When we witness a great actor, musician, or sportsperson performing, we share something of their experience. Only recently has it become clear just how this sharing of experience is realised within the human brain. 'Mirrors in the brain' provides an accessible overview of mirror neurons, written by the man who first discovered them.
The philosophy of language of Robert Brandom is based on a theoretical structure composed of three main elements: the normative analysis of linguistic practices, the inferential characterization of conceptual contents and the expressive articulation of the relations between the former two. Normative pragmatics aims to explain how linguistic practices are sufficient to confer contentful states in those who engage in them. Inferential semantics provides a theory of such pragmatic significances in terms of the inferential relations that articulate conceptual contents. Rational (...) expressivism is the thesis that concept application is essentially a process of turning something that can only be done into something that can also be said. Such a threefold structure is the core of normative inferentialism. This book is a concise, selfcontained and comprehensive presentation of this philosophical enterprise. It guides the reader through the analysis of Brandom’s imposing theoretical apparatus, the discovery of the roots of his approach in American pragmatism and German idealism, till the exploration of some of its most interesting and recent outcomes in pragmatics and semantics. It is a valuable resource for both those who approach Brandom’s work for the first time and those who are interested in the potential of normative inferentialism. (shrink)
This paper investigates the epistemic assumptions that David Lewis makes in his account of social conventions. In particular, I focus on the assumption that the agents have common knowledge of the convention to which they are parties. While evolutionary analyses show that the common knowledge assumption is unnecessary in certain classes of games, Lewis’ original account (and, more recently, Cubitt and Sugden’s reconstruction) stresses the importance of including it in the definition of convention. I discuss arguments pro et contra to (...) argue that, although the assumption might be relevant to a descriptively adequate account of social convention, it is not required for its rational reconstruction. I then point out that Lewis’ account, properly speaking, is of common reason to believe, rather than of common knowledge, and argue that, in order to formalize aptly the distinction between reason to believe and belief, standard formal epistemic models need to be supplemented with so-called awareness structures. Finally, I stress that the notion of knowledge implicit in Lewis’ text involves interesting elements that cannot be captured in the standard propositional formalizations, but need the full expressive force of quantified epistemic logic. (shrink)
Famously, Kripke has argued that the central portion of the Philosophical Investigations describes both a skeptical paradox and its skeptical solution. Solving the paradox involves the element of the community, which determines correctness conditions for rule-following behavior. What do such conditions precisely consist of? Is it accurate to say that there is no fact to the matter of rule following? How are the correctness conditions sustained in the community? My answers to these questions revolve around the idea that a rule (...) is followed insofar as a convention is in place. In particular, I consider the game-theoretic definition of convention offered by David Lewis and I show that it illuminates essential aspects of the communitarian understanding of rule-following. Make the following experiment: say “It’s cold here” and mean “It’s warm here”. Can you do it?Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 1953, §510.I can’t say “it’s cold here” and mean “it’s warm here”—at least, not without a little help from my friends.David Lewis, Convention. (shrink)
The principle of moral equality is one of the cornerstones of any liberal theory of justice. It is usually assumed that persons’ equal moral status should be grounded in the equal possession of a status-conferring property. Call this the property-first approach to the basis of moral equality. This approach, however, faces some well-known difficulties: in particular, it is difficult to see how the possession of a scalar property can account for persons’ equal moral status. A plausible way of circumventing such (...) difficulties is to explore another avenue for the justification of persons’ equal moral status: moral equality should be grounded in the wrongness of treating others as inferiors. Call this the relation-first approach to the basis of moral equality. This paper aims at providing some reasons as to why this approach should be rejected and clarifying why the property-first approach still represents the most promising way of justifying our commitment to moral equality. Two objections will be pressed against the relation-first approach: first, grounding moral equality in the wrongness of treating others as inferiors gives rise to some disturbing normative implications; second, relation-first accounts cannot vindicate the idea that a range of beings has equal fundamental rights. This, however, is precisely what an account of moral equality is meant to justify. The paper, then, concludes that the relation-first approach fails to provide a plausible answer to the question of the basis of moral equality. Property-first accounts, whatever problems they encounter, are still more viable in principle. (shrink)
