about technology? I think that there would be no cars or helicopters in and above the streets; this follows from the fact that the people of Omelas are happy people. …
Many strands of modern moral and political philosophy rely on the idea of basic equality, the idea that all human beings are equal in “moral status” and deserve equal consideration of their interests. Some philosophers assume that basic equality could be true only if in some descriptive sense all human beings really are equal, that is, only if there is some morally significant feature all human beings have equally. This quickly leads to skepticism, as there seem to be no interesting feature or property that all human beings have equally. I argue, on the contrary, that basic equality could be defended even if they are not descriptively equal. My defense of basic equality, which I dub “the respect view”, consists of two theses: (1) Regardless of whether human beings are descriptively equal, we ought to not treat any human being with disrespect. (2) If two individuals deserve respect, to treat one’s interests as less important than another’s is disrespectful to the one whose interests are treated as less important. Together, these theses support a novel defense of basic equality, one that takes seriously the observation that human beings are very different from another.
We investigate how epistemic injustice can manifest itself in mathematical practices. We do this as both a social epistemological and virtue-theoretic investigation of mathematical practices. We delineate the concept both positively – we show that a certain type of folk theorem can be a source of epistemic injustice in mathematics – and negatively by exploring cases where the obstacles to participation in a mathematical practice do not amount to epistemic injustice. Having explored what epistemic injustice in mathematics can amount to, we use the concept to highlight a potential danger of intellectual enculturation.
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16 October 2018
More on Facebook and Mental Health Privacy
By Gordon Hull
It’s not news that Facebook generates a lot of privacy concerns. But it’s nonetheless worth keeping up a little, just to indicate how seriously we need to be concerned about the connection between Facebook and data analytics. …
This chapter examines the philosophical grounds for linking responsibility with capacities to reason and to judge in the light of moral considerations. It discusses five different accounts that connect responsibility and rationality, the work of: Susan Wolf, R Jay Wallace, the jointly authored work of John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza, Angela M Smith, and Pamela Hieronymi. Through these authors’ contributions, the chapter argues that the notion of rational ability is central to understanding and justifying practices of responsibility. Although there has been clear progress in debates about this connection, however, understanding the notion of rational or moral ability still poses profound challenges. One reason for this is suggested: such abilities may have constitutive connections with practices of holding responsible and of taking responsibility – connections that have yet to be fully explored in the literature.
In Eudoxia, which spreads both upward and down, with winding alleys, steps, dead ends, hovels, a carpet is preserved in which you can observe the city's true form. At first sight nothing seems to resemble Eudoxia less than the design of that carpet, laid out in symmetrical motives whose patterns are repeated along straight and circular lines, interwoven with brilliantly colored spires, in a repetition that can be followed throughout the whole woof. …
My colleague at Stanford’s Center for Ethics in Society, Johannes Himmelreich, is a philosopher who investigates agency and responsibility in contexts of collective collaboration and technological augmentation. …
In a recent article in this journal Mona Simion argues that Sally Haslanger’s “engineering” approach to gender concepts such as ‘woman’ faces an epistemic objection. The primary function of all concepts—gender concepts included—is to represent the world, but Haslanger’s engineering account of ‘woman’ fails to adequately represent the world because, by her own admission, it doesn’t include all women in the extension of the concept ‘woman’. I argue that this objection fails because the primary function of gender concepts— and social kind concepts in general—is not (merely) to represent the world, but rather to shape it. I finish by considering the consequences for “conceptual engineering” in philosophy more generally. While Haslanger’s account may escape Simion’s objection, other appeals to conceptual engineering might not fair so well.
Jeanette Bicknell has argued that a singer’s public persona is relevant to the aesthetic evaluation of that singer’s public performances of popular song. Here, I distinguish varieties of personas: those which are transparent (such as when a singer performs more or less as that singer) and those which are opaque (such as when a singer performs more or less as a fctional character). I also distinguish between performance personas and song personas. After introducing and elucidating these distinctions, I discuss ways in which they further inform aesthetic evaluation of such performances.
Not everyone is master of his own affairs. Chiefs and leaders who are masters of the affairs of men are few in comparison with the rest. As a rule, man must by necessity be dominated by someone else. If the domination is kind and just and the people under it are not oppressed by its laws and restrictions, they are guided by the courage or cowardice that they possess in themselves. …
A plausible constraint on normative reasons to act is that it must make sense to use them as premises in deliberation. I argue that a central sort of deliberation—what Bratman calls partial planning—is question-directed: it is over, and aims to resolve, deliberative questions. Whether it makes sense to use some consideration as a premise in deliberation in a case of partial planning can vary with the deliberative question at issue. I argue that the best explanation for this is that reasons are contrastive, or relativized to deliberative questions.
