We use a theorem from M. J. Schervish to explore the relationship between accuracy and practical success. If an agent is pragmatically rational, she will quantify the expected loss of her credence with a strictly proper scoring rule. Which scoring rule is right for her will depend on the sorts of decisions she expects to face. We relate this pragmatic conception of inaccuracy to the purely epistemic one popular among epistemic utility theorists.
Evidential Decision Theory and Causal Decision Theory are the leading contenders as theories of rational action, but both face counterexamples. We present some new counterexamples, including one in which the optimal action is causally dominated. We also present a novel decision theory, Functional Decision Theory, which simultaneously solves both sets of counterexamples. Instead of considering which physical action of theirs would give rise to the best outcomes, FDT agents consider which output of their decision function would give rise to the (...) best outcome. This theory relies on a notion of subjunctive dependence, where multiple implementations of the same mathematical function are considered to have identical results for logical rather than causal reasons. Taking these subjunctive dependencies into account allows FDT agents to outperform CDT and EDT agents in, for example, the presence of accurate predictors. (shrink)
Permissivism about rationality is the view that there is sometimes more than one rational response to a given body of evidence. In this paper I discuss the relationship between permissivism, deference to rationality, and peer disagreement. I begin by arguing that—contrary to popular opinion—permissivism supports at least a moderate version of conciliationism. I then formulate a worry for permissivism. I show that, given a plausible principle of rational deference, permissive rationality seems to become unstable and to collapse into unique rationality. (...) I conclude with a formulation of a way out of this problem on behalf of the permissivist. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop a new kind of conciliatory answer to the problem of peer disagreement. Instead of trying to guide an agent’s updating behaviour in any particular disagreement, I establish constraints on an agent’s expected behaviour and argue that, in the long run, she should tend to be conciliatory toward her peers. I first claim that this macro-approach affords us new conceptual insight on the problem of peer disagreement and provides an important angle complementary to the standard micro-approaches (...) in the literature. I then detail the import of two novel results based on accuracy-considerations that establish the following: An agent should, on average, give her peers equal weight. However, if the agent takes herself and her advisor to be reliable, she should usually give the party with a stronger opinion more weight. In other words, an agent’s response to peer disagreement should over the course of many disagreements average out to equal weight, but in any particular disagreement, her response should tend to deviate from equal weight in a way that systematically depends on the actual credences she and her advisor report. (shrink)
Sections R1 to R3 attempt to take the sting out of hostile commentaries. Sections R4 to R5 engage Berlin and Kay and the World Color Survey to correct the record. Section R6 begins the formulation of a new theory of colour as an engineering project with a technological developmental trajectory. It is recommended that the colour space be abandoned.
In this target article the following hypotheses are discussed: (1) Colour is autonomous: a perceptuolinguistic and behavioural universal. (2) It is completely described by three independent attributes: hue, brightness, and saturation: (3) Phenomenologically and psychophysically there are four unique hues: red, green, blue, and yellow; (4) The unique hues are underpinned by two opponent psychophysical and/or neuronal channels: red/green, blue/yellow. The relevant literature is reviewed. We conclude: (i) Psychophysics and neurophysiology fail to set nontrivial constraints on colour categorization. (ii) Linguistic (...) evidence provides no grounds for the universality of basic colour categories. (iii) Neither the opponent hues red/green, blue/yellow nor hue, brightness, and saturation are intrinsic to a universal concept of colour. (iv) Colour is not autonomous. (shrink)
Some propositions are more epistemically important than others. Further, how important a proposition is is often a contingent matter—some propositions count more in some worlds than in others. Epistemic Utility Theory cannot accommodate this fact, at least not in any standard way. For EUT to be successful, legitimate measures of epistemic utility must be proper, i.e., every probability function must assign itself maximum expected utility. Once we vary the importance of propositions across worlds, however, normal measures of epistemic utility become (...) improper. I argue there isn’t any good way out for EUT. (shrink)
Neuronal aggregates involved in conscious awareness are not evenly distributed throughout the CNS but comprise key components referred to as the neural network correlates of consciousness (NNCC). A critical node in this network is the posterior cingulate, precuneal, and retrosplenial cortices. The cytological and neurochemical composition of this region is reviewed in relation to the Brodmann map. This region has the highest level of cortical glucose metabolism and cytochrome c oxidase activity. Monkey studies suggest that the anterior thalamic projection likely (...) drives retrosplenial and posterior cingulate cortex metabolism and that the midbrain projection to the anteroventral thalamic nucleus is a key coupling site between the brainstem system for arousal and cortical systems for cognitive processing and awareness. The pivotal role of the posterior cingulate, precuneal, and retrosplenial cortices in consciousness is demonstrated with posterior cingulate epilepsy cases, midcingulate lesions that de-afferent this region and are associated with unilateral sensory neglect, observations from stroke and vegetative state patients, alterations in blood ﬂow during sleep, and the actions of general anesthetics. Since this region is critically involved in self reﬂection, it is not surprising that it is similarly a site for the NNCC. Interestingly, information processing during complex cognitive tasks and during aversive sensations such as pain induces efforts to terminate self reﬂection and result in decreased processing in posterior cingulate and precuneal cortices. (shrink)
