_ Source: _Volume 55, Issue 1-3, pp 60 - 84 In a seminal article, Simo Knuuttila and AnjaInkeriLehtinen drew attention to a “curious doctrine” holding that contradictories can be true at the same temporal instant, and identified the major defenders of the doctrine as John Baconthorpe, Landolfo Caracciolo, and Hugh of Novocastro. Normann Kretzmann later asserted as fact the suggestion by Knuuttila and InkeriLehtinen that the doctrine comes from a misreading of a (...) passage from Aristotle’s _Physics_. In fact, a study of the relevant texts reveals that Hugh of Novocastro first elaborated the doctrine by building on the Scotist doctrines of synchronic contingency and simultaneous causation. As these doctrines require at the same instant of time an order of priority and posteriority between possibility and actuality, cause and effect, so, Hugh says, there must be prior and posterior different states of affairs. Landolfo Caracciolo made this doctrine notorious outside the Franciscan convent by using it in his _principia_ debates, directly engaging the circle of Cardinal Iacopo Stefaneschi. John Baconthorpe, the first to cite the _Physics_ passage, did not have any noticeable effect on the development of the doctrine. (shrink)
Arrow's Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives (IIA) has been under criticism for decades for not taking account of preference intensities. Computer-simulation results by Aki Lehtinen concerning strategic voting under various voting rules show that this intensity argument does not need to rest on mere intuition. Voters may express intensities by voting strategically, and that this has beneficial aggregate-level consequences: utilitarian efficiency is higher if voters engage in strategic behaviour than if they always vote sincerely. Strategic voting is thus unambiguously beneficial (...) under a utilitarian evaluation of outcomes. What has been considered the main argument for IIA turns out to be one against it. This paper assesses the implications of these results for interpretations of Arrow's theorem and the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem in a discussion on the methodological and philosophical arguments concerning preference intensities and IIA. (shrink)
N. Emrah Aydinonat's account of the invisible-hand is analysed. One of the conditions for unintended social consequences is it requires that individuals' intentions are exclusively directed at the individual level. This condition is weakened in order to accommodate cases in which individuals may also aim at consequences at the social level but the model clearly depicts the invisible hand. Lehtinen's model of counterbalancing strategic votes is proposed as an example that satisfies Aydinonat's conditions, if they are modified as suggested.
We claim that the process of theoretical model refinement in economics is best characterised as robustness analysis: the systematic examination of the robustness of modelling results with respect to particular modelling assumptions. We argue that this practise has epistemic value by extending William Wimsatt's account of robustness analysis as triangulation via independent means of determination. For economists robustness analysis is a crucial methodological strategy because their models are often based on idealisations and abstractions, and it is usually difficult to tell (...) which idealisations are truly harmful. (shrink)
The most common argument against the use of rational choice models outside economics is that they make unrealistic assumptions about individual behavior. We argue that whether the falsity of assumptions matters in a given model depends on which factors are explanatorily relevant. Since the explanatory factors may vary from application to application, effective criticism of economic model building should be based on model-specific arguments showing how the result really depends on the false assumptions. However, some modeling results in imperialistic applications (...) are relatively robust with respect to unrealistic assumptions. Key Words: unrealistic assumptions economics imperialism rational choice as if robustness. (shrink)
Robert Sugden argues that robustness analysis cannot play an epistemic role in grounding model-world relationships because the procedure is only a matter of comparing models with each other. We posit that this argument is based on a view of models as being surrogate systems in too literal a sense. In contrast, the epistemic importance of robustness analysis is easy to explicate if modelling is viewed as extended cognition, as inference from assumptions to conclusions. Robustness analysis is about assessing the reliability (...) of our extended inferences, and when our confidence in these inferences changes, so does our confidence in the results. Furthermore, we argue that Sugden’s inductive account relies tacitly on robustness considerations. (shrink)
Like other mathematically intensive sciences, economics is becoming increasingly computerized. Despite the extent of the computation, however, there is very little true simulation. Simple computation is a form of theory articulation, whereas true simulation is analogous to an experimental procedure. Successful computation is faithful to an underlying mathematical model, whereas successful simulation directly mimics a process or a system. The computer is seen as a legitimate tool in economics only when traditional analytical solutions cannot be derived, i.e., only as a (...) purely computational aid. We argue that true simulation is seldom practiced because it does not fit the conception of understanding inherent in mainstream economics. According to this conception, understanding is constituted by analytical derivation from a set of fundamental economic axioms. We articulate this conception using the concept of economists' perfect model. Since the deductive links between the assumptions and the consequences are not transparent in ‘bottom‐up’ generative microsimulations, microsimulations cannot correspond to the perfect model and economists do not therefore consider them viable candidates for generating theories that enhance economic understanding. (shrink)
Robustness may increase the degree to which the robust result is indirectly confirmed if it is shown to depend on confirmed rather than disconfirmed assumptions. Although increasing the weight with which existing evidence indirectly confirms it in such a case, robustness may also be irrelevant for confirmation, or may even disconfirm. Whether or not it confirms depends on the available data and on what other results have already been established.
