Employees face an array of moral issues in their everyday decision making. Environmental concerns, employee and community welfare, and the interests of other companies (competitors, customers, and suppliers) are only a few examples. Yet, businesses do not always address the issue of how employees should assess the moral import of their actions and incorporate these considerations into their decisions. As a result, moral considerations are often ignored, leading to unethical practices which may hurt the long-term interests of the company. In (...) this paper, we present a model to help eliminate this problem. Our model uses expectancytheory, a process theory of motivation, to show that teaching employees to engage in moral reasoning, and creating a corporate culture in which ethical behavior is both encouraged and rewarded, can increase the likelihood that a company's employees will act ethically. (shrink)
Life history theory predicts that greater extrinsic mortality will lead to earlier and higher fertility. To test this prediction, I examine the relationship between life expectancy at birth and several proxies for life history traits (ages at first sex and first marriage, total fertility rate, and ideal number of children), measured for both men and women. Data on sexual behaviors come from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Two separate samples are analyzed: a cross-sectional sample of 62 countries (...) and a panel sample that includes multiple cross-sectional panels from 48 countries. Multivariate regression analysis is used to control for potential confounding variables. The results provide only partial support for the predictions, with greater support among women than men. However, the prediction is not supported in sub-Saharan African countries, most likely owing to the nonequilibrium conditions observed in sub-Saharan Africa with respect to life expectancy. The applicability of the model to understanding HIV/AIDS risk behaviors is discussed. (shrink)
The current study used both Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior (TPB) and Bandura’s social cognitive theory (SCT) to examine the intentions of business undergraduate students toward taking elective ethics courses and investigated the role of self-identity in this process. The study was prospective in design; data on predictors and intentions were obtained during the first collection of data, whereas the actual behavior was assessed 10 days later. Our results indicated that the TPB was a better predictor of behavioral (...) intentions than was SCT. As expected, self-identity served as a moderator in the relationship between perceived behavioral control and behavioral intentions posited by the TPB and in the relationship between outcome expectancy and behavioral intentions posited by SCT. Self-identity was a crucial factor in predicting actual behavior within both theoretical frameworks. (shrink)
Although the possibility that a firm’s stakeholders may take damaging measures against it in response to its activities has been an underlying assumption of stakeholder theory from inception, the conditions that predispose stakeholders to act against firms remain largely unexplored in the literature. Based on work in equity theory, expectancytheory, and resource dependence theory, we present and test hypotheses concerning stakeholders’ propensities to impose sanctions upon—or to support—firms. Using a vignette-based experiment, we found strong (...) confirmation of the criticality of fairness in the firm–stakeholder relationship: stakeholder equity perceptions were unequivocally associated with the proclivity to sanction the firm, or to engage in prosocial behaviours of benefit to it. Stakeholder expectancy perceptions and resource dependence were related to only certain forms of stakeholder action, indicating that researchers should take care to differentiate between types of stakeholder response when investigating questions surrounding stakeholder mobilization. Our results also suggest specific avenues for stakeholder dialogue that could help firms mitigate the likelihood of stakeholders taking damaging action against them. (shrink)
Rational choice models are characterized by the image of the self-interested Homo economicus. The role of moral concerns, which may involve a concern for others' welfare in people's judgments and choices, questions the descriptive validity of such models. Increasing evidence of a role for perceived moral obligation within the expectancy-value-based theory of reasoned action and the theory of planned behavior indicates the importance of moral-normative influences in social behavior. In 2 studies, the influence of moral judgments on (...) attitudes toward food produced with the use of genetic engineering techniques and toward meat consumption is addressed. The reasons participants provide for their moral judgments indicate some foci of their moral concerns. The results of both studies corroborate earlier findings that perceived moral obligation has independent effects on behavioral intentions; they also provide evidence that such judgments may affect attitudes themselves. The results are discussed in relation to the need for attitude-behavior models to reflect the role of moral evaluations in judgment and choice. (shrink)
