This essay lays out the common reasoning underlying a diversity of arguments for decision making using lotteries. This reasoning appeals to the sanitizing effects of ignorance. Lotteries ensure that bad reasons are unable to affect a decision. (They also ensure that good reasons have no effect as well, which is why care must be applied in deciding to use them.) All arguments for or against the use of a lottery to make a particular decision will thus appeal to the same (...) property that lotteries possess. This fact is compatible with continued vigorous disagreement about whether particular decisions should be made by lot. Such disagreements, however, will focus on the nature of the circumstances surrounding the decision. People can thus agree that a given set of circumstances calls for the use of a lottery even as they disagree over whether those circumstances hold. (shrink)
This paper explores the role that difference plays in collective decision-making using the Condorcet jury theorem. Agents facing a dichotomous decision might prove biased toward one of the options facing them. That is, they may be more likely to decide correctly when one of the options is correct than when the other option is. A juror might be more likely to convict a guilty defendant than to acquit an innocent one. Agents may display opposing biases. This paper identifies the optimal (...) committee composition in the presence of such bias. This composition depends upon both the prior probability that each option is correct and the relative costs of the two types of possible error. Optimal committee composition will be expressed in terms of the absolute margin that a group with one form of bias should enjoy over the other. (shrink)
Philosophers and social scientists have offered a variety of arguments for making certain types of decisions by lot. This paper examines three such arguments. These arguments identify indeterminacy, fairness and incentive effects as the major reasons for using lotteries to make decisions. These arguments are central to Jon Elster’s study of lottery use, Solomonic judgments, and so the paper focuses upon their treatment in this work. Upon closer examination, all three arguments have the same basic structure, in that they appeal (...) to a single effect lotteries can have — a sanitizing effect. Lotteries have this effect because they make possible decision-making that makes no use of reasons, whether good or bad. All arguments for or against decision-making by lot must ultimately appeal to this effect. Les philosophes tout comme les chercheurs en sciences sociales ont présenté toutes sortes d’arguments en faveur de certains types de prise de décisions par tirage au sort. Cet article passe en revue et examine trois de ces arguments en particulier, qui consistent à identifier l’incertitude, l’impartialité et les effets incitatifs comme raisons principales d’utiliser la loterie pour la prise de décision. Ces arguments sont au centre de l’ouvrage de Jon Elster sur le recours à la loterie, Solomonic judgments, aussi l’article met-il l’accent sur leur étude dans le cadre de cet ouvrage. Un examen approfondi montre que ces trois arguments s’appuient sur la même structure de base en ce qu’ils font appel à un seul effet que peut avoir la loterie — un effet d’assainissement. La loterie a cet effet car elle rend possible une prise de décision qui ne prend en compte aucune raison, qu’elle soit bonne ou mauvaise. Tout argument en faveur de ou contre la prise de décision par tirage au sort doit au final tenir compte de cet effet. (shrink)
Nicole Hassoun’s Globalization and Global Justice: Shrinking Distance,Expanding Obligations offers a novel argument for the existence ofpositive rights for the world’s poor, and explores institutional alternativessuitable for the realization of those rights. Hassoun’s argument is contractualist, and makes the existence of positive rights dependupon the conditions necessary for meaningful consent to the global order. Itthus provides an interesting example of social contract theory in the globalcontext. But Hassoun’s argument relies crucially upon the ambiguous natureof the concept of consent. Drawing broadly (...) upon the social contract theorytradition, Hassoun relies upon actual consent theory, democratic theory, andhypothetical consent theory. Each theoretical approach makes use of its ownconception of consent. Rather than select one of these conceptions overthe others, she makes use of all three. In doing so, she introduces a crucialambiguity into the terms that, on her account, a legitimate global order mustsatisfy. The resolution of this ambiguity will circumscribe any effort, on thepart of Hassoun or others, to specify the terms of any global social contract. (shrink)
Advances in molecular technologies have the potential to help remedy health inequities through earlier detection and prevention; if, however, their delivery and uptake are not more carefully considered, there is a very real risk that existing inequities in access and use will be further exacerbated. We argue this risk relates to the way that information and knowledge about the technology is both acquired and shared, or not, between health practitioners and their patients.A healthcare system can be viewed as a complex (...) social network comprising individuals with different worldviews, hierarchies, professional cultures and subcultures and personal beliefs, both for those giving and receiving care. When healthcare practitioners are not perceived as knowledge equals, they would experience informational prejudices, and the result is that knowledge dissemination across and between them would be impeded. The uptake and delivery of a new technology may be inequitable as a result. Patients would also experience informational prejudice when they are viewed as not being able to understand the information that is presented to them, and information may be withheld.Informational prejudices driven by social relations and structures have thus far been underexplored in considering equitable implementation and uptake of new molecular technologies. Every healthcare interaction represents an opportunity for experiencing informational prejudice, and with it the risk of being inappropriately informed for undertaking such screening or testing. Making knowledge acquisition and information dissemination, and experiences of informational prejudice, explicit through sociologically framed investigations would extend our understandings of equity, and offer ways to affect network relationships and structures that support equity in delivery and uptake. (shrink)
