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)
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)
Jon Elster denies that collectives can behave rationally. Rational behavior requires action in conformity with preferences and beliefs. According to Elster, however, social choice theory demonstrates that collectives cannot have preferences, even in principle, and this precludes them from behaving either rationally or irrationally. (Irrationality, after all, is a property that can only be possessed by something that could in theory be rational.) Elster, however, does not fully accept this refutation of the possibility of collective rationality. For in exploring the (...) question of random selection, he argues that collectives, as well as individuals, can employ random selection as a tool to facilitate more rational behavior. This contradiction can be resolved if collective preferences are not as inconceivable as Elster suggests, and Elster himself gives reason for believing they may not be. He does this by distinguishing between a thin and a broad theory of rationality. His refutation of the possibility of collective preferences depends on a thin theory of preferences (and beliefs), a theory that he admits is inadequate for purposes of normative assessment. A broad theory of preferences and beliefs, when properly developed, could well accommodate the notion of collective preferences and beliefs, and thus of collective rationality. Key Words: Elster rationality social choice theory. (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)
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)
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 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)
There is great interest in understanding whether and how mood influences affective processing. Results in the literature have been mixed: some studies show mood-congruent processing but others do not. One limitation of previous work is that decision components for affective processing and responses biases are not dissociated. The present study explored the roles of affective processing and response biases using a drift-diffusion model of simple choice. In two experiments, participants decided if words were emotionally positive or negative while listening to (...) music that induced positive or negative mood. The behavioural results showed weak, inconsistent mood-congruency effects. In contrast, the DDM showed consistent effects that were selectively driven by an a-priori bias in response expectation, suggesting that music-induced mood influences expectations about the emotionality of upcoming stimuli, but not the emotionality of the stimuli themselves. Implications for future studies of emotional classification and mood are subsequently discussed. (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 ...