Scientists use models to understand the natural world, and it is important not to conflate model and nature. As an illustration, we distinguish three different kinds of populations in studies of ecology and evolution: theoretical, laboratory, and natural populations, exemplified by the work of R.A. Fisher, Thomas Park, and David Lack, respectively. Biologists are rightly concerned with all three types of populations. We examine the interplay between these different kinds of populations, and their pertinent models, in three examples: the notion (...) of “effective” population size, the work of Thomas Park on /Tribolium/ populations, and model-based clustering algorithms such as /Structure/. Finally, we discuss ways to move safely between three distinct population types while avoiding confusing models and reality. (shrink)
AI and people do not compete on a level-playing field. Self-driving vehicles may be safer than human drivers, but laws often penalize such technology. People may provide superior customer service, but businesses are automating to reduce their taxes. AI may innovate more effectively, but an antiquated legal framework constrains inventive AI. In The Reasonable Robot, Ryan Abbott argues that the law should not discriminate between AI and human behavior and proposes a new legal principle that will ultimately improve human (...) well-being. This work should be read by anyone interested in the rapidly evolving relationship between AI and the law. (shrink)
Placing Bruno—both advanced philosopher and magician burned at the stake—in the Hermetic tradition, Yates's acclaimed study gives an overview not only of Renaissance humanism but of its interplay—and conflict—with magic and occult practices. "Among those who have explored the intellectual world of the sixteenth century no one in England can rival Miss Yates. Wherever she looks, she illuminates. Now she has looked on Bruno. This brilliant book takes time to digest, but it is an intellectual adventure to read it. Historians (...) of ideas, of religion, and of science will study it. Some of them, after reading it, will have to think again.... For Miss Yates has put Bruno, for the first time, in his tradition, and has shown what that tradition was."—Hugh Trevor-Roper, _New Statesman_ "A decisive contribution to the understanding of Giordano Bruno, this book will probably remove a great number of misrepresentations that still plague the tormented figure of the Nolan prophet."—Giorgio de Santillana, _American Historical Review_ "Yates's book is an important addition to our knowledge of Giordano Bruno. But it is even more important, I think, as a step toward understanding the unity of the sixteenth century."—J. Bronowski, _New York Review of Books_. (shrink)
Ted Warfield has argued that if Ockhamism and Molinism offer different responses to the problems of foreknowledge and prophecy, it is the Molinist who is in trouble. I show here that this is not so – indeed, things may be quite the reverse.
Michael Ryan (d. 1840) remains one of the most mysterious figures in the history of medical ethics, despite the fact that he was the only British physician during the middle years of the 19th century to write about ethics in a systematic way. Michael Ryan’s Writings on Medical Ethics offers both an annotated reprint of his key ethical writings, and an extensive introductory essay that fills in many previously unknown details of Ryan’s life, analyzes the significance of (...) his ethical works, and places him within the historical trajectory of the field of medical ethics. (shrink)
Very diverse societies pose real problems for Rawlsian models of public reason. This is for two reasons: first, public reason is unable accommodate diverse perspectives in determining a regulative ideal. Second, regulative ideals are unable to respond to social change. While models based on public reason focus on the justification of principles, this book suggests that we need to orient our normative theories more toward discovery and experimentation. The book develops a unique approach to social contract theory that focuses on (...) diverse perspectives. It offers a new moral stance that author Ryan Muldoon calls, "The View From Everywhere," which allows for substantive, fundamental moral disagreement. This stance is used to develop a bargaining model in which agents can cooperate despite seeing different perspectives. Rather than arguing for an ideal contract or particular principles of justice, Muldoon outlines a procedure for iterated revisions to the rules of a social contract. It expands Mill's conception of experiments in living to help form a foundational principle for social contract theory. By embracing this kind of experimentation, we move away from a conception of justice as an end state, and toward a conception of justice as a trajectory. (shrink)
This mixed methods study examines how college students’ perceptions and experiences affect their understanding of academic integrity. Using qualitative and quantitative responses from the Personal and Social Responsibility Institutional Inventory, both quantitative and qualitative results demonstrate that while campuses may see a reduction in overall levels of cheating when punitive academic integrity policies are present, students may develop higher levels of personal and academic integrity through the use of more holistic and community-focused practices.
