In the last few decades the role played by models and modeling activities has become a central topic in the scientific enterprise. In particular, it has been highlighted both that the development of models constitutes a crucial step for understanding the world and that the developed models operate as mediators between theories and the world. Such perspective is exploited here to cope with the issue as to whether error-based and uncertainty-based modeling of measurement are incompatible, and thus alternative with (...) one another, as sometimes claimed nowadays. The crucial problem is whether assuming this standpoint implies definitely renouncing to maintain a role for truth and the related concepts, particularly accuracy, in measurement. It is argued here that the well known objections against true values in measurement, which would lead to refuse the concept of accuracy as non-operational, or to maintain it as only qualitative, derive from a not clear distinction between three distinct processes: the metrological characterization of measuring systems, their calibration, and finally measurement. Under the hypotheses that (1) the concept of true value is related to the model of a measurement process, (2) the concept of uncertainty is related to the connection between such model and the world, and (3) accuracy is a property of measuring systems (and not of measurement results) and uncertainty is a property of measurement results (and not of measuring systems), not only the compatibility but actually the conjoint need of error-based and uncertainty-based modeling emerges. (shrink)
Saying ┌ that ψ is F ┐ when one should have said ┌ that φ is F ┐ involves making one of two different kinds of error. Either the wrong nominal term (┌ ψ ┐ instead of ┌ φ ┐) is ascribed to the right object or the right nominal term is ascribed to the wrong object. Judgments susceptible to one kind of error are immune to the other. Indexical terms such as ‘here’ and ‘now’ exhibit a corresponding (...) pattern of immunity and susceptibility to error, which suggests that they are complex demonstratives. This should also apply to ‘I’. (shrink)
According to the error theory, normative judgements are beliefs that ascribe normative properties, even though such properties do not exist. In this paper, I argue that we cannot believe the error theory, and that this means that there is no reason for us to believe this theory. It may be thought that this is a problem for the error theory, but I argue that it is not. Instead, I argue, our inability to believe the error theory (...) undermines many objections that have been made to this theory. (shrink)
The error theory is a metaethical theory that maintains that normative judgments are beliefs that ascribe normative properties, and that these properties do not exist. In a recent paper, Bart Streumer argues that it is impossible to fully believe the error theory. Surprisingly, he claims that this is not a problem for the error theorist: even if we can’t fully believe the error theory, the good news is that we can still come close to believing the (...)error theory. In this paper I show that Streumer’s arguments fail. First, I lay out Streumer’s argument for why we can’t believe the error theory. Then, I argue against the unbelievability of the error theory. Finally, I show that Streumer’s positive proposal that we can come close to believing the error theory is actually undermined by his own argument for why we can’t believe the error theory. (shrink)
Many contemporary philosophers rate error theories poorly. We identify the arguments these philosophers invoke, and expose their deficiencies. We thereby show that the prospects for error theory have been systematically underestimated. By undermining general arguments against all error theories, we leave it open whether any more particular arguments against particular error theories are more successful. The merits of error theories need to be settled on a case-by-case basis: there is no good general argument against (...) class='Hi'>error theories. (shrink)
Moral error theory of the kind defended by J. L. Mackie and Richard Joyce is premised on two claims: (1) that moral judgements essentially presuppose that moral value has absolute authority, and (2) that this presupposition is false, because nothing has absolute authority. This paper accepts (2) but rejects (1). It is argued first that (1) is not the best explanation of the evidence from moral practice, and second that even if it were, the error theory would still (...) be mistaken, because the assumption does not contaminate the meaning or truth-conditions of moral claims. These are determined by the essential application conditions for moral concepts, which are relational rather than absolute. An analogy is drawn between moral judgements and motion judgements. (shrink)
