Is the United States "the land of equal opportunity" or is the playing field tilted in favor of those whose parents are wealthy, well educated, and white? If family background is important in getting ahead, why? And if the processes that transmit economic status from parent to child are unfair, could public policy address the problem? Unequal Chances provides new answers to these questions by leading economists, sociologists, biologists, behavioral geneticists, and philosophers.New estimates show that intergenerational inequality in the United (...) States is far greater than was previously thought. Moreover, while the inheritance of wealth and the better schooling typically enjoyed by the children of the well-to-do contribute to this process, these two standard explanations fail to explain the extent of intergenerational status transmission. The genetic inheritance of IQ is even less important. Instead, parent-offspring similarities in personality and behavior may play an important role. Race contributes to the process, and the intergenerational mobility patterns of African Americans and European Americans differ substantially.Following the editors' introduction are chapters by Greg Duncan, Ariel Kalil, Susan E. Mayer, Robin Tepper, and Monique R. Payne; Bhashkar Mazumder; David J. Harding, Christopher Jencks, Leonard M. Lopoo, and Susan E. Mayer; Anders Björklund, Markus Jäntti, and Gary Solon; Tom Hertz; John C. Loehlin; Melissa Osborne Groves; Marcus W. Feldman, Shuzhuo Li, Nan Li, Shripad Tuljapurkar, and Xiaoyi Jin; and Adam Swift. (shrink)
According to a simple version of the reliability theory of epistemic justification, a belief is justified if and only if the process leading to that belief is reliable. The idea behind this theory is simple and attractive. There are a variety of mental or cognitive processes that result in beliefs. Some of these processes are reliable—they generally yield true beliefs—and the beliefs they produce are justified. Other processes are unreliable and the beliefs they produce are unjustified. So, for example, reliable (...) processes such as perception and memory yield justified beliefs while an unreliable process such as wishful thinking—believing something as a result of wishing that it is true—yields unjustified beliefs. (shrink)
Most epistemologists maintain that true beliefs are of final epistemic value. However, Richard Feldman is a rare philosopher who is skeptical that true beliefs are of final epistemic value. The aim of this paper is to evaluate Feldman’s criticisms. I’ll argue that Feldman’s arguments ultimately turn on a view about the relation between epistemic duties and epistemic value that is implausible and underdeveloped.
Cognitive penetration of perception, broadly understood, is the influence that the cognitive system has on a perceptual system. The paper shows a form of cognitive penetration in the visual system which I call ‘architectural’. Architectural cognitive penetration is the process whereby the behaviour or the structure of the perceptual system is influenced by the cognitive system, which consequently may have an impact on the content of the perceptual experience. I scrutinize a study in perceptual learning that provides empirical evidence that (...) cognitive influences in the visual system produce neural reorganization in the primary visual cortex. The type of cognitive penetration can be synchronic and diachronic. (shrink)
Both traditional accounts of hope and some of their recent critics analyze hope exclusively in terms of attitudes that a hoper bears towards a hoped-for prospect, such as desire and probability assignment. I argue that all of these accounts misidentify cases of despair as cases of hope, and so misconstrue the nature of hope. I show that a more satisfactory view is arrived at by noticing that in addition to the aforementioned attitudes, hope involves a characteristic attitude towards an external (...) factor, on whose operation the hoper takes the prospect's realization to depend causally. (shrink)
Our knowledge about the world is often expressed by generic sentences, yet their meanings are far from clear. This book provides answers to central problems concerning generics: what do they mean? Which factors affect their interpretation? How can one reason with generics? Cohen proposes that the meanings of generics are probability judgments, and shows how this view accounts for many of their puzzling properties, including lawlikeness. Generics are evaluated with respect to alternatives. Cohen argues that alternatives are induced by the (...) kind as well as by the predicated property, and thus provides a uniform account of the varied interpretations of generics. He studies the formal properties of alternatives and provides a compositional account of their derivation by focus and presupposition. Cohen uses his semantics of generics to provide a formal characterization of adequate default reasoning, and proves some desirable results of this formalism. (shrink)
Fred Feldman has proposed a desert-adjusted version of utilitarianism,, as a plausible population axiology. Among other things, he claims that justicism avoids Derek Parfit's. This paper explains the theory and tries to straighten out some of its ambiguities. Moreover, it is shown that it is not clear whether justicism avoids the repugnant conclusion and that it is has other counter-intuitive implications. It is concluded that justicism is not convincing as a population axiology.