Ryan Wasserman explores a range of fascinating puzzles raised by the possibility of time travel, with entertaining examples from physics, science fiction, and popular culture, and he draws out their implications for our understanding of time, tense, freedom, fatalism, causation, counterfactuals, laws of nature, persistence, change, and mereology.
This book explores the constraints which justice imposes on immigration policy. Like liberal nationalists, Ryan Pevnick argues that citizens have special claims to the institutions of their states. However, the source of these special claims is located in the citizenry's ownership of state institutions rather than in a shared national identity. Citizens contribute to the construction and maintenance of institutions, and as a result they have special claims to these institutions and a limited right to exclude outsiders. Pevnick shows (...) that the resulting view justifies a set of policies - including support for certain types of guest worker programs - which is distinct from those supported by either liberal nationalists or advocates of open borders. His book provides a framework for considering a number of connected topics including issues related to self-determination, the scope of distributive justice and the significance of shared national identity. (shrink)
People can be disgusted by the concrete and by the abstract -- by an object they find physically repellent or by an ideology or value system they find morally abhorrent. Different things will disgust different people, depending on individual sensibilities or cultural backgrounds. In _Yuck!_, Daniel Kelly investigates the character and evolution of disgust, with an emphasis on understanding the role this emotion has come to play in our social and moral lives. Disgust has recently been riding a swell of (...) scholarly attention, especially from those in the cognitive sciences and those in the humanities in the midst of the "affective turn." Kelly proposes a cognitive model that can accommodate what we now know about disgust. He offers a new account of the evolution of disgust that builds on the model and argues that expressions of disgust are part of a sophisticated but largely automatic signaling system that humans use to transmit information about what to avoid in the local environment. He shows that many of the puzzling features of moral repugnance tinged with disgust are by-products of the imperfect fit between a cognitive system that evolved to protect against poisons and parasites and the social and moral issues on which it has been brought to bear. Kelly's account of this emotion provides a powerful argument against invoking disgust in the service of moral justification. (shrink)
This paper aims to unite two seemingly disparate themes in the philosophy of mathematics and language respectively, namely ante rem structuralism and inferentialism. My analysis begins with describing both frameworks in accordance with their genesis in the work of Hilbert. I then draw comparisons between these philosophical views in terms of their similar motivations and similar objections to the referential orthodoxy. I specifically home in on two points of comparison, namely the role of norms and the relation of ontological dependence (...) in both accounts. Lastly, I show that insights from this purported connection can address certain objections to both theories respectively. (shrink)
In this article, robust evidence is provided showing that an individual’s moral character can contribute to the aesthetic quality of their appearance, as well as being beautiful or ugly itself. It is argued that this evidence supports two main conclusions. First, moral beauty and ugliness reside on the inside, and beauty and ugliness are not perception-dependent as a result; and, second, aesthetic perception is affected by moral information, and thus moral beauty and ugliness are on the outside as well.
From an evolutionary standpoint, a default presumption is that true beliefs are adaptive and misbeliefs maladaptive. But if humans are biologically engineered to appraise the world accurately and to form true beliefs, how are we to explain the routine exceptions to this rule? How can we account for mistaken beliefs, bizarre delusions, and instances of self-deception? We explore this question in some detail. We begin by articulating a distinction between two general types of misbelief: those resulting from a breakdown in (...) the normal functioning of the belief formation system (e.g., delusions) and those arising in the normal course of that system's operations (e.g., beliefs based on incomplete or inaccurate information). The former are instances of biological dysfunction or pathology, reflecting limitations of evolutionary design. Although the latter category includes undesirable (but tolerable) by-products of limited design, our quarry is a contentious subclass of this category: misbeliefs best conceived as design features. Such misbeliefs, unlike occasional lucky falsehoods, would have been systematically adaptive in the evolutionary past. Such misbeliefs, furthermore, would not be reducible to judicious action policies. Finally, such misbeliefs would have been adaptive in themselves, constituting more than mere by-products of adaptively biased misbelief-producing systems. We explore a range of potential candidates for evolved misbelief, and conclude that, of those surveyed, only positive illusions meet our criteria. (shrink)
Giordano Bruno Giordano Bruno was an Italian philosopher of the later Renaissance whose writings encompassed the ongoing traditions, intentions, and achievements of his times and transmitted them into early modernity. Taking up the medieval practice of the art of memory and of formal logic, he focused on the creativity of the human mind. Bruno … Continue reading Giordano Bruno →.