In this paper I defend what I call the argument from epistemic reasons against the moral error theory. I argue that the moral error theory entails that there are no epistemic reasons for belief and that this is bad news for the moral error theory since, if there are no epistemic reasons for belief, no one knows anything. If no one knows anything, then no one knows that there is thought when they are thinking, and no one (...) knows that they do not know everything. And it could not be the case that we do not know that there is thought when we believe that there is thought and that we do not know that we do not know everything. I address several objections to the claim that the moral error theory entails that there are no epistemic reasons for belief. It might seem that arguing against the error theory on the grounds that it entails that no one knows anything is just providing a Moorean argument against the moral error theory. I show that even if my argument against the error theory is indeed a Moorean one, it avoids Streumer's, McPherson's and Olson's objections to previous Moorean arguments against the error theory and is a more powerful argument against the error theory than Moore's argument against external world skepticism is against external world skepticism. (shrink)
In his recent article entitled ‘Can We Believe the Error Theory?’ Bart Streumer argues that it is impossible (for anyone, anywhere) to believe the error theory. This might sound like a problem for the error theory, but Streumer argues that it is not. He argues that the un-believability of the error theory offers a way for error theorists to respond to several objections commonly made against the view. In this paper, we respond to Streumer’s arguments. (...) In particular, in sections 2-4, we offer several objections to Streumer’s argument for the claim that we cannot believe the error theory. In section 5, we argue that even if Streumer establishes that we cannot believe the error theory, this conclusion is not as helpful for error theorists as he takes it to be. (shrink)
My aim in this essay is largely defensive. I aim to discuss some problems for moral error theory and to offer plausible solutions. A full positive defense of moral error theory would require substantial investigations of rival metaethical views, but that is beyond the scope of this essay. I will, however, try to motivate moral error theory and to clarify its commitments. Moral error theorists typically accept two claims – one conceptual and one ontological – about (...) moral facts. The conceptual claim is that moral facts are or entail facts about categorical reasons (and correspondingly that moral claims are or entail claims about categorical reasons); the ontological claim is that there are no categorical reasons – and consequently no moral facts – in reality. I accept this version of moral error theory and I try to unpack what it amounts to in Section 2.1 In the course of doing so I consider two preliminary objections: that moral error theory is (probably) false because its implications are intuitively unacceptable (what I call the Moorean objection) and that the general motivation for moral error theory is self-undermining in that it rests on a hidden appeal to norms. The above characterization seems to entail the standard formulation of moral error theory, according to which first-order moral claims are uniformly false. Critics have argued that the standard formulation is incoherent since – by the law of excluded middle – the negation of a false claim is true. Hence if ‘Torture is wrong’ is false, ‘Torture is not wrong’ is true. Contrary to what moral error theorists contend, then, moral error theory seems to carry first-order moral implications that by the theory’s own lights are uniformly false. In Section 3 I suggest a formulation that is consistent with the standard formulation of moral error theory, free of first-order moral implications, and subject to no logical difficulties. In Section 4 I consider and rebut Stephen Finlay’s recent attack on moral error theory. According to Finlay the conceptual claim is false because all moral claims – and indeed all normative claims – are, or should be understood as, relativized to some moral standard or system of ends. Moral error theorists thus attribute to ordinary speakers an error that simply isn’t there. I argue that Finlay’s view has some very implausible implications and that it does not avoid commitment to various forms of error theory. This becomes especially clear when we focus on fundamental moral claims. In Section 5 I consider the worry that error theorists’ rejection of categorical reasons proves too much; in particular, the worry that error theorists’ qualms about categorical reasons apply equally to claims about hypothetical reasons, that is, claims to the effect that there is reason to take the means to one’s ends. In my view error theorists such as Mackie and Joyce have failed to pay due consideration to this problem. What the challenge establishes, I submit, is that error theorists cannot just take for granted that hypothetical reasons are metaphysically unproblematic; they must offer an account of hypothetical reasons that shows that they are. I argue that the only plausible account available to error theorists is one according to which claims about hypothetical reasons reduce to non-normative claims about relations between means and ends. (shrink)
A new kind of debate about the normative error theory has emerged. Whereas longstanding debates have fixed on the error theory’s plausibility, this new debate concerns the theory’s believability. Bart Streumer is the chief proponent of the error theory’s unbelievability. In this brief essay, we argue that Streumer’s argument prevails against extant critiques, and then press a criticism of our own.
