This essay criticizes the proposal recently defended by a number of prominent economists that welfare economics be redirected away from the satisfaction of people's preferences and toward making people happy instead. Although information about happiness may sometimes be of use, the notion of happiness is sufficiently ambiguous and the objections to identifying welfare with happiness are sufficiently serious that welfare economists are better off using preference satisfaction as a measure of welfare. The essay also examines and criticizes the position associated (...) with Daniel Kahneman and a number of co-authors that takes welfare to be ‘objective happiness’ – that is, the sum of momentary pleasures. (shrink)
The tenuous claims of cost-benefit analysis to guide policy so as to promote welfare turn on measuring welfare by preference satisfaction and taking willingness-to-pay to indicate preferences. Yet it is obvious that people's preferences are not always self-interested and that false beliefs may lead people to prefer what is worse for them even when people are self-interested. So welfare is not preference satisfaction, and hence it appears that cost-benefit analysis and welfare economics in general rely on a mistaken theory of (...) well-being. This essay explores the difficulties, criticizes standard defences of welfare economics, and then offers a new partial defence that maintains that welfare economics is independent of any philosophical theory of well-being. Welfare economics requires nothing more than an evidential connection between preference and welfare: in circumstances in which people are concerned with their own interests and reasonably good judges of what will serve their interests, their preferences will be reliable indicators of what is good for them. (shrink)
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, his main work of theoretical philosophy, frequently uses metaphors from law. In this first book-length study in English of Kant's legal metaphors and their role in the first Critique, Sofie Møller shows that they are central to Kant's account of reason. Through an analysis of the legal metaphors in their entirety, she demonstrates that Kant conceives of reason as having a structure mirroring that of a legal system in a natural right framework. Her study shows (...) that Kant's aim is to make cognisers become similar to authorized judges within such a system, by proving the legitimacy of the laws and the conditions under which valid judgments can be pronounced. These elements consolidate her conclusion that reason's systematicity is legal systematicity. (shrink)
This essay attempts to distinguish the pressing issues for economists and economic methodologists concerning realism in economics from those issues that are of comparatively slight importance. In particular I shall argue that issues concerning the goals of science are of considerable interest in economics, unlike issues concerning the evidence for claims about unobservables, which have comparatively little relevance. In making this argument, this essay raises doubts about the two programs in contemporary economic methodology that raise the banner of realism. In (...) particular I argue that the banner makes it more difficult to relate the concerns of those who wave it to those of other methodologists. Although this essay argues that many of the debates in this century between scientific realists and their opponents are not relevant to economics, it does not attack scientific realism, and it does not urge economists or economic methodologists to reject it. (shrink)
This book is about preferences, principally as they figure in economics. It also explores their uses in everyday language and action, how they are understood in psychology and how they figure in philosophical reflection on action and morality. The book clarifies and for the most part defends the way in which economists invoke preferences to explain, predict and assess behavior and outcomes. Hausman argues, however, that the predictions and explanations economists offer rely on theories of preference formation that are in (...) need of further development, and he criticizes attempts to define welfare in terms of preferences and to define preferences in terms of choices or self-interest. The analysis clarifies the relations between rational choice theory and philosophical accounts of human action. The book also assembles the materials out of which models of preference formation and modification can be constructed, and it comments on how reason and emotion shape preferences. (shrink)
The psychological condition of happiness is normally considered a paradigm subjective good, and is closely associated with subjectivist accounts of well-being. This article argues that the value of happiness is best accounted for by a non-subjectivist approach to welfare: a eudaimonistic account that grounds well-being in the fulfillment of our natures, specifically in self-fulfillment. And self-fulfillment consists partly in authentic happiness. A major reason for this is that happiness, conceived in terms of emotional state, bears a special relationship to the (...) self. These arguments also point to a more sentimentalist approach to well-being than one finds in most contemporary accounts, particularly among Aristotelian forms of eudaimonism. (shrink)
This book, by one of the pre-eminent philosophers of science writing today, offers the most comprehensive account available of causal asymmetries. Causation is asymmetrical in many different ways. Causes precede effects; explanations cite causes not effects. Agents use causes to manipulate their effects; they don't use effects to manipulate their causes. Effects of a common cause are correlated; causes of a common effect are not. This book explains why a relationship that is asymmetrical in one of these regards is asymmetrical (...) in the others. Hausman discovers surprising hidden connections between theories of causation and traces them all to an asymmetry of independence. This is a major book for philosophers of science that will also prove insightful to economists and statisticians. (shrink)