Which traits are beautiful? And is their beauty perceptual? It is argued that moral virtues are partly beautiful to the extent that they tend to give rise to a certain emotion— ecstasy—and that compassion tends to be more beautiful than fair-mindedness because it tends to give rise to this emotion to a greater extent. It is then argued, on the basis that emotions are best thought of as a special, evaluative, kind of perception, that this argument suggests that moral virtues (...) are partly beautiful to the extent that they tend to give rise to a certain kind of evaluative perceptual experience. (shrink)
I offer the first sustained defence of the claim that ugliness is constituted by the disposition to disgust. I advance three main lines of argument in support of this thesis. First, ugliness and disgustingness tend to lie in the same kinds of things and properties (the argument from ostensions). Second, the thesis is better placed than all existing accounts to accommodate the following facts: ugliness is narrowly and systematically distributed in a heterogenous set of things, ugliness is sometimes enjoyed, and (...) ugliness sits opposed to beauty across a neutral midpoint (the argument from proposed intensions). And third, ugliness and disgustingness function in the same way in both giving rise to representations of contamination (the argument from the law of contagion). In making these arguments, I show why prominent objections to the thesis do not succeed, cast light on some of the artistic functions of ugliness, and, in addition, demonstrate why a dispositional account of disgustingness is correct, and present a novel problem for warrant-based accounts of disgustingness (the ‘too many reasons’ problem). (shrink)
In his late work Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, Immanuel Kant struggles to answer a straightforward, yet surprisingly difficult, question: how is radical conversion--a complete reorientation of a person's most deeply held values--possible? In this book, Ryan S. Kemp and Christopher Iacovetti examine how this question gets taken up by Kant's philosophical heirs: Schelling, Fichte, Hegel and Kierkegaard. More than simply developing a novel account of each thinker's position, Kemp and Iacovetti trace how each philosopher formulates his (...) theory in response to tensions in preceding views, culminating in Kierkegaard's claim that radical conversion lies outside a person's control. Kemp and Iacovetti close by examining some of the moral-psychological implications of Kierkegaard's account, particularly the question of how someone might responsibly relate to values that have, by their own admission, been acquired in contingent and accidental fashion. (shrink)
In epistemology and the philosophy of science, there has been an increasing interest in the social aspects of belief acquisition. In particular, there has been a focus on the division of cognitive labor in science. This essay explores several different models of the division of cognitive labor, with particular focus on Kitcher, Strevens, Weisberg and Muldoon, and Zollman. The essay then shows how many of the benefits of the division of cognitive labor flow from leveraging agent diversity. The essay concludes (...) by examining the benefits and burdens of diversity, particularly in the evaluative diversity that can be found in interdisicplinary science. (shrink)
I argue that the main existing accounts of the relationship between the beauty of environmental entities and their moral standing are mistaken in important ways. Beauty does not, as has been suggested by optimists, confer intrinsic moral standing. Nor is it the case, as has been suggested by pessimists, that beauty at best provides an anthropocentric source of moral standing that is commensurate with other sources of pleasure. I present arguments and evidence that show that the appreciation of beauty tends (...) to cause a transformational state of mind that is more valuable than mere pleasure, but that leads us to falsely represent beautiful entities as being sentient and, in turn, as having intrinsic moral standing. To this extent, beauty is not, then, a source of intrinsic moral standing; it’s a source of a more important anthropocentric value than has hitherto been acknowledged. (shrink)
