Robert W. Bass Florida Institute of Technology
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I am NOT the "Robert Bass" (probably Robert E. Bass) whose list you have automatically inserted, mistakenly, under "my works"!!
My works
21 items found.
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  1. Robert Bass, Deciding Where to Meet for Dinner: Simple Problems and Joint Intentionality.
    Certain apparently simple problems of coming to an agreement are surprisingly difficult to analyze in terms of individually rational behavior with a given set of preferences and beliefs. Though initially the solution appears obvious, the reasoning that would be needed to reach the solution on the part of a pair of rational individuals seems baroque and doubtful. This is used to suggest that a more fruitful tack is to analyze the situation in terms of a kind of joint or shared (...)
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  2. Robert Bass, Joyce as a Moral Anatomist.
    The cover illustration for Richard Joyce’s elegant and powerful recent work, The Evolution of Morality, is a reproduction of an oddly fascinating and disturbing sixteenth-century engraving, the Anatomia del corpo humano. One has to examine the image for a minute to realize that the standing human figure, stripped of skin, and with muscles, tendons and joints revealed, holds the anatomist’s knife in his left hand and that, with his right, he holds up the single piece of skin, from bearded face (...)
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  3. Robert Bass, Maximizing, Satisficing and the Normative Distinction Between Means and Ends.
    Decision theory, understood as providing a normative account of rationality in action, is often thought to be an adequate formalization of instrumental reasoning. As a model, there is much to be said for it. However, if decision theory is to adequately account for correct instrumental reasoning, then the axiomatic conditions by which it links preference to action must be normative for choice. That is, a choice must be rationally defective unless it proceeds from a preference set that satisfies the axiomatic (...)
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  4. Robert Bass, Quotidian Medical Epistemology.
    My title may suggest that I will address the activities of medical professionals as they go about their daily business of diagnosis, prescription and treatment. Certainly, that deserves attention, but it is not my target here. My concern is, on the one hand, with typical consumers of health and medical information, and, on the other, with the problems such consumers face in understanding, interpreting and applying the information available to them.
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  5. Robert Bass, Sunk Costs.
    Decision theorists generally object to “honoring sunk costs” – that is, treating the fact that some cost has been incurred in the past as a reason for action, apart from the consideration of expected consequences. This paper critiques the doctrine that sunk costs should never be honored on three levels. As background, the rationale for the doctrine is explained. Then it is shown that if it is always irrational to honor sunk costs, then other common and uncontroversial practices are also (...)
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  6. Robert Bass, Small Contributions.
    Many of the world's problems--severe poverty and starvation, global warming, religious war, oppressive and tyrannical regimes--are large, well beyond what any ordinary person might have a significant impact upon. We are at most in a position to make small contributions. This fact is behind a seductive argument: there is nothing we can do about the large problems; since we cannot do anything about the large problems, it is not true that we ought to do anything; therefore, we can, in good (...)
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  7. Robert Bass, The Benefit of Regan's Doubt.
    Regan appeals to the benefit of the doubt as a reason to include some animals within the scope of his arguments about the rights of animals. I think the informal appeal to the benefit of the doubt can be fleshed out and made more compelling. What I shall do differs from his project, however. It is narrower in scope, because I shall focus on a single issue, the dietary use of animals. On another dimension, though, I aim to do more. (...)
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  8. Robert Bass (2012). David Schmidtz, The Elements of Justice. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 46 (2):255-257.
    From Schmidtz, one might expect a theory of justice, basically along libertarian lines. The book may surprise, though not disappoint, for that is not quite what one would find. Instead, the title is apt. Schmidtz says that there is a terrain of justice, the terrain of what people are due, and it has a certain kind of unity.
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  9. Robert Bass (2012). Lives in the Balance: Utilitarianism and Animal Research. In Jeremy Garrett (ed.), The Ethics of Animal Research: Exploring the Controversy. MIT Press.
    In the long history of moral theory, non-human animals—hereafter, just animals—have often been neglected entirely or have been relegated to some secondary status. Since its emergence in the early 19th century, utilitarianism has made a difference in that respect by focusing upon happiness or well-being (and their contraries) rather than upon the beings who suffer or enjoy. Inevitably, that has meant that human relations to and use of other animals have appeared in a different light. Some cases have seemed easy: (...)
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  10. Robert Bass (2011). Many Inscrutable Evils. Ars Disputandi 11:118-132.
    I examine the evidential argument from inscrutable evil, evil for which we can see no morally adequate reason. Such evils are often thought to provide evidence for the existence of gratuitous evil that God could not be justified in allowing, but arguments for this are often informal and intuitive. I try to contribute greater rigor by developing a probabilistic argument that large numbers of inscrutable evils are strong evidence for the existence of gratuitous evil. Then, I consider and reject two (...)
