Nuclear power has never been free from the stifling involvement of government. Heavy regulation has reduced the ability of entrepreneurs to develop and provide new means for the generation of energy using nuclear fuel. The strict parameters dictated by government officials are based upon outdated technology, an improper regulatory philosophy, and preclude innovation in nuclear power generation. Anti-market environmentalists misunderstand the implications of a free market in nuclear power and argue against it based on problems that are actually caused by (...) government involvement. Our position is neither for nor against nuclear power. We advocate a hands-off policy where the nuclear industry is left to its own devices, free from governmental regulations and subsidies: free to succeed or fail on its own. Thus, our position is neither right-wing conservative (removing regulations), nor left-wing liberal (removing subsidies). Very much to the contrary of both positions, we propose a free-market in nuclear power. (shrink)
David Friedman attacks deontological or principled libertarianism from a utilitarian point of view. The present essay is an attempt to refute his critique of this philosophy, and to cast aspersions on the utilitarian version of libertarianism he favors.
Five experiments demonstrate the central role of knowledge attributions in social evaluations. In Experiments 1–3, we manipulated whether an agent believes, is certain of, or knows a true proposition and asked people to rate whether the agent should perform a variety of actions. We found that knowledge, more so than belief or certainty, leads people to judge that the agent should act. In Experiments 4–5, we investigated whether attributions of knowledge or certainty can explain an important finding on how people (...) act based on statistical evidence, known as “the Wells effect”. We found that knowledge attributions, but not certainty attributions, mediate this effect on decision making. 2018 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
There are two concepts of consciousness that are easy to confuse with one another, access-consciousness and phenomenal consciousness. However, just as the concepts of water and H 2 O are different concepts of the same thing, so the two concepts of consciousness may come to the same thing in the brain. The focus of this paper is on the problems that arise when these two concepts of consciousness are conflated. I will argue that John Searle's reasoning about the function (...) of consciousness goes wrong because he conflates the two senses. And Francis Crick and Christof Koch fall afoul of the ambiguity in arguing that visual area V1 is not part of the neural correlate of consciousness. Crick and Koch's work raises issues that suggest that these two concepts of consciousness may have different neural correlates – despite Crick and Koch's implicit rejection of this idea. (shrink)
We conducted five experiments that reveal some main contours of the folk epistemology of lotteries. The folk tend to think that you don't know that your lottery ticket lost, based on the long odds ("statistical cases"); by contrast, the folk tend to think that you do know that your lottery ticket lost, based on a news report ("testimonial cases"). We evaluate three previous explanations for why people deny knowledge in statistical cases: the justification account, the chance account, and the statistical (...) account. None of them seems to work. We then propose a new explanation of our own, the formulaic account, according to which some people deny knowledge in statistical cases due to formulaic expression. (shrink)
We report a series of experiments examining whether people ascribe knowledge for true beliefs based on probabilistic evidence. Participants were less likely to ascribe knowledge for beliefs based on probabilistic evidence than for beliefs based on perceptual evidence or testimony providing causal information. Denial of knowledge for beliefs based on probabilistic evidence did not arise because participants viewed such beliefs as unjustified, nor because such beliefs leave open the possibility of error. These findings rule out traditional philosophical accounts for why (...) probabilistic evidence does not produce knowledge. The experiments instead suggest that people deny knowledge because they distrust drawing conclusions about an individual based on reasoning about the population to which it belongs, a tendency previously identified by “judgment and decision making” researchers. Consistent with this, participants were more willing to ascribe knowledge for beliefs based on probabilistic evidence that is specific to a particular case. 2016 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
One of the most interesting aspects of McDowell’s very interesting book is the way in which it locates the problems of late-twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy within the historical development of the Western philosophical tradition. Beginning with an opposition between Coherentism and the Myth of the Given exemplified in recent work of Donald Davidson’s, McDowell proceeds to frame his discussion in terms of the Kantian distinction between concepts and intuitions, understanding and sensibility, spontaneity and receptivity. McDowell’s basic idea is that we can (...) satisfactorily overcome the opposition between Coherentism and the Myth of the Given only by recognizing, with Kant, that concepts and intuitions, understanding and sensibility, must be integrated together in every cognitive act or process—even in the mere intake of experiential content characteristic of sense perception. There is thus no room, according to McDowell, for either unconceptualized sensory input standing in no rational relation to conceptual thought or purely intellectual thought operating independently of all rational constraint from sense experience. (shrink)
In ‘Wittgenstein and Qualia’ Ned Block argues for the existence of inverted spectra and those ineffable things, qualia. The essence of his discussion is a would-be proof, presented through a series of pictures, of the possible existence of an inverted spectrum. His argument appeals to some remarks by Wittgenstein which, Block holds, commit the former to a certain ‘dangerous scenario’ wherein inverted spectra, and consequently qualia live and breath. I hold that a key premise of this proof is (...) incoherent. Furthermore, Block’s dangerous scenario does not follow from Wittgenstein’s innocent one, as Block believes it does, but rather is in conflict with it. (shrink)
Milton Friedman had long declared himself a small “l” libertarian. But, libertarianism is based on the twin pillars of the non aggression axiom and private property predicated on homesteading and peaceful exchange. Friedman adopts none of this. Instead, he undergirds his philosophy on “tolerance,” which is no part of libertarianism. Thus, his claim to the mantle of libertarianism, big or small “L” it matters not which, is called into question.