[These are some general reflections on the future of automation in policing. They are based on a workshop I gave to the ACJRD (Association for Criminal Justice Research and Development) annual conference in Dublin on the 4th October 2018). …
It is now time to move the ongoing public debate on artificial intelligence (AI) into the political institutions themselves. Many experts believe that we are confronted with an inflection point in history during the next decade, and that there is a closing time window regarding the applied ethics of AI. Political institutions must therefore produce and implement a minimal, but sufficient set of ethical and legal constraints for the beneficial use and future development of AI. They must also create a rational, evidence-based process of critical discussion aimed at continuously updating, improving and revising this first set of normative constraints. Given the current situation, the default outcome is that the values guiding AI development will be set by a very small number of human beings, by large private corporations and military institutions. Therefore, one goal is to proactively integrate as many perspectives as possible – and in a timely manner.
Recent work in psychology on ‘cultural cognition’ suggests that our cultural background drives our attitudes towards a range of politically contentious issues in science such as global warming. This work is part of a more general attempt to investigate the ways in which our wants, wishes and desires impact on our assessments of information, events and theories. Put crudely, the idea is that we conform our assessments of the evidence for and against scientific theories with clear political relevance to our pre-existing political beliefs and convictions. In this paper I explore the epistemological consequences of cultural cognition. What does it mean for the rationality of our beliefs about issues such as global warming? I argue for an unsettling conclusion. Not only are those on the ‘political right’ who reject the scientific consensus on issues like global warming unjustified in doing so, some of those on the ‘political left’ who accept the consensus are also unjustified in doing so. I finish by addressing the practical implications of my conclusions.
Intellectual property is generally characterized as non-physical
property that is the product of original thought. Typically, rights do
not surround the abstract non-physical entity; rather, intellectual
property rights surround the control of physical manifestations or
expressions of ideas. Intellectual property law protects a
content-creator’s interest in her ideas by assigning and enforcing
legal rights to produce and control physical instantiations of those
ideas. Legal protections for intellectual property have a rich history that
stretches back to ancient Greece and before. As different legal
systems matured in protecting intellectual works, there was a
refinement of what was being protected within different areas.
Peer review is one of the linchpins of the social organization of science. Whether as a grant proposal, manuscript, or conference abstract, just about every piece of scientific work passes through peer review, often multiple times. Yet philosophers of science have paid surprisingly little attention to peer review (exceptions include Zollman 2009, Avin forthcoming).
For example, al-Mas'udi and many other historians report that Moses counted the army of the Israelites in the desert. He had all those able to carry arms, especially those twenty years and older, pass muster. …
Analytic philosophy was introduced in Latin America in the
mid-twentieth century. Its development has been heterogeneous in the
different countries of the region, but has reached today a considerable
degree of maturity and originality. There is now a strong community
working within the analytic tradition in Latin America.
Their buildings are good, and are so uniform that a whole side of a street looks like one house. The streets are twenty feet broad; there lie gardens behind all their houses. These are large, but enclosed with buildings, that on all hands face the streets, so that every house has both a door to the street and a back door to the garden. …
Philosophy of education is the branch of applied or practical
philosophy concerned with the nature and aims of education and the
philosophical problems arising from educational theory and practice. Because that practice is ubiquitous in and across human societies, its
social and individual manifestations so varied, and its influence so
profound, the subject is wide-ranging, involving issues in ethics and
social/political philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of
mind and language, and other areas of philosophy. Because it looks
both inward to the parent discipline and outward to educational
practice and the social, legal, and institutional contexts in which it
takes place, philosophy of education concerns itself with both sides
of the traditional theory/practice divide.
Manipulation arguments aim to show that compatibilism is false. Usually, they aim to undermine compatibilism by first eliciting the intuition that a manipulated agent is not morally responsible. Todd’s (Philosophers’ Imprint, 12(7): 1–18, 2012) Moral Standing Manipulation Argument instead aims to first elicit the intuition that a manipulator cannot blame her victim. Todd then argues that the best explanation for why a manipulator cannot blame her victim is that incompatibilism is true. In this paper, I present three lines of defence against this argument for those who agree a manipulator cannot blame her victim.
There is a common assumption that evolutionary explanations of religion undermine religious beliefs. Do etiological accounts similarly affect the rationality of religious practices? To answer this question, this paper looks at two influential evolutionary accounts of ritual, the hazard-precaution model and costly signaling theory. It examines whether Cuneo’s account of ritual knowledge as knowing to engage God can be maintained in the light of these evolutionary accounts. While the evolutionary accounts under consideration are not metaphysically incompatible with the idea that religious rituals engage God, they cast doubt on whether many, if not all, rituals can do this successfully.
Since for everything that has come into being destruction is appointed, not even such a fabric as this will abide for all time, but it shall surely be dissolved, and this is the manner of its dissolution. …