On the face of it, the protracted public controversy over abortion in the United States and elsewhere might seem to rest on intractable normative questions inaccessible to economic analysis. But an influential early essay in the now sizable philosophical literature on the subject suggests otherwise. Judith Jarvis Thomson disarmingly inclined toward the view that “the fetus has already become a human person well before birth”,. presumably with all the rights pertaining thereto. She denied, however, that such rights necessarily include use (...) of the mother's womb until birth. To illustrate her point, she compared the mother's situation to that, for example, of an unwilling Good Samaritan with a uniquely suited blood type, who is forced to share a kidney for 9 months with a famous, ailing violinist who needed its use for that duration to recover. Even if the life of a human being was at stake, the assertion of rights for the violinist or the fetus, she argued, would be too degrading for either the Good Samaritan's or the mother's status as a person, where large unwanted sacrifices would be required. Reduced to its economic essentials, the argument is that the mother has property rights to her own body, including the right to expel a “trespasser”. who would die as a consequence. Thus, the antiabortion position is neatly undercut by granting its major premise while denying its conclusion. (shrink)
In a stimulating paper, Piccione and Rubinstein (1997) argued how a decision maker could undertake dynamically inconsistent choices when, in an extensive form decision problem, she has a particular type of imperfect recall named absentmindedness. Such memory limitation obtains whenever information sets include decision histories along the same decision path. Starting from work focusing on the absentminded driver example, and independently developed by Segal (2000) and Dimitri (1999), the main theorem of this article provides a general result of dynamically (...) consistent choices, valid for a large class of finite extensive form decision problems without nature. (shrink)
An arms race for an artificial general intelligence would be detrimental for and even pose an existential threat to humanity if it results in an unfriendly AGI. In this paper, an all-pay contest model is developed to derive implications for public policy to avoid such an outcome. It is established that, in a winner-takes-all race, where players must invest in R&D, only the most competitive teams will participate. Thus, given the difficulty of AGI, the number of competing teams is unlikely (...) ever to be very large. It is also established that the intention of teams competing in an AGI race, as well as the possibility of an intermediate outcome, is important. The possibility of an intermediate prize will raise the probability of finding the dominant AGI application and, hence, will make public control more urgent. It is recommended that the danger of an unfriendly AGI can be reduced by taxing AI and using public procurement. This would reduce the pay-off of contestants, raise the amount of R&D needed to compete, and coordinate and incentivize co-operation. This will help to alleviate the control and political problems in AI. Future research is needed to elaborate the design of systems of public procurement of AI innovation and for appropriately adjusting the legal frameworks underpinning high-tech innovation, in particular dealing with patenting by AI. (shrink)
This paper discusses the sexual politics of anti-normalization within the context of the sociological discussions of civil society and the public sphere. The sexual politics of anti-normalization is less centered around "identity" as a means of securing group solidarity and representing sexual communities in civil society. A politics of anti-normalization comprehends identity as a means of normalizing and regulating sexual desire and difference. Anti-normalization entails the politicization of ethical-moral issues concerning sex and desire and the production of sexual differences beyond (...) the usual opposition of heterosexuality to homosexuality. I discuss the ways that the theoretical discourses on civil society reduce conceptions of difference to identity and develop a framework for analyzing the sexual politics of difference "beyond identity" in the public sphere. (shrink)
In recent years the understanding of the cognitive foundations of economic behavior has become increasingly important. This volume contains contributions from such leading scholars as Adam Brandenburger, Michael Bacharach and Patrick Suppes. It will be of great interest to academics and researchers involved in the field of economics and psychology as well as those interested in political economy more generally.
Knobe wants to help adjudicate the philosophical debate concerning whether and under what conditions we normally judge that some side effect was brought about intentionally. His proposal for doing so is perhaps an obvious one--simply elicit the intuitions of "The Folk" directly on the matter and record the results. Knobe concludes that people's judgment that a side effect was brought about intentionally apparently rests, at least in part, upon how blameworthy they find the agent responsible for it. Knobe's appreciably straightforward (...) approach to this question does not settle the matter, however. Simply raising that question can itself affect our evaluation of the side effect in question as either something good or something bad. As a result, Knobe's experiments effectively bias subjects' responses toward judging the given side effects more negatively than they might have otherwise. Subjects failed to assign a high level of praise for good side effects because taking into account whether they were brought about intentionally or unintentionally makes them suspect. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
While Orthodox Christianity does not find explicit statements about the morality of prolonging life in the usual doctrinal sources, the Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church, there are elements in Tradition which bear upon the issue. These include Orthodox spirituality's emphasis on the “wholeness” of the human person, its liturgical and synergistic view of human life, and its understanding of our moral ambiguity as fallen human beings in a fallen world. This last point, in particular, means that we do (...) not usually have a clear choice between right and wrong, and that we cannot always trust ourselves to know which choice is the right, or even the better one. Therefore, we must always approach decisions about death and dying with humility and in a spirit of repentance, aware of the imperfection of all we do and trusting in the mercy of God. (shrink)
Time discounting is the phenomenon that a desired result in the future is perceived as less valuable than the same result now. Economic theories can take this psychological fact into account in several ways. In the economic literature the most widely used type of additive time discounting is exponential discounting. In exponential discounting, the fall of valuation depends by a constant factor on the length of the delay period. It is well known, however, that exponential time discounting often does not (...) describe well how people actually behave. Most people are averse to short delays in gratiﬁcation now, while their future selves may not mind a bit of extra waiting. This behaviour can be described well by non-exponential discounting functions such as hyperbolic discounting. In hyperbolic discounting, valuations fall rapidly for small delay periods, but the fall gets slower for longer delay periods. Hyperbolic discounting captures phenomena such as procrastination, addiction and in general inconsistency over time. This chapter investigates whether forms of non-exponential discounting, in particular close to the so called Quasi-Hyperbolic model, could also be characterized in terms of dynamically consistent choices when individuals discount the welfare of future selves as well as their payoffs. (shrink)
The project of the first Christian historian stands as a parable of the successes and failures of all subsequent attempts to provide a reliable basis for faith by constructing a history right down to our own postmodern struggles. Though we lack Luke's confidence, we cannot escape the necessity of making up the best history we can in order to “assist the Logos of God.”.