According to Sider’s stage theory a subject about to undergo personal fission should expect to experience each outcome simultaneously as distinct persons. How is the subject to make sense of this ? I argue that their most paradigmatically self-interested future-directed behaviour, betting for personal gain, ought to be exactly the same as in equivalent games of chance where the possible outcomes correspond to the fission output branches. So this novel form of expectancy, albeit strange, can be a reliable (...) guide to action. (shrink)
Life history theory aims to explain the relationship between life events, recognizing that the fertility and growth schedules of organisms are dependent on environmental conditions and an organism’s ability to extract resources from its environment. Using models from life history theory, we predict life expectancy to be positively correlated with educational investments and negatively correlated with adolescent reproduction and total fertility rates. Analyses of UN data from 193 countries support these predictions and demonstrate that, although variation is (...) evident across world regions, strong interactions exist among life expectancy, reproductive investments, and educational attainment, and these relationships occur independently of economic pressures and disease burdens. The interactions are strongest, however, in countries with a life expectancy of ≥60 years as these countries tend to have stable economies and a limited HIV/AIDS burden. These findings suggest that policies aimed at influencing education and reproductive decisions should consider environmental characteristics that drive people’s expectations about their longevity. (shrink)
In this essay, I survey egalitarian and utilitarian approaches to the distribution of scarce life-saving medical resources. In my view, the major criterion for the distribution of scarce life-saving medical resources should be life expectancy: we should distribute life so as to maximize life-years. In Section II, I discuss the life-year maximization approach and situate it within utilitarian theory.
Myles Brand's rather audacious goal in his new book is nothing less than "to usher in the next... stage of philosophical action theory," which stage he understands as its "naturalization". Hence the subtitle. Naturalization will consist, he explains, in showing that action theory is "continuous with scientific theory", especially with cognitive science and motivational psychology. One familiar with Stich's view that one moves from "folk psychology" to cognitive science by eliminating such mentalistic concepts as belief might think (...) one naturalizes action theory by eliminating from it such concepts as belief, desire, motive, and intention. This, however, is not Brand's game. He thinks that "an understanding of human action depends on a scientific reading of intention". While he thinks that the cognitive psychology he discusses in chapters 7 and 8 has advanced our comprehension of what he calls the "cognitive component" in intention, the motivational psychology discussed in chapter 9 is in such "disarray" today that "there is presently no tenable scientific theory into which" what he calls the "conative component" of intention "can be transformed". These last three chapters range widely through the scientific literature on ideo-motor, program, script, drive, and expectancy theories. This discussion is detailed, technical, and sensitive to philosophical problems raised by the psychologists' claims and assumptions. Rare will be the philosopher who is not humbled, impressed, and informed by Brand's evident command and cogent critique of this material. Whether this work is of much philosophical value, I cannot say, but Brand is to be commended for taking "conceptual [philosophical] psychology [to be] the common base of scientific and folk psychology" and for holding that "a scientific psychological model is adequate only if it is compatible with the [philosophically] transformed conceptual claims of folk psychology". After Rorty, it takes courage to call both folk and scientific psychology before the bar of philosophy. (shrink)
In his paper “Eating Animals the Nice Way” McMahan : 66–76, 2008) explores whether there are ways of routinely using non-human animals for human consumption that are morally acceptable. He dismisses a practice of benign animal husbandry, in which animals are killed prematurely and believes that a practice in which animals were engineered to drop down dead instantaneously at the same age would be equally wrong, even though it would not involve killing. Yet, McMahan considers his intuition that both practices (...) are equally wrong with regard to our duties towards the involved animals hard to justify. This paper explains in more detail why this commonsensical intuition is indeed hard to justify and explores what it would take to justify it. It takes nothing less than a yet-to-be-specified plausible theory in population ethics and an account of welfare that deals in a plausible way with non-identity cases involving species- or breed-related differences in life expectancy. (shrink)