We argue that the value of authenticity does not explain the value of self-knowledge. There are a plurality of species of authenticity; in this paper we consider four species: avoiding pretense (section 2), Frankfurtian wholeheartedness (section 3), existential self-knowledge (section 4), and spontaneity (section 5). Our thesis is that, for each of these species, the value of (that species of) authenticity does not (partially) explain the value of self-knowledge. Moreover, when it comes to spontaneity, the value of (that species of) (...) authenticity conflicts with the value of self-knowledge. (shrink)
By contributing a few hundred dollars to a charity like UNICEF, a prosperous person can ensure that fewer poor children die, and that more will live reasonably long, worthwhile lives. Even when knowing this, however, most people send nothing, and almost all of the rest send little. What is the moral status of this behavior? To such common cases of letting die, our untutored response is that, while it is not very good, neither is the conduct wrong. What is the (...) source of this lenient assessment? In this contentious new book, one of our leading philosophers argues that our intuitions about ethical cases are generated not by basic moral values, but by certain distracting psychological dispositions that all too often prevent us from reacting in accord with our commitments. Through a detailed look at how these tendencies operate, Unger shows that, on the good morality that we already accept, the fatally unhelpful behavior is monstrously wrong. By uncovering the eminently sensible ethics that we've already embraced fully, and by confronting us with empirical facts and with easily followed instructions for lessening serious suffering appropriately and effectively, Unger's book points the way to a compassionate new moral philosophy. (shrink)
Fred Feldman's fascinating new book sets out to defend hedonism as a theory about the Good Life. He tries to show that, when carefully and charitably interpreted, certain forms of hedonism yield plausible evaluations of human lives. Feldman begins by explaining the question about the Good Life. As he understands it, the question is not about the morally good life or about the beneficial life. Rather, the question concerns the general features of the life that is good in (...) itself for the one who lives it. Hedonism says (roughly) that the Good Life is the pleasant life. After showing that received formulations of hedonism are often confused or incoherent, Feldman presents a simple, clear, coherent form of sensory hedonism that provides a starting point for discussion. He then presents a catalogue of classic objections to hedonism, coming from sources as diverse as Plato, Aristotle, Brentano, Ross, Moore, Rawls, Kagan, Nozick, Brandt, and others. One of Feldman's central themes is that there is an important distinction between the forms of hedonism that emphasize sensory pleasure and those that emphasize attitudinal pleasure. Feldman formulates several kinds of hedonism based on the idea that attitudinal pleasure is the Good. He claims that attitudinal forms of hedonism - which have often been ignored in the literature -- are worthy of more careful attention. Another main theme of the book is the plasticity of hedonism. Hedonism comes in many forms. Attitudinal hedonism is especially receptive to variations and modifications. Feldman illustrates this plasticity by formulating several variants of attitudinal hedonism and showing how they evade some of the objections. He also shows how it is possible to develop forms of hedonism that are equivalent to the allegedly anti-hedonistic theory of G. E. Moore and the Aristotelian theory according to which the Good Life is the life of virtue, or flourishing. He also formulates hedonisms relevantly like the ones defended by Aristippus and Mill. Feldman argues that a carefully developed form of attitudinal hedonism is not refuted by objections concerning 'the shape of a life'. He also defends the claim that all of the alleged forms of hedonism discussed in the book genuinely deserve to be called 'hedonism'. Finally, after dealing with the last of the objections, he gives a sketch of his hedonistic vision of the Good Life. (shrink)
Generics and frequency statements are puzzling phenomena: they are lawlike, yet contingent. They may be true even in the absence of any supporting instances, and extending the size of their domain does not change their truth conditions. Generics and frequency statements are parametric on time, but not on possible worlds; they cannot be applied to temporary generalizations, and yet are contingent. These constructions require a regular distribution of events along the time axis. Truth judgments of generics vary considerably across speakers, (...) whereas truth judgments of frequency statements are much more uniform. A generic may be false even if the vast majority of individuals in its domain satisfy the predicated property, whereas a frequency statement using, e.g., usually would be true. This paper argues that all these seemingly unrelated puzzles have a single underlying cause: generics and frequency statements express probability judgments, and these, in turn, are interpreted as statements of hypothetical relative frequency. (shrink)
p. cm. — (Zeuthen lecture book series) Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index. ISBN 0-262-18187-8 (hardcover : alk. paper). — ISBN 0-262-68100-5 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Decision-making. 2. Economic man. 3. Game theory. 4. Rational expectations (Economic theory) I. Title. II. Series.
