According to the “Textbook View,” there is an extensional dispute between consequentialists and deontologists, in virtue of the fact that only the latter defend “agent-relative” principles—principles that require an agent to have a special concern with making sure that she does not perform certain types of action. I argue that, contra the Textbook View, there are agent-neutral versions of deontology. I also argue that there need be no extensional disagreement between the deontologist and consequentialist, as characterized by the Textbook (...) View. (shrink)
In this paper, I criticize David McNaughton and Piers Rawling's formalization of the agent-relative/agent-neutral distinction. I argue that their formalization is unable to accommodate an important ethical distinction between two types of conditional obligations. I then suggest a way of revising their formalization so as to fix the problem.
An idea that has attracted a lot of attention lately is the thought that consequentialism is a theory characterized basically by its agent neutrality.1 The idea, however, has also met with skepticism. In particular, it has been argued that agent neutrality cannot be what separates consequentialism from other types of theories of reasons for action, since there can be agent-neutral non-consequentialist theories as well as agent-relative consequentialist theories. I will argue in this paper that this last claim is false. (...) The paper is divided into four sections. Section one specifies two senses in which consequentialism is agent-neutral. Section two and three examine and reject, respectively, the claim that there are agent-relative consequentialist views as well as agent-neutral non-consequentialist views. I end the paper with some remarks on the plausibility, or better, the implausibility of characterizing consequentialism in terms other than agent neutrality. (shrink)
Symposium contribution on Mark Schroeder's Slaves of the Passions. Argues that Schroeder's account of agent-neutral reasons cannot be made to work, that the limited scope of his distinctive proposal in the epistemology of reasons undermines its plausibility, and that Schroeder faces an uncomfortable tension between the initial motivation for his view and the details of the view he develops.
In his recent book Slaves of the Passions , Mark Schroeder defends a Humean account of practical reasons ( hypotheticalism ). He argues that it is compatible with 'genuinely agent-neutral reasons'. These are reasons that any agent whatsoever has. According to Schroeder, they may well include moral reasons. Furthermore, he proposes a novel account of a reason's weight, which is supposed to vindicate the claim that agent-neutral reasons ( if they exist), would be weighty irrespective of anyone's desires. (...) If the argument is successful, it could help avoid an error-theory of moral language. I argue that it isn't, and that we should reject a Humean approach to reasons. (shrink)
Is there a justification of concern for one's own integrity that agent-neutral consequentialism cannot explain? In addressing this question, it is important to be clear about what is meant by 'agent-neutral', 'consequentialism', and 'integrity'. Let 'consequentialism' be constituted by the following two theses.
The dispute between Kantians and Humeans over whether practical reason can justify moral reasons for all agents is often characterized as a debate over whether reasons are hypothetical or categorical. Instead, this debate must be understood in terms of the distinction between agent-neutral and agent-relative reasons. This paper considers Alan Gewirth’s Reason and Morality as a case study of a Kantian justification of morality focused on deriving categorical reasons from hypothetical reasons. The case study demonstrates first, the possibility of (...) categorical agent-relative reasons, and second, that inattention to this possibility has caused considerable confusion in the debate between Kantians and Humeans. (shrink)
The agent-relative/agent-neutral distintion is widely and rightly regarded as a philosophically important one. Unfortunately, the distinction is often drawn in different and mutually incompatible ways. The agent-relative/agent-neutral distinction has historically been drawn three main ways: the ‘principle-based distinction’, the ‘reason-statement-based distinction’ and the ‘perspective-based distinction’. Each of these approaches has its own distinctive vices (Sections 1-3). However, a slightly modified version of the historically influential principle-based approach seems to avoid most if not all of these vices (Section 4). (...) The distinction so understood differs from numerous other distinctions with which it might easily be confused (Section 5). Finally, the distinction so drawn is important to normative theorizing for a variety of reasons (Section 6). (shrink)
The distinction between the agent-relative and the agent-neutral plays a prominent role in recent attempts to taxonomize normative theories. Its importance extends to most areas in practical philosophy, though. Despite its popularity, the distinction remains difficult to get a good grip on. In part this has to do with the fact that there is no consensus concerning the sort of objects to which we should apply the distinction. Thomas Nagel distinguishes between agent-neutral and agent-relative values, reasons, and principles; (...) Derek Parfit focuses on normative theories (and the aims they provide to agents), David McNaughton and Piers Rawling focus on rules and reasons, Skorupski on predicates, and there are other suggestions too. Some writers suspect that we fundamentally talk about one and the same distinction. This work is about practical reasons for action rather than theoretical reasons for belief. Moreover, focus is on whether reasons do or do not essentially refer to particular agents. A challenge that undermines the dichotomy in this sense is posed. After having rejected different attempts to defend the distinction, it is argued that there is a possible defence that sets out from Jonathan Dancy’s recent distinction between enablers and favourers. (shrink)