Among the many possible approaches to dealing with logical omniscience, I consider here awareness and impossible worlds structures. The former approach, pioneered by Fagin and Halpern, distinguishes between implicit and explicit knowledge, and avoids logical omniscience with respect to explicit knowledge. The latter, developed by Rantala and by Hintikka, allows for the existence of logically impossible worlds to which the agents are taken to have access; since such worlds need not behave consistently, the agents’ knowledge is fallible relative to logical (...) omniscience. The two approaches are known to be equally expressive in propositional systems interpreted over Kripke semantics. In this paper I show that the two approaches are equally expressive in propositional systems interpreted over Montague-Scott (neighborhood) semantics. Furthermore, I provide predicate systems of both awareness and impossible worlds structures interpreted on neighborhood semantics and prove the two systems to be equally expressive. (shrink)
This article contributes to the growing scholarship on the topic of assurance services for sustainability reports. We first synthetically illustrate the main international standards for the implementation of assurance services regarding the subject documents. The second part of our article is an empirical analysis of reports drawn up on the basis of the current Global Reporting Initiative 2006 guidelines, and looks at how effectively these standards have been implemented, analyzing the different typologies of assurance statement.
We propose a modal logic based on three operators, representing intial beliefs, information and revised beliefs. Three simple axioms are used to provide a sound and complete axiomatization of the qualitative part of Bayes’ rule. Some theorems of this logic are derived concerning the interaction between current beliefs and future beliefs. Information flows and iterated revision are also discussed.
We establish a correspondence between the rationalizability of choice studied in the revealed preference literature and the notion of minimal belief revision captured by the AGM postulates. A choice frame consists of a set of alternatives , a collection E of subsets of (representing possible choice sets) and a function f : E ! 2 (representing choices made). A choice frame is rationalizable if there exists a total pre-order R on..
Taking the inspiration from some points made by Scott Sturgeon and Albert Casullo, I articulate a view according to which an important difference between undermining and overriding defeaters is that the former require the subject to engage in some higher-order epistemic thinking, while the latter don’t. With the help of some examples, I argue that underminers push the cognizer to reflect on the way she formed a belief by challenging the epistemic worthiness of either the source of justification or the (...) specific justificatory process. By contrast, overriders needn’t pose any such challenge. I also consider some problems for the proposed view, and I put forward some possible solutions. Finally, I provide some details on how undermining defeat works in different cases. (shrink)
The main purpose of this exploratory analysis is to understand whether, based on evidence gathered from international best practices selected among corporations which adopt the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines in sustainability reporting (SR), stakeholders are significantly consulted and involved—as international literature would indicate—by assurance providers, during assurance processes of SR. We aim at verifying if this practice—known as stakeholder assurance—is in fact widespread in SR assurance by carrying out empirical research, through content analysis, into a sample of 161 assurance statements (...) of international corporations, in order to test characteristics of any stakeholder assurance implemented. (shrink)
I extend the Higher-Order View of Undermining Defeat (HOVUD) defended in Melis (2014) to account for the defeat of propositional justification. In doing so, I clarify the important notion of higher-order commitment, and I make some considerations concerning the defeat of externalist epistemic warrants.
For the past 20 years or so the literature on noncooperative games has been centered on the search for an equilibrium concept that expresses the notion of rational behavior in interactive situations. A basic tenet in this literature is that if a “rational solution” exists, it must be a Nash equilibrium. The consensus view, however, is that not all Nash equilibria can be accepted as rational solutions. Consider, for example, the game of Figure 1.
