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Profile: Hilary Greaves (Oxford University)
  1. Justifying Conditionalization: Conditionalization Maximizes Expected Epistemic Utility.Hilary Greaves & David Wallace - 2006 - Mind 115 (459):607-632.
    According to Bayesian epistemology, the epistemically rational agent updates her beliefs by conditionalization: that is, her posterior subjective probability after taking account of evidence X, pnew, is to be set equal to her prior conditional probability pold(·|X). Bayesians can be challenged to provide a justification for their claim that conditionalization is recommended by rationality—whence the normative force of the injunction to conditionalize? There are several existing justifications for conditionalization, but none directly addresses the idea that conditionalization will be epistemically rational (...)
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  2.  71
    Population Axiology.Hilary Greaves - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (11):e12442.
    Population axiology is the study of the conditions under which one state of affairs is better than another, when the states of affairs in ques- tion may differ over the numbers and the identities of the persons who ever live. Extant theories include totalism, averagism, variable value theories, critical level theories, and “person-affecting” theories. Each of these the- ories is open to objections that are at least prima facie serious. A series of impossibility theorems shows that this is no coincidence: (...)
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  3. Understanding Deutsch's Probability in a Deterministic Universe.Hilary Greaves - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (3):423-456.
    Difficulties over probability have often been considered fatal to the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. Here I argue that the Everettian can have everything she needs from `probability' without recourse to indeterminism, ignorance, primitive identity over time or subjective uncertainty: all she needs is a particular *rationality principle*. The decision-theoretic approach recently developed by Deutsch and Wallace claims to provide just such a principle. But, according to Wallace, decision theory is itself applicable only if the correct attitude to a future (...)
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  4. Empirical Consequences of Symmetries.D. Wallace & Hilary Greaves - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (1):59-89.
    It is widely recognized that ‘global’ symmetries, such as the boost invariance of classical mechanics and special relativity, can give rise to direct empirical counterparts such as the Galileo-ship phenomenon. However, conventional wisdom holds that ‘local’ symmetries, such as the diffeomorphism invariance of general relativity and the gauge invariance of classical electromagnetism, have no such direct empirical counterparts. We argue against this conventional wisdom. We develop a framework for analysing the relationship between Galileo-ship empirical phenomena on the one hand, and (...)
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  5.  52
    Cluelessness.Hilary Greaves - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (3):311-339.
    Decisions, whether moral or prudential, should be guided at least in part by considerations of the consequences that would result from the various available actions. For any given action, however, the majority of its consequences are unpredictable at the time of decision. Many have worried that this leaves us, in some important sense, clueless. In this paper, I distinguish between ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ possible sources of cluelessness. In terms of this taxonomy, the majority of the existing literature on cluelessness focusses (...)
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  6. Epistemic Decision Theory.Hilary Greaves - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):915-952.
    I explore the prospects for modelling epistemic rationality (in the probabilist setting) via an epistemic decision theory, in a consequentialist spirit. Previous work has focused on cases in which the truth-values of the propositions in which the agent is selecting credences do not depend, either causally or merely evidentially, on the agent’s choice of credences. Relaxing that restriction leads to a proliferation of puzzle cases and theories to deal with them, including epistemic analogues of evidential and causal decision theory, and (...)
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  7. Probability in the Everett Interpretation.Hilary Greaves - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (1):109–128.
    The Everett (many-worlds) interpretation of quantum mechanics faces a prima facie problem concerning quantum probabilities. Research in this area has been fast-paced over the last few years, following a controversial suggestion by David Deutsch that decision theory can solve the problem. This article provides a non-technical introduction to the decision-theoretic program, and a sketch of the current state of the debate.
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  8.  37
    Moral Uncertainty About Population Ethics.Hilary Greaves & Toby Ord - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    Given the deep disagreement surrounding population axiology, one should remain uncertain about which theory is best. However, this uncertainty need not leave one neutral about which acts are better or worse. We show that as the number of lives at stake grows, the Expected Moral Value approach to axiological uncertainty systematically pushes one towards choosing the option preferred by the Total and Critical Level views, even if one’s credence in those theories is low.