According to both deontologists and consequentialists, if there is a reason to promote the general happiness then the reason must apply to everyone. This view seems almost self-evident; to challenge it is to challenge the way we think of moral reasons. I contend, however, that the view depends on the unwarranted assumption that the only way to restrict the application scope of a reason for action is by restricting it to those agents whose interests or projects are involved in the (...) reason. In fact normative theories may coherently restrict application scopes in other ways. Thus we must take seriously the possibility that the reason to promote the general happiness, although genuine, does not apply to everyone. (shrink)
I argue that evolutionary strategies of kin selection and game-theoretic reciprocity are apt to generate agent-centered and agent- neutral moral intuitions, respectively. Such intuitions are the building blocks of moral theories, resulting in a fundamental schism between agent-centered theories on the one hand and agent-neutral theories on the other. An agent-neutral moral theory is one according to which everyone has the same duties and moral aims, no matter what their personal interests or interpersonal relationships. Agent-centered moral theories deny (...) this and include at least some prescriptions that include ineliminable indexicals. I argue that there are no rational means of bridging the gap between the two types of theories; nevertheless this does not necessitate skepticism about the moral—we might instead opt for an ethical relativism in which the truth of moral statements is relativized to the perspective of moral theories on either side of the schism. Such a relativism does not mean that any ethical theory is as good as any other; some cannot be held in reflective equilibrium, and even among those that can, there may well be pragmatic reasons that motivate the selection of one theory over another. But if no sort of relativism is deemed acceptable, then it is hard to avoid moral skepticism. (shrink)
This article has three main parts, Section 2 considers the nature and extent to which individuals who are well-off have a moral obligation to aid the worlds needy. Drawing on a pluralistic approach to morality, which includes consequentialist, virtue-based, and deontological elements, it is contended that most who are well-off should do much more than they do to aid the needy, and that they are open to serious moral criticism if they simply ignore the needy. Part one also focuses on (...) the United States, and illustrates both how incredibly wealthy the U.S. is and some of the spending habits of its citizens; however, its considerations apply to the well-off generally. Section 3 considers whether justice provides reasons for helping the needy. Noting that justice in an extremely complex notion, it discusses numerous considerations relevant to justices scope and implications, including an extended Rawlsian conception of justice, an absolute conception, a comparative conception, the distinction between natural and social justice, and various elements of common-sense morality. Section 2 also distinguishes between agent-relative justice-based reasons, which are relevant to whether we act justly, and agent-neutral justice-based reasons, which are relevant to whether we have reasons of justicefor acting. Correspondingly, it argues that even if one can ignore the needy without acting unjustly, as philosophers like Robert Nozick and Jan Narveson contend, there may be powerful reasons of justicefor addressing their plight. Section 4 briefly address the responsibilities of international organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Trade Organization (WTO). Drawing on Section 2, it is suggested that in addition to standard reasons to act justlytowards needy members of the worlds community, there will be reasons of justicefor such organizations to aid the needy in both present, and future, generations. The article concludes by contending that the well-off in countries like the U.S. have reason to view international organizations like the World Bank, IMF, and WTO as their agents, and to seek to insure that they alleviate misfortunes amongst the worlds needy. (shrink)
Reasons are facts, i.e., they are constituted by facts. Given a popular view that conceives of facts as thin abstract rather than thick concrete entities, the dichotomy between agent-neutral and agent-relative reasons is not particularly problematic. It is argued that it would be preferable if we could understand the dichotomy even if we had a thick noton of fact in mind. It would be preferable because it is better if our notion of a reason is consistent with a wider (...) rather than narrower set of plausible metaphysical views. But, more importantly, it would also be preferable because the thin approach trivializes an interesting issue among practical philosophers. Moreover, as an additional drawback, the thin account is in one respect less appealing than its thick cousin. The latter is not flawless, though. Some major objections to the thick notion is discussed. (shrink)