Scientific research is almost always conducted by communities of scientists of varying size and complexity. Such communities are effective, in part, because they divide their cognitive labor: not every scientist works on the same project. Philip Kitcher and Michael Strevens have pioneered efforts to understand this division of cognitive labor by proposing models of how scientists make decisions about which project to work on. For such models to be useful, they must be simple enough for us to understand their dynamics, (...) but faithful enough to reality that we can use them to analyze real scientific communities. To satisfy the first requirement, we must employ idealizations to simplify the model. The second requirement demands that these idealizations not be so extreme that we lose the ability to describe real-world phenomena. This paper investigates the status of the assumptions that Kitcher and Strevens make in their models, by first inquiring whether they are reasonable representations of reality, and then by checking the models' robustness against weakenings of these assumptions. To do this, we first argue against the reality of the assumptions, and then develop a series of agent-based simulations to systematically test their effects on model outcomes. We find that the models are not robust against weakenings of these idealizations. In fact we find that under certain conditions, this can lead to the model predicting outcomes that are qualitatively opposite of the original model outcomes. (shrink)
Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake in Rome in 1600, accused of heresy by the Inquisition. His life took him from Italy to Northern Europe and England, and finally to Venice, where he was arrested. His six dialogues in Italian, today considered a turning point towards the philosophy and science of the modern world, were written during his visit to Elizabethan London. He died refusing to recant views which he defined as philosophical rather than theological, and for which (...) he claimed liberty of expression.The papers in this volume derive from a conference commemorating the 400th anniversary of Bruno's death. Some focus on his experience in England, others on the Italian context of his thought and his impact upon others. Together they constitute a major new survey of the range of Bruno's philosophical activity, as well as evaluating his use of earlier cultural traditions and his influence on both contemporary and more modern themes and trends. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that there is a kind of moral disagreement that survives the Rawlsian veil of ignorance. While a veil of ignorance eliminates sources of disagreement stemming from self-interest, it does not do anything to eliminate deeper sources of disagreement. These disagreements not only persist, but transform their structure once behind the veil of ignorance. We consider formal frameworks for exploring these differences in structure between interested and disinterested disagreement, and argue that consensus models offer us a (...) solution concept for disagreements behind the veil of ignorance. (shrink)
The problem : commerce and corruption -- Smith's defense of commercial society -- What is corruption? : political and psychological perspectives -- Smith on corruption : from the citizen to the human being -- The solution : moral philosophy -- Liberal individualism and virtue ethics -- Social science vs. moral philosophy -- Types of moral philosophy : natural jurisprudence vs. ethics -- Types of ethics : utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics -- Virtue ethics : modern, ancient, and Smithean -- Interlude (...) : the what and the how of TMS VI -- The what : Sith's "practical system of morality" -- The how : rhetoric, audience, and the methods of practical ethics -- The how : the ascent of self-love in three stages -- Prudence or commercial virtue -- The challenge : from praise to prudence -- Educating the vain : fathers and sons -- Self-interest rightly understood -- The advantages and disadvantages of prudence -- Magnanimity or classical virtue -- The problems of prudence and the therapy of magnanimity -- Up from individualism : desert, praiseworthiness, conscience -- Modernity, antiquity, and magnanimity -- The dangers of magnanimity -- Beneficence or christian virtue -- Between care and caritas -- Benevolence and beneficence and the human telos -- The character and purposes of the wise and virtuous man -- Wisdom and virtue and Adam Smith's apology -- Epilogue: The "economy of greatness". (shrink)
Effective Altruism is a rapidly growing and influential contemporary philosophical movement committed to updating utilitarianism in both theory and practice. The movement focuses on identifying urgent but neglected causes and inspiring supererogatory giving to meet the need. It also tries to build a broader coalition by adopting a more ecumenical approach to ethics which recognizes a wide range of values and moral constraints. These interesting developments distinguish Effective Altruism from the utilitarianism of the past in ways that invite cooperation and (...) warrant a fresh look from Thomists. Nonetheless Effective Altruism’s fundamentally consequentialist and aggregative model for ethics precludes more foundational agreement with Thomistic ethics in ways that limit the extent of practical cooperation. (shrink)
