The target article demonstrates how neurocognitive modellers should not be intimidated by challenges such as Jackendoff's and should explore neurally plausible implementations of linguistic constructs. The next step is to take seriously insights offlered by neuroscience, including the robustness allowed by analogue computation with distributed representations and the power of attractor dynamics in turning analogue into nearly discrete operations.
We propose to model preference change as the change of an agent’s preference state in response to the agent accepting a preference affect. The preference state of an agent is ruled by various inferential commitments. Accepting a preference affect will likely bring the preference state into inconsistency. The model shows how the preference state needs to be adjusted to restore consistency. In particular, it shows which path restoration will take, conditional on the previous preference state and the available dynamic information, (...) and it determines how the ensuing preference state will look like. (shrink)
Our paper “Experimental Economics: Where Next?” contains a case study of Ernst Fehr and Klaus Schmidt’s work in which it is shown that the claims they make for the theory of inequity aversion are not supported by their data. The current issue of JEBO contains two replies, one from Fehr and Schmidt1 themselves, and the other from Catherine Eckel and Herb Gintis. Neither reply challenges any claims we make about matters of fact in our critique of Fehr and Schmidt (...) on inequity aversion, although it is clear that if they could have refuted any single factual sentence then they would have done so. Both replies therefore implicitly concede that the facts quoted in our case study are correct. All the other issues raised in the two replies are just so much dust kicked up to distract attention from the only question that matters: Is it scientific to proceed like Fehr and Schmidt or is it not? Fehr and Schmidt say yes. So do Eckel and Gintis. The implications are quite far-reaching for those like us who think it is obvious that the answer is no. What other claims asserted by the school of Gintis et al can we trust? (shrink)
If a quest for universal ethical standards in journalism is to be productive, we should first be able to articulate an overarching set of universal ethical standards that can apply across cultures, across ethical schools of thought, across professions. In this article I offer 4 likely universal standards that have relevance to journalism, suggesting universal journalism standards can also be identified. Although these and other standards will not be panaceas for the ethical dilemmas journalists often face, they provide needed anchors (...) for decision making. (shrink)
This collection of essays explores two competing views of practical rationality. How do we think about what we plan to do? One dominant answer is that we select the best possible option available. However, a growing number of philosophers would offer a different reply. Since we are not equipped to maximize, we must often choose the next best alternative--one that is no more than satisfactory. This strategy choice is called "satisficing" (a term coined by the economist Herb Simon).
Contrary to the common view, this paper suggests that the Hippocratic oath does not directly refer to the controversial subjects of euthanasia and abortion. We interpret the oath in the context of establishing trust in medicine through departure from Pantagruelism. Pantagruelism is coined after Rabelais' classic novel Gargantua and Pantagruel. His satire about a wonder herb, Pantagruelion, is actually a sophisticated model of anti-medicine in which absence of independent moral values and of properly conducted research fashion a flagrant over-medicalization (...) of human problems. Ultimately this undermines the therapeutic core of medicine itself. We contend that PAS is a case of such over-medicalization and that its institution creates medicophobia. This article does not express an opinion about euthanasia in general. Rather, we claim that physicians should learn from the oath and from Rabelais that they should keep their practice to medical care and not to exploit their expertise and social privileges for the sake of ulterior motives, even when their patients desire those goals. (shrink)
In the twenty-eighth book of the Naturalis Historia Pliny the Elder claims that, if a chameleon’s left leg is roasted together with a herb bearing the same name, and everything is mixed with ointment, cut in lozenges, and stored in a wooden little box, this will bestow on those who own it a perfect camouflage. The ring of Gyges (Plato, etc.), that of Midas (Pliny), the heliotropium (Pliny), the dracontitis (Philostratus): ancient cultures abound with references to objects, recipes, and (...) techniques able to bestow different kinds of invisibility, meant as a perfect resemblance with the environment. At the same time, these same cultures also teem with references to how to avert the perfect camouflage: for instance, by being endowed with a pupula duplex, a double pupil (Ovid).The paper explores such vast corpus of texts from the point of view of a semiotics of cultures, in order to track the roots of a conception of camouflage that, from these ancient cultures on, develops through intricate paths into the contemporary imaginaires (and practices) of invisibility.The paper’s more general goal is to understand the way in which cultures elaborate conceptions of invisibility meant as the perfect resemblance between humans and their environments, often on the basis of the observation of the same resemblance between other living beings and their habitat. Ancient texts aretherefore focused on in order to decipher the passage from camouflage as an adaptive natural behaviour to camouflage as an effective combat strategy. (shrink)
DALLAS Â— With a friend videotaping, 27-yearold Christopher Lenzini of Dallas took a hit of Salvia divinorum, regarded as the worldÂ’s most potent hallucinogenic herb, and soon began to imagine, he said, that he was in a boat with little green men. Mr. Lenzini quickly collapsed to the floor and dissolved into convulsive laughter.