This article discusses Jan Narvesons Welfare and Wealth, Poverty and Justice in Todays World, and Is World Poverty a Moral Problem for the Wealthy? and their relation to my Thinking about the Needy, Justice, and International Organizations. Section 2 points out that Narvesons concerns differ from mine, so that often his claims and mine fail to engage each other. For example, his focus is on the poor, mine the needy, and while many poor are needy, and vice versa, our obligations (...) may differ regarding the poor than regarding the needy. Also, Narveson invokes a narrow conception of morality as those rules that government or society may compel people to follow. Given a broader, more plausible, conception of morality, many of Narvesons claims actually support my substantive views. Section 3 shows that many of Narvesons claims are relevant to the best means of aiding the needy, but do not challenge the validity of that end. This is true, for example, of his claims about the role of poor governments, the importance of freedom, the undesirability of mere handouts, and the effects of bad economic policies. Section 4 defends the importance of my distinction between acting justly and acting for reasons of justice. It illustrates that on several widely shared conceptions of justice there might be agent-neutralreasons of justice to aid the needy, even if from an agent-relative perspective one would not be acting unjustly if one failed to do so. Section 5 contests Narvesons portrayal of egalitarianism as concerned about inequality of wealth, per se, as insensitive to prior wrongs, and as holding that the worse-off have a right to be made better off at the expense of the well-off. In addition, it rejects Narvesons contention that egalitarians violate impartiality, and aim to impose their personal tastes on others. Section 6 challenges a fundamental assumption underlying Narvesons doctrine of mutual advantage. In addition, it denies that egalitarians are irrational merely because equality can conflict with the pareto principle. More generally, by appealing to impersonal ideals, it challenges the widely held view that the pareto principle is a condition of rationality. Section 7 argues that Narvesons meta-ethical assumptions are controversial, internally inconsistent, in tension with his normative views, and ultimately a version of skepticism. In addition, it challenges Narvesons view about the role intuitions play in moral theory. Section 8 clarifies points where Narvesons discussion of my views may be misleading. Finally, the paper notes the role that moral reasons may play in deliberation and action, but emphasizes the philosophical and theoretical nature of my work. My aim is to determine the moral considerations that are relevant to how people should act regarding the needy. Whether people will actually be moved to so act, for those reasons or otherwise, is another matter. (shrink)
Why do agent-relative reasons have authority over us, reflective creatures? Reductive accounts base the normativity of agent-relative reasons on agent-neutral considerations like having parents caring especially for their own children serves best the interests of all children. Such accounts, however, beg the question about the source of normativity of agent-relative ways of reason-giving. In this paper, I argue for a non-reductive account of the reflective necessity of agent-relative concerns. Such an account will reveal an important structural complexity of practical (...) reasoning in general. Christine Korsgaard relates the rational binding force of practical reasons to the various identities or self-conceptions under which we value ourselves. The problem is that it is not clear why such self-conceptions would necessitate us rationally, given the fact that most of our identities are simply given. Perhaps, Harry Frankfurt is right in arguing that we are not only necessitated by reason, but also, and predominantly by what we love. I argue, however, that the necessities of love (in Frankfurts phrase) are not to be separated from, but should be seen as belonging to the necessities of reason. Our loves, concerns and related identities provide for a specific and important structure to practical reflection. They function on the background of reasoning, having a specific default role: they would lose their character as concerns, if there was a need for them to be cited on the foreground of deliberation or if there was a need to justify them. This does not mean that our deep concerns cannot be scrutinised. They can only be scrutinised in an indirect way, however, which explains their role in grounding the normativity of agent-relative reasons. It appears that this account can provide for a viable interpretation of Korsgaards argument about the foundational role of practical identities. (shrink)
One way to approach the question of whether there are non-derivative partial reasons of any kind is to give an account of what partial reasons are, and then to consider whether there are such reasons. If there are, then it is at least possible that there are partial reasons of friendship. It is this approach that will be taken here, and it produces several interesting results. The first is a point about the structure of partial reasons. It is at least (...) a necessary condition of a reason’s being partial that it has an explicit relational component. This component, technically, is a rela- tum in the reason relation that itself is a relation between the person to whom the reason applies and the person whom the action for which there is a reason concerns. The second conclusion of the paper is that this relational component is also required for a number of types of putatively impartial reasons. In order to avoid trivialising the distinction between partial and impartial rea- sons, some further sufficient condition must be applied. Finally, there is some prospect for a way of distinguishing between impartial reasons that contain a relational component and partial rea- sons, but that this approach suggests that the question of whether ethics is partial or impartial will be settled at the level of normative ethical discourse, or at least not at the level of discourse about the nature of reasons for action. (shrink)
This paper is a rejoinder to Professor Jim Humber on the issue of fathers' rights. I reaffirm my position that if a woman's right to an abortion is a morally permissible way of avoiding future duties with respect to parenting, then fathers must have a similar moral right and ought to have a way to exercise this right. I consider and rebut Professor Humber's objections to this view.
