Using data obtained during a retrospective interview study of 30 women who had undergone genetic testing—BRCA1/2 mutation searching—this paper describes how women, previously diagnosed with breast/ovarian cancer, perceive their role in generating genetic information about themselves and their families. It observes that when describing their motivations for undergoing DNA testing and their experiences of disclosing genetic information within the family these women provide care based ethical justifications for their actions. Finally, it argues that generating genetic information and disclosing this information (...) to kin raise different types of ethical issues. The implications of these findings for ethical debates about informed choice in the context of genetic testing are discussed. (shrink)
Since the 1970s Gary Watson has published a series of brilliant and highly influential essays on human action, examining such questions as: in what ways are we free and not free, rational and irrational, responsible or not for what we do? Moral philosophers and philosophers of action will welcome this collection, representing one of the most important bodies of work in the field.
Artificial intelligence has historically been conceptualized in anthropomorphic terms. Some algorithms deploy biomimetic designs in a deliberate attempt to effect a sort of digital isomorphism of the human brain. Others leverage more general learning strategies that happen to coincide with popular theories of cognitive science and social epistemology. In this paper, I challenge the anthropomorphic credentials of the neural network algorithm, whose similarities to human cognition I argue are vastly overstated and narrowly construed. I submit that three alternative supervised learning (...) methods—namely lasso penalties, bagging, and boosting—offer subtler, more interesting analogies to human reasoning as both an individual and a social phenomenon. Despite the temptation to fall back on anthropomorphic tropes when discussing AI, however, I conclude that such rhetoric is at best misleading and at worst downright dangerous. The impulse to humanize algorithms is an obstacle to properly conceptualizing the ethical challenges posed by emerging technologies. (shrink)
A school of idealism: meditatio laici, by J. Cappon.--Beati possidentes, by R. M. Wenley.--Moral validity: a study in Platonism, by R. C. Lodge.--Plato and the poet's eidōla, by A. S. Ferguson.--Some reflections on Aristotle's theory of tragedy, by G. S. Brett.--The function of the phantasm in St. Thomas Aquinas, by H. Carr.--The development of the psychology of Maine de Biran, by N. J. Symons.--A plea for eclecticism, by H. W. Wright.--Some present-day tendencies in philosophy, by J. M. MacEachran.--Evolution and personality, (...) J. G. Hume.--Emergent realism, by J. Muirhead.--Bibliography of publications by Dr. John Watson (p. 343-346). (shrink)
In Think, Issue 7, Brendan Larvor took the Archbishop of Canterbury to task for suggesting that atheism and humanism should not be taught in schools alongside the major faiths. Here, Brenda Watson defends the Archbishop's position.
A dozen papers by internationally known scholars explore questions largely unthinkable without Richard Watson's classic Downfall of Cartesianism: Descartes in Holland, Descartes and Simon Foucher, and issues raised by Descartes for philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, translation and toleration.
In signaling games, a sender has private access to a state of affairs and uses a signal to inform a receiver about that state. If no common association of signals and states is initially available, sender and receiver must coordinate to develop one. How do players divide coordination labor? We show experimentally that, if players switch roles at each communication round, coordination labor is shared. However, in games with fixed roles, coordination labor is divided: Receivers adjust their mappings more frequently, (...) whereas senders maintain the initial code, which is transmitted to receivers and becomes the common code. In a series of computer simulations, player and role asymmetry as observed experimentally were accounted for by a model in which the receiver in the first signaling round has a higher chance of adjusting its code than its partner. From this basic division of labor among players, certain properties of role asymmetry, in particular correlations with game complexity, are seen to follow. (shrink)
Often we feel there is something odd about death, and especially about our own. This latter at least we often feel beyond our ken. Well, I think in a sense it may be; but in another, clearly is not. Among those who have felt this strangeness is Ramchandra Gandhi who, in an excellent recent work, The Availability of Religious Ideas , maintained – There is no difficulty in seeing that I cannot intelligibly conceive of my own death – the ceasing (...) to be, for good, of myself, my consciousness. I can conceive of temporary lapses into unconsciousness, always overcome by a return to consciousness. The difficulty is this: in asking myself the question 'What will it be like to be irreversibly unconscious?' , I want both to remain self-conscious and visualize actual loss of capacity for self-consciousness. This cannot be done. (shrink)
Paul Kurtz's article ‘Morality is natural’ in THINK 15 was most stimulating. It left me, however, somewhat dissatisfied. Whilst he is clearly right that that there is a fund of moral wisdom that has been developed by humankind, I question whether distancing morality from religion is the important priority for us today.
