The paper presents and defends a Bayesian theory of trust in social networks. In the first part of the paper, we provide justifications for the basic assumptions behind the model, and we give reasons for thinking that the model has plausible consequences for certain kinds of communication. In the second part of the paper we investigate the phenomenon of overconfidence. Many psychological studies have found that people think they are more reliable than they actually are. Using a simulation environment that (...) has been developed in order to make our model computationally tractable we show that in our model inquirers are indeed sometimes better off from an epistemic perspective overestimating the reliability of their own inquiries. We also show, by contrast, that people are rarely better off overestimating the reliability of others. On the basis of these observations we formulate a novel hypothesis about the value of overconfidence. (shrink)
According to the Argument from Disagreement (AD) widespread and persistent disagreement on ethical issues indicates that our moral opinions are not influenced by moral facts, either because there are no such facts or because there are such facts but they fail to influence our moral opinions. In an innovative paper, Gustafsson and Peterson (Synthese, published online 16 October, 2010) study the argument by means of computer simulation of opinion dynamics, relying on the well-known model of Hegselmann and Krause (J Artif (...) Soc Soc Simul 5(3):1–33, 2002; J Artif Soc Soc Simul 9(3):1–28, 2006). Their simulations indicate that if our moral opinions were influenced at least slightly by moral facts, we would quickly have reached consensus, even if our moral opinions were also affected by additional factors such as false authorities, external political shifts and random processes. Gustafsson and Peterson conclude that since no such consensus has been reached in real life, the simulation gives us increased reason to take seriously the AD. Our main claim in this paper is that these results are not as robust as Gustafsson and Peterson seem to think they are. If we run similar simulations in the alternative Laputa simulation environment developed by Angere and Olsson (Angere, Synthese, forthcoming and Olsson, Episteme 8(2):127–143, 2011) considerably less support for the AD is forthcoming. (shrink)
Traditional Bayesianism requires that an agent’s degrees of belief be represented by a real-valued, probabilistic credence function. However, in many cases it seems that our evidence is not rich enough to warrant such precision. In light of this, some have proposed that we instead represent an agent’s degrees of belief as a set of credence functions. This way, we can respect the evidence by requiring that the set, often called the agent’s credal state, includes all credence functions that are in (...) some sense compatible with the evidence. One known problem for this evidentially motivated imprecise view is that in certain cases, our imprecise credence in a particular proposition will remain the same no matter how much evidence we receive. In this article I argue that the problem is much more general than has been appreciated so far, and that it’s difficult to avoid it without compromising the initial evidentialist motivation. _1_ Introduction _2_ Precision and Its Problems _3_ Imprecise Bayesianism and Respecting Ambiguous Evidence _4_ Local Belief Inertia _5_ From Local to Global Belief Inertia _6_ Responding to Global Belief Inertia _7_ Conclusion. (shrink)
The phenomenon of base-rate neglect has elicited much debate. One arena of debate concerns how people make judgments under conditions of uncertainty. Another more controversial arena concerns human rationality. In this target article, we attempt to unpack the perspectives in the literature on both kinds of issues and evaluate their ability to explain existing data and their conceptual coherence. From this evaluation we conclude that the best account of the data should be framed in terms of a dual-process model of (...) judgment, which attributes base-rate neglect to associative judgment strategies that fail to adequately represent the set structure of the problem. Base-rate neglect is reduced when problems are presented in a format that affords accurate representation in terms of nested sets of individuals. (shrink)
Taking as its starting point recent claims that Jean-Paul Sartre's Critique de la Raison Dialectique was written as an attempt to overcome the historical relativism of Raymond Aron's Introduction à la philosophie de l'histoire , the present article traces this covert dialogue back to a fundamental disagreement between the two men over the interpretation of Wilhelm Dilthey's anti-positivist theory of Verstehen or 'understanding'. In so doing it counters a longstanding tendency to emphasise the convergence of Aron and Sartre's (...) philosophical interests prior to the break in their friendship occasioned by the onset of the Cold War, suggesting that the causes of their later, radical political divergence were pregnant within this earlier philosophical divergence. (shrink)
Performing surgery in the developing world presents unique challenges and dilemmas for the visiting physician from an industrialized country. Language barriers, widespread, profound pathology, and lack of adequate facilities are obvious hurdles. A more subtle problem, though every bit as significant, is that the principles and procedures we routinely utilize at home to uphold ethical standards of care and to aid us in decision-making are often poorly applicable in the developing world. Acknowledging that cultural factors play a primary role in (...) every aspect of their interaction with patients, physicians must scrutinize and even modify the tools they employ when attempting to deliver ethical care in foreign .. (shrink)
In this article, we explore how digital marketers think about marketing in the age of Big Data surveillance, automatic computational analyses, and algorithmic shaping of choice contexts. Our starting point is a contradiction at the heart of digital marketing namely that digital marketing brings about unprecedented levels of consumer empowerment and autonomy and total control over and manipulation of consumer decision-making. We argue that this contradiction of digital marketing is resolved via the notion of relevance, which represents what Fredric Jameson (...) calls a symbolic act. The notion of the symbolic act lets us see the centering of relevance as a creative act of digital marketers who undertake to symbolically resolve a contradiction that cannot otherwise be resolved. Specifically, we suggest that relevance allows marketers to believe that in the age of surveillance capitalism, the manipulation of choice contexts and decision-making is the same as consumer empowerment. Put differently, relevance is the moment when marketing manipulation disappears and all that is left is the empowered consumer. To create relevant manipulations that are experienced as empowering by the consumer requires always-on surveillance, massive analyses of consumer data and hyper-targeted responses, in short, a persistent marketing presence. The vision of digital marketing is therefore a fascinating one: marketing disappears at precisely the moment when it extends throughout the life without limit. (shrink)
Lamy’s view coincides with much of the self-expansion model of love, but also suggests potential interesting directions for expanding it and integrating it with other ideas. These include the potential role of anticipated rapid self-development through falling in love itself being a self-expansion motivation, which although consistent with the model, has not been fully tested; and the potential role of stories/scripts of love, which although existing in the literature, have been minimally integrated with other lines of work and not at (...) all with the self-expansion model. (shrink)
The commentaries indicate a general agreement that one source of reduction of base-rate neglect involves making structural relations among relevant sets transparent. There is much less agreement, however, that this entails dual systems of reasoning. In this response, we make the case for our perspective on dual systems. We compare and contrast our view to the natural frequency hypothesis as formulated in the commentaries.