: What kinds of comparisons can legitimately be made between Mahāyāna Buddhism and Western ethical theories? Mahāyānists aspire to alleviate the suffering, promote the happiness, and advance the moral perfection of all sentient beings. This aspiration is best understood as expressing a form of universalist consequentialism. Many Indian Mahāyāna texts seem committed to claims about agent-neutrality that imply consequentialism and are not compatible with virtue ethics. Within the Mahāyāna tradition, there is some diversity of views: Asaṅga seems to hold a (...) complex and interesting version of rule consequentialism, whereas Śāntideva is closer to act consequentialism. (shrink)
A theory is agent neutral if it gives every agent the same set of aims and agent relative otherwise. Most philosophers take act-consequentialism to be agent-neutral, but I argue that at the heart of consequentialism is the idea that all acts are morally permissible in virtue of their propensity to promote value and that, given this, it is possible to have a theory that is both agent-relative and act-consequentialist. Furthermore, I demonstrate that agent-relative act-consequentialism can avoid the counterintuitive implications (...) associated with utilitarianism while maintaining the compelling idea that it is never wrong to bring about the best outcome. (shrink)
Many claim that a plausible moral theory would have to include a principle of beneficence, a principle telling us to produce goods that are both welfarist and agent-neutral. But when we think carefully about the necessary connection between moral obligations and reasons for action, we see that agents have two reasons for action, and two moral obligations: they must not interfere with any agent's exercise of his rational capacities and they must do what they can to make sure that (...) agents have rational capacities to exercise. According to this distinctively deontological view of morality, though we are obliged to produce goods, the goods in question are non-welfarist and agent-relative. The value of welfare thus turns out to be, at best, instrumental. (shrink)
Long claimed to be the dominant conception of practical reason, the Humean theory that reasons for action are instrumental, or explained by desires, is the basis for a range of worries about the objective prescriptivity of morality. As a result, it has come under intense attack in recent decades. A wide variety of arguments have been advanced which purport to show that it is false, or surprisingly, even that it is incoherent. Slaves of the Passions aims to set the record (...) straight, by advancing a version of the Humean theory of reasons which withstands this sophisticated array of objections. Schroeder defends a radical new view which, if correct, means that the commitments of the Humean theory have been widely misunderstood. Along the way, he raises and addresses questions about the fundamental structure of reasons, the nature of normative explanations, the aims of and challenges facing reductive views in metaethics, the weight of reasons, the nature of desire, moral epistemology, and most importantly, the relationship between agent-relational and agent-neutral reasons for action. (shrink)
This paper considers the connection between the three-place relation, R is a reason for X to do A and the two-place relation, R is a reason to do A. I consider three views on which the former is to be analyzed in terms of the latter. I argue that these views are widely held, and explain the role that they play in motivating interesting substantive ethical theories. But I reject them in favor of a more obvious analysis, which goes the (...) other way around. (shrink)
The scientific worldview is based on laws, which are supposed to be certain, objective, and independent of time and context. The narrative worldview found in literature, myth and religion, is based on stories, which relate the events experienced by a subject in a particular context with an uncertain outcome. This paper argues that the concept of “agent”, supported by the theories of evolution, cybernetics and complex adaptive systems, allows us to reconcile scientific and narrative perspectives. An agent follows a course (...) of action through its environment with the aim of maximizing its fitness. Navigation along that course combines the strategies of regulation, exploitation and exploration, but needs to cope with often-unforeseen diversions. These can be positive (affordances, opportunities), negative (disturbances, dangers) or neutral (surprises). The resulting sequence of encounters and actions can be conceptualized as an adventure. Thus, the agent appears to play the role of the hero in a tale of challenge and mystery that is very similar to the "monomyth", the basic storyline that underlies all myths and fairy tales according to Campbell . This narrative dynamics is driven forward in particular by the alternation between prospect (the ability to foresee diversions) and mystery (the possibility of achieving an as yet absent prospect), two aspects of the environment that are particularly attractive to agents. This dynamics generalizes the scientific notion of a deterministic trajectory by introducing a variable “horizon of knowability”: the agent is never fully certain of its further course, but can anticipate depending on its degree of prospect. (shrink)
Neutral monism is a position in metaphysics defended by Mach, James, and Russell in the early twentieth century. It holds that minds and physical objects are essentially two different orderings of the same underlying neutral elements of nature. This paper sets out some of the central concepts, theses and the historical background of ideas that inform this doctrine of elements. The discussion begins with the classic neutral monism of Mach, James, and Russell in the first part of the paper, then (...) considers recent neo-Russellian versions in the second half. The chances for a revival of neutral monism are probably slight; its key ideas and starting points lie far from those in contemporary philosophy of mind. A better route might be through the philosophy of science and a deeper understanding of causation. (shrink)
