_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 457 - 467 This reply to the critiques by Daniel Woolf, Cass R. Sunstein and Daniel Nolan of my book _Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History_, takes each of their contributions in turn, and reasserts the centrality to counterfactual history of positing definite, long term alternative timelines rather than a vague claim that things might have turned out differently to the way they actually did. Such alternate timelines have no claim to either truth or (...) utility since they ignore the many possible contingencies that would most likely have taken place following the initial deviation from the real timeline of history. (shrink)
This paper introduces Exclusion Logic - a simple modal logic without negation or disjunction. We show that this logic has an efficient decision procedure. We describe how Exclusion Logic can be used as a deontic logic. We compare this deontic logic with Standard Deontic Logic and with more syntactically restricted logics.
There has been a widespread recovery of public memory of the events of the Second World War since the end of the 1980s, with war crimes trials, restitution actions, monuments and memorials to the victims of Nazism appearing in many countries. This has inevitably involved historians being called upon to act as expert witnesses in legal actions, yet there has been little discussion of the problems that this poses for them. The French historian Henry Rousso has argued that this confuses (...) memory with history. In the aftermath of the Second World War, judicial investigations unearthed a mass of historical documentation. Historians used this, and further researches, from the 1960s onwards to develop their own ideas and interpretations. But since the early 1990s there has been a judicialization of history, in which historians and their work have been forced into the service of moral and legal forms of judgment which are alien to the historical enterprise and do violence to the subleties and nuances of the historian's search for truth. This reflects Rousso's perhaps rather simplistically scientistic view of the historian's enterprise; yet his arguments are powerful and should be taken seriously by any historian considering involvement in a law case; they also have a wider implication for the moralization of the history of the Second World War, which is now dominated by categories such as "perpetrator," "victim," and "bystander" that are legal rather than historical in origin. The article concludes by suggesting that while historians who testify in war crimes trials should confine themselves to elucidating the historical context, and not become involved in judging whether an individual was guilty or otherwise of a crime, it remains legitimate to offer expert opinion, as the author of the article has done, in a legal action that turns on the research and writing of history itself. (shrink)
The business world is not a separate universe of economic values and goals distinct from society, but an aspect of the behaviour of society as a whole. Ethics cannot be a cosmetic applied to established practice in the business world, a mere restraint on the unsocial or criminal behaviour of managers or a pragmatic response to consumer pressure. The author argues for a Total Ethics concept analogous to Zero Defects concepts in operations management. This ethic should form the foundation of (...) the organisation's mission and permeate its statements of business objectives. If the ethic is to serve the common good of all who have an interest in the business, then all the stakeholders, not just those with a financial interest, must contribute to the business objectives and exercise some control. (shrink)
In this paper, I reinterpret Kant’s Transcendental Analytic as a description of a cognitive architecture. I describe a computer implementation of this architecture, and show how it has been applied to two unsupervised learning tasks. The resulting program is very data efficient, able to learn from a tiny handful of examples. I show how the program achieves data-efficiency: the constraints described in the Analytic of Principles are reinterpreted as strong prior knowledge, constraining the set of possible solutions.
Cathoristic logic is a multi-modal logic where negation is replaced by a novel operator allowing the expression of incompatible sentences. We present the syntax and semantics of the logic including complete proof rules, and establish a number of results such as compactness, a semantic characterisa- tion of elementary equivalence, the existence of a quadratic-time decision pro- cedure, and Brandom’s incompatibility semantics property. We demonstrate the usefulness of the logic as a language for knowledge representation.