In his recent book, Humanity without Dignity: Moral Equality, Respect, and Human Rights, Andrea Sangiovanni argues that the principle of moral equality should be grounded in the wrongness of treating others as inferiors insofar as this constitutes an act of social cruelty. In this short piece, I will raise two concerns about the rejection of social cruelty as the basis of moral equality: first, Sangiovanni’s account seems to give rise to disturbing implications as to how those beings that have basic (...) moral status relate to each other. Second, grounding moral equality in the rejection of social cruelty may fail to capture some wrongs qua violation of moral equality. (shrink)
If there was a new wonder drug on the market that got kids to behave better, improve their grades, feel happier, and avoid risky behaviors, many parents around the world would be willing to empty their bank accounts to acquire it. Amazingly, such a product actually does exist. It’s not regulated by the FDA, it has no ill side-effects, and it’s absolutely free and available to anyone at any time. This miracle cure is gratitude. Over the past decade, science has (...) shown that gratitude is one of the most valuable and important emotions we possess, and it is a virtue that anyone can cultivate. In fact, researchers have developed many different methods people can use to foster an attitude of gratitude, and the science shows that many of them really work. In _Making Grateful Kids, _two of the leading authorities on gratitude among young people, Jeffrey J. Froh and Giacomo Bono, introduce their latest and most compelling research, announce groundbreaking findings, and share real-life stories from adults and youth to show parents, teachers, mentors, and kids themselves how to achieve greater life satisfaction through gratitude. Most importantly perhaps, they expand on this groundbreaking research to offer practical and effective common-sense plans that can be used in day-to-day interactions between kids and adults to enhance success and wellbeing. Their unique, scientifically-based approach for producing grateful youth works whether these kids are very young elementary school students or troubled teenagers. Not only does the purposeful practice of gratitude increase their happiness, but the research indicates that grateful kids also report more self-discipline, fulfilling relationships, and engagement with their schools and communities when compared to their less grateful counterparts. After reading _Making Grateful Kids_, parents, teachers, and anyone who works with youth will be able to connect more meaningfully with kids so that all parties can focus on the things that matter most and, in turn, create a more cooperative and thriving society. (shrink)
One important distinction in the debate over the nature of epistemic justification is the one between propositional and doxastic justification. Roughly, while doxastic justification is a property of beliefs, propositional justification is a property of propositions. On a rather common view, which accounts for doxastic justification in terms of propositional justification plus the so-called ‘basing relation’, propositional justification is seen as the prior notion, and doxastic justification is explained in terms of it. According to the opposing view, the direction of (...) explanation needs to be reversed, and doxastic justification should be seen as primary. I distinguish between two notions of priority, and I argue that they give different verdicts with respect to the issue of which notion of justification comes first. The lesson may be taken to be that propositional and doxastic justification are in a relation of intertwinement. (shrink)
The notion of perfect recall in extensive games was introduced by Kuhn (1953), who interpreted it as "equivalent to the assertion that each player is allowed by the rules of the game to remember everything he knew at previous moves and all of his choices at those moves''. We provide a characterization and axiomatization of perfect recall based on two notions of memory: (1) memory of past knowledge and (2) memory of past actions.
We consider strategic-form games with ordinal payoffs and provide a syntactic analysis of common belief/knowledge of rationality, which we define axiomatically. Two axioms are considered. The first says that a player is irrational if she chooses a particular strategy while believing that another strategy is better. We show that common belief of this weak notion of rationality characterizes the iterated deletion of pure strategies that are strictly dominated by pure strategies. The second axiom says that a player is irrational if (...) she chooses a particular strategy while believing that a different strategy is at least as good and she considers it possible that this alternative strategy is actually better than the chosen one. We show that common knowledge of this stronger notion of rationality characterizes the restriction to pure strategies of the iterated deletion procedure introduced by Stalnaker (1994). Frame characterization results are also provided. (shrink)
Recent attempts to define and support realism in semantics seem to acknowledge, as the only defence from skeptical attacks to the notion of meaning, a flat acceptance of the existence of representational relations between language and things in the world. In this paper I reconsider part of the mistrust about the normative character of meaning, in order to show that some of the worries urging the realists to cling on representationalism actually rest on misconceptions. To the contrary, I suggest that (...) normativity is the main strength of a stable realist stance in semantics. Support to this suggestion comes from the reanalysis of some oft-ignored sellarsian themes. (shrink)
Two views of game theory are discussed: (1) game theory as a description of the behavior of rational individuals who recognize each other’s rationality and reasoning abilities, and (2) game theory as an internally consistent recommendation to individuals on how to act in interactive situations. It is shown that the same mathematical tool, namely modal logic, can be used to explicitly model both views.