Key elements of Randolph Clarke's libertarian account of freedom that requires both agent-causation and non-deterministic event-causation in the production of free action is assessed with an eye toward determining whether agent-causal accounts can accommodate the truth of judgments of moral obligation.
The problem of freedom and determinism has vexed philosophers for several millennia, and continues to be a topic of lively debate today. One of the proposed solutions to the problem that has received a great deal of attention is the Theory of Agent Causation. While the theory has enjoyed its share of advocates, and perhaps more than its share of critics, the theory’s advocates and critics have always agreed on one thing: the Theory of Agent Causation is an incompatibilist theory. (...) That is, both believers and nonbelievers in the theory have taken it for granted that the most plausible version of the Theory of Agent Causation is one according to which freedom and determinism are incompatible. In fact, so entrenched is this assumption that no one on either side of the debate has ever questioned it. Yet it turns out that this assumption is wrong – the most plausible version of the Theory of Agent Causation is a compatibilist one. (shrink)
The increasingly common use of inclusive language (e.g., "he or she") in representing past philosophers' views is often inappropriate. Using Immanuel Kant's work as an example, I compare his use of terms such as "human race" and "human being" with his views on women to show that his use of generic terms does not prove that he includes women. I then discuss three different approaches to this issue, found in recent Kant-literature, and show why each of them is insufficient. I (...) conclude that the tension between gender-neutral and gender-specific views in Kant's work should be made explicit, and I offer several strategies for doing so. (shrink)
In Morals From Motives, Michael Slote defends an agent-based theory of right action according to which right acts are those that express virtuous motives like benevolence or care. Critics have claimed that Slote’s view— and agent-based views more generally— cannot account for several basic tenets of commonsense morality. In particular, the critics maintain that agent-based theories: (i) violate the deontic axiom that ought implies can , (ii) cannot allow for a person’s doing the right thing for the wrong reason, and (...) (iii) do not yield clear verdicts in a number of cases involving conflicting motives and motivational over-determination . In this paper I develop a new agent-based theory of right action designed to avoid the problems presented for Slote’s view. This view makes morally right action a matter of expressing an optimal balance of virtue over vice and commands agents in each situation to improve their degree of excellence to the greatest extent possible. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that trying is the locus of freedom and moral responsibility. Thus, any plausible view of free and responsible action must accommodate and account for free tryings. I then consider a version of agent causation whereby the agent directly causes her tryings. On this view, the agent is afforded direct control over her efforts and there is no need to posit—as other agent-causal theorists do—an uncaused event. I discuss the potential advantages of this sort of view, (...) and its challenges. (shrink)
This article provides an answer to the question: What is the function of cognition? By answering this question it becomes possible to investigate what are the simplest cognitive systems. It addresses the question by treating cognition as a solution to a design problem. It defines a nested sequence of design problems: (1) How can a system persist? (2) How can a system affect its environment to improve its persistence? (3) How can a system utilize better information from the environment to (...) select better actions? And, (4) How can a system reduce its inherent informational limitations to achieve more successful behavior? This provides a corresponding nested sequence of system classes: (1) autonomous systems, (2) (re)active autonomous systems, (3) informationally controlled autonomous systems (autonomous agents), and (4) cognitive systems. -/- This article provides the following characterization of cognition: The cognitive system is the set of mechanisms of an autonomous agent that (1) allow increase of the correlation and integration between the environment and the information system of the agent, so that (2) the agent can improve the selection of actions and thereby produce more successful behavior. -/- Finally, it shows that common cognitive capacities satisfy the characterization: learning, memory, representation, decision making, reasoning, attention, and communication. (shrink)
Agent-relative restrictions prohibit minimizing violations: that is, they require us not to minimize the total number of their violations by violating them ourselves. Frances Kamm has explained this prohibition in terms of the moral worth of persons, which, in turn, she explains in terms of persons’ high moral status as inviolable beings. I press the following criticism of this account: even if minimizing violations are permissible, we need not have a lower moral status provided other determinants thereof boost it. Thus, (...) Kamm’s account is incomplete at best. And when, to address this incompleteness, it is insisted that our moral worth derives from specific moral statuses, the inviolability account comes to seem deficient because it begs the question against those who are not initially persuaded that minimizing violations are impermissible. (shrink)