Abstract In ?Beyond the Myth of the Myth: A Kantian Theory of Non-Conceptual Content?, Robert Hanna argues for a very strong kind of non-conceptualism, and claims that this kind of non-conceptualism originally has been developed by Kant. But according to ?Kant?s Non-Conceptualism, Rogue Objects and the Gap in the B Deduction?, Kant?s non-conceptualism poses a serious problem for his argument for the objective validity of the categories, namely the problem that there is a gap in the B Deduction. This gap (...) is that the B Deduction goes through only if conceptualism is true, but Kant is a non-conceptualist. In this paper, I will argue, contrary to what Hanna claims, that there is not a gap in the B Deduction. (shrink)
Democritus was born at Abdera, about 460 BCE, although according to some 490. His father was from a noble family and of great wealth, and contributed largely towards the entertainment of the army of Xerxes on his return to Asia. As a reward for this service the Persian monarch gave and other Abderites presents and left among them several Magi. Democritus, according to Diogenes Laertius, was instructed by these Magi in astronomy and theology. After the death of his father he (...) traveled in search of wisdom, and devoted his inheritance to this purpose, amounting to one hundred talents. He is said to have visited Egypt, Ethiopia, Persia, and India. Whether, in the course of his travels, he visited Athens or studied under Anaxagoras is uncertain. During some part of his life he was instructed in Pythagoreanism, and was a disciple of Leucippus. After several years of traveling, Democritus returned to Abdera, with no means of subsistence. His brother Damosis, however, took him in. According to the law of Abdera, whoever wasted his patrimony would be deprived of the rites of burial. Democritus, hoping to avoid this disgrace, gave public lectures. Petronius relates that he was acquainted with the virtues of herbs, plants, and stones, and that he spent his life in making experiments upon natural bodies. He acquired fame with his knowledge of natural phenomena, and predicted changes in the weather. He used this ability to make people believe that he could predict future events. They not only viewed him as something more than mortal, but even proposed to put him in control of their public affairs. He preferred a contemplative to an active life, and therefore declined these public honors and passed the remainder of his days in solitude. (shrink)
Special issue. With contributions by Anouk Barberouse, Sarah Francescelli and Cyrille Imbert, Robert Batterman, Roman Frigg and Julian Reiss, Axel Gelfert, Till Grüne-Yanoff, Paul Humphreys, James Mattingly and Walter Warwick, Matthew Parker, Wendy Parker, Dirk Schlimm, and Eric Winsberg.
It is argued that one can learn from minimal economic models. Minimal models are models that are not similar to the real world, do not resemble some of its features, and do not adhere to accepted regularities. One learns from a model if constructing and analysing the model affects one’s confidence in hypotheses about the world. Economic models, I argue, are often assessed for their credibility. If a model is judged credible, it is considered to be a relevant possibility. Considering (...) such relevant possibilities may affect one’s confidence in necessity or impossibility hypotheses. Thus, one can learn from minimal economic models. (shrink)
"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't." Hamlet , act II, scene ii Abstract: Inherent normativity is the claim that intentional action explanations necessarily have to comply with normatively understood rationality constraints on the ascribed propositional attitudes. This paper argues against inherent normativity in three steps. First, it presents three examples of actions successfully explained with propositional attitudes, where the ascribed attitudes violate relevant rationality constraints. Second, it argues that the inference rules that systematise propositional attitudes are qualitatively (...) different from rationality constraints both in their justification and their recipients. Third, it rejects additional conditions on propositional attitudes, which purport to necessitate a normative commitment. Thus, inherent normativity is rejected; and with it the claim that intentional action explanations differ substantially from other explanations because they are inherently normative. (shrink)
When social scientists began employing evolutionary game theory (EGT) in their disciplines, the question arose what the appropriate interpretation of the formal EGT framework would be. Social scientists have given different answer, of which I distinguish three basic kinds. I then proceed to uncover the conceptual tension between the formal framework of EGT, its application in the social sciences, and these three interpretations. First, I argue that EGT under the biological interpretation has a limited application in the social sciences, chiefly (...) because strategy replication often cannot be sensibly interpreted as strategy bearer reproduction in this domain. Second, I show that alternative replication mechanisms imply interpersonal comparability of strategy payoffs. Giving a meaningful interpretation to such comparisons is not an easy task for many social situations, and thus limits the applicability of EGT in this domain. Third, I argue that giving a new interpretation both to strategy replication and selection solves the issue of interpersonal comparability, but at the costs of making the new interpretation incompatible with natural selection interpretations of EGT. To the extent that social scientists seek such a natural selection interpretation, they face a dilemma: either face the challenge that interpersonal comparisons pose, or give up on the natural selection interpretation. By identifying these tensions, my analysis pleas for greater awareness of the specific purposes of EGT modelling in the social sciences, and for greater sensitivity to the underlying microstructure on which the evolutionary dynamics and other EGT solution concepts supervene. (shrink)
