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  1.  64
    The Evolution of Vagueness.Cailin O'Connor - 2013 - Erkenntnis (S4):1-21.
    Vague predicates, those that exhibit borderline cases, pose a persistent problem for philosophers and logicians. Although they are ubiquitous in natural language, when used in a logical context, vague predicates lead to contradiction. This paper will address a question that is intimately related to this problem. Given their inherent imprecision, why do vague predicates arise in the first place? I discuss a variation of the signaling game where the state space is treated as contiguous, i.e., endowed with a metric that (...)
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  2.  33
    In Epistemic Networks, is Less Really More?Sarita Rosenstock, Cailin O'Connor & Justin Bruner - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):234-252.
    We show that previous results from epistemic network models showing the benefits of decreased connectivity in epistemic networks are not robust across changes in parameter values. Our findings motivate discussion about whether and how such models can inform real-world epistemic communities. As we argue, only robust results from epistemic network models should be used to generate advice for the real-world, and, in particular, decreasing connectivity is a robustly poor recommendation.
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  3. Evolving Perceptual Categories.Cailin O'Connor - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):110-121.
    This article uses sim-max games to model perceptual categorization with the goal of answering the following question: To what degree should we expect the perceptual categories of biological actors to track properties of the world around them? I argue that an analysis of these games suggests that the relationship between real-world structure and evolved perceptual categories is mediated by successful action in the sense that organisms evolve to categorize together states of nature for which similar actions lead to similar results. (...)
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  4.  29
    Ambiguity Is Kinda Good Sometimes.Cailin O'Connor - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (1):110-121.
    In a recent article, Carlos Santana shows that in common interest signaling games when signals are costly and when receivers can observe contextual environmental cues, ambiguous signaling strategies outperform precise ones and can, as a result, evolve. I show that if one assumes a realistic structure on the state space of a common interest signaling game, ambiguous strategies can be explained without appeal to contextual cues. I conclude by arguing that there are multiple types of cases of payoff-beneficial ambiguity, some (...)
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  5. Power, Bargaining, and Collaboration.Justin Bruner & Cailin O'Connor - 2016 - In T. Boyer, C. Mayo-Wilson & M. Weisberg (eds.), Scientific Collaboration and Collective Knowledge.
    Collaboration is increasingly popular across academia. Collaborative work raises certain ethical questions, however. How will the fruits of collaboration be divided? How will the work for the collaborative project be split? In this paper, we consider the following question in particular. Are there ways in which these divisions systematically disadvantage certain groups? -/- We use evolutionary game theoretic models to address this question. First, we discuss results from O'Connor and Bruner (unpublished). In this paper, we show that underrepresented groups in (...)
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  6.  28
    Black Holes, Black Scholes, and Prairie Voles: An Essay Review of Simulation and Similarity by Michael Weisberg.Cailin O'Connor & James Owen Weatherall - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (4):613-626.
    An essay review of Michael Weisberg's Simulation and Similarity.
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  7.  4
    The Cultural Red King Effect.Cailin O'Connor - 2017 - Journal of Mathematical Sociology 41 (3).
    Why do minority groups tend to be discriminated against when it comes to situations of bargaining and resource division? In this paper, I explore an explanation for this disadvantage that appeals solely to the dynamics of social interaction between minority and majority groups---the cultural Red King effect. As I show, in agent-based models of bargaining between groups, the minority group will tend to get less as a direct result of the fact that they frequently interact with majority group members, while (...)
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  8.  4
    Experimental Economics for Philosophers.Hannah Rubin, Cailin O'Connor & Justin Bruner - unknown
    Recently, game theory and evolutionary game theory - mathematical frameworks from economics and biology designed to model and explain interactive behavior - have proved fruitful tools for philosophers in areas such as ethics, philosophy of language, social epistemology, and political philosophy. This methodological osmosis is part of a trend where philosophers have blurred disciplinary lines to import the best epistemic tools available. In this vein, experimental philosophers have drawn on practices from the social sciences, and especially from psychology, to expand (...)
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  9. Deus Ex Machina: A Cautionary Tale for Naturalists.Cailin O'Connor, Nathan Fulton, Elliott Wagner & P. Kyle Stanford - 2012 - Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):51-62.
    In this paper we critically examine and seek to extend Philip Kitcher’s Ethical Project to weave together a distinctive naturalistic conception of how ethics came to occupy the place it does in our lives and how the existing ethical project should be revised and extended into the future. Although we endorse his insight that ethical progress is better conceived of as the improvement of an existing state than an incremental approach towards a fixed endpoint, we nonetheless go on to argue (...)
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  10.  11
    Evolving Perceptual Categories.Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    This paper uses sim-max games to model perceptual categorization with the goal of answering the following question: to what degree should we expect the perceptual categories of biological actors to track properties of the world around them? I will argue that an analysis of these games suggests that the relationship between real-world structure and evolved perceptual categories is mediated by successful action in the sense that organisms evolve to categorize together states of nature for which similar actions lead to similar (...)