In Indian knowledge traditions, Vyākaraṇa describes the rules for the formation and use of correct words. The Vākya is postulated as the primary unit of communication. “śābdabodha” deals with the cognition of sentential meaning. Similarly, in Indian music, every rāga has a lexicon and grammar : a rāga only allows some notes and not others, and it has rules for constructing phrases—notes to be highlighted, notes to end phrases on, ornamentation, etc. These phrases of the rāga are comparable to “vākya” (...) which when presented with due regard to certain other considerations generate an apprehension of the rāga. During presentation of a rāga, an artist aims to evoke the rāga-cchāyā or rāga-svarūpa and also an emotive state in the listener. There is a cognitive aspect to the informed listening of a rāga that is parallel to linguistic communication. We seek to understand how these parallels work between śābdabodha and rāgabodha. We postulate that the conditions of expectancy, logical consistency and proximity in combination with the theory of sphoṭa provide a framework to explain how a rāga is expounded and cognised. (shrink)
On average, “young” people underestimate whereas “old” people overestimate their chances to survive into the future. Such subjective survival beliefs violate the rational expectations paradigm and are also not in line with models of rational Bayesian learning. In order to explain these empirical patterns in a parsimonious manner, we assume that self-reported beliefs express likelihood insensitivity and can, therefore, be modeled as non-additive beliefs. In a next step we introduce a closed form model of Bayesian learning for non-additive beliefs which (...) combines rational learning with psychological attitudes in the interpretation of information. Our model gives a remarkable fit to average subjective survival beliefs reported in the Health and Retirement Study. (shrink)
Some analyses of personal fission suggest that an informed subject should expect to have a distinct experience of each outcome simultaneously. Is rational provision for the future possible in such unfamiliar circumstances? I argue that, with some qualification, the subject can reasonably act as if faced with alternative possible outcomes with precise probabilities rather than multiple actual outcomes.
Semantic priming has long been recognized to reflect, along with automatic semantic mechanisms, the contribution of controlled strategies. However, previous theories of controlled priming were mostly qualitative, lacking common grounds with modern mathematical models of automatic priming based on neural networks. Recently, we introduced a novel attractor network model of automatic semantic priming with latching dynamics. Here, we extend this work to show how the same model can also account for important findings regarding controlled processes. Assuming the rate of semantic (...) transitions in the network can be adapted using simple reinforcement learning, we show how basic findings attributed to controlled processes in priming can be achieved, including their dependency on stimulus onset asynchrony and relatedness proportion and their unique effect on associative, category-exemplar, mediated and backward prime-target relations. We discuss how our mechanism relates to the classic expectancytheory and how it can be further extended in future developments of the model. (shrink)
Research indicates that people value music primarily because of the emotions it evokes. Yet, the notion of musical emotions remains controversial, and researchers have so far been unable to offer a satisfactory account of such emotions. We argue that the study of musical emotions has suffered from a neglect of underlying mechanisms. Specifically, researchers have studied musical emotions without regard to how they were evoked, or have assumed that the emotions must be based on the mechanism for emotion induction, a (...) cognitive appraisal. Here, we present a novel theoretical framework featuring six additional mechanisms through which music listening may induce emotions: (1) brain stem reflexes, (2) evaluative conditioning, (3) emotional contagion, (4) visual imagery, (5) episodic memory, and (6) musical expectancy. We propose that these mechanisms differ regarding such characteristics as their information focus, ontogenetic development, key brain regions, cultural impact, induction speed, degree of volitional influence, modularity, and dependence on musical structure. By synthesizing theory and findings from different domains, we are able to provide the first set of hypotheses that can help researchers to distinguish among the mechanisms. We show that failure to control for the underlying mechanism may lead to inconsistent or non-interpretable findings. Thus, we argue that the new framework may guide future research and help to resolve previous disagreements in the field. We conclude that music evokes emotions through mechanisms that are not unique to music, and that the study of musical emotions could benefit the emotion field as a whole by providing novel paradigms for emotion induction. (shrink)
We review three possible theoretical mechanisms for the placebo effect: conditioning, expectancy and endogenous opiates and consider the implications of the first two for clinical research and practice in the area of pain management. Methodological issues in the use of placebos as controls are discussed and include subtractive versus additive expectancy effects, no treatment controls, active placebo controls, the balanced placebo design, between- versus within-group designs, triple blind methodology and the double expectancy design. Therapeutically, the possibility of (...) shaping negative placebo responses through placebo sag, overservicing and the use of placebos on their own are explored. Suggestions for using conditioned placebos strategically in conjunction with nonplacebos are made and ways of maximizing the placebo component of nonplacebo treatments are examined. Finally, the importance of investigating the placebo effect in its own right is advocated in order to better understand the long-neglected psychological aspects of the therapeutic transaction. (shrink)