Economists evaluate their models in terms of credibility. For example, Rothschild and Stiglitz argued from a model of a completive insurance market that under the “plausible” (632) assumption of information asymmetry, one can “credibly” infer the non-existence of equilibria in specific situations – despite the fact that, as they admit, the real ‘market … for insurance is probably not competitive’ (648).1 Another example is Richard Thaler’s column on anomalies of (micro-) economic theory. From 1987 to 2001, he headed every article (...) with the following sentence: ‘An empirical result is anomalous if it is difficult to rationalize, or if implausible assumptions are necessary to explain it within the paradigm’.2 Or, yet another example, Hans Lind concludes in a survey of mathematical models of rent control that ‘what is shown in the model[s]…is just one type of argument…for why a certain story is more credible than a competing story. (shrink)
Philosophers of science studying scientific practice often consider it a methodological requirement that their conceptualization of "model" closely connects with the understanding and use of models by practicing scientists. Occasionally, this connection has been explicitly made (Hutten 1954, Suppes 1961, Morgan and Morrison 1999, Bailer-Jones 2002, Lehtinen and Kuorikoski 2007, Kuorikoski 2007, Morgan 2012a). These studies have been dominated by a focus on the—relatively similar forms of—mathematical models in physics and economics. Yet it has become increasingly evident that the way (...) models are conceptualized is very different in some other sciences, where philosophers' accounts of models' characteristics and .. (shrink)
Many scientific models are non-representational in that they refer to merely possible processes, background conditions and results. The paper shows how such non-representational models can be appraised, beyond the weak role that they might play as heuristic tools. Using conceptual distinctions from the discussion of how-possibly explanations, six types of models are distinguished by their modal qualities of their background conditions, model processes and model results. For each of these types, an actual model example – drawn from economics, biology, psychology (...) or sociology – is discussed. For each case, contexts and purposes are identified in which the use of such a model offers a genuine opportunity to learn – i.e. justifies changing one’s confidence in a hypothesis about the world. These cases then offer novel justifications for modelling practices that fall between the cracks of standard representational accounts of models. (shrink)
It is often claimed that artificial society simulations contribute to the explanation of social phenomena. At the hand of a particular example, this paper argues that artificial societies often cannot provide full explanations, because their models are not or cannot be validated. Despite that, many feel that such simulations somehow contribute to our understanding. This paper tries to clarify this intuition by investigating whether artificial societies provide potential explanations. It is shown that these potential explanations, if they contribute to our (...) understanding, considerably differ from potential causal explanations. Instead of possible causal histories, simulations offer possible functional analyses of the explanandum . The paper discusses how these two kinds explanatory strategies differ, and how potential functional explanations can be appraised. (shrink)
For Jari-Erik Nurmi, the practice of model-making in psychology is a complex process operating on different levels simultaneously. At first sight, his account seems to reflect Suppes' (1962) notion of a hierarchy of models: from low-level data models to high-level theoretical models, where at each level the model represents "structure" at a different degree of abstraction, and the levels are connected through structural isomorphism.1In this commentary, I want to complement and perhaps somewhat redirect Nurmi's analysis of his own modeling efforts—away (...) from the idea of an interconnected hierarchy of isomorphic structures, towards more autonomous roles of the models at different levels, each with its own .. (shrink)
Modelling cannot be characterized as isolating, nor models as isolations. This article presents three arguments to that effect, against Uskali Mäki's account of models. First, while isolation proceeds through a process of manipulation and control, modelling typically does not proceed through such a process. Rather, modellers postulate assumptions, without seeking to justify them by reference to a process of isolation. Second, while isolation identifies an isolation base?a concrete environment it seeks to control and manipulate?modelling typically does not identify such a (...) base. Rather, modellers construct their models without reference to concrete environments, and only later seek to connect their models to concrete situations of the real world. Third, Mäki argues that isolation employs idealization to control for disturbing factors, but does not affect the factors or mechanisms that are supposed to be isolated. However, models typically make idealizing assumptions about the factors and mechanisms that are the focus of investigation. Thus, even the product of modelling often cannot be characterized as isolation. (shrink)