The theory of belief revision deals with (rational) changes in beliefs in response to new information. In the literature a distinction has been drawn between belief revision and belief update (see ). The former deals with situations where the objective facts describing the world do not change (so that only the beliefs of the agent change over time), while the letter allows for situations where both the facts and the doxastic state of the agent change over time. We focus on (...) belief revision and propose a temporal framework that allows for iterated revision. We model the notion of “minimal” or “conservative” belief revision by considering logics of increasing strength. We move from one logic to the next by adding one or more axioms and show that the corresponding logic captures more stringent notions of minimal belief revision. The strongest logic that we propose provides a full axiomatization of the well-known AGM theory of belief revision. (shrink)
The temporal updating of an agent’s beliefs in response to a flow of information is modeled in a simple modal logic that, for every date t, contains a normal belief operator B t and a non-normal information operator I t which is analogous to the ‘only knowing’ operator discussed in the computer science literature. Soundness and completeness of the logic are proved and the relationship between the proposed logic, the AGM theory of belief revision and the notion of plausibility is (...) discussed. (shrink)
We investigate agents that have incomplete information and make decisions based on their beliefs expressed as situation calculus bounded action theories. Such theories have an infinite object domain, but the number of objects that belong to fluents at each time point is bounded by a given constant. Recently, it has been shown that verifying temporal properties over such theories is decidable. We take a first-person view and use the theory to capture what the agent believes about the domain of interest (...) and the actions affecting it. In this paper, we study verification of temporal properties over online executions. These are executions resulting from agents performing only actions that are feasible according to their beliefs. To do so, we first examine progression, which captures belief state update resulting from actions in the situation calculus. We show that, for bounded action theories, progression, and hence belief states, can always be represented as a bounded first-order logic theory. Then, based on this result, we prove decidability of temporal verification over online executions for bounded action theories. (shrink)
The logical foundations of game-theoretic solution concepts have so far been explored within the con¯nes of epistemic logic. In this paper we turn to a di®erent branch of modal logic, namely temporal logic, and propose to view the solution of a game as a complete prediction about future play. The branching time framework is extended by adding agents and by de¯ning the notion of prediction. A syntactic characterization of backward induction in terms of the property of internal consistency of prediction (...) is given. (shrink)
In the present article we discuss the relevance of the mirror mechanism for our sense of self and our sense of others. We argue that, by providing us with an understanding from the inside of actions, the mirror mechanism radically challenges the traditional view of the self and of the others. Indeed, this mechanism not only reveals the common ground on the basis of which we become aware of ourselves as selves distinct from other selves, but also sheds new light (...) on the content of our self and other experience, showing that we primarily experience ourselves and the others in terms of our own and of their motor possibilities respectively. -/- . (shrink)
The Common Prior Assumption (CPA) plays an important role in game theory and the economics of information. It is the basic assumption behind decision-theoretic justifications of equilibrium reasoning in games (Aumann, 1987, Aumann and Brandenburger, 1995) and no-trade results with asymmetric information (Milgrom and Stokey, 1982). Recently several authors (Dekel and Gul, 1997, Gul, 1996, Lipman, 1995) have questioned whether the CPA is meaningful in situations of incomplete information, where there is no ex ante stage and where the primitives of (...) the model are the individuals' beliefs about the external world (their first-order beliefs), their beliefs about the other individuals' beliefs (second-order beliefs), etc., i.e. their hierarchies of beliefs. In this context, the CPA is a mathematical property whose conceptual content is not clear. The main results of this paper (Theorems 1 and 2) provide a characterization of Harsanyi consistency in terms of properties of the belief hierarchies that are entirely unrelated to the idea of an ex ante stage. (shrink)
