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Justin Bruner
University of Arizona
  1. The Varieties of Impartiality, or, Would an Egalitarian Endorse the Veil?Justin P. Bruner & Matthew Lindauer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):459-477.
    Social contract theorists often take the ideal contract to be the agreement or bargain individuals would make in some privileged choice situation. Recently, experimental philosophers have explored this kind of decision-making in the lab. One rather robust finding is that the exact circumstances of choice significantly affect the kinds of social arrangements experimental subjects unanimously endorse. Yet prior work has largely ignored the question of which of the many competing descriptions of the original position subjects find most compelling. This paper (...)
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  2.  23
    The Problem of Intransigently Biased Agents.Bennett Holman & Justin P. Bruner - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):956-968.
    In recent years the social nature of scientific inquiry has generated considerable interest. We examine the effect of an epistemically impure agent on a community of honest truth seekers. Extending a formal model of network epistemology pioneered by Zollman, we conclude that an intransigently biased agent prevents the community from ever converging to the truth. We explore two solutions to this problem, including a novel procedure for endogenous network formation in which agents choose whom to trust. We contend that our (...)
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  3.  46
    How to Beat Science and Influence People: Policymakers and Propaganda in Epistemic Networks.James Owen Weatherall, Cailin O’Connor & Justin P. Bruner - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (4):1157-1186.
    In their recent book, Oreskes and Conway describe the ‘tobacco strategy’, which was used by the tobacco industry to influence policymakers regarding the health risks of tobacco products. The strategy involved two parts, consisting of promoting and sharing independent research supporting the industry’s preferred position and funding additional research, but selectively publishing the results. We introduce a model of the tobacco strategy, and use it to argue that both prongs of the strategy can be extremely effective—even when policymakers rationally update (...)
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  4.  32
    Policing Epistemic Communities.Justin P. Bruner - 2013 - Episteme 10 (4):403-416.
    I examine how particular social arrangements and incentive structures encourage the honest reporting of experimental results and minimize fraudulent scientific work. In particular I investigate how epistemic communities can achieve this goal by promoting members to police the community. Using some basic tools from game theory, I explore a simple model in which scientists both conduct research and have the option of investigating the findings of their peers. I find that this system of peer policing can in many cases ensure (...)
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  5.  47
    Self-Correction in Science: Meta-Analysis, Bias and Social Structure.Justin P. Bruner & Bennett Holman - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 78:93-97.
  6.  51
    Diversity, Tolerance, and the Social Contract.Justin P. Bruner - 2015 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (4):429-448.
    Philosophers and social scientists have recently turned to game theory and agent-based models to better understand social contract formation. The stag hunt game is an idealization of social contract formation. Using the stag hunt game, we attempt to determine what, if any, barrier diversity is to the formation of an efficient social contract. We uncover a deep connection between tolerance, diversity, and the social contract. We investigate a simple model in which individuals possess salient traits and behave cooperatively when the (...)
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  7.  23
    Bargaining and the Dynamics of Divisional Norms.Justin P. Bruner - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):407-425.
    Recently, philosophers have investigated the emergence and evolution of the social contract. Yet extant work is limited as it focuses on the use of simple behavioral norms in rather rigid strategic settings. Drawing on axiomatic bargaining theory, we explore the dynamics of more sophisticated norms capable of guiding behavior in a wide range of scenarios. Overall, our investigation suggests the utilitarian bargaining solution has a privileged status as it has certain stability properties other social arrangements lack.
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  8.  36
    Locke, Nozick and the State of Nature.Justin P. Bruner - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):705-726.
    Recently, philosophers have drawn on tools from game theory to explore behavior in Hobbes’ state of nature. I take a similar approach and argue the Lockean state of nature is best conceived of as a conflictual coordination game. I also discuss Nozick’s famous claim regarding the emergence of the state and argue the path to the minimal state is blocked by a hitherto unnoticed free-rider problem. Finally, I argue that on my representation of the Lockean state of nature both widespread (...)
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  9.  35
    Inclusive Fitness and the Problem of Honest Communication.Justin P. Bruner & Hannah Rubin - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):115-137.
    Inclusive fitness has been under intense scrutiny in recent years, with many critics claiming the framework leads to incorrect predictions. We consider one particularly influential heuristic for estimating inclusive fitness in the context of the very case that motivated reliance on it to begin with: the Sir Philip Sidney signalling game played with relatives. Using a neighbour-modulated fitness model, we show when and why this heuristic is problematic. We argue that reliance on the heuristic rests on a misunderstanding of what (...)
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  10.  32
    The Handicap Principle Is an Artifact.Simon M. Huttegger, Justin P. Bruner & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):997-1009.
    The handicap principle is one of the most influential ideas in evolutionary biology. It asserts that when there is conflict of interest in a signaling interaction signals must be costly in order to be reliable. While in evolutionary biology it is a common practice to distinguish between indexes and fakable signals, we argue this dichotomy is an artifact of existing popular signaling models. Once this distinction is abandoned, we show one cannot adequately understand signaling behavior by focusing solely on cost. (...)
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  11.  33
    Disclosure and Information Transfer in Signaling Games.Justin P. Bruner - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (4):649-666.
    One of the major puzzles in evolutionary theory is how communication and information transfer are possible when the interests of those involved conflict. Perfect information transfer seems inevitable if there are physical constraints, which limit the signal repertoire of an individual, effectively making bluffing an impossibility. This, I argue, is incorrect. Unfakeable signals by no means guarantee information transfer. I demonstrate the existence of a so-called pooling equilibrium and discuss why the traditional argument for perfect information transfer does not hold (...)
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  12.  12
    Coordination, Conflict, and Externalization.Justin P. Bruner - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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  13.  4
    Convention, correlation and consistency.Justin P. Bruner - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-12.
    Peter Vanderschraaf’s Strategic Justice provides a defense of the egalitarian bargaining solution. Vanderschraaf’s discussion of the egalitarian solution invokes three arguments typically given to support the Nash bargaining solution. Overall, we reinforce Vanderschraaf’s criticism of arguments in favor of the Nash solution and point to potential weaknesses in Vanderschraaf’s positive case for the egalitarian solution.
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  14.  13
    Correction To: The Varieties of Impartiality, or, Would an Egalitarian Endorse the Veil?Justin P. Bruner & Matthew Lindauer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):479-481.
    The citations of Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4 were placed after the figures in the original publication of the article. However, they should be placed prior the placement of figures.
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    Inequality and Majority Rule.Justin P. Bruner - 2021 - Analysis 80 (4):617-629.
    I provide a novel argument in favour of majority rule. In particular, I consider the distribution of voter satisfaction in response to the outcome of a vote and prove that under certain conditions majority rule minimizes the level of inequality present in the distribution of voter satisfaction. This finding is reinforced by a computer simulation as well as an analysis of over four decades of polling data. Results complement existing procedural justifications of majority rule, demonstrating that majority rule ensures equality (...)
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  16. No Harm Done? An Experimental Approach to the Non-Identity Problem.Matthew Kopec & Justin P. Bruner - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Discussions of the non-identity problem presuppose a widely shared intuition that actions or policies that change who comes into existence don't, thereby, become morally unproblematic. We hypothesize that this intuition isn’t generally shared by the public, which could have widespread implications concerning how to generate support for large-scale, identity-affecting policies relating to matters like climate change. To test this, we ran a version of the well-known dictator game designed to mimic the public's behavior over identity-affecting choices. We found the public (...)
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  17.  5
    Communication Without Common Interest: A Signaling Experiment.Hannah Rubin, Justin P. Bruner, Cailin O'Connor & Simon Huttegger - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 83:101295.
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