Kai Draper’s War and Individual Rights: The Foundations of Just War Theory seeks to “give birth to an alternative approach” to traditional just war theory. This review seeks to analyse and evaluate this alternative approach. Draper’s approach to just war theory differs from other approaches in three ways. First, it is “highly individualistic.” Second, Draper’s approach avoids reliance upon the principle of double effect. Third, this approach is “largely rights-based”—it seeks “to understand the ethics of war mostly by way of (...) understanding certain fundamental moral rights”. This review will argue that Draper succeeds in offering an alternative to traditional just war theory that is both rights-based and capable of dispensing with the needless complexities of the principle of double effect. However this review will argue that Draper falls short of his ultimate goal of refuting Rousseau’s claim that war is “a relationship between State and State, in which individuals are enemies only by accident”. (shrink)
The essays in this volume treat topics from education to publishing, from academic freedom to political activism, from Russell's possible adoption of new communication modes to the representation of his life and ideas in fiction. They reflect the engagement of Bertrand Russell in public affairs over three quarters of a century. They also reflect the diverse interestes that bring scholars together in the Russell Society to study his manifold works. The consistently first-rate papers in this collection serve as a powerful (...) reminder of the breadth and depth of the contributions from one of the leading philosophers of the Twentieth Century. Those of us familiar with Russell's writings have always been impressed by the range of topics that concerned Bertie. His commitment to the examined life, with all its foibles, shines bright in this set of essays. This text is an invaluable resource for students of Russell's life and thought. -Publisher description. (shrink)
Faced with this divergence of views, the studies in this book therefore focus on the broader issue of whether archaeologists and other cultural heritage experts should ever work with the military, and if so, under what guidelines and ...
In The Tyranny of the Ideal, Gerald Gaus offers a critique of ideal theory, as practiced by political philosophers from Plato to the present day. This critique rests upon a formal model Gaus develops of a theory of the ideal. This model supposedly captures the essential features of any theory that both identifies an ideal society and uses that society to orient political activity. A theory must do the former or fail to count as an ideal theory; a theory must (...) do the latter or prove useless. Gaus then employs this model to argue against ideal theory, using it as the foundation for an alternative model for how political philosophers should think about justice. Unfortunately, Gaus’ model of a theory of the ideal is badly flawed. Gaus fails to demonstrate the desirability of an ideal theory functioning in the manner his model suggests. Moreover, his model bears no correspondence to any existing contemporary theory of justice. In the end, Gaus’ model fails to provide any reason to believe there is any tyranny of the ideal to be overthrown. (shrink)
The title of Nicole Hassoun’s recently-published book, Globalization and Global Justice: Shrinking Distance, Expanding Obligations, is a bit misleading. It implies that the book will demonstrate that globalization is leading to increased interconnectedness and interdependence , and that as a result a more demanding set of principles of justice have become applicable in the global context . But while the book does address questions of globalization and global justice, its primary contribution is a novel argument for the existence of positive (...) rights for the world’s poor. It secondary contribution is a proposal for advancing these rights on a global level.Globalization and Global Justice consists of two parts. Part I offers a philosophical argument. Hassoun refers to this argument as the Autonomy Argument at one point and as the Legitimacy Argument at another . The two arguments are virtually identical, however, and so should b .. (shrink)
The Condorcet Jury Theorem, together with a large and growing literature of ancillary results, suggests two conclusions. First, large committees outperform small committees, other things equal. Second, heterogeneous committees can, under the right circumstances, outperform homogeneous ones, again other things equal. But this literature has done little to bring these two conclusions together. This paper compares the respective contributions of size and difference to optimal committee performance, and draws policy recommendations using these comparisons.
The Condorcet Jury Theorem, together with a large and growing literature of ancillary results, suggests two conclusions. First, large committees outperform small committees, other things equal. Second, heterogeneous committees can, under the right circumstances, outperform homogeneous ones, again other things equal. But this literature has done little to bring these two conclusions together. This paper employs simulations to compare the respective contributions of size and difference to optimal committee performance. It demonstrates that the contributions depend dramatically upon bias. In the (...) presence of low bias, committee composition matters little. In the presence of high bias, it can matter a great deal; optimal committee performance, however, does not vary dramatically between low- and high-bias committees. (shrink)