1. Although a number of personality variables have been identified by various authors as the determinants of religious behavior, independent of specific religious denomination, the results of the studies under consideration certainly appear to be inconsistent with such claims. It is suggested instead that the personality correlates of religious behavior vary with the specific religious denomination. 2. For most people religious belief and religious observance are acquired or learned in the socialization process. In a culture in which there is no (...) social pressure to conform in relation to religious behavior , individual differences in adult religious behavior may be a result of certain personality differences. In the Israeli Jewish sample a number of personality variables were found to covary with religious belief and/or observance. Religious belief and observance, however, were also highly significant sources of variance in subjects' values. These value differences probably influence the what and how of the socialization process which in turn may be responsible for some-although probably not all-of the personality variables associated with religious behavior. 3. In cultures which are characterized by strong social pressure in relation to religious conformity, e. g. the culture represented by our United States Protestant sample, the religious behavior of many individuals will be a result of their need to conform rather than other personality variables directly related to their religious behavior as such. Thus in the United States Protestant sample conformity and variables associated with it were the only significant sources of variance in subjects' religious behavior. The results of our studies indicate the importance of differentiating between religious belief and observance which is merely the result of social conformity and religious belief and observance which is also the result of other variables which are more directly related to religious behavior as such. Presently we are in the process of constructing instruments to measure these two types of religious behavior. 4. Finally, it is suggested that in trying to discover the determinants of individual differences in religious behavior there has been too much emphasis on motivational variables and not enough on environmental factors. A social learning model may be the best suited for the investigation of the sources of individual differences in religious behavior. (shrink)
The stochastic scheme proposed in a previous paper as subjacent to quantum mechanics is analyzed in the light of the difficulties and criticisms encountered by similar attempts. It is shown that the limitation of the domain where the theory is valid gives a reply to the criticisms, but restricts its practical usefulness to the description of basic features. A stochastic approach of the hadron mass spectrum, allowing the scheme to emerge in the domain of experimental verification (to be worked out (...) in a later paper) is outlined. The model is found not to be in disagreement with Bell's argument opposed to hidden variables; a same origin is suggested for the difficulties encountered in both domains. The views proposed are compared with the Copenhagen interpretation: common points and divergences are analyzed. (shrink)
The guiding idea of this work is that classical diffusion theory, being nonrelativistic, should be associated with nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. A study of classical diffusion leads to a generalization which should correspond to the relativistic domain. Actually, with a convenient choice of the basic constants, one sees the relativistic features (Lorentz contraction and covariant diffusion equation) emerge in the generalized process. This leads first to a derivation of the nonrelativistic and relativistic wave equations (and to a model of the Dirac (...) fluid); then to a better understanding of several relativistic aspects of quantum mechanics (spin connection with relativity and link of relativity with nonlocalization). No quantum mechanical forces are postulated: they arise as pseudo-forces in the course of the calculations. The physical significance of the stochastic model is examined and shown to give a pictorial description only in certain ideal situations, but to remove several conceptual difficulties. Remarks are presented on the role of idealization in microphysics. (shrink)
The stochastic approach worked out in earlier papers is applied to the Dirac fluid. It gives a model of the Schrödinger zitterbewegung, from which, by the spinor-vector correspondence, a model of the plane monochromatic wave in the rest frame is derived. The relation of the scheme with quantization is found to have the same character as in the previous papers. The link of spin with relativity is explained.
Epistemologists can be divided into two camps: those who think that nothing short of certainty or (subjective) probability 1 can warrant assertion and those who disagree with this claim. This paper addressed this issue by inquiring into the problem of setting the probability threshold required for assertion in such a way that that the social epistemic good is maximized, where the latter is taken to be the veritistic value in the sense of Goldman (Knowledge in a social world, 1999). We (...) provide a Bayesian model of a test case involving a community of inquirers in a social network engaged in group deliberation regarding the truth or falsity of a proposition $p.$ p . Results obtained by means of computer simulation indicate that the certainty rule is optimal in the limit of inquiry and communication but that a lower threshold is preferable in less idealized cases. (shrink)