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  11.  3
    Inequity and Inequality in the Emergence of Norms.Calvin Cochran & Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    Many societies have state norms of equity---that those who make symmetric social contributions deserve symmetric rewards. Despite this, there are widespread patterns of social inequity, especially along gender and racial lines. It is often the case that members of certain social groups receive greater rewards per contribution than others. In this paper, we draw on evolutionary game theory to show that the emergence of this sort of inequitable convention is far from surprising. In simple cultural evolutionary models, inequity is much (...)
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  12.  3
    Modeling Minimal Conditions for Inequity.Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    This paper describes a class of idealized models that illuminate minimal conditions for inequity. Some such models will track the actual causal factors that generate real world inequity. Others may not. Whether or not these models do track these real-world factors is irrelevant to the epistemic role they play in showing that minimal commonplace factors are enough to generate inequity. In such cases, it is the fact that the model does not fit the world that makes it a particularly powerful (...)
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  13.  3
    The Evolution of Intersectional Oppression.Cailin O'Connor, Liam Kofi Bright & Justin Bruner - unknown
    Intersectionality theory explores the special sorts of disadvantage that arise as the result of occupying multiple disadvantaged demographic categories. One significant methodological problem for the quantitative study of intersectionality is the difficulty of acquiring data sets large enough to produce significant results when one is looking for intersectional effects. For this reason, we argue, simulation methods may be particularly useful to this branch of theorizing because they can generate precise predictions and causal dependencies in a relatively cheap way, and can (...)
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  14.  2
    Power by Association.Travis Lacroix & Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    We use tools from evolutionary game theory to examine how power might influence the cultural evolution of inequitable norms between discernible groups in a population of otherwise identical individuals. Similar extant models always assume that power is homogeneous across a social group. As such, these models fail to capture situations where individuals who are not themselves disempowered nonetheless end up disadvantaged in bargaining scenarios by dint of their social group membership. Thus, we assume that there is heterogeneity in the groups (...)
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  15.  48
    Communication Without the Cooperative Principle: A Signaling Experiment.Hannah Rubin, Justin Bruner, Cailin O'Connor & Simon Huttegger - unknown
    According to Grice's `Cooperative Principle', human communicators are involved in a cooperative endeavor. The speaker attempts to make herself understood and the listener, in turn, assumes that the speaker is trying to maximize the ease and effectiveness of communication. While pragmatists recognize that people do not always behave in such a way, the Cooperative Principle is generally assumed to hold. However, it is often the case that the interests of speakers and listeners diverge, at least to some degree. Communication can (...)
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  16.  18
    If Evolution Favours Fairness, Why Does Inequality Persist?Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    Cailin O’Connor on power and the emergence of bargaining norms.
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  17.  31
    Power, Bargaining, and Collaboration.Justin Bruner & Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    Collaboration is increasingly popular across academia. Collaborative work raises certain ethical questions, however. How will the fruits of collaboration be divided? How will the work for the collaborative project be split? In this paper, we consider the following question in particular. Are there ways in which these divisions systematically disadvantage certain groups? We use evolutionary game theoretic models to address this question. First, we discuss results from O'Connor and Bruner showing that underrepresented groups in academia can be disadvantaged in collaboration (...)
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  18.  30
    The Evolution of Guilt.Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    Using evolutionary game theory, I consider how guilt can provide individual fitness benefits to actors both before and after bad behavior. This supplements recent work by philosophers on the evolution of guilt with a more complete picture of the relevant selection pressures.
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  19.  25
    Dynamics and Diversity in Epistemic Communities.Cailin O'Connor & Justin Bruner - unknown
    Bruner shows that in cultural interactions, members of minority groups will learn to interact with members of majority groups more quickly---minorities tend to meet majorities more often as a brute fact of their respective numbers---and, as a result, may come to be disadvantaged in situations where they divide resources. In this paper, we discuss the implications of this effect for epistemic communities. We use evolutionary game theoretic methods to show that minority groups can end up disadvantaged in academic interactions like (...)
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  20.  16
    Selective Advantages of Guilt.Sarita Rosenstock & Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    Using results from evolutionary game theory, we analyze the conditions under which guilt can provide individual fitness benefits to actors, and so evolve. In particular, we focus on the individual benefits of guilty apology. We find that guilty apology is more likely to evolve in cases where actors interact repeatedly over long periods of time, where the costs of apology are low or moderate, and where guilt is hard to fake.
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  21.  10
    David Lewis in the Lab: An Experimental Study of Signaling Convention.Justin Bruner, Cailin O'Connor, Hannah Rubin & Simon Huttegger - unknown
    In this paper we use an experimental approach to investigate how linguistic conventions can emerge in a society without explicit agreement. As a starting point we consider the signaling game introduced by Lewis. We find that in experimental settings, small groups can quickly develop conventions of signal meaning in these games. We also investigate versions of the game where the theoretical literature indicates that meaning will be less likely to arise---when there are more than two states for actors to transfer (...)
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  22.  2
    Ambiguity is Kinda Good, Sometimes.Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    Santana shows that in common interest signaling games when signals are costly and when receivers can observe contextual environmental cues, ambiguous signaling strategies outperform precise ones and can, as a result, evolve. In this note, I show that if one assumes realistic structure on the state space of a common interest signaling game, ambiguous strategies can be explained without appeal to contextual cues. I conclude by arguing that there are multiple types of cases of payoff beneficial ambiguity, some of which (...)
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