In spite of the burgeoning philosophical literature on human dignity, Stephen Darwall's second-personal account of the dignity of persons has not received the attention it deserves. This article investigates Darwall's account and argues that it faces a dilemma, for it succumbs either to a problem of antecedence or to the wrong kind of reasons problem. But this need not mean one should reject a second-personal account. Instead, I argue that an alternative second-personal conception, one I will call relational, promises to (...) solve the dilemma by avoiding both the problem of antecedence and the wrong kind of reasons problem. More generally, distinguishing these two second-personal conceptions of the dignity of persons is important to enrich the available philosophical accounts of human dignity. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that generics tolerate exceptions. It turns out, however, that exceptions are tolerated only so long as they do not violate homogeneity: when the exceptions are not concentrated in a salient “chunk” of the domain of the generic. The criterion for salience of a chunk is cognitive: it is dependent on the way in which the domain is mentally represented. Findings of psychological experiments about the ways in which different domains are represented, and the actors affecting such (...) representations, account for judgments of generic sentences, facts which cannot be explained by linguistics alone. The reason for the homogeneity requirement itself is, in turn, also dependent on cognitive considerations. Generics express default rules, and psychological findings have shown that, the more homogeneous the domain, the easier it is for subjects to infer rules about it. Thus, cognitive results form a crucial part of a comprehensive account of the meaning of a linguistic expression. (shrink)
The two standard interpretations of Kant’s view of the relationship between external freedom and public law make one of the terms a means for the production of the other: either public law is justified as a means to external freedom, or external freedom is justified as a means for producing a system of public law. This article defends an alternative, constitutive interpretation: public law is justified because it is partly constitutive of external freedom. The constitutive view requires conceiving of external (...) freedom in a novel, second-personal way, that is, as an irreducibly relational norm. (shrink)
The distribution of indefinite singular generics is much more restricted than that of bare plural generics. The former, unlike the latter, seem to require that the property predicated of their subject be, in some sense, ‘definitional’. Moreover, the two constructions exhibit different scopal behaviour, and differ in their felicity in conjunctions, questions, and expressions describing the speaker's confidence. I propose that the reason is that the two expressions, in fact, have rather different meanings. Carlson (1995) makes a distinction between inductivist (...) and rules‐and‐regulations theories of generics. Instead, I draw a distinction between inductivist and rules‐and‐regulations readings of generics. On one reading, a generic expresses the way things are, and its logical form involves quantification; on the other reading, a generic refers to some rule or regulation (often a definition), and states that it is in effect. While bare plurals are ambiguous between the two readings, indefinite singulars can only refer to a rule or a regulation. This difference between the two constructions follows from the fact that bare plurals, but not (nonspecific) indefinite singulars, are acceptable topics. The topic of bare plural generics, then, is the bare plural itself. It is mapped onto the restrictor of the generic quantifier, hence an inductivist reading is available. In contrast, this option is not open to indefinite singular generics. Thus, an inductivist reading is ruled out, and the only possible topic is a rule or regulation. The various differences between the two types of generic are then shown to follow. (shrink)
This article focuses on human dignity as a moral idea and, in particular, on a single but fundamental question: what conception of human dignity, if any, can generate an egalitarian duty to respect all persons? After surveying two mainstream and two alternative conceptions, the article suggests that explaining how human dignity generates an egalitarian duty of respect may be more difficult than has been appreciated.