Research in multi-agent systems typically assumes a regulative model of social practice. This model starts with agents who are already capable of acting autonomously to further their individual ends. A social practice, according to this view, is a way of achieving coordination between multiple agents by restricting the set of actions available. For example, in a world containing cars but no driving regulations, agents are free to drive on either side of the road. To prevent collisions, we introduce driving regulations, (...) insisting that everyone drives on the left hand side of the road. We accept this limitation on our freedom because it lowers the probability of a collision. -/- This paper describes AI systems that are based on the constitutive view of social practice. According to this alternative view, there are certain actions that are only available to the agent because he is participating in a practice of a certain sort. For example, you can swing a peculiarly shaped piece of wood without participating in any particular practice - but this action will only constitute a strike if you are participating in a game of baseball. I can raise my hand whenever I like, but this only counts as voting for the motion within the institution of voting. But not all the examples are from frivolous, optional or institutional activities. Sellars and Brandom argue that even the fundamental act of assertion is only possible within the context of a particular social practice: the Game of Giving and Asking for Reasons. -/- The constitutive view, which is familiar to philosophers, is relatively unknown within the AI community. -/- The central aim of this paper is to show how the constitutive view of practice can be put to use in AI applications. (shrink)
This paper formalizes part of the cognitive architecture that Kant develops in the Critique of Pure Reason. The central Kantian notion that we formalize is the rule. As we interpret Kant, a rule is not a declarative conditional stating what would be true if such and such conditions hold. Rather, a Kantian rule is a general procedure, represented by a conditional imperative or permissive, indicating which acts must or may be performed, given certain acts that are already being performed. These (...) acts are not propositions; they do not have truth-values. Our formalization is related to the input/ output logics, a family of logics designed to capture relations between elements that need not have truth-values. In this paper, we introduce KL3 as a formalization of Kant’s conception of rules as conditional imperatives and permissives. We explain how it differs from standard input/output logics, geometric logic, and first-order logic, as well as how it translates natural language sentences not well captured by first-order logic. Finally, we show how the various distinctions in Kant’s much-maligned Table of Judgements emerge as the most natural way of dividing up the various types and sub-types of rule in KL3. Our analysis sheds new light on the way in which normative notions play a fundamental role in the conception of logic at the heart of Kant’s theoretical philosophy. (shrink)
The central claim of normative pragmatism is that intentional states can be explained in terms of participation in practices. My aim in this paper is not so much to defend this claim as to rearticulate it in a different medium: the medium of computation. I describe two computer programs in which this claim is re-expressed. The first is the latest version of THE SIMS, in which participation in practices enables the Sims to do and understand more. The second is a (...) prototype simulation of philosophical debate. In this second program, normative pragmatism is expressed at two different levels: once as the theory powering the implementation, and once as a set of claims which are debated by the simulated philosophers. Here, a philosophical theory is used to implement a system in which that very same theory is articulated, challenged, and justified. (shrink)
This paper compares two approaches to representing personality traits in synthetic agents. It proposes a set of goals that any computational implementation of personality should satisfy. It describes the personality trait system used in The Sims 3. Then an alternative system is described, in which traits are represented as conditionals relating world state to emotional state. It is shown that the conditionals model does a better job of satisfying the desiderata.
We are able to participate in countless different sorts of social practice. This indefinite set of capacities must be explainable in terms of a finite stock of capacities. This paper compares and contrasts two different explanations. A standard decomposition of the capacity to participate in social practices goes something like this: the interpreter arrives on the scene with a stock of generic practice-types. He looks at the current scene to fill-in the current tokens of these types. He looks at the (...) current state of these practice tokens to see what actions are available to him. He uses his current desires to choose between these various possible actions. I argue that this standard explanation is defective, drawing on arguments by Searle and Wittgenstein and Garfinkel. I propose an alternative explanation, in which the participants must continually show each other the state of the scene in order to maintain the scene’s intelligibility. I provide a simple formal language in which to describe this alternative approach, in which we can state quite precisely what someone is doing when they participate in a practice. This language is related to both deontic and epistemic logics, but it is much simpler – it does not include the classic propositional connectives, and it is driven by a very different set of assumptions. The inspirations for this formal language are Searle’s analysis of directions of fit, Wittgenstein’s remarks on rule-following and Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology. (shrink)
Richard Evans trad in 2000 op als expert-getuige in het proces dat historica Deborah Lipstadt aanspande tegen haar collega David Irving. Lipstadt beschuldigde Irving ervan in zijn geschriften een grote hoeveelheid goedverkopende historische boeken over de Tweede Wereldoorlog, stelselmatig de Holocaust te ontkennen. Evans, eveneens een historicus, kreeg de taak te onderzoeken of er inderdaad sprake was van verdraaiing van de feiten in het werk van Irving. Zijn bevindingen, die hij in dit essay uit de doeken doet, en het uiteindelijke (...) oordeel van de rechter leiden hem ertoe na te denken over de verantwoordelijkheid die de geschiedschrijver heeft tegenover de waarheid. (shrink)