Laurence Peddle's article ‘the Meaning and the Mystery of Life’ poses fascinating questions concerning the purpose or non-purpose of life and the interpretation of experience. My response questions his use of terms such as meaning, mystery and life-after-death, and his appeal to Hume on personal identity. Reason per se cannot take us all the way, nevertheless I enumerate reasons for caution in dismissing other people's self-understanding. The link between interpretation of experience and assumptions already held argues strongly for accepting the (...) limits to human knowledge, thus enabling an openness which avoids premature foreclosure whether atheistic or religious. (shrink)
Children are presumptively regarded as incompetent to make their own medical decisions, and the responsibility for making such decisions typically falls to parents. Parental authority is not unlimited, however, and ethical guidelines identifying appropriate bounds on this authority are needed. One proposal currently gaining support is the Harm Threshold (HT), which asserts that the state may only legitimately intervene in parental decision-making when serious and preventable harm to children is likely. This paper considers two questions: in virtue of what underlying (...) principle or property does the HT gain its purported justification?; and does this underlying principle or property ground the HT as its proponents conceive of it? I identify two separate grounds represented in the literature: (i) J.S. Mill’s Harm Principle; and (ii) the liberty interests of parents. I find that the HT is not sufficiently grounded in either of these, revealing a substantial conceptual difficulty for its advocates. (shrink)
The new edition of this highly successful text will once again provide the ideal introduction to free will. This volume brings together some of the most influential contributions to the topic of free will during the past 50 years, as well as some notable recent work.
Postcolonial science studies entails ostensibly contradictory critical and empirical commitments. Science studies scholars influenced by Bruno Latour and Isabelle Stengers embrace forms of realist, radical empiricism, while postcolonial studies scholars influenced by Jacques Derrida trace the limits of the knowable. This essay takes their common use of the term cosmopolitics as an unexpected point of departure for reconciling Derrida’s program with Stengers’s and Latour’s. I read Derrida’s critique of hospitality and Stengers’s and Latour’s ontological politics as necessary complements for conceiving (...) a care-oriented subalternist cosmopolitics, a process of composing common worlds that remains attentive to the limits of representation. (shrink)
Among social epistemologists, having a certain proportion of reliably formed beliefs in a subject matter is widely regarded as a necessary condition for cognitive expertise. This condition is motivated by the idea that expert testimony puts subjects in a better position than non-expert testimony to obtain knowledge about a subject matter. I offer three arguments showing that veritism is an inadequate account of expert authority because the reliable access condition renders expertise incapable of performing its social role. I then develop (...) an alternative explanation of expert authority that I call the epistemic facility account, arguing that having a certain type of competence in a subject matter or domain of subject matters is sufficient for explaining expert authority while avoiding the problems with veritistic accounts. (shrink)
We propose a formal framework for interpretable machine learning. Combining elements from statistical learning, causal interventionism, and decision theory, we design an idealised explanation game in which players collaborate to find the best explanation for a given algorithmic prediction. Through an iterative procedure of questions and answers, the players establish a three-dimensional Pareto frontier that describes the optimal trade-offs between explanatory accuracy, simplicity, and relevance. Multiple rounds are played at different levels of abstraction, allowing the players to explore overlapping causal (...) patterns of variable granularity and scope. We characterise the conditions under which such a game is almost surely guaranteed to converge on a optimal explanation surface in polynomial time, and highlight obstacles that will tend to prevent the players from advancing beyond certain explanatory thresholds. The game serves a descriptive and a normative function, establishing a conceptual space in which to analyse and compare existing proposals, as well as design new and improved solutions. (shrink)
Machine learning algorithms may radically improve our ability to diagnose and treat disease. For moral, legal, and scientific reasons, it is essential that doctors and patients be able to understand and explain the predictions of these models. Scalable, customisable, and ethical solutions can be achieved by working together with relevant stakeholders, including patients, data scientists, and policy makers.
Recent years have seen a surge in online collaboration between experts and amateurs on scientific research. In this article, we analyse the epistemological implications of these crowdsourced projects, with a focus on Zooniverse, the world’s largest citizen science web portal. We use quantitative methods to evaluate the platform’s success in producing large volumes of observation statements and high impact scientific discoveries relative to more conventional means of data processing. Through empirical evidence, Bayesian reasoning, and conceptual analysis, we show how information (...) and communication technologies enhance the reliability, scalability, and connectivity of crowdsourced e-research, giving online citizen science projects powerful epistemic advantages over more traditional modes of scientific investigation. These results highlight the essential role played by technologically mediated social interaction in contemporary knowledge production. We conclude by calling for an explicitly sociotechnical turn in the philosophy of science that combines insights from statistics and logic to analyse the latest developments in scientific research. (shrink)
In arguing that autistic people are socially motivated, Jaswal & Akhtar miss the opportunity to puncture the notion that social motivation is a prerequisite for humanity. Instead, we contend that some autistic people may indeed find social interactions to be unmotivating and that this doesn't have to be seen as a problem.
