Researchers from across the social sciences have found consistent deviations from the predictions of the canonical model of self-interest in hundreds of experiments from around the world. This research, however, cannot determine whether the uniformity results from universal patterns of human behavior or from the limited cultural variation available among the university students used in virtually all prior experimental work. To address this, we undertook a cross-cultural study of behavior in ultimatum, public goods, and dictator games in a range of (...) small-scale societies exhibiting a wide variety of economic and cultural conditions. We found, first, that the canonical model – based on self-interest – fails in all of the societies studied. Second, our data reveal substantially more behavioral variability across social groups than has been found in previous research. Third, group-level differences in economic organization and the structure of social interactions explain a substantial portion of the behavioral variation across societies: the higher the degree of market integration and the higher the payoffs to cooperation in everyday life, the greater the level of prosociality expressed in experimental games. Fourth, the available individual-level economic and demographic variables do not consistently explain game behavior, either within or across groups. Fifth, in many cases experimental play appears to reflect the common interactional patterns of everyday life. Key Words: altruism; cooperation; cross-cultural research; experimental economics; game theory; ultimatum game; public goods game; self-interest. (shrink)
We would like to thank the commentators for their generous comments, valuable insights and helpful suggestions. We begin this response by discussing the selfishness axiom and the importance of the preferences, beliefs, and constraints framework as a way of modeling some of the proximate influences on human behavior. Next, we broaden the discussion to ultimate-level (that is evolutionary) explanations, where we review and clarify gene-culture coevolutionary theory, and then tackle the possibility that evolutionary approaches that exclude culture might be sufficient (...) to explain the data. Finally, we consider various methodological and epistemological concerns expressed by our commentators. (shrink)
A collaborative article by the Editorial Collective of Social Imaginaries. Investigations into social imaginaries have burgeoned in recent years. From ‘the capitalist imaginary’ to the ‘democratic imaginary’, from the ‘ecological imaginary’ to ‘the global imaginary’ – and beyond – the social imaginaries field has expanded across disciplines and beyond the academy. The recent debates on social imaginaries and potential new imaginaries reveal a recognisable field and paradigm-in-the-making. We argue that Castoriadis, Ricoeur, and Taylor have articulated the most important theoretical frameworks (...) for understanding social imaginaries, although the field as a whole remains heterogeneous. We further argue that the notion of social imaginaries draws on the modern understanding of the imagination as authentically creative. We contend that an elaboration of social imaginaries involves a significant, qualitative shift in the understanding of societies as collectively and politically-instituted formations that are irreducible to inter-subjectivity or systemic logics. After marking out the contours of the field and recounting a philosophical history of the imagination, the essay turns to debates on social imaginaries in more concrete contexts, specifically political-economic imaginaries, the ecological imaginary, multiple modernities and their inter-civilisational encounters. The social imaginaries field imparts powerful messages for the human sciences and wider publics. In particular, social imaginaries hold significant implications for ontological, phenomenological and philosophical anthropological questions; for the cultural, social, and political horizons of contemporary worlds; and for ecological and economic phenomena. The essay concludes with the argument that social imaginaries as a paradigm-in-the-making offers valuable means by which movements towards social change can be elucidated as well providing an open horizon for the critiques of existing social practices. (shrink)
“Das Adam Smith Problem” is the name given by eighteenth-century German scholars to the question of how to reconcile the role of self-interest in the Wealth of Nations with Smith’s advocacy of sympathy in Theory of Moral Sentiments. As the discipline of economics developed, it focused on the interaction of selfish agents, pursuing their private interests. However, behavioral economists have rediscovered the existence and importance of multiple motivations, and a new Das Adam Smith Problem has arisen, of (...) how to accommodate self-regarding and pro-social motivations in a single system. This question is particularly important because of evidence of motivation crowding, where paying people can backfire, with payments achieving the opposite effects of those intended. Psychologists have proposed a mechanism for the crowding out of “intrinsic motivations” for doing a task, when payment is used to incentivize effort. However, they argue that pro-social motivations are different from these intrinsic motivations, implying that crowding out of pro-social motivations requires a different mechanism. In this essay I present an answer to the new Das Adam Smith problem, proposing a mechanism that can underpin the crowding out of both pro-social and intrinsic motivations, whereby motivations are prompted by frames and motivation crowding is underpinned by the crowding out of frames. I explore some of the implications of this mechanism for research and policy. (shrink)