Interest in the computational aspects of modeling has been steadily growing in philosophy of science. This paper aims to advance the discussion by articulating the way in which modeling and computational errors are related and by explaining the significance of error management strategies for the rational reconstruction of scientific practice. To this end, we first characterize the role and nature of modeling error in relation to a recipe for model construction known as Euler’s recipe. We then describe a (...) general model that allows us to assess the quality of numerical solutions in terms of measures of computational errors that are completely interpretable in terms of modeling error. Finally, we emphasize that this type of error analysis involves forms of perturbation analysis that go beyond the basic model-theoretical and statistical/probabilistic tools typically used to characterize the scientific method; this demands that we revise and complement our reconstructive toolbox in a way that can affect our normative image of science. (shrink)
The moral error theorist claims that moral discourse is irredeemably in error because it is committed to the existence of properties that do not exist. A common response has been to postulate ‘companions in guilt’—forms of discourse that seem safe from error despite sharing the putatively problematic features of moral discourse. The most developed instance of this pairs moral discourse with epistemic discourse. In this paper, I present a new, prudential, companions-in-guilt argument and argue for its superiority (...) over the epistemic alternative. (shrink)
Epistemic Contextualism is the view that “knows that” is semantically context-sensitive and that properly accommodating this fact into our philosophical theory promises to solve various puzzles concerning knowledge. Yet Epistemic Contextualism faces a big—some would say fatal—problem: The Semantic Error Problem. In its prominent form, this runs thus: speakers just don’t seem to recognise that “knows that” is context-sensitive; so, if “knows that” really is context-sensitive then such speakers are systematically in error about what is said by, or (...) how to evaluate, ordinary uses of “S knows that p”; but since it's wildly implausible that ordinary speakers should exhibit such systematic error, the expression “knows that” isn't context-sensitive. We are interested in whether, and in what ways, there is such semantic error; if there is such error, how it arises and is made manifest; and, again, if there is such error to what extent it is a problem for Epistemic Contextualism. The upshot is that some forms of The Semantic Error Problem turn out to be largely unproblematic. Those that remain troublesome have analogue error problems for various competitor conceptions of knowledge. So, if error is any sort of problem, then there is a problem for every extant competitor view. (shrink)
According to the error theory, normative judgments are beliefs that ascribe normative properties, but these properties do not exist. I have argued elsewhere (in "Can We Believe the Error Theory?") that we cannot believe this theory. Several philosophers have replied to this argument. In this chapter, I respond to their replies.
Bart Streumer argues that it is not possible for us to believe the error theory, where by ‘error theory’ he means the claim that our normative beliefs are committed to the existence of normative properties even though such properties do not exist. In this paper, we argue that it is indeed possible to believe the error theory. First, we suggest a critical improvement to Streumer’s argument. As it stands, one crucial premise of that argument—that we cannot have (...) a belief while believing that there is no reason to have it—is implausibly strong. We argue that for his purposes, Streumer’s argument only requires a weaker premise, namely that we cannot rationally have a belief while believing that there is no reason to have it. Secondly, we go on to refute the improved argument. Even in its weaker form, Streumer’s argument is either invalid or the crucial premise should be rejected. (shrink)
Moral error theories are often rejected by appeal to ‘companions in guilt’ arguments. The most popular form of companions in guilt argument takes epistemic reasons for belief as a ‘companion’ and proceeds by analogy. I show that this strategy fails. I claim that the companions in guilt theorist must understand epistemic reasons as evidential support relations if her argument is to be dialectically effective. I then present a dilemma. Either epistemic reasons are evidential support relations or they are not. (...) If they are not, then the companions in guilt argument fails. If they are, then a reduction of epistemic reasons to evidential support relations becomes available and, consequently, epistemic reasons cease to be a viable ‘companion’ for moral reasons. I recommend this structure of argument over existing strategies within the literature and defend my claims against recent objections from companions in guilt theorists. (shrink)
In The Myth of Morality Richard Joyce presents a simple and very influential argument for the truth of moral error theory. In this paper I point out that the argument does not have the form Joyce attributes to it, the argument is not valid in an extensional propositional logic and on the most natural way of explicating the meanings of the involved terms, it remains invalid. I conclude that more explanation is needed if we are to accept this particular (...) argument for moral error theory. (shrink)