While opinions on the semantic analysis of generics vary widely, most scholars agree that generics have a quasi-universal flavor. However, there are cases where generics receive what appears to be an existentialinterpretation. For example, B's response is true, even though only theplatypus and the echidna lay eggs: (1) A: Birds lay eggs. B: Mammals lay eggs too. In this paper I propose a uniform account of the semantics of generics,which accounts for their quasi-existential readings as well as for their more (...) familiar quasi-universal ones. Generics are focus-sensitiveoperators: their domain is restricted by a set of alternatives, which may be provided by focus. I claim that, unlike otherfocus-sensitive operators, generics may, but do not have to, associate with focus. When alternatives are introduced, either by focus or by other means, generics get their usual quasi-universal readings. But when no alternatives are introduced, quasi-existential readings result.I argue that generics, unlike adverbs of quantification, do not introduce tripartite structures directly, but are initially interpreted as cases ofdirect kind predication. Only when this interpretation fails to make sense, the phonologically null generic quantifier is derived, and tripartite structures result. This two-level interpretation has the effect that while adverbs of quantification require focus to determine which elements go to the restrictor and which to the nuclear scope, and hence must associate with focus, generics do not, and hence may fail to associate with focus, resulting in quasi-existential readings. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article argues that received accounts of the concept of human dignity face more difficulties than has been appreciated, when explaining the connection between human dignity and the duty of respect that dignity is supposed to generate. It also argues that a novel, relational, account has the adequate structure to explain such connection.
Agricultural reports and guides, nonhuman animal welfare studies, and animal rights reports attempt to document and convey the condition of nonhuman animals in agriculture. These disciplines tend to resist a prolonged and methodically versatile examination of individual animals. In his pioneer work, Lovenheim , The author produced such a biographical documentation of calves in the dairy and meat industries. He provided an exceptionally prolonged and detailed tracing of their lives as individuals, establishing an emotional attachment in both documenter and reader. (...) Yet, sentiments for the farmers, typical urban conceptions of communication with nonhuman animals, and difficulties in obtaining the relevant information limit Lovenheim's success and imply similar difficulties in other cases. (shrink)
In addition to the familiar cardinal and proportional readings of many and few, there is yet another interpretation, the relative proportional reading. This reading, unlike the ordinary absolute proportional reading, is not conservative. Under the relative reading, 'Many ψs are φs' is true just in case the proportion of φs among ψs is greater than the proportion of φs among members of contextually given alternatives to ψ. I provide a definition of proportional readings that reduces the differences between absolute and (...) relative interpretations to the value of a single parameter.I argue that relative readings are not restricted to many and few, but are also exhibited by the adverbs often and seldom, and by generics. Interpretations of determiners that have been treated as "focus-affected readings," interpretations of adverbs of quantification that have been treated as "pure frequency readings," and interpretations of generics which have been claimed to be cases of "reverse interpretation" or "direct kind predication" are, in fact, instances of relative readings.A: Army reserve service is especially hard on people who own a small business.Q: Do many small-business owners serve in your regiment?A: I don't know what it's like in other regiments –Q: I am not asking you about other regiments.A: I know, but relatively speaking . . .(Interview on Israel Army Radio, June 8th, 2001). (shrink)
The paper is a discussion of the interpretation of game theory. Game theory is viewed as an abstract inquiry into the concepts used in social reasoning when dealing with situations of conflict and not as an attempt to predict behavior. The first half of the paper..