Natalie Zemon Davis’s work has decentered the identities of her subjects as part of seeing their complexity. This essay, inspired by Davis’s rich thought and scholarship, looks at the ways in which the Romantics in the arts decentered their thought and practices away from the West. Their decentering involved serious study of non-Western thought and its incorporation into their art, and the regular use of opium to shape their creative works. One borrowed theme was transcendence to a higher mode (...) of existence, often through sexual union with a woman. So influential did Romantic tropes, themes, and images derived from outside the West become that they persisted in Western culture long after the Romantics themselves had lost interest in the body of non-Western culture from which they drew. Examples include the work of Samuel Coleridge, Walter Scott, Hector Berlioz, the Schlegel brothers, Caroline Günderode, Sidney Owenson, and others. (shrink)
There is a long-standing debate in philosophy about whether it is morally permissible to harm one person in order to prevent a greater harm to others and, if not, what is the moral principle underlying the prohibition. Hypothetical moral dilemmas are used in order to probe moral intuitions. Philosophers use them to achieve a reflective equilibrium between intuitions and principles, psychologists to investigate moral decision-making processes. In the dilemmas, the harms that are traded off are almost always deaths. However, the (...) moral principles and psychological processes are supposed to be broader than this, encompassing harms other than death. Further, if the standard pattern of intuitions is preserved in the domain of economic harm, then that would open up the possibility of studying behaviour in trolley problems using the tools of experimental economics. We report the results of two studies designed to test whether the standard patterns of intuitions are preserved when the domain and severity of harm are varied. Our findings show that the difference in moral intuitions between bystander and footbridge scenarios is replicated across different domains and levels of physical and non-physical harm, including economic harms. (shrink)
Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across (...) populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges. (shrink)
What motives underlie the ways humans interact socially? Are these the same for all societies? Are these part of our nature, or influenced by our environments?Over the last decade, research in experimental economics has emphatically falsified the textbook representation of Homo economicus. Literally hundreds of experiments suggest that people care not only about their own material payoffs, but also about such things as fairness, equity and reciprocity. However, this research left fundamental questions unanswered: Are such social preferences stable components of (...) human nature; or, are they modulated by economic, social and cultural environments? Until now, experimental research could not address this question because virtually all subjects had been university students, and while there are cultural differences among student populations throughout the world, these differences are small compared to the full range of human social and cultural environments. A vast amount of ethnographic and historical research suggests that people's motives are influenced by economic, social, and cultural environments, yet such methods can only yield circumstantial evidence about human motives. Combining ethnographic and experimental approaches to fill this gap, this book breaks new ground in reporting the results of a large cross-cultural study aimed at determining the sources of social preferences that underlie the diversity of human sociality. The same experiments which provided evidence for social preferences among university students were performed in fifteen small-scale societies exhibiting a wide variety of social, economic and cultural conditions by experienced field researchers who had also done long-term ethnographic field work in these societies. The findings of these experiments demonstrated that no society in which experimental behaviour is consistent with the canonical model of self-interest. Indeed, results showed that the variation in behaviour is far greater than previously thought, and that the differences between societies in market integration and the importance of cooperation explain a substantial portion of this variation, which individual-level economic and demographic variables could not. Finally, the extent to which experimental play mirrors patterns of interaction found in everyday life is traced.The book starts with a succinct but substantive introduction to the use of game theory as an analytical tool and its use in the social sciences for the rigorous testing of hypotheses about fundamental aspects of social behaviour outside artificially constructed laboratories. The results of the fifteen case studies are summarized in a suggestive chapter about the scope of the project. (shrink)