Modal intuitions are the primary source of modal knowledge but also of modal error. According to the theory of modal error in this paper, modal intuitions retain their evidential force in spite of their fallibility, and erroneous modal intuitions are in principle identifiable and eliminable by subjecting our intuitions to a priori dialectic. After an inventory of standard sources of modal error, two further sources are examined in detail. The first source - namely, the failure to distinguish (...) between metaphysical possibility and various kinds of epistemic possibility - turns out to be comparatively easy to untangle and poses little threat to intuition-driven philosophical investigation. The second source is the local misunderstanding of one's concepts . This pathology may be understood on analogy with a patient who is given a clean bill of health at his annual check-up, despite his having a cold at the time of the check-up: although the patient's health is locally disrupted, his overall health is sufficiently good to enable him to overcome the cold without external intervention. Even when our understanding of certain pivotal concepts has lapsed locally, our larger body of intuitions is sufficiently reliable to allow us, without intervention, to ferret out the modal errors resulting from this lapse of understanding by means of dialectic and/or a process of a priori reflection. This source of modal error, and our capacity to overcome it, has wide-ranging implications for philosophical method - including, in particular, its promise for disarming skepticism about the classical method of intuition-driven investigation itself. Indeed, it is shown that skeptical accounts of modal error are ultimately self-defeating. (shrink)
In this essay, it is argued that Abhinavagupta’s theory of error, the apūrṇakhyāti theory, synthesizes two distinguishable Pratyabhijñā treatments of error that were developed in three phases prior to him. The first theory was developed in two stages, initially by Somānanda in the Śivadṛṣṭi (ŚD) and subsequently by Utpaladeva in his Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikās (ĪPK) and his short autocommentary thereon, the Īśvarapratyabhijñāvṛtti (ĪPVṛ). This theory served to explain individual acts of misperception, and it was developed with the philosophy of the (...) Buddhist epistemologists in mind. In a third phase, Utpaladeva developed in his Śivadṛṣṭivṛtti (ŚDVṛ) a second theory of error, one that involved the noncognition of non-duality ( abhedākhyāti ) and served to explain both the appearance and perception of multiplicity, despite the strict monism to which all Pratyabhijñā authors subscribe. Abhinavagupta’s treatment of error, then, is significant not only because it was meant to explain all the various theories of error offered by opposing philosophical schools, as Rastogi has shown, but more importantly because it synthesized the thinking of his predecessors on the matter in a single, elegant account of error. (shrink)
In this paper, I distinguish between two error theories of morality: one couched in terms of truth ; the other in terms of justification. I then present two arguments: the Poisoned Presupposition Argument for ET1; and the Evolutionary Debunking Argument for ET2. I go on to show how assessing these arguments requires paying attention to empirical moral psychology, in particular, work on folk metaethics. After criticizing extant work, I suggest avenues for future research.
I consider the error-statistical account as both a theory of evidence and as a theory of inference. I seek to show how inferences regarding the truth of hypotheses can be upheld by avoiding a certain kind of alternative hypothesis problem. In addition to the testing of assumptions behind the experimental model, I discuss the role of judgments of implausibility. A benefit of my analysis is that it reveals a continuity in the application of error-statistical assessment to low-level empirical (...) hypotheses and highly general theoretical principles. This last point is illustrated with a brief sketch of the issues involved in the parametric framework analysis of tests of physical theories such as General Relativity and of fundamental physical principles such as the Einstein Equivalence Principle. (shrink)
‘Know-that’, like so many natural language expressions, exhibits patterns of use that provide evidence for its context-sensitivity. A popular family of views – call it prag- matic invariantism – attempts to explain the shifty patterns by appeal to a pragmatic thesis: while the semantic meaning of ‘know-that’ is stable across all contexts of use, sentences of the form ‘S knows [doesn’t know] that p’ can be used to communicate a pragmatic content that depends on the context of use. In this (...) paper, the author argues that pragmatic invariantism makes inaccurate predictions for a wide range of well- known use data and is committed to attributing systematic pragmatic error to ordinary speakers. But pragmatic error is unprecedented, and it is doubtful that speakers are systematically wrong about what they intend to communicate. (shrink)
The paper distinguishes three strategies by means of which empirical discoveries about the nature of morality can be used to undermine moral judgements. On the first strategy, moral judgements are shown to be unjustified in virtue of being shown to rest on ignorance or false belief. On the second strategy, moral judgements are shown to be false by being shown to entail claims inconsistent with the relevant empirical discoveries. On the third strategy, moral judgements are shown to be false in (...) virtue of being shown to be unjustified; truth having been defined epistemologically in terms of justification. By interpreting three recent error theoretical arguments in light of these strategies, the paper evaluates the epistemological and metaphysical relevance of empirical discoveries about morality as a naturally evolved phenomenon. (shrink)