: In recent literature supporting a hybrid view between metaethical cognitivism and noncognitivist expressivism, much has been made of an analogy between moral terms and pejoratives. The analogy is based on the plausible idea that pejorative slurs are used to express both a descriptive belief and a negative attitude. The analogy looks promising insofar as it encourages the kinds of features we should want from a hybrid expressivist view for moral language. But the analogy between moral terms and pejorative slurs (...) is also problematic. In this paper, I argue for two main ways in which we should distinguish between two different types of pejorative terms: slurs, on the one hand, and what I call general pejorative terms, on the other. I examine the problems with the analogy between slurs and moral terms and conclude that general pejorative terms like ‘jerk’ are a better candidate on which to model the potential dual-use behavior of moral terms. So if hybrid theorists are looking for a dual-use model for moral language, they should be careful to base their analogies on general pejoratives, rather than slurs. (shrink)
What role should the physician's conscience play in the practice of medicine? Much controversy has surrounded the question, yet little attention has been paid to the possibility that disputants are operating with contrasting definitions of the conscience. To illustrate this divergence, we contrast definitions stemming from Abrahamic religions and those stemming from secular moral tradition. Clear differences emerge regarding what the term conscience conveys, how the conscience should be informed, and what the consequences are for violating one's conscience. Importantly, these (...) basic disagreements underlie current controversies regarding the role of the clinician's conscience in the practice of medicine. Consequently participants in ongoing debates would do well to specify their definitions of the conscience and the reasons for and implications of those definitions. This specification would allow participants to advance a more philosophically and theologically robust conversation about the means and ends of medicine. (shrink)
Quando la biblioteca diventa un confessionale. Nel 1585, Giordano Bruno ritorna a Parigi dopo il soggiorno londinese, e comincia a frequentare l’abbazia di Saint Victor, famosa per la sua ” libraria “, immortalata da Rabelais. Il bibliotecario, Guillaume Cotin, trasforma lo “scriptorium” in un confessionale, dove il filosofo dà libero sfogo ai suoi ricordi e al suo impetuoso carattere. -/- When the library becomes a confessional. In 1585, Giordano Bruno, returns to Paris after his stay in London, and (...) begins to attend the abbey of Saint Victor, famous for his library, immortalized by Rabelais. The librarian, Guillaume Cotin, transforms the scriptorium into a confessional, where the philosopher gives free rein to his memories and his impetuous character. (shrink)
Invaluable wisdom on living a good life from the founder of modern economics Adam Smith is best known today as the founder of modern economics, but he was also an uncommonly brilliant philosopher who was especially interested in the perennial question of how to live a good life. Our Great Purpose is a short and illuminating guide to Smith's incomparable wisdom on how to live well, written by one of today's leading Smith scholars. In this inspiring and entertaining book, (...) class='Hi'>Ryan Patrick Hanley describes Smith's vision of "the excellent and praiseworthy character," and draws on the philosopher's writings to show how each of us can go about developing one. For Smith, an excellent character is distinguished by qualities such as prudence, self-command, justice, and benevolence—virtues that have been extolled since antiquity. Yet Smith wrote not for the ancient polis but for the world of market society—our world—which rewards self-interest more than virtue. Hanley shows how Smith set forth a vision of the worthy life that is uniquely suited to us today. Full of invaluable insights on topics ranging from happiness and moderation to love and friendship, Our Great Purpose enables modern readers to see Smith in an entirely new light—and along the way, learn what it truly means to live a good life. (shrink)
L’articolo si propone di chiarire uno dei punti oscuri della biografia di Giordano Bruno. Nel 1571 il Capitolo generale dei Domenicani di Roma lo assegnò come studente formale allo Studio di Andria. Secondo i suoi più importanti biografi, il Nolano non ci sarebbe mai andato. Attraverso l’accurata analisi dei documenti relativi al corso di studi, e il riscontro delle citazioni contenute in alcune opere, l’ipotesi che Bruno abbia soggiornato ad Andria per circa un anno appare, invece, estremamente probabile. The (...) article tries to clarify one of the obscure points of Giordano Bruno’s biography. In 1571 the General Chapter of the Dominicans in Rome assigned him, as a formal student, to the Study of Andria. According to his most important biographers, the Nolan never went there. However, through the careful analysis of the documents relating to his course of studies, and the comparison of the quotations contained in some of his works, the hypothesis that Bruno stayed in Andria for about a year appears extremely probable. (shrink)