When Adam Smith published his celebrated writings on economics and moral philosophy he famously referred to the operation of an invisible hand. Adam Smith's Political Philosophy makes visible the invisible hand by examining its significance in Smith's political philosophy and relating it to similar concepts used by other philosophers, revealing a distinctive approach to social theory that stresses the significance of the unintended consequences of human action. This book introduces greater conceptual clarity to the discussion of the (...) invisible hand and the related concept of unintended order in the work of Smith and in political theory more generally. By examining the application of spontaneous order ideas in the work of Smith, Hume, Hayek and Popper, Adam Smith's Political Philosophy traces similarities in approach and from these builds a conceptual, composite model of an invisible hand argument. While setting out a clear model of the idea of spontaneous order the book also builds the case for using the idea of spontaneous order as an explanatory social theory, with chapters on its application in the fields of science, moral philosophy, law and government. (shrink)
Twentieth century philosophers introduced the distinction between “objective rightness” and “subjective rightness” to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to reduce the paradoxical tension between our judgments of what is best for an agent to do in light of the actual circumstances in which she acts and what is wisest for her to do in light of her mistaken or uncertain beliefs about her circumstances. The second goal is to provide moral guidance to an agent who may be (...) uncertain about the circumstances in which she acts, and hence is unable to use her standard moral principle directly in deciding what to do. This paper distinguishes two important senses of “moral guidance”; proposes criteria of adequacy for accounts of subjective rightness; canvasses existing definitions for “subjective rightness”; finds them all deficient; and proposes a new and more successful account. It argues that each comprehensive moral theory must include multiple principles of subjective rightness to address the epistemic situations of the full range of moral decision-makers, and shows that accounts of subjective rightness formulated in terms of what it would reasonable for the agent to believe cannot provide that guidance. (shrink)
In the literature of collective intentions, the ‘we-intentions’ that lie behind cooperative actions are analysed in terms of individual mental states. The core forms of these analyses imply that all Nash equilibrium behaviour is the result of collective intentions, even though not all Nash equilibria are cooperative actions. Unsatisfactorily, the latter cases have to be excluded either by stipulation or by the addition of further, problematic conditions. We contend that the cooperative aspect of collective intentions is not a property of (...) the intentions themselves, but of the mode of reasoning by which they are formed. We analyse collective intentions as the outcome of team reasoning, a mode of practical reasoning used by individuals as members of groups. We describe this mode of reasoning in terms of formal schemata, discuss a range of possible accounts of group agency, and show how existing theories of collective intentions fit into this framework. (shrink)
Feminist epistemologies hold that differences in the social locations of inquirers make for epistemic differences, for instance, in the sorts of things that inquirers are justified in believing. In this paper we situate this core idea in feminist epistemologies with respect to debates about social constructivism. We address three questions. First, are feminist epistemologies committed to a form of social constructivism about knowledge? Second, to what extent are they incompatible with traditional epistemological thinking? Third, do the answers to these questions (...) raise serious problems for feminist epistemologies? We argue that some versions of two of the main strands in feminist epistemology – feminist standpoint theory and feminist empiricism – are committed to a form of social constructivism, which requires certain departures from traditional epistemological thinking. But we argue that these departures are less problematic than one might think. Thus, (some) feminist epistemologies provide a plausible way of understanding how (some) knowledge might be socially constructed. (shrink)
In this collection comprising four of his most influential essays, Henrich proves himself unique in the conjunction of philosophical acumen, insight, and originality that he brings to Kant interpretation.
Hence, there is still controversy over which of the two versions of the deduction deserves priority and whether indeed any distinction between them can be maintained that would go beyond questions of presentation and involve the structure of the proof itself. Schopenhauer and Heidegger held that the first edition alone fully expresses Kant's unique philosophy, while Kant himself, as well as many other Kantians, have only seen a difference in the method of presentation.