Within the rational choice approach trust is usually analysed as a problem of choice under uncertainty. In a standard social situation in which trust plays a role a trustor A has to choose between trusting or mistrusting a trustee B. If he chooses to trust, B can either honour the trust given which will be of some advantage to both or exploit it no matter what the consequences for A are. A can in general protect himself against being exploited by (...) choosing not to trust. But then he forgoes the possible advantages of trustful co-operation. A´s problem typically is that he is not sufficiently informed about B´s incentives or motivation. He may, for instance, not know whether B possesses some favourable character traits or not. The paper uses the well known game of trust with imperfect information to illustrate the core of the problem. From a rational choice point of view the possibility of a trustful decision is determined by the beliefs of A concerning B´s preferences. Thus the crucial parameter in the model is a probability measure p that measures A´s subjective expectations that a rational B will co-operate. According to the standard rational choice account trust is either a consequence or simply the expression of the expectations of a trustee represented by p. I refer to this account of trust as the theory of trust as rational expectancy. I shall criticise this solely cognitive view of trust for neglecting some central aspects of trusting relationships. My argument draws on the distinction between trust and reliance. It will be based on some simple observations, in particular: 1. The perception of the choice problem by the trustor as well as his perception of the trustee and the trustee´s characteristics may depend on wether or not the trustor is in fact trusting or mistrusting. 2. The trustor´s evaluation of the possible outcomes may depend on wether or not the trustor is in fact trusting or mistrusting. 3. The motivation of the trustee will often depend on whether he is trusted or not. If my argument is sound, then - to some considerable extend - it is impossible to analyse trust problems solely in terms of options, preferences and believes. There simply are no preferences and believes of the interacting individuals which are prior to and independent of trust. Trust then must be understood as a cause or basis of a trustor´s expectations, and not as their consequence. I shall finish my considerations by pointing to some general implications for an account of trust as social capital. (shrink)
According to Rivka Weinberg, gametes are like enriched uranium: both are hazardous materials. Exposing human beings to enriched uranium can result in radioactivity and decreased life expectancy, while exposing sperm and ova to each other can result in the creation of needy innocent persons with full moral status. Weinberg argues that when we engage in activities that put our gametes at risk of joining with others and growing into persons, we assume the costs of that risky activity. She calls (...) this the Hazmat Theory of parental responsibility. The theory is novel and important, and has far-reaching consequences for the ethics of procreation, parenting, and population, implying among other things that that the only way to avoid acquiring parental responsibilities may be to “abstain from sexual intercourse or surgically interfere with our gamete-release system.” For these reasons the theory merits careful scrutiny. In this article I criticize the theory's account of how parental responsibility is acquired and its treatment of the standard of care expected of gamete possessors, and argue that it fails to properly account for a distinction between procreative costs and parental responsibility. Even if gametes are hazardous, it does not follow that parental responsibility in Weinberg's sense is acquired whenever one brings new persons into existence. (shrink)
In this paper, ambiguity aversion to uncertain survival probabilities is introduced in a static life-cycle model with a bequest motive to study the optimal demand for annuities. Provided that annuities’ return is sufficiently large, and notably when it is fair, positive annuitization is known to be the optimal strategy of ambiguity neutral individuals. Conversely, we show that the demand for annuities decreases with ambiguity aversion and that there exists a finite degree of aversion above which the demand is non-positive: the (...) optimal strategy is then to either sell annuities short or to hold zero annuities if the former option is not available. To conclude, ambiguity aversion appears to be a relevant candidate for explaining the annuity puzzle. (shrink)
Do we have introspective access to our own thoughts? Peter Carruthers challenges the consensus that we do: he argues that access to our own thoughts is always interpretive, grounded in perceptual awareness and sensory imagery. He proposes a bold new theory of self-knowledge, with radical implications for understanding of consciousness and agency.