What is the simplest and most natural axiomatic replacement for the set-theoretic definition of the minimal fixed point on the Kleene scheme in Kripke’s theory of truth? What is the simplest and most natural set of axioms and rules for truth whose adoption by a subject who had never heard the word "true" before would give that subject an understanding of truth for which the minimal fixed point on the Kleene scheme would be a good model? Several axiomatic systems, old (...) and new, are examined and evaluated as candidate answers to these questions, with results of Harvey Friedman playing a significant role in the examination. (shrink)
David Friedman posed a number of libertarian philosophical problems (Friedman 1989). This essay criticizes Walter Block’s Rothbardian responses (Block 2011) and compares them with J C Lester’s critical-rationalist, libertarian-theory responses (Lester  2012). The main issues are as follows. 1. Critical rationalism and how it applies to libertarianism. 2.1. How libertarianism is not inherently about law and is inherently about morals. 2.2. How liberty relates to property and can be maximized: carbon dioxide and radio waves. 2.3. Applying the (...) theory to flashlights. 2.4. Applying the theory to the probability of imposed risks. 2.5. “Homesteading” or initial acquisition. 2.6 What is “essential” for a “true libertarian.” 2.7. Crime and punishment. 2.8. Extent of punishment. 2.9. The libertarian response to a madman with a gun. 2.10. How contradictions in rights are possible. 2.11. The draft. 3.1. Utilitarian libertarianism and “nose counting”. 3.2. How interpersonal comparisons of utility are possible and utility monsters are not a threat. 3.3. Why it is not utilitarian in practice to kill an innocent prisoner to prevent a riot. 3.4. Why David Friedman should not be forced to give up one of his eyes. 3.5. How utilitarians can be libertarians. Conclusion: a proper theory of liberty combined with critical rationalism offers superior solutions to Friedman’s problems. Appendix: replies to two commentators. (shrink)
Part of the ambiguity lies in the various points of view from which this question might be considered. The crudest di erence lies between the point of view of the working mathematician and that of the logician concerned with the foundations of mathematics. Now some of my fellow mathematical logicians might protest this distinction, since they consider themselves to be just more of those \working mathematicians". Certainly, modern logic has established itself as a very respectable branch of mathematics, and there (...) are quite a few highly technical journals in logic, such as The Journal of Sym-. (shrink)
Although C. D. Broad's notion of Becoming has received a fair amount of attention in the philosophy-of-time literature, there are no serious attempts to show how to replace the standard 'block' spacetime models by models that are more congenial to Broad's idea that the sum total of existence is continuously increased by Becoming or the coming into existence of events. In the Newtonian setting Broad-type models can be constructed in a cheating fashion by starting with a Newtonian block (...) model, carving chips off the block, and assembling the chips in an appropriately structured way. However, attempts to construct Broad-type models in a non-cheating fashion reveal a number of problematic aspects of Becoming that have not received adequate attention in the literature. The paper then turns to an assessment of the problem and prospects of adapting Becoming models to relativistic spacetimes. The results of the assessment differ in both minor and major ways from the ones in the extant literature. Finally, the paper describes how the causal set approach to quantum gravity promises to provide a mechanism for realizing Becoming, though the form of Becoming that emerges may not conform to any of the versions discussed in the philosophical literature. (shrink)
The Business Ethics Index (BEI), measuring consumer perceptions of ethical business behavior, was extended to four ex-communist countries (Russia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria). For Bulgaria, the two past dimensions are on the negative side of the scale. However, Bulgarians seem to be optimistic for the future ethical behavior of businesses. The same optimism about the future is observed for all four countries with Romania having the highest scores. Three hypotheses are proposed for the unusually high scores of the past ethical (...) perceptions expressed by Russians. (shrink)