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  9. Justifying Conditionalisation: Conditionalisation Maximises Expected Epistemic Utility.Hilary Greaves & David Wallace - 2006 - Mind 115 (459):607-632.
    According to Bayesian epistemology, the epistemically rational agent updates her beliefs by conditionalization: that is, her posterior subjective probability after taking account of evidence X, pnew, is to be set equal to her prior conditional probability pold(.|X). Bayesians can be challenged to provide a justification for their claim that conditionalization is recommended by rationality --- whence the normative force of the injunction to conditionalize? -/- There are several existing justifications for conditionalization, but none directly addresses the idea that conditionalization will (...)
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  10.  30
    Climate Change and Optimum Population.Hilary Greaves - manuscript
    Overpopulation is often identified as one of the key drivers of climate change. Further, it is often thought that the mechanism behind this is obvious: 'more people means more greenhouse gas emissions'. However, in light of the fact that climate change depends most closely on cumulative emissions rather than on emissions rates, the relationship between population size and climate change is more subtle than this. Reducing the size of instantaneous populations can fruitfully be thought of as spreading out a fixed (...)
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  11.  77
    On the Everettian Epistemic Problem.Hilary Greaves - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):120-152.
    Recent work in the Everett interpretation has suggested that the problem of probability can be solved by understanding probability in terms of rationality. However, there are *two* problems relating to probability in Everett --- one practical, the other epistemic --- and the rationality-based program *directly* addresses only the practical problem. One might therefore worry that the problem of probability is only `half solved' by this approach. This paper aims to dispel that worry: a solution to the epistemic problem follows from (...)
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  12.  24
    Discounting for Public Policy: A Survey.Hilary Greaves - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy (3):391-439.
    This article is a critical survey of the debate over the value of the social discount rate, with a particular focus on climate change. The ma- jority of the material surveyed is from the economics rather than from the philosophy literature, but the emphasis of the survey itself is on founda- tions in ethical and other normative theory rather than highly technical details. I begin by locating the standard approach to discounting within the overall landscape of ethical theory, and explaining (...)
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  13. Time Reversal in Classical Electromagnetism.Frank Arntzenius & Hilary Greaves - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):557-584.
    Richard Feynman has claimed that anti-particles are nothing but particles `propagating backwards in time'; that time reversing a particle state always turns it into the corresponding anti-particle state. According to standard quantum field theory textbooks this is not so: time reversal does not turn particles into anti-particles. Feynman's view is interesting because, in particular, it suggests a nonstandard, and possibly illuminating, interpretation of the CPT theorem. In this paper, we explore a classical analog of Feynman's view, in the context of (...)
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  14.  93
    Antiprioritarianism.Hilary Greaves - 2015 - Utilitas 27 (1):1-42.
    Prioritarianism is supposed to be a theory of the overall good that captures the common intuition of . But it is difficult to give precise content to the prioritarian claim. Over the past few decades, prioritarians have increasingly responded to this by formulating prioritarianism not in terms of an alleged primitive notion of quantity of well-being, but instead in terms of von NeumannPrimitivistTechnicalpriority to the worse offMorgenstern utility is a retrograde step.
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  15.  17
    Discounting Future Health.Hilary Greaves - forthcoming - In Emanuel Norheim (ed.), Global health priority-setting: Cost-effectiveness and beyond. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    In carrying out cost-benefit or cost-effective analysis, a discount rate should be applied to some kinds of future benefits and costs. It is controversial, though, whether future health is in this class. I argue that one of the standard arguments for discounting (from diminishing marginal returns) is inapplicable to the case of health, while another (favouring a pure rate of time preference) is unsound in any case. However, there are two other reasons that might support a positive discount rate for (...)