Drawing on propositions from the signaling theory and expectancytheory, this study hypothesizes that the perceived corporate citizenship of job seekers positively affects a firm’s attractiveness and career success expectation. This study’s proposed research hypotheses are empirically tested using a survey of graduating MBA students seeking a job. The empirical findings show that a firm’s corporate citizenship provides a competitive advantage in attracting job seekers and fostering optimistic career success expectation. Such findings substantially complement the growing literature (...) arguing that corporate citizenship brings firms competitive advantages without solid evidence from the perspective of recruitment and human resources. Finally, managerial implications and limitations of this study are also discussed. (shrink)
An important issue for successful recruitment is to increase the pursuit intention of job seekers. This study discusses such issue by proposing a research model based on the signaling theory and the expectancytheory. In the model, this study hypothesizes that the perceived corporate social performance of job seekers positively affects their job pursuit intention and recommendation intention indirectly via the mediation of corporate reputation and job advancement prospects. The proposed hypotheses of this research are empirically tested (...) using the data from people seeking a job. The empirical findings of this study complement previous literature by discussing how corporate social performance benefits business organizations from a perspective of human resources and recruitment. Last, managerial implications for business leaders and managers are provided. (shrink)
This article examines selected behavioral aspects of ethical decision making within a business context. Three categories of antecedents to ethical decision behaviors (individual differences, interpersonal variables, and organizational variables) are examined and propositions are offered. Moral development theory and expectancytheory are then explored as possible bases for a theory of ethical decision making. Finally, means of improving ethical decision making in firms are explored.
Most mainstream attempts to understand the “placebo effect” invoke expectancytheory, arguing that expecting certain outcomes from a treatment or intervention can manifest those outcomes. Expectancytheory is incompatible with the phenomena of placebo responses, more appropriately named “meaning responses.” The expectancy account utilizes reflexive consciousness to connect a world of conceptual representations to mechanical physiology. An alternative account based upon Merleau-Ponty's motor intentionality argues that the body understands and is capable of responding to meanings (...) without the need for any conceptual or linguistic content. A motor intentional framework of meaning poses dramatic implications for the interpretation of clinical trials and in the clinical practice of medicine. Most strongly, it argues that the empathic physician can facilitate the physiologic effects of treatments through skillful participation and manipulation of the meaning response. (shrink)
This study investigates the complexities in the relationship between perceptions of organizational politics and performance ratings by examining the moderating effect of impression management on that relationship. Expectancytheory was employed to better understand the moderating effect. We proposed that two kinds of impression management tactics occurred: supervisor-focused and job-focused, respectively. It was hypothesized that increased exercise of impression management would mitigate the negative effects of perceptions of organizational politics and performance ratings. Data were collected from 290 full-time (...) employees of ten state-owned enterprises in Taiwan. Hierarchical moderated regression analysis of data revealed that the job-focused tactics exerted a significant moderating effect on the relationship between perceptions of organizational politics and performance ratings. When perceptions of organizational politics are low, employees who engage in high levels of job-focused impression management tactics are more likely to gain better ratings than those who employ low-level tactics. (shrink)
This article addresses the world's contemporary crisis of care, despite the abundance of information about distant others, by exploring motivations for caring and the rok of imagination. The ethical significance of caring is found in performance. Applying Victor Vroom's expectancytheory, caring performances are viewed as extensions of rational expectations regarding the efficacy of actions. The imagination creates these positive or negative expectations regarding the ability to effectively care. William James s notion of the will to believe offers (...) a unique twist on rational expectations in that he regards humans as having the capacity to work within uncertainty to take decisive action. Applying this idea to caring performance is, this artick argues that peopk can have the will to care, beyond strict rational calculations or limits of social norms. Historically, caring has been associated with the imagination s ability to empathize, but the will to care offers another rok for the imagination in envisioning effective action. Given the significance of the imagination for ethical behavior, this artick explores the implications for cultivating care in terms of what educating for care might hok like. The work of feminist care ethicists, particularly Nel Noddings, is discussed, and contemporary case examples of caring performances are investigated. (shrink)