It is extraordinary, when one thinks about it, how little attention has been paid by theorists of the nature and justification of punishment to the idea that punishment is essentially a matter of self-defense. H. L. A. Hart, for example, in his famous “Prolegomenon to the Principles of Punishment,” is clearly committed to the view that, at bottom, there are just three directions in which a plausible theory of punishment can go: we can try to justify punishment on purely consequentialist (...) grounds, which for Hart, I think, would be to try to construct a purely utilitarian justification of punishment; we can try to justify punishment on purely retributive grounds; or we can try to justify punishment on grounds that are some sort of shrewd combination of consequentialist and retributive considerations. Entirely absent from Hart's discussion is any consideration of the possibility that punishment might be neither a matter of maximizing the good, nor of exacting retribution for a wrongful act, nor of some imaginative combination of these things, but, rather, of something altogether different from either of them: namely, the exercise of a fundamental right of self-protection. Similarly, but much more recently, R. A. Duff, despite the fact that he himself introduces and defends an extremely interesting fourth possibility, begins his discussion by writing as though, apart from his contribution, there are available to us essentially just the options previously sketched by Hart. Again, there is no mention here, any more than in Hart's or any number of other recent discussions, of the possibility that we might be able to justify the institution of punishment on grounds that are indeed forward-looking, to use Hart's famous term, but that are not at all consequentialist in any ordinary sense of the word. (shrink)
In ordinary circumstances, human actions have a myriad of unintended and often unforeseen consequences for the lives of other people. Problems of pollution are serious examples, but spillovers and side effects are the rule, not the exception. Who knows what consequences this essay may have? This essay is concerned with the problems of justice created by spillovers. After characterizing such spillovers more precisely and relating the concept to the economist's notion of an externality, I shall then consider the moral conclusions (...) concerning spillovers that issue from a natural rights perspective and from the perspective of welfare economics supplemented with theories of distributive justice. I shall argue that these perspectives go badly awry in taking spillovers to be the exception rather than the rule in human interactions. I. Externalities Economists have discussed spillovers under the heading of “externalities.” To say this is not very helpful, since there is so much disagreement concerning both the definition and significance of externalities. (shrink)
Princess Diana’s death was a tragedy that provoked mourning across the globe; the death of a homeless person, more often than not, is met with apathy. How can we account for this uneven distribution of emotion? Can it simply be explained by the prevailing scientific understanding? Uncovering a rich tradition beginning with Aristotle, _The Secret History of Emotion_ offers a counterpoint to the way we generally understand emotions today. Through a radical rereading of Aristotle, Seneca, Thomas Hobbes, Sarah Fielding, and (...) Judith Butler, among others, Daniel M. Gross reveals a persistent intellectual current that considers emotions as psychosocial phenomena. In Gross’s historical analysis of emotion, Aristotle and Hobbes’s rhetoric show that our passions do not stem from some inherent, universal nature of men and women, but rather are conditioned by power relations and social hierarchies. He follows up with consideration of how political passions are distributed to some people but not to others using the Roman Stoics as a guide. Hume and contemporary theorists like Judith Butler, meanwhile, explain to us how psyches are shaped by power. To supplement his argument, Gross also provides a history and critique of the dominant modern view of emotions, expressed in Darwinism and neurobiology, in which they are considered organic, personal feelings independent of social circumstances. The result is a convincing work that rescues the study of the passions from science and returns it to the humanities and the art of rhetoric. (shrink)
This collection brings together the essays of one of the foremost American philosophers of economics. Cumulatively they offer fresh perspectives on foundational questions such as: what sort of science is economics? and how successful can economists be in acquiring knowledge of their subject matter?
The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics offers an overview of standard microeconomics and general equilibrium theory. These are not the whole of orthodox economics, and orthodox economics is not the whole of economics. But orthodox economics dominates the profession, and the theoretical core of microeconomics and general equilibrium theory – what I called ‘equilibrium theory’ – is central to most orthodox economics. Unlike many methodological works, which focus almost exclusively on the empirical problems of equilibrium theory and its applications, (...) ISSE is also concerned with the structure, strategy and heuristics of equilibrium theorizing, and it attempts to link questions about theory appraisal to questions about structure and strategy. It is addressed both to philosophers interested in epistemological questions posed by the social sciences and to economists interested in reflecting on and improving their discipline. Its inspiration lies in the work of John Stuart Mill. (shrink)
In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explains the purpose of the transcendental deduction of the categories by referring to the practice of legal deduction (KrV, A 84/B 116). However, he does not elaborate the details of the analogy and the reader is left to fill in the blanks concerning legal deductions and their supposed similarities with transcendental deductions. In this paper, I suggest we use judicial imputation to clarify Kant’s analogy between transcendental and legal deductions. My claim is that (...) the core of the analogy is not the similarities between the acquisition of property and that of concepts but rather similarities in the application of a law to a deed. (shrink)
In this article I assess the Invariance Principle, which states that only quantities that are invariant under the symmetries of our theories are physically real. I argue, contrary to current orthodoxy, that the variance of a quantity under a theory’s symmetries is not a sufficient basis for interpreting that theory as being uncommitted to the reality of that quantity. Rather, I argue, the variance of a quantity under symmetries only ever serves as a motivation to refrain from any commitment to (...) the quantity in question. (shrink)
In this book Daniel Wegner offers a novel understanding of the relation of consciousness, the will, and our intentional and voluntary actions. Wegner claims that our experience and common sense view according to which we can influence our behavior roughly the way we experience that we do it is an illusion.