I discuss an aspect of the relation between accounts of de se thought and the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification. I will argue that a deflationary account of the latter—the Simple Account, due to Evans —will not do; a more robust one based on an account of de se thoughts is required. I will then sketch such an alternative account, based on a more general view on singular thoughts, and show how it can deal with the problems (...) I raise for the Simple Account. (shrink)
Moral error theorists hold that morality is deeply mistaken, thus raising the question of whether and how moral judgments and utterances should continue to be employed. Proposals include simply abolishing morality, adopting some revisionary fictionalist stance toward morality, and conserving moral judgments and utterances unchanged. I defend a fourth proposal, namely revisionary moral expressivism, which recommends replacing cognitivist moral judgments and utterances with non-cognitivist ones. Given that non-cognitivist attitudes are not truth apt, revisionary expressivism does not involve moral (...) class='Hi'>error. Moreover, revisionary expressivism has the theoretical resources to retain many of the useful features of morality, such as moral motivation, moral disagreement, and moral reasoning. Revisionary expressivism fares better than the three major alternatives in both avoiding moral error and preserving these useful features of morality. I also show how this position differs from the “revolutionary expressivism” of Sebastian Köhler and Michael Ridge. (shrink)
I here investigate whether there is any version of the principle of charity both strong enough to conflict with an error-theoretic version of nominalism about abstract objects, and supported by the considerations adduced in favour of interpretive charity in the literature. I argue that in order to be strong enough, the principle, which I call (Charity), would have to read, “For all expressions e, an acceptable interpretation must make true a sufficiently high ratio of accepted sentences containing e”. I (...) next consider arguments based on Davidson's intuitive cases for interpretive charity, the reliability of perceptual beliefs, and the reliability of “non-abstractive inference modes”, and conclude that none support. I then propose a diagnosis of the view that there must be some universal principle of charity ruling out. Finally, I present a reason to think (Charity) is false, namely, that it seems to exclude the possibility of such disagreements as that between nominalists and realists. (shrink)
This paper surveys contemporary accounts of error theory and fictionalism. It introduces these categories to those new to metaethics by beginning with moral nihilism, the view that nothing really is right or wrong. One main motivation is that the scientific worldview seems to have no place for rightness or wrongness. Within contemporary metaethics there is a family of theories that makes similar claims. These are the theories that are usually classified as forms of error theory or fictionalism though (...) there are different ways of accepting some form of the view that nothing is really write or wrong. A range of different ways of going in the light of such a realization is also proposed. The resulting taxonomy of positions is quite complicated and sometimes surprising. One surprise will be that some positions plausibly classified as error theories or forms of fictionalism do not quite seem to be forms of nihilism. (shrink)
Error theorists hold that, although our first-order moral thought and discourse commits us to the existence of moral truths, there are no such truths. Holding this position in metaethics puts the error theorist in an uncomfortable position regarding first-order morality. When it comes to our pre-theoretic moral commitments, what should the error theorist think? What should she say? What should she do? I call this the ‘Now What’ Problem for error theory. This paper suggests a framework (...) for evaluating different approaches to the ‘Now What’ Problem, and goes on to evaluate the three most common responses to this problem. All three are found to have noteworthy problems. Finally, I present my own solution, and argue that it presents the most appealing solution to the ‘Now What’ Problem. (shrink)
In this paper we introduce a paradigm of experiment which, we believe, is of interest both in psychology and philosophy. There the subject wears an HMD (head-mount display), and a camera is set up at the upper corner of the room, in which the subject is. As a result, the subject observes his own body through the HMD. We will mainly focus on the philosophical relevance of this experiment, especially to the thesis of so-called 'immunity to error through misidentification (...) relative to the first-person pronoun'. We will argue that one experiment conducted in this setting, which we call the bodily illusion experiment, provides a counterexample to that thesis. (shrink)
This paper evaluates an argument for the conclusion that in order to produce a viable objection to a particular error theory, the objection must not be applicable to any error theory. The reason given for this conclusion is that error theories about some discourses are uncontroversial. But the examples given of uncontroversial error theories are not good ones, nor do there appear to be other examples available.