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  11. Robert Bass (2011). Moral Lore and the Ethics of Eating. Think 10 (29):83-90.
    Your mother was wise to teach you that just because everybody’s doing it, that doesn’t make it right. She would have been wise to add that just because everybody thinks it, that doesn’t make it right, either. On the other hand, she would not have been wise to add (and probably did not) that when everybody agrees, that is no evidence whatsoever. When nearly everybody believes something, that’s a reason in its favor. . . . I shall look at a (...)
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  12. Robert Bass (2010). Reflective Equilibrium. In Nils Rauhut & Robert Bass (eds.), Readings on the Ultimate Questions - Third Edition. Pearson.
  13. Nils Ch Rauhut & Robert Bass (eds.) (2010). Readings on the Ultimate Questions, Third Edition. Prentice Hall.
    Designed to be used on its own or with its companion text, Ultimate Questions: Thinking About Philosophy 3e, this collection of readings covers the major topic areas in philosophy: Knowledge; Free Will; Personal Identity; Mind/Body; God; Ethics; and Political Philosophy. While focusing primarily on contemporary philosophy, it also includes many of the classic works essential to an introductory course.
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  14. Robert Bass (2007). Omniscience and the Identification Problem. Florida Philosophical Review 7 (1):78-91.
    I once came across a Mark Twain story in which a character said something to the effect that the one thing God didn’t know was that he was not all-knowing. As an argument against omniscience, Twain’s one-liner doesn’t amount to much. Thinking about it, however, led to the kind of puzzles I explore here. Some puzzles about omniscience are connected to other issues, such as whether all claims about the future presently have truth-values. Those in turn are connected to deep (...)
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  15. R. Bass (2006). Ayn Rand, by Tibor Machan. [REVIEW] Journal of Libertarian Studies 20 (2):95-101.
    Tibor Machan's _Ayn Rand_ aims to provide an introduction to Ayn Rand’s thought for “a broader readership who may have heard of Rand but not examined her ideas in detail”. . . . He portrays himself as an admirer, but not as a true believer who supposes that Rand can think no wrong. In addition to sympathetically discussing her views, he tries also to respectfully assess criticisms of those views. His position is not one of unqualified endorsement, but rather one (...)
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  16. Robert Bass (2006). Undermining Indirect Duty Theories. Between the Species (6):1.
    There is a class of views about our moral relations with non-human animals that share the idea that animals do not matter directly for ethical purposes: whatever duties or obligations we have with respect to animals are indirect, connected somehow to other duties or obligations – to other human beings, for example – in which the well-being or interests of animals do not figure. Criticisms of indirect duty theories have often focused either upon denying the link that is supposed to (...)
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  17. Robert Bass (2005). Book Review: The Debates of Liberty: An Overview of Individualist Anarchism, 1881-1908. By Wendy McElroy. [REVIEW] Journal of Libertarian Studies 19 (3):99-101.
    There was a period in the latter nineteenth century when a distinctively American kind of radicalism flourished, a time when key thinkers could be called, and called themselves, individualists, libertarians, anarchists, and socialists all at once. McElroy gives us a window on the people and times involved. But her work is of more than antiquarian interest: their debates and the issues they faced often sound strikingly modern.
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  18. Robert Bass (2005). Without a Tear: Our Tragic Relationship with Animals. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 39 (2):273-277.
    Since Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, many philosophers have addressed the ethics of our relations with other animals with skill and insight. By and large, they have argued that something is badly wrong and therefore in need of radical reform, though there have been dissenters, like Peter Carruthers, in The Animals Issue. One feature many such works have had in common is the reliance of their authors upon contentious theoretical stances. There have been utilitarian, Kantian, and contractarian arguments, with theses and (...)
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  19. Robert Bass (2000). Pure Contractarianism: Promise, Problems, Prospects. Journal of Value Inquiry 34 (2-3):319-332.
    Several different positions are classified as contractarian. Though there are variations among them, they all include the assumption that practical or action-guiding principles, among which are principles of moral justification and of political legitimacy, somehow have their basis in consent. A contractarian may or may not believe that there are other practical principles that are based on or justified by something besides consent. If he believes there are any others, there will be delicate issues to address as to whether they (...)
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  20. Robert Bass (1929). Kausalgesetz und Zeitrichtung. Annalen der Philosophie Und Philosophischen Kritik 6 (1):351-360.
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  21. Robert Bass, Chalmers and the Self-Knowledge Problem.
    In _The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory_, David Chalmers poses an interesting and powerful challenge to materialism or physicalism. Further, he goes a long way towards providing a proof by example that the rejection of materialism need not commit one to scientifically suspicious “ghost in the machine” doctrines, but can be wedded to a generally naturalistic perspective. As an (as yet) unpersuaded physicalist and functionalist, his case against physicalism seems an appropriate target for criticism. However, it would (...)
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