There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries.
With the collapse of the centrally controlled economies and the authoritarian governments of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics, political leaders are, with appreciable public support, espousing “liberal” economic and political transformations—the reinstitution of markets, the securing of civil and political rights, and the establishment of representative governments. But those supporting reform have many aims, and the liberalism to which they look for political guidance is not an unambiguous doctrine.
This book offers a comprehensive overview of the structure, strategy and methods of assessment of orthodox theoretical economics. In Part I Professor Hausman explains how economists theorise, emphasising the essential underlying commitment of economists to a vision of economics as a separate science. In Part II he defends the view that the basic axioms of economics are 'inexact' since they deal only with the 'major' causes; unlike most writers on economic methodology, the author argues that it is the rules that (...) economists espouse rather than their practice that is at fault. Part III links the conception of economics as a separate science to the fact that economic theories offer reasons and justifications for human actions, not just their causes. With its lengthy appendix introducing relevant issues in philosophy of science, this book is a major addition to philosophy of economics and of social science. (shrink)
Dan Haybron presents an illuminating examination of well-being, drawing on important recent work in the science of happiness. He shows that we are remarkably prone to error in judgements of our own personal welfare, and suggests that we should rethink traditional assumptions about the good life and the good society.
People condemn inequalities for many reasons. For example, many who have no concern with distribution per se criticize inequalities in health care, because these inequalities lessen the benefits provided by the resources that are devoted to health care. Others who place no intrinsic value on distribution believe that a just society must show a special concern for those who are worst off. Some people, on the other hand, do place an intrinsic value on equality of distribution, regardless of its contribution (...) to other goals. Derek Parfit and Larry Temkin call these people "egalitarians." I shall always employ quotation marks when referring to "egalitarians" in this special sense, because, as I shall argue, this terminology is misleading. One of its unhappy implications is that almost all egalitarians are not "egalitarians.". (shrink)
The concept ‘hereditary breast cancer’ is commonly used to delineate a group of people genetically at risk for breast cancer—all of whom also having risk for other cancers. People carrying pathogenic variants of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are often referred to as those having predisposition for ‘hereditary breast cancer’. The two genes, however, are when altered, associated with different risks for and dying from breast cancer. The main risk for dying for carriers of both genes is from ovarian cancer. (...) These biological facts are of philosophical interest, because they are the facts underlying the public debate on BRCA1/2 genetic testing as a model for the discussion of how to implement genetic knowledge and technologies in personalized medicine. A contribution to this public debate describing inherited breast cancer as ‘biological citizenship’ recently printed in Med Health Care and Philos illustrated how fragmented and detached from the biological and socio-political facts this debate sometimes is. We here briefly summarize some of the biological facts and how they are implemented in today’s healthcare based on agreed philosophical, ethical and moral principles. The suggestion of a ‘biological citizenship’ defined by hereditary breast cancer is incorrect and ill-advised. ‘Identity politics’ focusing hereditary breast cancer patients as a group based on a bundle of ill-defined negative arguments is well known, but is supported neither by scientific nor philosophical arguments. To those born with the genetic variants described, the philosophical rule of not doing harm is violated by unbalanced negative arguments. (shrink)
Three studies test eight hypotheses about (1) how judgment differs between people who ascribe greater vs. less moral relevance to choices, (2) how moral judgment is subject to task constraints that shift evaluative focus (to moral rules vs. to consequences), and (3) how differences in the propensity to rely on intuitive reactions affect judgment. In Study 1, judgments were affected by rated agreement with moral rules proscribing harm, whether the dilemma under consideration made moral rules versus consequences of choice salient, (...) and by thinking styles (intuitive vs. deliberative). In Studies 2 and 3, participants evaluated policy decisions to knowingly do harm to a resource to mitigate greater harm or to merely allow the greater harm to happen. When evaluated in isolation, approval for decisions to harm was affected by endorsement of moral rules and by thinking style. When both choices were evaluated simultaneously, total harm -- but not the do/allow distinction -- influenced rated approval. These studies suggest that moral rules play an important, but context-sensitive role in moral cognition, and offer an account of when emotional reactions to perceived moral violations receive less weight than consideration of costs and benefits in moral judgment and decision making. (shrink)
This article explores yet another paradox – aside from the privacy paradox – related to the datafication of media: citizens trust least the media they use most It investigates the role that daily life plays in shaping the trust that citizens place in datafied media. The study reveals five sets of heuristics guiding the trust assessments of citizens: characteristics of media organisations, old media standards, context of use and purpose, experiences of datafication and understandings of datafication. The article discusses the (...) use of these heuristics and the value that everyday life holds in assessing trust in datafied media. It concludes that, guided by a partial ‘structure of perception’ and enticed into trusting datafied media in the context of their daily lives, citizens may be highly concerned by the datafication of media but use them nevertheless. (shrink)
This book presents a thorough study and an up to date anthology of Plato’s Protagoras. International authors' papers contribute to the task of understanding how Plato introduced and negotiated a new type of intellectual practice – called philosophy – and the strategies that this involved. They explore Plato’s dialogue, looking at questions of how philosophy and sophistry relate, both on a methodological and on a thematic level.