Political science and economic science . . . make use of the same language, the same mode of abstraction, the same instruments of thought and the same method of reasoning. (Black 1998, 354) Proponents as well as opponents of economics imperialism agree that imperialism is a matter of unification; providing a unified framework for social scientific analysis. Uskali Mäki distinguishes between derivational and ontological unification and argues that the latter should serve as a constraint for the former. We explore whether, (...) in the case of rational-choice political science, self-interested behavior can be seen as a common causal element and solution concepts as the common derivational element, and whether the former constraints the use of the latter. We find that this is not the case. Instead, what is common to economics and rational-choice political science is a set of research heuristics and a focus on institutions with similar structures and forms of organization. (shrink)
All economic models involve abstractions and idealisations. Economic theory itself does not tell which idealizations are truly fatal or harmful for the result and which are not. This is why much of what is seen as theoretical contribution in economics is constituted by deriving familiar results from different modelling assumptions. If a modelling result is robust with respect to particular modelling assumptions, the empirical falsity of these particular assumptions does not provide grounds for criticizing the result. In this paper we (...) demonstrate how derivational robustness analysis does carry epistemic weight and answer criticism concerning its non-empirical nature and the problematic form of the required independence of the ways of derivation. The epistemic rationale and importance of robustness analysis also challenge some common conceptions of the role of theory in economics. (shrink)
This paper studies the welfare consequences of strategic voting in two commonly used parliamentary agendas by comparing the average utilities obtained in simulated voting under two behavioural assumptions: expected utility maximising behaviour and sincere behaviour. The average utility obtained in simulations is higher with expected utility maximising behaviour than with sincere voting behaviour under a broad range of assumptions. Strategic voting increases welfare particularly if the distribution of preference intensities correlates with voter types.
As-if locutions are used (a) in order to indicate that an inaccurate or unrealistic assumption is being made because some inaccuracy or unrealisticness is negligible. This kind of claim has two sub-cases. (a1) The as-if locution is used to indicate that the as-if claim in itself is inaccurate and that its inaccuracy does not matter for the purposes of the investigation. (a2) It is used to indicate that claims are made without regard to the causal factors that are assumed to (...) exist but are deemed to be unimportant. As-if locutions may also (b) formulate an accurate behavioural assumption by ascribing intentions or cognitions to an entity in an unrealistic manner or (c) indicate that the modeller is not committed to any particular mental assumptions. The various kinds of claims may be recognised by identifying their underlying ‘attributions’. (a2), (b) and (c) may be used in formulating an accurate claim. (shrink)
Many countries are now implementing human papillomavirus vaccination. There is disagreement about who should receive the vaccine. Some propose vaccinating both boys and girls in order to achieve the largest possible public health impact. Others regard this approach as too costly and claim that only girls should be vaccinated. We question the assumption that decisions about human papillomavirus vaccination policy should rely solely on estimates of overall benefits and costs. There are important social justice aspects that also need to be (...) considered. Policy makers should consider how to best protect individuals who will remain unvaccinated through no fault of their own. This is especially important if these individuals are already disadvantaged in other ways and if vaccinating other people increases their risk of infection. (shrink)
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the world’s most common sexually transmitted infection. It is a prerequisite for cervical cancer, the second most common cause of death in cancer among women worldwide, and is also believed to cause other anogenital and head and neck cancers. Vaccines that protect against the most common cancer-causing HPV types have recently become available, and different countries have taken different approaches to implementing vaccination. This paper examines the ethics of alternative HPV vaccination strategies. It devotes particular (...) attention to the major arguments for and against one strategy: voluntary, publicly funded vaccination for all adolescent boys and girls. This approach seems attractive because it would protect more people against cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers than less inclusive alternatives, without the sacrifice of autonomy that a comparably broad compulsory programme would require. Also, the herd immunity that it would likely generate would protect those who remain unvaccinated, a major advantage from a justice perspective. However, there is a possibility that a HPV vaccination programme targeting all adolescents of both sexes is not considered sufficiently cost-effective. Also, it might pose more difficulties for achieving informed consent than comparable vaccination programmes against other diseases. Ultimately, society’s choice of HPV vaccination strategy requires careful consideration not only of the values at stake but also of available and emerging scientific evidence. (shrink)
Do women conceptualize-understand, know about, and react to-shame differently from the way men do? Does the experience and knowledge of shame have a gender-specificity, and along what lines could it be analyzed? By introducing a distinction between life or enduring experiences, "Erfahrung," and episodic or occurrent experiences, "Erlebnis," and by juxtaposing this distinction with the Rylean notion that knowledge is dispositional this paper argues for the plausibility of a gender-specificity.