This paper is intended to complement our previous works on the necessary existence of error-correcting codes endowing genomes with the ability of being regenerated, not merely copied. It sketchily recalls some fundamental definitions and results of information theory and error-correcting codes; provides an overview of our research; shows that the disjunction of replication and regeneration enlightens the divide between germinal and somatic cells; suggests that some phenomena referred to as epigenetic may possibly find an explanation within the framework (...) of error-correcting codes; points out some difficulties, especially those related to sexual reproduction; criticizes the template-replication paradigm, and prompts geneticists to become familiar with information theory. (shrink)
Error is protean, ubiquitous and crucial in scientific process. In this paper it is argued that understanding scientific process requires what is currently absent: an adaptable, context-sensitive functional role for error in science that naturally harnesses error identification and avoidance to positive, success-driven, science. This paper develops a new account of scientific process of this sort, error and success driving Self-Directed Anticipative Learning (SDAL) cycling, using a recent re-analysis of ape-language research as test example. The example (...) shows the limitations of other accounts of error, in particular Mayo’s (Error and the growth of experimental knowledge, 1996) error-statistical approach, and SDAL cycling shows how they can be fruitfully contextualised. (shrink)
It has been observed that, unlike other kinds of singular judgments, mental self-ascriptions are immune to error through misidentification: they may go wrong, but not as a result of mistaking someone else’s mental states for one’s own. Although recent years have witnessed increasing interest in this phenomenon, three basic questions about it remain without a satisfactory answer: what is exactly an error through misidentification? What does immunity to such errors consist in? And what does it take to explain (...) the fact that mental self-ascriptions exhibit this sort of immunity? The aim of this paper is to bring these questions into focus, propose some tentative answers and use them to show that one prominent attempt to explain the immunity to error through misidentification of mental self-ascriptions is unsuccessful. (shrink)
This chapter seeks to recover an approach to consciousness from a general theory of brain function, namely the prediction error minimization theory. The way this theory applies to mental and developmental disorder demonstrates its relevance to consciousness. The resulting view is discussed in relation to a contemporary theory of consciousness, namely the idea that conscious perception depends on Bayesian metacognition; this theory is also supported by considerations of psychopathology. This Bayesian theory is first disconnected from the higher-order thought theory, (...) and then, via a prediction error conception of action, connected instead to the global neuronal workspace theory. Considerations of mental and developmental disorder therefore show that a very general theory of brain function is relevant to explaining the structure of conscious perception; furthermore, this theory can subsume and unify two contemporary approaches to consciousness, in a move that seeks to elucidate the fundamental mechanism for selection of representational content into consciousness. (shrink)
According to moral error theory, moral discourse is error-ridden. Establishing error theory requires establishing two claims. These are that moral discourse carries a non-negotiable commitment to there being a moral reality and that there is no such reality. This paper concerns the first and so-called non-negotiable commitment claim. It starts by identifying the two existing argumentative strategies for settling that claim. The standard strategy is to argue for a relation of conceptual entailment between the moral statements that (...) comprise moral discourse and the statement that there is a moral reality. The non-standard strategy is to argue for a presupposition relation instead. Error theorists have so far failed to consider a third strategy, which uses a general entailment relation that doesn’t require intricate relations between concepts. The paper argues that both entailment claims struggle to meet a new explanatory challenge and that since the presupposition option doesn’t we have prima facie reason to prefer it over the entailment options. The paper then argues that suitably amending the entailment claims enables them to meet this challenge. With all three options back on the table the paper closes by arguing that error theorists should consider developing the currently unrecognised, non-conceptual entailment claim. (shrink)
Philosophers should consider a hybrid meta-ethical theory that includes elements of both moral expressivism and moral error theory. Proponents of such an expressivist-error theory hold that all moral utterances are either expressions of attitudes or expressions of false beliefs. Such a hybrid theory has two advantages over pure expressivism, because hybrid theorists can offer a more plausible account of the moral utterances that seem to be used to express beliefs, and hybrid theorists can provide a simpler solution to (...) the Frege-Geach problem. The hybrid theory has three advantages over pure error theory, because hybrid theorists can offer a more plausible account of the moral utterances that seem to be used to express attitudes, hybrid theorists can more easily explain moral motivation, and hybrid theorists can avoid the implausible claim that all moral discourse is radically mistaken. Accordingly, such a hybrid theory should be more attractive than pure expressivism or pure error theory to philosophers who are skeptical about moral facts and truth. (shrink)
This paper explores the prospects of different forms of moral error theory. It is argued that only a suitably local error theory would make good sense of the fact that it is possible to give and receive genuinely good moral advice.