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  16.  17
    Global Consequentialism and the Morality and Laws of War.Hilary Greaves - forthcoming - In McDermott and Roser Kuosmanen (ed.), Human rights and 21st century challenges. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Rights-based approaches and consequentialist approaches to ethics are often seen as being diametrically opposed to one another. In one sense, they are. In another sense, however, they can be reconciled: a ‘global’ form of consequentialism might supply consequentialist foundations for a derivative morality that is non-consequentialist, and perhaps rights-based, in content. By way of case study to illustrate how this might work, I survey what a global consequentialist should think about a recent dispute between Jeff McMahan and Henry Shue on (...)
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  17.  2
    On the Everettian Epistemic Problem.Hilary Greaves - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):120-152.
  18.  15
    Against “the Badness of Death”.Hilary Greaves - forthcoming - In Gamlund and Solberg (ed.), Saving lives from the badness of death. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    I argue that excessive reliance on the notion of “the badness of death” tends to lead theorists astray when thinking about healthcare prioritisation. I survey two examples: the confusion surrounding the “time-relative interests account” of the badness of death, and a confusion in the recent literature on cost-benefit analyses for family planning interventions. In both cases, the confusions in question would have been avoided if (instead of attempting to theorise in terms of the badness of death) theorists had forced themselves (...)
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  19.  94
    In Search of (Spacetime) Structuralism.Hilary Greaves - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):189-204.
  20.  81
    Everett and Evidence.Hilary Greaves & Wayne C. Myrvold - 2010 - In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory & Reality. Oxford University Press.
    Much of the evidence for quantum mechanics is statistical in nature. The Everett interpretation, if it is to be a candidate for serious consideration, must be capable of doing justice to reasoning on which statistical evidence in which observed relative frequencies that closely match calculated probabilities counts as evidence in favour of a theory from which the probabilities are calculated. Since, on the Everett interpretation, all outcomes with nonzero amplitude are actualized on different branches, it is not obvious that sense (...)
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  21. Towards a Geometrical Understanding of the Cpt Theorem.Hilary Greaves - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):27-50.
    The CPT theorem of quantum field theory states that any relativistic (Lorentz-invariant) quantum field theory must also be invariant under CPT, the composition of charge conjugation, parity reversal and time reversal. This paper sketches a puzzle that seems to arise when one puts the existence of this sort of theorem alongside a standard way of thinking about symmetries, according to which spacetime symmetries (at any rate) are associated with features of the spacetime structure. The puzzle is, roughly, that the existence (...)
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  22.  16
    Extended Preferences and Interpersonal Comparisons of Well‐Being.Hilary Greaves & Harvey Lederman - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    An important objection to preference-satisfaction theories of well-being is that these theories cannot make sense of interpersonal comparisons of well-being. A tradition dating back to Harsanyi () attempts to respond to this objection by appeal to so-called extended preferences: very roughly, preferences over situations whose description includes agents’ preferences. This paper examines the prospects for defending the preference-satisfaction theory via this extended preferences program. We argue that making conceptual sense of extended preferences is less problematic than others have supposed, but (...)
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  23.  4
    The Social Disvalue of Premature Deaths.Hilary Greaves - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Weighing and reasoning: Themes from the philosophy of John Broome. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Much public policy analysis requires us to place a monetary value on the bad- ness of a premature human death. Currently dominant approaches to determining this ‘value of a life’ focus exclusively on the ‘self-regarding’ value of life — that is, the value of a person’s life to the person whose death is in question — and altogether ignore effects on other people. This procedure would be justified if, as seems intuitively plausible, other-regarding effects were negligible in comparison with self-regarding (...)
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  24.  6
    A Reconsideration of the Harsanyi–Sen–Weymark Debate on Utilitarianism.Hilary Greaves - 2016 - Utilitas:1-39.
    Harsanyi claimed that his Aggregation and Impartial Observer Theorems provide a justification for utilitarianism. This claim has been strongly resisted, notably by Sen and Weymark, who argue that while Harsanyi has perhaps shown that overall good is a linear sum of individuals’ von Neumann-Morgenstern utilities, he has done nothing to establish any con- nection between the notion of von Neumann-Morgenstern utility and that of well-being, and hence that utilitarianism does not follow. The present article defends Harsanyi against the Sen-Weymark cri- (...)