Decision theory explains weakness of will as the result of a conflict of incentives between different transient agents. In this framework, self-control can only be achieved by the I-now altering the incentives or choice-sets of future selves. There is no role for an extended agency over time. However, it is possible to extend game theory to allow multiple levels of agency. At the inter-personal level, theories of team reasoning allow teams to be agents, as well as individuals. I apply team (...) reasoning at the intra-personal level, taking the self as a team of transient agents over time. This allows agents to ask, not just “what should I-now do?’, but also ‘What should I, the person over time do?’, which may enable agents to achieve self-control. The resulting account is Aristotelian in flavour, as it involves reasoning schemata and perception, and it is compatible with some of the psychological findings about self-control. (shrink)
In our response to the 28 (largely positive) commentaries from an esteemed collection of researchers, we (1) consolidate additional evidence, extensions, and amplifications offered by our commentators; (2) emphasize the value of integrating experimental and ethnographic methods, and show how researchers using behavioral games have done precisely this; (3) present our concerns with arguments from several commentators that separate variable from or ; (4) address concerns that the patterns we highlight marking WEIRD people as psychological outliers arise from aspects of (...) the researchers and the research process; (5) respond to the claim that as members of the same species, humans must have the same invariant psychological processes; (6) address criticisms of our telescoping contrasts; and (7) return to the question of explaining why WEIRD people are psychologically unusual. We believe a broad-based behavioral science of human nature needs to integrate a variety of methods and apply them to diverse populations, well beyond the WEIRD samples it has largely relied upon. (shrink)
This is a collection of four essays on aesthetic, ethical, and political issues by the pre-eminent Kant scholar in Germany today, perhaps best known for rekindling interest in the great classical German tradition from Kant to Fichte.
Recently two distinct forms of rule-utilitarianism have been introduced that differ on how to measure the consequences of rules. Brad Hooker advocates fixed-rate rule-utilitarianism, while Michael Ridge advocates variable-rate rule-utilitarianism. I argue that both of these are inferior to a new proposal, optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism. According to optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism, an ideal code is the code whose optimum acceptance level is no lower than that of any alternative code. I then argue that all three forms of rule-utilitarianism fall prey to two fatal (...) problems that leave us without any viable form of rule-utilitarianism. (shrink)
Defences of perspectival realism are motivated, in part, by an attempt to find a middle ground between the realist intuition that science seems to tell us a true story about the world, and the Kuhnian intuition that scientific knowledge is historically and culturally situated. The first intuition pulls us towards a traditional, absolutist scientific picture, and the second towards a relativist one. Thus, perspectival realism can be seen as an attempt to secure situated knowledge without entailing epistemic relativism. A very (...) similar motivation is behind feminist standpoint theory, a view which aims to capture the idea that knowledge is socially situated, whilst retaining some kind of absolutism. Elsewhere I argue that the feminist project fails to achieve this balance; its commitment to situated knowledge unavoidably entails epistemic relativism (though of an unproblematic kind), which allows them to achieve all of their feminist goals. In this paper I will explore whether the same arguments apply to perspectival realism. And so I will be asking whether perspectival realism too is committed to an unproblematic kind of relativism, capable of achieving scientific goals; or, whether it succeeds in carving out a third view, between or beyond the relativism/absolutism dichotomy. (shrink)
Game theory is central to modern understandings of how people deal with problems of coordination and cooperation. Yet, ironically, it cannot give a straightforward explanation of some of the simplest forms of human coordination and cooperation--most famously, that people can use the apparently arbitrary features of "focal points" to solve coordination problems, and that people sometimes cooperate in "prisoner's dilemmas." Addressing a wide readership of economists, sociologists, psychologists, and philosophers, Michael Bacharach here proposes a revision of game theory that resolves (...) these long-standing problems. In the classical tradition of game theory, Bacharach models human beings as rational actors, but he revises the standard definition of rationality to incorporate two major new ideas. He enlarges the model of a game so that it includes the ways agents describe to themselves their decision problems. And he allows the possibility that people reason as members of groups, each taking herself to have reason to perform her component of the combination of actions that best achieves the group's common goal. Bacharach shows that certain tendencies for individuals to engage in team reasoning are consistent with recent findings in social psychology and evolutionary biology. As the culmination of Bacharach's long-standing program of pathbreaking work on the foundations of game theory, this book has been eagerly awaited. Following Bacharach's premature death, Natalie Gold and Robert Sugden edited the unfinished work and added two substantial chapters that allow the book to be read as a coherent whole. (shrink)
le statut de l'intersubjectivité comme altérité à soi chez Husserl Natalie Depraz. REMERCIEMENTS À Jean-François Courtine tout d'abord, je tiens à exprimer ma très vive gratitude pour la confiance qu'il m'a témoignée en me donnant ...