Contrary to what many philosophers believe, Calvinism neither makes the problem of evil worse nor is it obviously refuted by the presence of evil and suffering in our world. Or so most of the authors in this book claim. While Calvinism has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years amongst theologians and laypersons, many philosophers have yet to follow suit. The reason seems fairly clear: Calvinism, many think, cannot handle the problem of evil with the same kind of plausibility as other (...) more popular views of the nature of God and the nature of God's relationship with His creation. This book seeks to challenge that untested assumption. With clarity and rigor, this collection of essays seeks to fill a significant hole in the literature on the problem of evil. (shrink)
This essay explains what the Causal Markov Condition says and defends the condition from the many criticisms that have been launched against it. Although we are skeptical about some of the applications of the Causal Markov Condition, we argue that it is implicit in the view that causes can be used to manipulate their effects and that it cannot be surrendered without surrendering this view of causation.
Participants watched themselves in a mirror while another person behind them, hidden from view, extended hands forward on each side where participants’ hands would normally appear. The hands performed a series of movements. When participants could hear instructions previewing each movement, they reported an enhanced feeling of controlling the hands. Hearing instructions for the movements also enhanced skin conductance responses when a rubber band was snapped on the other’s wrist after the movements. Such vicarious agency was not felt when the (...) instructions followed the movements, and participants’ own covert movement mimicry was not essential to the influence of previews on reported control. (shrink)
This paper examines people's reasoning about identity continuity and its relation to previous research on how people value one-of-a-kind artifacts, such as artwork. We propose that judgments about the continuity of artworks are related to judgments about the continuity of individual persons because art objects are seen as physical extensions of their creators. We report a reanalysis of previous data and the results of two new empirical studies that test this hypothesis. The first study demonstrates that the mere categorization of (...) an object as “art” versus “a tool” changes people's intuitions about the persistence of those objects over time. In a second study, we examine some conditions that may lead artworks to be thought of as different from other artifacts. These observations inform both current understanding of what makes some objects one-of-a-kind as well as broader questions regarding how people intuitively think about the persistence of human agents. (shrink)
We often consciously will our own actions. This experience is so profound that it tempts us to believe that our actions are caused by consciousness. It could also be a trick, however – the mind’s way of estimating its own apparent authorship by drawing causal inferences about relationships between thoughts and actions. Cognitive, social, and neuropsychological studies of apparent mental causation suggest that experiences of conscious will frequently depart from actual causal processes and so might not reﬂect direct perceptions of (...) conscious thought causing action. (shrink)
This article argues that the link Hans Jonas drew between Martin Heidegger's philosophy and Gnosticism cannot be properly understood without taking into consideration his philosophical interpretation of modern science. It claims that Jonas saw Heideggerian existentialism not as a modern instantiation of Gnosticism but as a specific experiential reaction to the new cosmological outlook that emerged from the seventeenth-century scientific revolution, which negated the conceptual world that made Gnosticism possible. Jonas's interpretation is “against the grain”: by claiming that Heidegger's thought (...) is a product of the reduction of nature to measurable, manipulable, and calculable extension governing the modern scientific mind, Jonas attributed to Heidegger the very flaws Heidegger critiqued in others. It is further claimed that Jonas's original contribution to Heidegger's reception history is not in proposing the link to Gnosticism but in reading him as the philosophical outcome of the instrumental reasoning of modern science. (shrink)