Teacher attitudes and practices are considered as essential in fostering parental involvement in school education. In Hong Kong, amongst possible types of home–school links, teacher–parent communication about childrens learning has been agreed to be the primary concern of both schools and parents. This paper reports a test of a psychological model of teacher–parent communication in Hong Kong primary schools. The model has taken into account the theory of planned behavior, self-efficacy theory, expectancytheory and theories of (...) family–school relations. Scales for measuring the criterion and predictor variables have been developed. Variables that associated with teacher communication intention and practices were identified and path analyses linking the variables in a conceptual model were conducted. Results show that teacher commitment and teacher efficacy in working with parents have significant predictive power for teacher intention. Teacher intention, together with teacher commitment, has predictive power for teachers time spent in communicating with parents. Relationships between individual teacher beliefs and the criterion variables are also described and discussed. (shrink)
What should our theorizing about social justice aim at? Many political philosophers think that a crucial goal is to identify a perfectly just society. Amartya Sen disagrees. In The Idea of Justice, he argues that the proper goal of an inquiry about justice is to undertake comparative assessments of feasible social scenarios in order to identify reforms that involve justice-enhancement, or injustice-reduction, even if the results fall short of perfect justice. Sen calls this the “comparative approach” to the theory (...) of justice. He urges its adoption on the basis of a sustained critique of the former approach, which he calls “transcendental.” In this paper I pursue two tasks, one critical and the other constructive. First, I argue that Sen’s account of the contrast between the transcendental and the comparative approaches is not convincing, and second, I suggest what I take to be a broader and more plausible account of comparative assessments of justice. The core claim is that political philosophers should not shy away from the pursuit of ambitious theories of justice (including, for example, ideal theories of perfect justice), although they should engage in careful consideration of issues of political feasibility bearing on their practical implementation. (shrink)
Judgment aggregation theory, or rather, as we conceive of it here, logical aggregation theory generalizes social choice theory by having the aggregation rule bear on judgments of all kinds instead of merely preference judgments. It derives from Kornhauser and Sager’s doctrinal paradox and List and Pettit’s discursive dilemma, two problems that we distinguish emphatically here. The current theory has developed from the discursive dilemma, rather than the doctrinal paradox, and the final objective of the paper is (...) to give the latter its own theoretical development along the line of recent work by Dietrich and Mongin. However, the paper also aims at reviewing logical aggregation theory as such, and it covers impossibility theorems by Dietrich, Dietrich and List, Dokow and Holzman, List and Pettit, Mongin, Nehring and Puppe, Pauly and van Hees, providing a uniform logical framework in which they can be compared with each other. The review goes through three historical stages: the initial paradox and dilemma, the scattered early results on the independence axiom, and the so-called canonical theorem, a collective achievement that provided the theory with its specific method of analysis. The paper goes some way towards philosophical logic, first by briefly connecting the aggregative framework of judgment with the modern philosophy of judgment, and second by thoroughly discussing and axiomatizing the ‘general logic’ built in this framework. (shrink)