Cardiophenomenology aims at refining the neuro-phenomenological approach created by F. Varela as a new paradigm, jointly based on Husserl’s a priori dynamics of the living present and an experiment on anticipatory time-dynamics of visual motor perception. In order to do so, we will situate the paradigm of neurophenomenology at the cardio-vascular level, focusing on the emotional dynamics of lived experience and thus refining the dialogue, more precisely, the generative mutual constraints between first- and third-person analysis. In this article we present (...) the theoretical hypothesis of cardiophenomenology, which places the bodily-emotional heartsystem at its core, as an intrinsic part of the cognitive system. The latter therefore needs to be enlarged in order to include an enactive embodied cardiac-affective dimension. Here we present five main arguments for the necessary inclusion of the bodily-emotional heartsystem in the cognitive system: first, two pragmatic operational arguments, then three theoretical ones. A direct methodological-pragmatic consequence is the actual operativity of the generative mutual constraints based on an experiential -experimental continuity of the embodied cardiac-affective fold inherent in the subject. (shrink)
French political philosophy has experienced a renewal over the last twenty years. One of its leading projects is Marcel Gauchet’s reflection on democracy and religion. This project situates itself within the context of the French debate on modernity and autonomy launched by the work of Cornelius Castoriadis. Gauchet’s work makes a significant contribution to this debate by building on the pioneering work of Lefort on the political self-instituting capacity of modern societies and the associated shift from religion to ideology. It (...) thus explores the centrality of the notion of sovereignty in the advent of liberal democracy and conducts this reflection within an overall discussion of the role played by Christianity in the genesis of European modernity. It elaborates an anthropology of modernity which explores the relationship between individualism and democracy and redefines modernity as a project of sovereignty which aims at creating a radically new society, the society of individuals. (shrink)
In a series of studies over the last 30 years, Henrich has shown that Hölderlin played a decisive role in the development of philosophy from Kant to Hegel. This book includes six of Henrich's most important essays on Hölderlin.
This paper proposes a refocusing of consent for clinical genetic testing, moving away from an emphasis on autonomy and information provision, towards an emphasis on the virtues of healthcare professionals seeking consent, and the relationships they construct with their patients. We draw on focus groups with UK healthcare professionals working in the field of clinical genetics, as well as in-depth interviews with patients who have sought genetic testing in the UK’s National Health Service. We explore two aspects of consent: first, (...) how healthcare professionals consider the act of ‘consenting’ patients; and second how these professional accounts, along with the accounts of patients, deepen our understanding of the consent process. Our findings suggest that while healthcare professionals working in genetic medicine put much effort into ensuring patients’ understanding about their impending genetic test, they acknowledge, and we show, that patients can still leave genetic consultations relatively uninformed. Moreover, we show how placing emphasis on the informational aspect of genetic testing is not always reflective of, or valuable to, patients’ decision-making. Rather, decision-making is socially contextualised – also based on factors outside of information provision. A more collaborative on-going consent process, grounded in virtue ethics and values of honesty, openness and trustworthiness, is proposed. (shrink)