People often judge it unacceptable to directly harm a person, even when this is necessary to produce an overall positive outcome, such as saving five other lives. We demonstrate that similar judgments arise when people consider damage to owned objects. In two experiments, participants considered dilemmas where saving five inanimate objects required destroying one. Participants judged this unacceptable when it required violating another’s ownership rights, but not otherwise. They also judged that sacrificing another’s object was less acceptable as a means (...) than as a side-effect; judgments did not depend on whether property damage involved personal force. These findings inform theories of moral decision-making. They show that utilitarian judgment can be decreased without physical harm to persons, and without personal force. The findings also show that the distinction between means and side-effects influences the acceptability of damaging objects, and that ownership impacts utilitarian moral judgment. (shrink)
_Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory_, a book written by Donald Green and Ian Shapiro and published in 1994, excited much controversy among political scientists and promoted a dialogue among them that was printed in a double issue of the journal Critical Review in 1995. This new book reproduces thirteen essays from the journal written by senior scholars in the field, along with an introduction by the editor of the journal, Jeffrey Friedman, and a rejoinder to the essays by Green and (...) Shapiro. The scholars—who include John Ferejohn, Morris P. Fiorina, Stanley Kelley, Jr., Robert E. Lane, Peter C. Ordeshook, Norman Schofield, and Kenneth A. Shepsle—criticize, agree with, or build on the issues raised by Green and Shapiros critique. Together the essays provide an interesting and accessible way of focusing on competing approaches to the study of politics and the social sciences. (shrink)
Research on the capacity to understand others’ minds has tended to focus on representations of beliefs, which are widely taken to be among the most central and basic theory of mind representations. Representations of knowledge, by contrast, have received comparatively little attention and have often been understood as depending on prior representations of belief. After all, how could one represent someone as knowing something if one doesn't even represent them as believing it? Drawing on a wide range of methods across (...) cognitive science, we ask whether belief or knowledge is the more basic kind of representation. The evidence indicates that non-human primates attribute knowledge but not belief, that knowledge representations arise earlier in human development than belief representations, that the capacity to represent knowledge may remain intact in patient populations even when belief representation is disrupted, that knowledge attributions are likely automatic, and that explicit knowledge attributions are made more quickly than equivalent belief attributions. Critically, the theory of mind representations uncovered by these various methods exhibit a set of signature features clearly indicative of knowledge: they are not modality-specific, they are factive, they are not just true belief, and they allow for representations of egocentric ignorance. We argue that these signature features elucidate the primary function of knowledge representation: facilitating learning from others about the external world. This suggests a new way of understanding theory of mind—one that is focused on understanding others’ minds in relation to the actual world, rather than independent from it. (shrink)
This paper explores the level of obligation called for by Milton Friedman’s classic essay “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Profits.” Several scholars have argued that Friedman asserts that businesses have no or minimal social duties beyond compliance with the law. This paper argues that this reading of Friedman does not give adequate weight to some claims that he makes and to their logical extensions. Throughout his article, Friedman emphasizes the values of freedom, respect for law, and duty. (...) The principle that a business professional should not infringe upon the liberty of other members of society can be used by business ethicists to ground a vigorous line of ethical analysis. Any practice, which has a negative externality that requires another party to take a significant loss without consent or compensation, can be seen as unethical. With Friedman’s framework, we can see how ethics can be seen as arising from the nature of business practice itself. Business involves an ethics in which we consider, work with, and respect strangers who are outside of traditional in-groups. (shrink)
Academic freedom and tenure, both cherished institutions of higher education, are currently under attack by many both outside and within the academy. Richard DeGeorge argues that they can be defended on ethical grounds only if they are joined with appropriate accountability, publicly articulated and defended standards, and conscientious enforcement of these standards by academic institutions and the members of the academic community.