In the present article we discuss the relevance of the mirror mechanism for our sense of self and our sense of others. We argue that, by providing us with an understanding from the inside of actions, the mirror mechanism radically challenges the traditional view of the self and of the others. Indeed, this mechanism not only reveals the common ground on the basis of which we become aware of ourselves as selves distinct from other selves, but also sheds new light (...) on the content of our self and other experience, showing that we primarily experience ourselves and the others in terms of our own and of their motor possibilities respectively. (shrink)
Restricting attention to the class of extensive games defined by von Neumann and Morgenstern with the added assumption of perfect recall, we specify the information of each player at each node of the game-tree in a way which is coherent with the original information structure of the extensive form. We show that this approach provides a framework for a formal and rigorous treatment of questions of knowledge and common knowledge at every node of the tree. We construct a particular information (...) partition for each player and show that it captures the notion of maximum information in the sense that it is the finest within the class of information partitions that satisfy four natural properties. Using this notion of “maximum information” we are able to provide an alternative characterization of the meet of the information partitions. (shrink)
This paper suggests a way of formalizing the amount of information that can be conveyed to each player along every possible play of an extensive game. The information given to each player i when the play of the game reaches node x is expressed as a subset of the set of terminal nodes. Two definitions are put forward, one expressing the minimum amount of information and the other the maximum amount of information that can be conveyed without violating the constraint (...) represented by the information sets. Our definitions provide intuitive characterizations of such notions as perfect recall, perfect information and simultanetty. (shrink)
The present study investigates shared representations of syntactic knowledge in music and action. We examined whether expectancy violations in musical harmonic sequences are also perceived as violations of the movement sequences necessary to produce them. Pianists imitated silent videos showing one hand playing chord sequences on a muted keyboard. Results indicate that, despite the absence of auditory feedback, imitation of a chord is fastest when it is congruent with the preceding harmonic context. This suggests that the harmonic rules implied by (...) observed actions induce expectations that influence action execution. As evidence that these predictions are derived at a high representational level, imitation was more accurate for harmonically incongruent chords than for congruent chords executed with unconventional fingering. The magnitude of the effects of context and goal prioritization increased with musical training. Thus, musical training may lead to a domain-general representation of musical grammar, i.e., to a grammar of action. (shrink)
The issue of biotechnology has been chosen in the MIRRORS project in order to analyze the sometimes uneasy relationship between science and society. After analyzing the situation of biotechnology regarding the GMO debate in Spain, France and Italy during a previous MIRRORS Workshop (This MIRRORS Workshop is entitled European Policies and Knowledge Society, held in Catania on December 15th 2008, during the which the undersigned, Anna Benedetta Francese and Cinzia Rizza discussed three papers about this topic [see the MIRRORS website (...) www.mirrors-project.it]), in this essay I have tried to tackle the relationship science–society, focalizing my attention on the epistemological and methodological problems behind the biotechnology debate that are often not clearly expressed, remaining mainly tacitly presupposed. I will take as a starting point some questions about the role of science in society and about the way science is used by policy makers in decision-making processes. These questions are fundamental in order to analyze (and possibly to propose salvation strategies) the existing problems of the relationship between science and society which has assumed, especially nowadays, more conflictual aspects. Our Research Team firmly holds that it is not possible to tackle this topic without an in-depth discussion of the most significant epistemological questions regarding research, discussions, and methods of biotechnology. (shrink)