The paper presents a variation of the EMAIL Game, originally proposed byRubinstein (American Economic Review, 1989), in which coordination ofthe more rewarding-risky joint course of actions is shown to obtain, evenwhen the relevant game is, at most, ``mutual knowledge.'' In the exampleproposed, a mediator is introduced in such a way that two individualsare symmetrically informed, rather than asymmetrically as in Rubinstein,about the game chosen by nature. As long as the message failure probabilityis sufficiently low, with the upper bound being a (...) function of the gamepayoffs, conditional beliefs in the opponent's actions can allow playersto choose a more rewarding-risky action. The result suggests that, forefficient coordination to obtain, the length of interactive knowledge onthe game, possibly up to ``almost common knowledge,'' does not seem to bea major conceptual issue and that emphasis should be focused instead onthe communication protocol and an appropriate relationship between thereliability of communication channels and the payoffs at stake. (shrink)
Through the sixteenth century, the Christian tradition upheld the biblical denunciation of usury as the oppression of the poor and the neighbor. The church should critically retrieve this understanding as a contribution to the public discourse about the oppressive use of interest and debt in the current worldwide fiscal crises.
Wide agreement exists that self-ascriptions that one would express with the first-person pronoun differ in kind from those one would express with other self-designating expressions such as proper names and definite descriptions. At least some first-person self-ascriptions, many argue, are nonaccidental---that is, they involve no self-identification, and hence in making them one cannot accidentally misidentify the subject of the ascription. I examine the support for this claim throughout the literature, paying particular attention to Sydney Shoemaker's proposal that self-ascriptions are nonaccidental (...) in virtue of being immune to error through misidentification relative to the first-person pronoun. According to Shoemaker, such immunity results from the special way in which one is introspectively aware of the psychological property or state ascribed, a way that leaves no room for questions to arise as to whether oneself is its bearer. I contend that though it may seem from the point of view of consciousness that we are directly and immediately aware of the states of our bodies and minds as our own, both theoretical and empirical considerations strongly suggests that we have no such direct awareness. Proprioception and introspection prove in the end to be better described as types of informed, conscious self-interpretation. Taking inspiration from Dennett, Rosenthal, and Nozick, I offer the naive proposal as an alternative that explains all self-ascriptions in terms of one's relying upon a battery of commonsense self-specifying beliefs to interpret both which state or property one has and who has it. As a result, first-person self-ascriptions differ from others only in degree and not in kind, and self-misidentification always remains a possibility---even when self-ascribing properties with the first-person pronoun. (shrink)
The essays in this volume examine Jürgen Moltmann’s work, which foregrounds human suffering as not simply a matter of ethics but a core concern for contemporary theology. The result is the expression of hope for a future of Christian theology that is fully engaged in the political, economic, ecological, and social problems of its time.
The essays by celebrated authors in this 1991 book cover themes fundamental to economics: the influence of benevolence, altruism, justice and religious principles in our treatment of others in society; and the bases of rationality in decision making under conditions of uncertainty. These common themes are given a wide range of perspectives by the contributors, who discuss whether not just a 'rational' but also a 'thoughtful' economic man can be fitted into a sophisticated version of the orthodox model of man (...) as a self-interested maximizer, or whether a radical upheaval in economic analysis is needed to accommodate him. The book is an examination by leading authorities of not only the role of rationality and morals in economics, but also the implications of conventional conceptions of rational economic man for all economic study. It constitutes a powerful argument for greater richness and subtlety in ideas about the motivations of individuals in their economic behaviour. (shrink)
Claire Katz & Lara Trout, Emmanuel Levinas. Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers ; Thomas Bedorf, Andreas Cremonini, Verfehlte Begegnung. Levinas und Sartre als philosophische Zeitgenossen ; Samuel Moyn, Origins of the Other: Emmanuel Levinas between Revelation and Ethics ; Pascal Delhom & Alfred Hirsch, Im Angesicht der Anderen. Levinas’ Philosophie des Politischen ; Sharon Todd, Learning from the other: Levinas, psychoanalysis and ethical possibilities in education ; Michel Henry, Le bonheur de Spinoza, suivi de: Etude sur le spinozisme de Michel (...) Henry, par Jean-Michel Longneaux ; Jean-François Lavigne, Husserl et la naissance de la phénoménologie. Des Recherches logiques aux Ideen: la genèse de l’idéalisme transcendantal phénoménologique ; Denis Seron, Objet et signification ; Dan Zahavi, Sara Heinämaa and Hans Ruin, Metaphysics, Facticity, Interpretation. Phenomenology in The Nordic Countries ; Dimitri Ginev, Entre anthropologie et herméneutique ; Magdalena Mărculescu-Cojocea, Critica metafizicii la Kant şi Heidegger. Problema subiectivităţii: raţiunea între autonomie şi deconstrucţie. (shrink)