This paper describes the perspectives of stakeholders within the North American dairy industry on key issues affecting the welfare of dairy cattle. Five heterogeneous focus groups were held during a dairy cattle welfare meeting in Guelph, Canada in October 2012. Each group contained between 7 and 10 participants and consisted of a mix of dairy producers, veterinarians, academics, students, and dairy industry specialists. The 1-h facilitated discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Content analysis of the resulting transcripts showed that participants (...) across all stakeholder categories identified lameness as the most important welfare issue facing dairy cattle. Other prominent issues of concern included cow comfort, disease, on-farm mortality, stockmanship, painful procedures, injuries, cull cow management, calf management, and restriction of behavioural freedoms. Participants typically gave several reasons for why they considered issues problematic. Underlying reasons were grouped according to animal-centered concerns [at both the individual and at the herd level ] and industry-centered concerns . This analysis identified areas of shared concern among diverse stakeholder groups, which should aid in the development of standards and policies that satisfy stakeholders within and external to the dairy industry. (shrink)
According to accuracy-first epistemology, accuracy is the fundamental epistemic good. Epistemic norms — Probabilism, Conditionalization, the Principal Principle, etc. — have their binding force in virtue of helping to secure this good. To make this idea precise, accuracy-firsters invoke Epistemic Decision Theory (EpDT) to determine which epistemic policies are the best means toward the end of accuracy. Hilary Greaves and others have recently challenged the tenability of this programme. Their arguments purport to show that EpDT encourages obviously epistemically irrational behavior. (...) We develop firmer conceptual foundations for EpDT. First, we detail a theory of praxic and epistemic good. Then we show that, in light of their very different good-making features, EpDT will evaluate epistemic states and epistemic acts according to different criteria. So, in general, rational preference over states and acts won’t agree. Finally, we argue that based on direction-of-fit considerations, it’s preferences over the former that matter for normative epistemology, and that EpDT, properly spelt out, arrives at the correct verdicts in a range of putative problem cases. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is two fold: first, I look to show Oaklander’s theory of time to be false. Second, I show that the only way to salvage the B-theory is via the adopting of the causal theory of time, and allying this to Oaklander’s claim that tense is to be eliminated. I then raise some concerns with the causal theory of time. My conclusion is that, if one adopts eternalism, the unreality of time looks a better option than (...) the B-theory. (shrink)
[opening paragraph]: Buddhist inquiry into the natural world proceeds from a radically different point of departure than western science, and its methods differ correspondingly. Early pioneers of the scientific revolution, including Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, expressed an initial interest in the nature of physical objects most far removed from human subjectivity: such issues as the relative motions of the sun and earth, the surface of the moon, and the revolutions of the planets. And a central principle of scientific naturalism is (...) the pure objectification of the natural world, free of any contamination of subjectivity. This principle of objectivism demands that science deals with empirical facts testable by empirical methods entailing testability by third-person means; and such facts must, therefore, be public rather than private, which is to say, they must be accessible to more than one observer. (shrink)
I shall attempt something rash in this paper. I shall draw your attention to some past and current work on perception by psychologists and others. I shall concentrate on work in vision and hearing. This outline will occupy the first part of my lecture. I shall then go on, in the second part, to suggest that this scientific work has certain philosophical implications. This whole attempt is a bit rash for obvious reasons. It is not easy to outline fairly and (...) accurately past and current work in any branch of science. I am very liable, therefore, to do an injustice to the efforts of psychologists and others in this field. What makes matters more difficult for me is that I also have to show that this work is of philosophical interest. What has led me to embark on this perilous enterprise is a hunch I have developed in recent years. I have the hunch that philosophers who are interested in perception would do well to pay rather more attention than they have been wont to do in the past to the work and discourse coming out of the scientific laboratory and similar places. (shrink)
A case study concerning a 27-year-old African American female with sickle cell anemia who requests specific medication is presented. Hospital team members should do their best to treat the patient and form their judgments based on her clinical data and medical and social history.