In this paper we consider the concept of a self-aware agent. In cognitive science agents are seen as embodied and interactively situated in worlds. We analyse the meanings attached to these terms in cognitive science and robotics, proposing a set of conditions for situatedness and embodiment, and examine the claim that internal representational schemas are largely unnecessary for intelligent behaviour in animats. We maintain that current situated and embodied animats cannot be ascribed even minimal self-awareness, and offer a six point (...) definition of embeddedness, constituting minimal conditions for the evolution of a sense of self. This leads to further analysis of the nature of embodiment and situatedness, and a consideration of whether virtual animats in virtual worlds could count as situated and embodied. We propose that self-aware agents must possess complex structures of self-directed goals; multi-modal sensory systems and a rich repertoire of interactions with their worlds. Finally, we argue that embedded agents will possess or evolve local co-ordinate systems, or points of view, relative to their current positions in space and time, and have a capacity to develop an egocentric space. None of these capabilities are possible without powerful internal representational capacities. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to discuss the “Framework for M&S with Agents” (FMSA) proposed by Zeigler et al. [2000, 2009] in regard to the diverse epistemological aims of agent simulations in social sciences. We first show that there surely are great similitudes, hence that the aim to emulate a universal “automated modeler agent” opens new ways of interactions between these two domains of M&S with agents. E.g., it can be shown that the multi-level conception at the core of (...) the FMSA is similar in both contexts: notions of “levels of system specifi cation”, “behavior of models”, “simulator”and “endomorphic agents” can be partially translated in the terms linked to the “denotational hierarchy” (DH) and recently introduced in a multi-level centered epistemology of M&S. Second, we suggest considering the question of “credibility” of agent M&S in social sciences when we do not try to emulate but only to simulate target systems. Whereas a stringent and standardized treatment of the heterogeneous internal relations (in the DH) between systems of formalisms is the key problem and the essential challenge in the scope of Agent M&S driven engineering, it is urgent too to address the problem of the external relations (and of the external validity, hence of the epistemic power and credibility) of such levels of formalisms in the specific domains of agent M&S in social sciences, especially when we intend to introduce the concepts of activity tracking. (shrink)
In this paper, we first propose a simple formal language to specify types of agents in terms of necessary conditions for their announcements. Based on this language, types of agents are treated as ‘first-class citizens’ and studied extensively in various dynamic epistemic frameworks which are suitable for reasoning about knowledge and agent types via announcements and questions. To demonstrate our approach, we discuss various versions of Smullyan’s Knights and Knaves puzzles, including the Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever (HLPE) proposed by Boolos (...) (in Harv Rev Philos 6:62–65, 1996). In particular, we formalize HLPE and verify a classic solution to it. Moreover, we propose a spectrum of new puzzles based on HLPE by considering subjective (knowledge-based) agent types and relaxing the implicit epistemic assumptions in the original puzzle. The new puzzles are harder than the previously proposed ones in the literature, in the sense that they require deeper epistemic reasoning. Surprisingly, we also show that a version of HLPE in which the agents do not know the others’ types does not have a solution at all. Our formalism paves the way for studying these new puzzles using automatic model checking techniques. (shrink)
This paper addresses the problem of human–computer interactions when the computer can interpret and express a kind of human-like behavior, offering natural communication. A conceptual framework for incorporating emotions with rationality is proposed. A model of affective social interactions is described. The model utilizes the SAIBA framework, which distinguishes among several stages of processing of information. The SAIBA framework is extended, and a model is realized in human behavior detection, human behavior interpretation, intention planning, attention tracking behavior planning, and behavior (...) realization components. Two models of incorporating emotions with rationality into a virtual artifact are presented. The first one uses an implicit implementation of emotions. The second one has an explicit realization of a three-layered model of emotions, which is highly interconnected with other components of the system. Details of the model with implicit implementation of emotional behavior are shown as well as evaluation methodology and results. Discussions about the extended model of an agent are given in the final part of the paper. (shrink)
The paper begins with a more carefully stated version of ontologically neutral (ON) logic, originally introduced in (Hailperin, 1997). A non-infinitistic semantics which includes a definition of potential infinite validity follows. It is shown, without appeal to the actual infinite, that this notion provides a necessary and sufficient condition for provability in ON logic.
