This article is part of a For-Discussion-Section of Methods of Information in Medicine about the paper "Biomedical Informatics: We Are What We Publish", written by Peter L. Elkin, Steven H. Brown, and Graham Wright. It is introduced by an editorial. This article contains the combined commentaries invited to independently comment on the Elkin et al. paper. In subsequent issues the discussion can continue through letters to the editor.
In certain judgmental situations where a “correct” decision is presumed to exist, optimal decision making requires evaluation of the decision-makers’ capabilities and the selection of the appropriate aggregation rule. The major and so far unresolved difficulty is the former necessity. This article presents the optimal aggregation rule that simultaneously satisfies these two interdependent necessary requirements. In our setting, some record of the voters’ past decisions is available, but the correct decisions are not known. We observe that any arbitrary evaluation of (...) the decision-makers’ capabilities as probabilities yields some optimal aggregation rule that, in turn, yields a maximum-likelihood estimation of decisional skills. Thus, a skill-evaluation equilibrium can be defined as an evaluation of decisional skills that yields itself as a maximum-likelihood estimation of decisional skills. We show that such equilibrium exists and offer a procedure for finding one. The obtained equilibrium is locally optimal and is shown empirically to generally be globally optimal in terms of the correctness of the resulting collective decisions. Interestingly, under minimally competent (almost symmetric) skill distributions that allow unskilled decision makers, the optimal rule considerably outperforms the common simple majority rule (SMR). Furthermore, a sufficient record of past decisions ensures that the collective probability of making a correct decision converges to 1, as opposed to accuracy of about 0.7 under SMR. Our proposed optimal voting procedure relaxes the fundamental (and sometimes unrealistic) assumptions in Condorcet’s celebrated theorem and its extensions, such as sufficiently high decision-making quality, skill homogeneity or existence of a sufficiently large group of decision makers. (shrink)
The Babylonian Talmud, compiled from the 2nd to 7th centuries C.E., is the primary source for all subsequent Jewish laws. It is not written in apodeictic style, but rather as a discursive record of (real or imagined) legal (and other) arguments crossing a wide range of technical topics. Thus, it is not a simple matter to infer general methodological principles underlying the Talmudic approach to legal reasoning. Nevertheless, in this article, we propose a general principle that we believe helps to (...) explain the variety of methods used by the Rabbis of the Talmud for resolving uncertainty in matters of Jewish Law (henceforth: Halakhah). Such uncertainty might arise either if the facts of a case are clear but the relevant law is debatable or if the facts themselves are unclear. (shrink)
Each contributor to this book has used personal experience as the basis from which to frame his individual sociological perspectives. Because they have personalized their work, their accounts are real, and recognizable as having come from 'real' persons, about 'real' experiences. There are no objectively-distanced disembodied third person entities in these accounts. These writers are actual people whose stories will make you laugh, cry, think, and want to know more.