Williamson (2000a) has argued that posi- tive introspection is incompatible with in- exact knowledge. His argument relies on a margin-for-error requirement for inexact knowledge based on a intuitive safety prin- ciple for knowledge, but leads to the counter- intuitive conclusion that no possible creature could have both inexact knowledge and posi- tive introspection. Following Halpern (2004) I put forward an alternative margin-for-error requirement that preserves the safety require- ment while blocking Williamson’s argument. I argue that the infallibilist conception (...) of knowledge that underlies the new require- ment provides a better account of inexact knowledge and higher-order knowledge than both Williamson’s and Halpern’s. (shrink)
According to Jonas Olson, "a plausible moral error theory must be an error theory about all irreducible normativity". I agree. But unlike Olson, I think that we cannot believe this error theory. I first argue that Olson is wrong to think that reasons for belief need not be irreducibly normative. I then argue that if reasons for belief are irreducibly normative, we cannot believe an error theory about all irreducible normativity. I then show that if we (...) cannot believe this error theory, Olson cannot defend his view as a partly revisionary alternative to this theory. (shrink)
Recent work by Frigg et. al. and Mayo-Wilson have called attention to a particular sort of error associated with attempts to model certain complex systems: structural modeling error. The assessment of the degree of SME in a model presupposes agreement between modelers about the best way to individuate natural systems, an agreement which can be more problematic than it appears. This problem, which we dub “the system individuation problem” arises in many of the same contexts as SME, and (...) the two often compound one another. This paper explores the common roots of the two problems in concerns about the precision of predictions generated by scientific models, and discusses how both concerns bear on the study of complex natural systems, particularly the global climate. (shrink)
Moral error-theorists and relativists agree that there are no absolute moral facts, but disagree whether that makes all moral judgments false. Who is right? This paper examines a type of objection used by moral error-theorists against relativists, and vice versa: objections from implausible ascriptions of mistakes. Relativists (and others) object to error-theory that it implausibly implies that people, in having moral beliefs, are systematically mistaken about what exists. Error-theorists (and others) object to relativism that it implausibly (...) implies that people are systematically mistaken about the content of their own moral beliefs. The paper argues that such arguments cannot settle between the two theories since, contrary to first appearance, both theories face the very same challenges of explaining mistaken beliefs. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 397 - 402 Moral error theorists and moral realists agree about several disputed metaethical issues. They typically agree that ordinary moral judgments are beliefs and that ordinary moral utterances purport to refer to moral facts. But they disagree on the crucial ontological question of whether there are any moral facts. Moral error theorists hold that there are not and that, as a consequence, ordinary moral beliefs are systematically mistaken and ordinary moral (...) judgments uniformly untrue. Perhaps because of its kinship with moral realism, moral error theory is often considered the most notorious of moral scepticisms. While the view has been widely discussed, it has had relatively few defenders. _Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence_ examines the view from a historical as well as a contemporary perspective, and purports to respond to some of its most prominent challenges. This précis is a brief summary of the book’s content. (shrink)
The possibility of error is related to the existence a norm. Connections are spelled out to the notion of infallibility and to that of a modifying predicate, to traditional truth theories in connection with “truth of things”, as well as the primacy of the negative cases, for instance “ false friend”.
Recanati’s (2007, 2009) argues for a Lewisian subjectless view of the content of “implicit” de se thought, on the basis that we can thus better explain the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification. The paper argues that this is not the case, and suggests that such a view is in tension with Recanati’s mental files approach to de re thought in general and the SELF concept in particular.