Now that complex Agent-Based Models and computer simulations spread over economics and social sciences - as in most sciences of complex systems -, epistemological puzzles (re)emerge. We introduce new epistemological concepts so as to show to what extent authors are right when they focus on some empirical, instrumental or conceptual significance of their model or simulation. By distinguishing between models and simulations, between types of models, between types of computer simulations and between types of empiricity obtained through a simulation, section (...) 2 gives the possibility to understand more precisely - and then to justify - the diversity of the epistemological positions presented in section 1. Our final claim is that careful attention to the multiplicity of the denotational powers of symbols at stake in complex models and computer simulations is necessary to determine, in each case, their proper epistemic status and credibility. (shrink)
Construction of a robot discoverer can be treated as the ultimate success of automated discovery. In order to build such an agent we must understand algorithmic details of the discovery processes and the representation of scientific knowledge needed to support the automation. To understand the discovery process we must build automated systems. This paper investigates the anatomy of a robot-discoverer, examining various components developed and refined to a various degree over two decades. We also clarify the notion of autonomy of (...) an artificial agent, and we discuss the ways in which machine discoverers become more autonomous. Finally we summarize the main principles useful in construction of automated discoverers and we discuss various possible limitations of automation. (shrink)
The use of computer simulation for building theoretical models in social science is introduced. It is proposed that agent-based models have potential as a “third way” of carrying out social science, in addition to argumentation and formalisation. With computer simulations, in contrast to other methods, it is possible to formalise complex theories about processes, carry out experiments and observe the occurrence of emergence. Some suggestions are offered about techniques for building agent-based models and for debugging them. A scheme for structuring (...) a simulation program into agents, the environment and other parts for modifying and observing the agents is described. The article concludes with some references to modelling tools helpful for building computer simulations. (shrink)
In this paper we address the problem of defining social roles in multi-agent systems. Social roles provide the basic structure of social institutions and organizations. We start from the properties attributed to roles both in the multi-agent systems and the Object Oriented community, and we use them in an ontological analysis of the notion of social role. We identify three main properties of social roles. First, they are definitionally dependent on the institution they belong to, i.e. the definition of a (...) role is given inside the definition of the institution. Second, they attribute powers to the agents playing them, like creating commitments for the institutions and the other roles. Third, they allow roles to play roles, in the same way as agents do. Using Input/Output logics, we propose a formalization of roles in multi-agent systems satisfying the three properties we identified. (shrink)
Compositional verification aims at managing the complexity of theverification process by exploiting compositionality of the systemarchitecture. In this paper we explore the use of a temporal epistemiclogic to formalize the process of verification of compositionalmulti-agent systems. The specification of a system, its properties andtheir proofs are of a compositional nature, and are formalized within acompositional temporal logic: Temporal Multi-Epistemic Logic. It isshown that compositional proofs are valid under certain conditions.Moreover, the possibility of incorporating default persistence ofinformation in a system, is (...) explored. A completion operation on aspecific type of temporal theories, temporal completion, is introducedto be able to use classical proof techniques in verification withrespect to non-classical semantics covering default persistence. (shrink)