In this article I look at two works by Swedish video artist Lina Selander and explore how underlying visual patterns unfold in these works that are connected to certain worldly phenomena. Borrowing from Jacques Derrida, I describe the tendency of being en mal d'archive as an obsession to structure the world into particular recognizable patterns. I argue that Selander's works can be understood as the unfolding of such structures, the result being that the very impulse itself, the obsession Derrida (...) speaks of, comes to the forefront. In several of Selander's works, light is explored both as a basis and prerequisite for photography and as a metaphor for this potentially destructive desire for all-encompassing knowledge and structure. As such, I argue, the unfolding that takes place in her works can be understood as paradoxically increasing the shadows ‐ as a way of undoing the totalizing effect of light and articulating modes of not knowing or mystery in relation to the phenomena explored. (shrink)
ABSTRACT The focus of this essay is Kant's argument in the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals III that regarding oneself as rational implies regarding oneself as free. After setting out an interpretation of how the argument is meant to go, I argue that Kant fails to show that regarding oneself as free is incompatible with accepting universal causal determinism. However, I suggest that the argument succeeds in showing that regarding oneself as rational is inconsistent with accepting universal causal determinism (...) if one accepts a certain, plausible view of the explanation of events. RESUMEN El ensayo se enfoca en el argumento de Kant en la Fundamentación de la metafísica de las costumbres III según el cual considerarse racional implica verse a uno mismo como libre. Se interpreta la forma en que debe entenderse el argumento y se afirma que Kant no logra demostrar que considerarse libre es incompatible con la aceptación del determinismo casual universal. No obstante, se sugiere que el argumento sí logra demostrar que considerarse a uno mismo como racional es incompatible con la aceptación del determinismo casual universal, si se acepta una cierta versión plausible de la explicación de los eventos. (shrink)
Probabilism is committed to two theses: 1) Opinion comes in degrees—call them degrees of belief, or credences. 2) The degrees of belief of a rational agent obey the probability calculus. Correspondingly, a natural way to argue for probabilism is: i) to give an account of what degrees of belief are, and then ii) to show that those things should be probabilities, on pain of irrationality. Most of the action in the literature concerns stage ii). Assuming that stage i) has been (...) adequately discharged, various authors move on to stage ii) with varied and ingenious arguments. But an unsatisfactory response at stage i) clearly undermines any gains that might be accrued at stage ii) as far as probabilism is concerned: if those things are not degrees of belief, then it is irrelevant to probabilism whether they should be probabilities or not. In this paper we scrutinize the state of play regarding stage i). We critically examine several of the leading accounts of degrees of belief: reducing them to corresponding betting behavior (de Finetti); measuring them by that behavior (Jeffrey); and analyzing them in terms of preferences and their role in decision-making more generally (Ramsey, Lewis, Maher). We argue that the accounts fail, and so they are unfit to subserve arguments for probabilism. We conclude more positively: ‘degree of belief’ should be taken as a primitive concept that forms the basis of our best theory of rational belief and decision: probabilism. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Our aim in this article is to offer a new justification for preferring theories that are more quantitatively parsimonious than their rivals. We discuss cases where it seems clear that those involved opted for more quantitatively parsimonious theories. We extend previous work on quantitative parsimony by offering an independent probabilistic justification for preferring the more quantitatively parsimonious theories in particular episodes of theory choice. Our strategy allows us to avoid worries that other considerations, such as pragmatic factors of computational (...) tractability and so on, could be the driving ones in the historical cases under consideration. _1_ Introduction _2_ Three Desiderata _2.1_ Limiting _2.2_ Robustness _2.3_ Breadth _2.3.1_ A limited success for Baker _2.3.2_ Rejecting Baker’s analysis _2.4_ The proposal _3_ Probabilistically Additive Hypotheses and a Bayesian Account: The Limpid Rationale Relativized and Reconsidered _3.1_ Neutrinos and beta decay _3.2_ Avogadro’s hypothesis _3.3_ Postulation of Neptune _4_ Conclusion. (shrink)
What is the relation between norms (in the sense of ?socially accepted rules?) and conventions? A number of philosophers have suggested that there is some kind of conceptual or constitutive relation between them. Some hold that conventions are or entail special kinds of norms (the ?conventions-as-norms thesis?). Others hold that at least some norms are or entail special kinds of conventions (the ?norms-as-conventions thesis?). We argue that both theses are false. Norms and conventions are crucially different conceptually and functionally in (...) ways that make it the case that it is a serious mistake to try to assimilate them. They are crucially different conceptually in that whereas conventions are not normative and are behaviour dependent and desire dependent, norms are normative, behaviour independent, and desire independent. They are crucially different functionally in that whereas conventions principally serve the function of facilitating coordination, norms principally serve the function of making us accountable to one another. (shrink)