We study how an organization’s error-management climate affects organizational members’ beliefs about other members’ willingness to report errors that they discover when chance of error detection by superiors and others is extremely low. An error-management climate, as a component of the organizational climate, is said to be “high” when errors are accepted as part of everyday life as long as they are learned from and not repeated. Alternatively, the error-management climate is said to be an “ (...) class='Hi'>error averse” climate when discovery of errors invokes the laying of blame on those admitting to or found committing errors. We examine the effects of this error-management climate in a professional services environment where uncorrected errors may have severe consequences and discovery of work errors is crucial for organizational success. We find that error-management climate affects organizational members’ beliefs about what other members will report about discovered self-made errors, with a high error-management (versus error averse) climate leading to greater reporting willingness. We also find a significant interaction with a key contextual variable, error type (conceptual or calculation), that suggests the effect is more significant for conceptual errors than calculation errors. Our findings suggest that an organization’s error-management climate is an important factor in promoting ethical behavior of employees, especially junior employees, carrying out routine tasks whose failure to report errors discovered incidental to those tasks may have severe implications for their organizations. (shrink)
Error statistics is an important methodological view in philosophy of statistics and philosophy of science that can be applied to scientific experiments such as clinical trials. In this paper, I raise two potential issues for ES when it comes to guiding, and explaining early stopping of randomized controlled trials : ES provides limited guidance in cases of early unfavorable trends due to the possibility of trend reversal; ES is silent on how to prospectively control error rates in experiments (...) requiring multiple interim analyses. The method of conditional power, together with a rationing principle for RCTs, can assist ES in addressing such issues. (shrink)
Much current debate in the metaphysics of time is between A-theorists and B-theorists. Central to this debate is the assumption that time exists and that the task of metaphysics is to catalogue time’s features. Relatively little consideration has been given to an error theory about time. Since there is very little extant work on temporal error theory the goal of this paper is simply to lay the groundwork to allow future discussion of the relative merits of such a (...) view. The paper thus develops a conceptual framework from within which to evaluate claims about the actual existence, or not, of temporality as that notion appears in folk discourses about time, and from there to examine claims about the counterfactual existence, or not, of temporality so conceived. We subsequently apply this framework to three extant positions drawn from physics and metaphysics that deny the existence of time. We show that only one of these positions is a folk temporal error theory; that is, a view that denies the existence of time as that notion is operative in our everyday thought and talk. (shrink)
Jonas Olson defends a moral error theory in (2014). I will first argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral nonnaturalism in his own opinion. I will then argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral contextualism either (although the latter is not a matter of his own opinion).
Barbieri introduced and developed the concept of organic codes. The most basic of them is the genetic code, a set of correspondence rules between otherwise unrelated sequences: strings of nucleotides on the one hand, polypeptidic chains on the other hand. Barbieri noticed that it implies ‘coding by convention’ as arbitrary as the semantic relations a language establishes between words and outer objects. Moreover, the major transitions in life evolution originated in new organic codes similarly involving conventional rules. Independently, dealing with (...) heredity as communication over time and relying on information theory, we asserted that the conservation of genomes over the ages demands that error-correcting codes make them resilient to casual errors. Moreover, the better conservation of very old parts of the genome demands that they result from combining successively established nested codes such that the older an information, the more numerous component codes protect it. Barbieri’s concept of organic code and that of genomic error-correcting code may seem unrelated. We show however that organic codes actually entail error-correcting properties. Error-correcting, in general, results from constraints being imposed on a set of sequences. Mathematical equalities are conveniently used in communication engineering for expressing constraints but error correction only needs that constraints exist. Biological sequences are similarly endowed with error-correcting ability by physical-chemical or linguistic constraints, thus defining ‘soft codes’. These constraints are moreover presumably efficient for correcting errors. Insofar as biological sequences are subjected to constraints, organic codes necessarily involve soft codes, and their successive onset results in the nested structure we hypothesized. Organic codes are generated and maintained by means of molecular ‘semantic feedback loops’. Each of these loops involves genes which code for proteins, the enzymatic action of which controls a function needed for the protein assembly. Taken together, thus, they control the assembly of their own structure as instructed by the genome and, once closed, these loops ensure their own conservation. However, the semantic feedback loops do not prevent the genome lengthening. It increases both the redundancy of the genome and the information quantity it bears, thus improving the genome reliability and the specificity of the enzymes, which enables further evolution. (shrink)