That the successful development of fully autonomous artificial moral agents (AMAs) is imminent is becoming the received view within artificial intelligence research and robotics. The discipline of Machines Ethics, whose mandate is to create such ethical robots, is consequently gaining momentum. Although it is often asked whether a given moral framework can be implemented into machines, it is never asked whether it should be. This paper articulates a pressing challenge for Machine Ethics: To identify an ethical framework that is both (...) implementable into machines and whose tenets permit the creation of such AMAs in the first place. Without consistency between ethics and engineering, the resulting AMAs would not be genuine ethical robots, and hence the discipline of Machine Ethics would be a failure in this regard. Here this challenge is articulated through a critical analysis of the development of Kantian AMAs, as one of the leading contenders for being the ethic that can be implemented into machines. In the end, however, the development of Kantian artificial moral machines is found to be anti-Kantian. The upshot of all this is that machine ethicists need to look elsewhere for an ethic to implement into their machines. (shrink)
Resistance involves a range of actions such as disobedience, insubordination, misbehaviour, agitation, advocacy, subversion, and opposition. Action that occurs both publicly, privately, and day-to-day in the delivery of care, in discourse and knowledge. In this article I will demonstrate how resistance plays an important role in shaping health and well-being, for better and worse. To show how it can be largely productive and protective, I will argue that resistance intersects with health in at least two ways. First, it acts as (...) an important counterbalance to power; undermining harmful policies, disobeying unfair instructions, challenging rights abuses, confronting those who would otherwise turn a blind eye and even holding ourselves to account when simply accepting the status quo. Second, and beyond being oppositional, resistance is a constructive, productive force, that is fundamental to imagining alternatives; new and better futures and perhaps most fundamentally resistance is cause for hope that we are not resigned to the status quo. While there are numerous examples of how resistance has been employed in service of health and well-being, resistance is not always rational or productive, it can also harm health. I will briefly explore this point. Finally, I will offer some reflections on the intersections of power and health and why this makes resistance both distinct and important when it comes to how it shapes health and well-being. (shrink)
Does the formation of delusions involve abnormal reasoning? According to the prominent ‘two-factor’ theory of delusions (e.g. Coltheart, 2007), the answer is yes. The second factor in this theory is supposed to affect a deluded individual's ability to evaluate candidates for belief. However, most published accounts of the two-factor theory have not said much about the nature of this second factor. In an effort to remedy this shortcoming, Coltheart, Menzies and Sutton (2010) recently put forward a Bayesian account of inference (...) in delusions. I outline some criticisms of this important account, and sketch an alternative account of delusional inference that, I argue, avoids these criticisms. Specifically, I argue that the second factor in delusion formation involves a systematic deviation from Bayesian updating, a deviation that may be characterized as a bias towards ‘explanatory adequacy’. I present a numerical model of this idea and show that my alternative account is broadly consistent with prominent prediction error models of delusion formation (e.g. Corlett, Murray et al., 2007). (shrink)
The book treats the compelling question of war and personal responsibility in contemporary America. Cheyney Ryan examines how Americans often support modern warfare but have zero interest in fighting themselves . Ryan seeks to show how we must come to terms with our understanding and valuing of war when we ourselves are not committed to fighting in it.
It is widely held that agent-neutral consequentialism is incompatible with deontic constraints. Recently, Kieran Setiya has challenged this orthodoxy by presenting a form of agent-neutral consequentialism that he claims can capture deontic constraints. In this reply, we argue against Setiya's proposal by pointing to features of deontic constraints that his account fails to capture.
This paper examines a series of Schelling-like models of residential segregation, in which agents prefer to be in the minority. We demon- strate that as long as agents care about the characteristics of their wider community, they tend to end up in a segregated state. We then investigate the process that causes this, and conclude that the result hinges on the similarity of informational states amongst agents of the same type. This is quite di erent from Schelling-like behavior, and sug- (...) gests (in his terms) that segregation is an instance of macro behavior which can arise from a wide variety of micro motives. (shrink)