A number of philosophers have recently suggested that some abstract, plausibly non-causal and/or mathematical, explanations explain in a way that is radically dif- ferent from the way causal explanation explain. Namely, while causal explanations explain by providing information about causal dependence, allegedly some abstract explanations explain in a way tied to the independence of the explanandum from the microdetails, or causal laws, for example. We oppose this recent trend to regard abstractions as explanatory in some sui generis way, and argue (...) that a prominent ac- count of causal explanation can be naturally extended to capture explanations that radically abstract away from microphysical and causal-nomological details. To this end, we distinguish di erent senses in which an explanation can be more or less abstract, and analyse the connection between explanations’ abstractness and their explanatory power. According to our analysis abstract explanations have much in common with counterfactual causal explanations. (shrink)
Temporal dynamics have been increasingly recognized as an important component of facial expressions. With the need for appropriate stimuli in research and application, a range of databases of dynamic facial stimuli has been developed. The present article reviews the existing corpora and describes the key dimensions and properties of the available sets. This includes a discussion of conceptual features in terms of thematic issues in dataset construction as well as practical features which are of applied interest to stimulus usage. To (...) identify the most influential sets, we further examine their citation rates and usage frequencies in existing studies. General limitations and implications for emotion research are noted and future directions for stimulus generation are outlined. (shrink)
The notions of ground and ontological dependence have made a prominent resurgence in much of contemporary metaphysics. However, objections have been raised. On the one hand, objections have been raised to the need for distinctively metaphysical notions of ground and ontological dependence. On the other, objections have been raised to the usefulness of adding ground and ontological dependence to the existing store of other metaphysical notions. Even the logical properties of ground and ontological dependence are under debate. In this article, (...) I focus on how to account for the judgements of non-symmetry in several of the cases that motivate the introduction of notions like ground and ontological dependence. By focusing on the notion of explanation relative to a theory, I conclude that we do not need to postulate a distinctively asymmetric metaphysical notion in order to account for these judgements. (shrink)
Norms are a pervasive yet mysterious feature of social life. In Explaining Norms, four philosophers and social scientists team up to grapple with some of the many mysteries, offering a comprehensive account of norms: what they are; how and why they emerge, persist and change; and how they work.
This article examines how the interactive capabilities of companion robots, particularly their materiality and animate movements, appeal to human users and generate an image of aliveness. Building on Husserl’s phenomenological notion of a ‘double body’ and theories of emotions as affective responses, we develop a new understanding of the robots’ simulated aliveness. Analyzing empirical findings of a field study on the use of the robot Zora in care homes for older people, we suggest that the aliveness of companion robots is (...) the result of a combination of four aspects: 1) material ingredients, 2) morphology, 3) animate movements guided by software programs and human operators as in Wizard of Oz-settings and 4) anthropomorphising narratives created by their users to support the robot’s performance. We suggest that narratives on affective states, such as, sleepiness or becoming frightened attached to the robot trigger users’ empathic feelings, caring and tenderness toward the robot. (shrink)
Kant has famously argued that monogamous marriage is the only relationship where sexual use can take place "without degrading humanity and breaking the moral laws." Kantian marriage, however, has been the target of fierce criticisms by contemporary things: it has been regarded as flawed and paradoncal, as being deeply at odds with feminism, and, at best, as plainly uninteresting. In this paper, I argue that Kantian marriage can indeed survive these criticisms. Finally, the paper advances the discussion beyond marriage. Drawing (...) on Kant 's conception of friendship, I suggest that he might have overlooked the possibility of sex being morally permissible in yet another context. (shrink)
We posit a key goal of firms’ corporate social responsibility efforts is to influence reputation through carefully crafted communicative practices. This trend has accelerated with the rise of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, which are essentially public message networks that organizations are leveraging to engage with concerned audiences. Given the large number of messages sent on these sites, only some will be effective and achieve broad public resonance. Building on signaling theory, this paper asks whether and how messages (...) conveying CSR-related topics resonate with the public and, if so, which CSR topics and signal qualities are most effective. We test our hypotheses using data on public reactions to Fortune 500 companies’ CSR-focused Twitter feeds, using the retweeting of firms’ messages as a proxy for public resonance. We find resonance is positively associated with messages that convey CSR topics such as the environment or education, those that make the topic explicit through use of hashtags, and those that tap into existing social movement discussions. (shrink)