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  25.  12
    Aggregating Extended Preferences.Hilary Greaves & Harvey Lederman - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1163-1190.
    An important objection to preference-satisfaction theories of well-being is that they cannot make sense of interpersonal comparisons. A tradition dating back to Harsanyi :434, 1953) attempts to solve this problem by appeal to people’s so-called extended preferences. This paper presents a new problem for the extended preferences program, related to Arrow’s celebrated impossibility theorem. We consider three ways in which the extended-preference theorist might avoid this problem, and recommend that she pursue one: developing aggregation rules that violate Arrow’s Independence of (...)
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  26.  34
    Spacetime Symmetries and the CPT Theorem.Hilary Greaves - unknown
    This dissertation explores several issues related to the CPT theorem. Chapter 2 explores the meaning of spacetime symmetries in general and time reversal in particular. It is proposed that a third conception of time reversal, 'geometric time reversal', is more appropriate for certain theoretical purposes than the existing 'active' and 'passive' conceptions. It is argued that, in the case of classical electromagnetism, a particular nonstandard time reversal operation is at least as defensible as the standard view. This unorthodox time reversal (...)
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  27. In Search of Spacetime Structuralism.Hilary Greaves - manuscript
    The debate between substantivalists and relationists about spacetime was given a new lease of life approximately twenty years ago, when John Earman and John Norton published an argument for the conclusion that, in the light of general relativity, substantivalism is untenable. Responses to Earman and Norton’s argument generated a proliferation of ‘substantivalisms’, and a debate between them that was, to the ears of at least some, distinctively metaphysical in character.
     
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  28.  24
    On the CPT Theorem.Hilary Greaves & Teruji Thomas - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 45 (1):46-65.
    We provide a careful development and rigorous proof of the CPT theorem within the framework of mainstream quantum field theory. This is in contrast to the usual rigorous proofs in purely axiomatic frameworks, and non-rigorous proof-sketches in the mainstream approach. We construct the CPT transformation for a general field directly, without appealing to the enumerative classification of representations, and in a manner that is clearly related to the requirements of our proof. Our approach applies equally in Minkowski spacetimes of any (...)
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  29.  3
    Being Right on the Money.Hilary Greaves - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 73:71-76.
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  30. Are Anti-Particles Particles.Hilary Greaves - unknown
    ordinary electron, except it’s attracted to normal electrons – we say it has positive charge. For this reason it’s called a ‘positron’. The positron is a sister..
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  31. Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.Hilary Greaves - unknown
    (a) How to design a nuclear power plant 3. Deutsch/Wallace solution to the practical problem (a) Argue that the rational Everettian agent makes decisions by maximizing expected utility, where the expectation value is an average over branches 4. The semantics of branching - two options..
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  32.  19
    Review of Georg Sparber, Unorthodox Humeanism[REVIEW]Hilary Greaves - 2009 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (9).
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  33. An Unfortunate State of Affairs.Hilary Greaves - 2016 - In David Edmonds (ed.), Philosophers Take On the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  34. Dean Rickles, Symmetry, Structure and Spacetime. [REVIEW]Hilary Greaves - 2008 - Philosophy in Review 28:425-428.
     
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  35. Extended Preferences and Interpersonal Comparisons of Well‐Being.Hilary Greaves & Harvey Lederman - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    An important objection to preference-satisfaction theories of well-being is that these theories cannot make sense of interpersonal comparisons of well-being. A tradition dating back to Harsanyi () attempts to respond to this objection by appeal to so-called extended preferences: very roughly, preferences over situations whose description includes agents’ preferences. This paper examines the prospects for defending the preference-satisfaction theory via this extended preferences program. We argue that making conceptual sense of extended preferences is less problematic than others have supposed, but (...)
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