The Austrian philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels published his essay "On 'Gestalt Qualities'" in 1890. The essay initiated a current of thought which enjoyed a powerful position in the philosophy and psychology of the first half of this century and has more recently enjoyed a minor resurgence of interest in the area of cognitive science, above all in criticisms of the so-called 'strong programme' in artificial intelligence. The theory of Gestalt is of course associated most specifically with psychologists of the (...) Berlin school such as Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka. We shall see in what follows, however, that an adequate philosophical understanding of the Gestalt idea and of Ehrenfels' achievement will require a close examination not merely of the work of the Berlin school but also of a much wider tradition in Austrian and German philosophy in general. (shrink)
According to republican theory, we are free persons to the extent that we are protected and secured in the same fundamental choices, on the same public basis, as one another. But there is no public protection or security without a coercive state. Does this mean that any freedom we enjoy is a superficial good that presupposes a deeper, political form of subjection? Philip Pettit addresses this crucial question in On the People's Terms. He argues that state coercion will not (...) involve individual subjection or domination insofar as we enjoy an equally shared form of control over those in power. This claim may seem utopian but it is supported by a realistic model of the institutions that might establish such democratic control. Beginning with a fresh articulation of republican ideas, Pettit develops a highly original account of the rationale of democracy, breathing new life into democratic theory. (shrink)
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)
This chapter of the Handbook of Utility Theory aims at covering the connections between utility theory and social ethics. The chapter first discusses the philosophical interpretations of utility functions, then explains how social choice theory uses them to represent interpersonal comparisons of welfare in either utilitarian or non-utilitarian representations of social preferences. The chapter also contains an extensive account of John Harsanyi's formal reconstruction of utilitarianism and its developments in the later literature, especially when society faces uncertainty (...) rather than probabilistic risk. (shrink)
In this impressive second edition of Theory of Knowledge, Keith Lehrer introduces students to the major traditional and contemporary accounts of knowing. Beginning with the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief, Lehrer explores the truth, belief, and justification conditions on the way to a thorough examination of foundation theories of knowledge,the work of Platinga, externalism and naturalized epistemologies, internalism and modern coherence theories, contextualism, and recent reliabilist and causal theories. Lehrer gives all views careful examination and concludes (...) that external factors must be matched by appropriate internal factors to yield knowledge. This match of internal and external factors follows from Lehrer’s new coherence theory of undefeated justification. In addition to doing justice to the living epistemological traditions, the text smoothly integrates several new lines that will interest scholars. Also, a feature of special interest is Lehrer’s concept of a justification game.This second edition of Theory of Knowledge is a thoroughly revised and updated version that contains several completely new chapters. Written by a well-known scholar and contributor to modern epistemology, this text is distinguished by clarity of structure, accessible writing, and an elegant mix of traditional material, contemporary ideas, and well-motivated innovation. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to address the semantic issue of the nature of the representation I and of the transcendental designation, i.e., the self-referential apparatus involved in transcendental apperception. The I think, the bare or empty representation I, is the representational vehicle of the concept of transcendental subject; as such, it is a simple representation. The awareness of oneself as thinking is only expressed by the I: the intellectual representation which performs a referential function of the spontaneity of (...) a thinking subject. To begin with, what exactly does Kant mean when he states that I is a simple and empty representation? Secondly, can the features of the representation I and the correlative transcendental designation explain the indexical nature of the I? Thirdly, do the Kantian considerations on indexicality anticipate any of the semantic elements or, if nothing else, the spirit of the direct reference theory? (shrink)
Cultural attractor theory (CAT) is a highly visible and audacious approach to studying human cultural evolution. However, the explanatory aims and some central explanatory concepts of CAT remain unclear. Here I remedy these problems. I provide a reconstruction of CAT that recasts it as a theory of forces. I then demonstrate how this reinterpretation of CAT has the resources to generate both cultural distribution and evolvability explanations. I conclude by examining the potential benefits and drawbacks of this reconstruction.