Questioning is a familiar, everyday practice which we use, often unreflectively, in order to gather information, communicate with each other, and advance our inquiries. Yet, not all questions are equally effective and not all questioners are equally adept. Being a good questioner requires a degree of proficiency and judgment, both in determining what to ask and in deciding who, where, when, and how to ask. Good questioning is an intellectual skill. Given its ubiquity and significance, it is an intellectual skill (...) that, I believe, we should educate for. In this paper, I present a central line of argument in support of educating for good questioning, namely, that it plays an important role in the formation of an individual’s intellectual character and can thereby serve as a valuable pedagogical tool for intellectual character education. I argue that good questioning plays two important roles in the cultivation of intellectual character: good questioning stimulates intellectually virtuous inquiry and contributes to the development of several of the individual intellectual virtues. Insofar as the cultivation of intellectually virtuous character is a desirable educational objective, we should educate for good questioning. (shrink)
Many critics of dual-process models have mistaken long lists of descriptive terms in the literature for a full-blown theory of necessarily co-occurring properties. These critiques have distracted attention from the cumulative progress being made in identifying the much smaller set of properties that truly do define Type 1 and Type 2 processing. Our view of the literature is that autonomous processing is the defining feature of Type 1 processing. Even more convincing is the converging evidence that the key feature of (...) Type 2 processing is the ability to sustain the decoupling of secondary representations. The latter is a foundational cognitive requirement for hypothetical thinking. (shrink)
Wason's standard 2-4-6 task requires discovery of a single rule and leads to around 20% solutions, whereas the dual goal (DG) version requires discovery of two rules and elevates solutions to over 60%. We report an experiment that aimed to discriminate between competing accounts of DG facilitation by manipulating the degree of complementarity between the to-be-discovered rules. Results indicated that perfect rule complementarity is not essential for task success, thereby undermining a key tenet of the goal complementarity account of DG (...) facilitation. The triple heterogeneity account received a good degree of support since more varied triple exploration was associated with facilitatory DG conditions, in line with this account's prediction that task success is associated with the creative search of the problem space. The contrast class account (an extension of Oaksford & Chater's, 1994, iterative counterfactual model) was also corroborated in that the generation of descending triples was demonstrated to be the dominant predictor of DG success. We focus our discussion on conceptual ideas relating to the way in which iterative counterfactual testing and contrast class identification may work together to provide a powerful basis for effective hypothesis testing. (shrink)
Standard treatments of responsibility have been preoccupied with issues of blame and punishment, and concerns about free will. In contrast, Raz is concerned with problems about responsibility that arise from the “puzzle of moral luck,” puzzles that lead to misguided skepticism about negligence. We are responsible not only for conduct that is successfully guided by what we take to be our reasons for action, but also for misexercises of our rational capacities that escape our rational control. To deny this is (...) to lose sight of the ways “moral luck” is an inescapable feature of our agential engagement in the world. The present essay attempts to set out Raz’s argument as sympathetically as possible. Raz’s shift of focus is a powerful counter to current tendencies and points us in new and promising directions. Nonetheless, as it stands, it may just relocate skepticism about negligence to a different place. (shrink)
Polls and election results show Americans sharply divided on same-sex marriage, and the controversy is unlikely to subside anytime soon. Debating Same-Sex Marriage provides an indispensable roadmap to the ongoing debate.
Page generated Fri Jul 23 19:31:04 2021 on philpapers-web-786f65f869-jmfbq
cache stats: hit=3861, miss=2399, save= autohandler : 1243 ms called component : 1227 ms search.pl : 1105 ms render loop : 788 ms addfields : 385 ms next : 355 ms publicCats : 316 ms initIterator : 314 ms menu : 68 ms retrieve cache object : 67 ms quotes : 57 ms save cache object : 56 ms autosense : 40 ms match_cats : 35 ms search_quotes : 32 ms prepCit : 21 ms applytpl : 4 ms match_other : 3 ms match_authors : 1 ms intermediate : 1 ms init renderer : 0 ms setup : 0 ms auth : 0 ms writelog : 0 ms