The problem of explanatory non-symmetries provides the strongest reason to abandon the view that laws can figure in explanations without causal underpinnings. I argue that this problem can be overcome. The solution that I propose starts from noticing the importance of conditions of application when laws do explanatory work, and I go on to develop a notion of nomological dependence that can tackle the non-symmetry problem. The strategy is to show how a strong notion of counterfactual dependence as guaranteed by (...) the laws is a plausible account of what we aim towards when we give law-based explanations. The aim of this project is not to deny that causal relations can do explanatory work but to restore laws of nature as capable of being explanatory even in the absence of any knowledge of causal underpinnings. (shrink)
Objectification is a notion central to contemporary feminist theory. It has famously been associated with the work of anti-pornography feminists Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, and more recently with the work of Martha Nussbaum. However, objectification is a notion that has not yet been adequately defined. It has been used rather vaguely to refer to a broad range of cases involving, in some way or another, the treatment of a person as an object. My purpose in this paper is to (...) offer a plausible understanding of objectification. I do that by focusing on the work of four prominent thinkers: Immanuel Kant, and contemporary feminists Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin and Martha Nussbaum. Through drawing on these thinkers' conceptions of objectification, I am finally led to a more complete and coherent understanding of this notion. (shrink)
Everettian quantum mechanics faces the challenge of how to make sense of probability and probabilistic reasoning in a setting where there is typically no unique outcome of measurements. Wallace has built on a proof by Deutsch to argue that a notion of probability can be recovered in the many worlds setting. In particular, Wallace argues that a rational agent has to assign probabilities in accordance with the Born rule. This argument relies on a rationality constraint that Wallace calls state supervenience. (...) I argue that state supervenience is not defensible as a rationality constraint for Everettian agents unless we already invoke probabilistic notions. (shrink)
The paper’s target is the historically influential betting interpretation of subjective probabilities due to Ramsey and de Finetti. While there are several classical and well-known objections to this interpretation, the paper focuses on just one fundamental problem: There is a sense in which degrees of belief cannot be interpreted as betting rates. The reasons differ in different cases, but there’s one crucial feature that all these cases have in common: The agent’s degree of belief in a proposition A does not (...) coincide with her degree of belief in a conditional that A would be the case if she were to bet on A, where the belief in this conditional itself is conditioned on the supposition that the agent will have an opportunity to make such a bet. Even though the two degrees of belief sometimes can coincide (they will coincide in those cases when the bet has no expected causal bearings on the proposition A and the opportunity to bet have no evidential bearings on that proposition), it is the latter belief rather than the former that guides the agent’s rational betting behaviour. The reason is that this latter belief takes into consideration potential interferences that bet opportunities and betting itself might create with regard to the proposition to be betted on. It is because of this interference problem that the agent’s degree of belief in A cannot be interpreted as her betting rate for A. (shrink)
This article empirically investigates how Chinese executives and managers perceive and interpret corporate social responsibility (CSR), to what extent firms' productive characteristics influence managers' attitudes towards their CSR rating, and whether their values in favour of CSR are positively correlated to firms' economic performance. Although a large proportion of respondents express a favourable view of CSR and a willingness to participate in socially responsible activities, we find that the true nature of their assertion is linked to entrepreneurs' instincts of gaining (...) economic benefits. It is the poorly performing firms, or rather, firms with vulnerable indicators -smaller in size, State-owned, producing traditional goods and located in poorer regions that are more likely to have managers who opt for a higher CSR rating. Managers' personal characteristics per se are not significant in determining their CSR choice. Moreover, controlling for other observed variables, we find that managers' CSR orientation is positively correlated with their firms' performance. The better-off a firm is, the more likely its manager is to get involve in CSR activities. Firms with better economic performance before their restructuring would sustain higher postrestructuring performance. (shrink)