It is argued in this paper that amalgamating confirmation from various sources is relevantly different from social-choice contexts, and that proving an impossibility theorem for aggregating confirmation measures directs attention to irrelevant issues.
Derivational robustness may increase the degree to which various pieces of evidence indirectly confirm a robust result. There are two ways in which this increase may come about. First, if one can show that a result is robust, and that the various individual models used to derive it also have other confirmed results, these other results may indirectly confirm the robust result. Confirmation derives from the fact that data not known to bear on a result are shown to be relevant (...) when it is shown to be robust. Second, robustness may increase the degree to which the robust result is indirectly confirmed if it increases the weight with which existing evidence indirectly confirms it. This may happen when it strengthens the connection between the core and the robust result by showing that auxiliaries are not responsible for the result. (shrink)
Consumer driven and globally competitive financial markets are crucial for the future prosperity of the Finnish society (Laitamäki, Lehti and Paasio 1996). The largest transfer of wealth in history is currently taking place as Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) prepare for their retirement and inherit the assets of the previous generation. Due to cognitive limitations and emotional biases these consumers don’t always make rational decisions with financial services. This conceptual study addresses irrational financial consumer behavior and its impact on the Finnish (...) business and society. The study focuses on two research questions: 1) What type of behavioral finance concepts explain irrational consumer behavior? 2) What are the implications of these behaviors for the Finnish business and society? The purpose of this study is to assist individual consumers, business leaders and policy makers in making better financial services related decisions in Finland. The need for better decisions has been illustrated during Finnish and international financial crises including the US sub-prime loan turmoil in 2008. (shrink)
This article presents an ethnomethodological respecification of the philosophical problem of the hermeneutics of ancient texts. I analyze an interactional practice, namely, noticing an aspect of the Bible text in Seventh-day Adventist Bible study. I show how noticings are used to make the text “speak” to the participants of the Bible study and discuss how the participants show their orientation to this action in the next turn and how they rely on various cultural resources to make sense of the text. (...) The article shows how the actions of the participants are contextual, cultural and moral in nature. Cultural resources and morality are embedded in the locally produced hermeneutical achievement. I discuss how this analysis can be instructive for philosophical hermeneutics. (shrink)
Following an established tradition, the current special issue collects five articles that originate from papers presented at the IX Conference of the International Network for Economic Method. The conference took place in Helsinki on 1–3 September 2011 and was hosted by TINT (Trends and Tensions in Intellectual Integration), University of Helsinki. The conference was successful both in terms of the number of participants and the quality of the presentations. Although the sample of papers that made it to this special issue (...) is relatively small, we think that it is representative of some of the major contemporary currents in the wider field of the philosophy and methodology of economics. The papers examine both long-debated and more recent issues. (shrink)
Trois chercheuses allemandes viennent de publier une somme bibliographique (2250 références) sur les mouvements de femmes et les associations féministes, passés et présents. Les ouvrages à caractère de source ne sont qu'exceptionnellement mentionnés, de même que les rapports de recherche et les petits essais. La sélection porte principalement sur des ouvrages parus après 1970, en anglais, allemand et français et concernant les mouvements de femmes non seulement en Europe et en Amérique..