This paper discusses the meaning of expressed preference statements. A holistic explanation of preferences is proposed: preference relations between propositions are explained by preference relations over worlds. Only those world-preferences function as explanans which are maximally similar to the actual world, and which are maximally similar to each other. The concept of similarity as intuitive is rejected, and is interpreted instead with reference to causal structure: 'closest to the actual world' is interpreted as compatible with the causal structure of the (...) actual world, and 'most similar to each other' as sharing the same causal background conditions. (shrink)
The value of a statistical life (VSL) is an important tool for cost?benefit analysis of regulatory policies that concern fatality risks. Its proponents claim that it measures people's risk preferences, and that VSL therefore is a tool of vicarious governance. This paper criticizes the revealed preference method for measuring VSL. It specifies three minimal conditions for vicarious governance: sensitivity, fairness and hypothetical compromise, and shows that the VSL measure, in its common application in policy formation and analysis, violates these conditions. (...) It therefore concludes that the revealed preference VSL measure, in its current form, is not a tool of vicarious governance. (shrink)
Game?theoretic models consist of a formal game structure and an informal model narrative or story. When game theory is employed to model economic situations, the stories play a central role in interpreting, constructing and solving game structures. We analyse the architecture of game theory and distinguish between game models and the theory proper. We present the different functions of the model narrative in the application of game models to economic situations. In particular, we show how model narratives support the choice (...) of solution concepts defined and provided by the theory proper. We further argue that the narrative's role in interpretation, construction and solution makes it a necessary part of a game model that is intended to be a model of an economic situation. We conclude that game theory is not a universal theory of rationality, but only offers tools to model specific situations at varying degrees and kinds of rationality. (shrink)
To illustrate dramatically the progress and potential in the field of synthetic biology, one can begin the story with the 2011 winner of the Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award (Youyou 2011). She was an 81-year-old Chinese scientist, Dr. Tu Youyou, who was given an assignment in 1969 by the Chinese government to find a treatment for malaria from among Chinese herbal medicines. She investigated more than 2,000 Chinese herbal preparations, winnowed them down to some 640 possibilities, obtained 380 extracts from (...) about 200 Chinese herbs, and tested them against a mouse model of malaria. She found one extract, of the Artemisia plant, effective in mice, but she could not reproduce the results consistently. So she .. (shrink)
Ever since game theory has become a dominant mode of investigation in economics, critics have pointed out that it is a formally strong but empirically weak, if not empty, practice.1 We argue against the empirical irrelevance of game theory by investigating the architecture of game theoretic explanations more closely. In particular, we study the role of game models, and ﬁnd that they assume the role of mediators as autonomous relaters of theory and phenomena. We further argue that stories play an (...) essential part in the mediating function of models: stories that recount the phenomena in such a way that it becomes compatible with the theoretical framework. Contrary to some claims, these stories are subject to evaluation by various criteria, some of which are criteria derived from intuitive judgment. These criteria provide the means to judge whether a model represents a phenomenon or not. Through good stories, phenomena can therefore be related to highly abstract models. Applied game theory, we conclude, has therefore empirical content by representing phenomena in an abstract fashion. (JEL B4,C7. Keywords: Economic methodology, Game theory.). (shrink)
In pretending therefore to explain the principles of human nature, we in effect propose a compleat system of the sciences, built on a foundation almost entirely new, and the only one upon which they can stand with any security.
Although the dimness of my intelligence is already known to Your Paternity,1 nonetheless by careful scrutiny you have endeavored to find in my intelligence a light. For when during the gathering of herbs there came to mind the apostolic text in which James indicates that every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, from the Father of lights,2 you entreated me to write down my conjecture about the interpretation of this text. I know, Father, that you have a (...) firm grasp of that which has been written by the most learned theologians but that I have read very little of their writings. Thus, I would rightly be ashamed were I to be unaware of the soundness of your mind. Read, then, with a suitable interpretation what my view is. (shrink)
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