Decision theory has had a long-standing history in the behavioural and social sciences as a tool for constructing good approximations of human behaviour. Yet as artificially intelligent systems (AIs) grow in intellectual capacity and eventually outpace humans, decision theory becomes evermore important as a model of AI behaviour. What sort of decision procedure might an AI employ? In this work, I propose that policy-based causal decision theory (PCDT), which places a primacy on the decision-relevance of predictors and simulations of agent (...) behaviour, may be such a procedure. I compare this account to the recently-developed functional decision theory (FDT), which is motivated by similar concerns. I also address potentially counterintuitive features of PCDT, such as its refusal to condition on observations made at certain times. (shrink)
Can a belief source confer justification when we lack antecedent justification for believing that it’s reliable? A negative answer quickly leads to skepticism. A positive answer, however, seems to commit one to allowing pernicious reasoning known as “epistemic bootstrapping.” Puzzles surrounding bootstrapping arise because we illicitly assume either that justification requires doxastic awareness of a source’s epistemic credentials or that there is no requirement that a subject be aware of these credentials. We can resolve the puzzle by splitting the horns (...) and requiring a non-conceptual awareness of, or direct acquaintance with, a source’s legitimacy. Requiring non-conceptual as opposed to doxastic awareness halts the regress and avoids the skeptical results. On the other hand, requiring non-conceptual awareness also guarantees that we are aware of evidence for a source’s reliability prior to using that source to form justified beliefs; we thereby avoid the problem of allowing epistemic bootstrapping to generate the illicit gains in justification. (shrink)
Since early 2014, i have studied what life is like for staff in a mental health sanatorium at a Ghanaian prayer camp. I have traveled to the camp on six occasions to observe its rhythms and routines and interview staff about their work. What follows is an informal reflection on the role of prayer camps as a source of mental health care in Ghana. The text is based on my experience conducting the research at the camp, rather than a formal (...) reporting of results. As such, I make minimal references to theoretical frameworks and previous literature and instead have relied on my own field notes and recreated conversations I had with one staff member in particular.Despite longstanding records of human rights abuses, many... (shrink)
Nelson Goodman has constructed two theories of simplicity: one of predicates; one of hypotheses. I offer a simpler theory by generalization and abstraction from his. Generalization comes by dropping special conditions Goodman imposes on which unexcluded extensions count as complicating and which excluded extensions count as simplifying. Abstraction is achieved by counting only nonisomorphic models and subinterpretations. The new theory takes into account all the hypotheses of a theory in assessing its complexity, whether they were projected prior to, or result (...) from, projection of a given hypothesis. It assigns simplicity post-projection priority over simplicity pre-projection. It better orders compound conditionals than does the theory of simplicity of hypotheses, and it does not inherit an anomaly of the theory of simplicity of predicates — its failure to order the ordering relations. Drop Goodman's special conditions, and the problems fall away with them. (shrink)
According to Phenomenal Conservatism (PC), if it seems to a subject S that P, S thereby has some degree of (defeasible) justification for believing P. But what is it for P to seem true? Answering this question is vital for assessing what role (if any) such states can play. Many have appeared to adopt a kind of non-reductionism that construes seemings as intentional states which cannot be reduced to more familiar mental states like beliefs or sensations. In this paper I (...) aim to show that reductive accounts need to be taken more seriously by illustrating the plausibility of identifying seemings and conscious inclinations to form a belief. I briefly close the paper by considering the implications such an analysis might have for views such as PC. (shrink)
The concept of solidarity has achieved relatively little attention from philosophers, in spite of its signal importance in a variety of social movements over the past 150 years. This means that there is a certain amount of preliminary philosophical work concerning the concept itself that must be undertaken before one can ask about its potential use in arguments concerning the provision of health care. In this paper, I begin with this work through a survey of some of the most prominent (...) bioethical, political philosophical and intellectual historical literature concerned with the project of determining a philosophically specific and historically perspicacious meaning of the term ‘solidarity’. This provides a conceptual foundation for a sketch of a four-tiered picture of social competition and cooperation within the nation-state. Corresponding to this picture is a four-tiered account of health care provision. These two models, taken together, provide a framework for articulating the conclusion that, while there are myriad examples of solidarity in claiming health care for some, or even many, the concept does not provide a basis for claiming health care for all. (shrink)
Music comprises a diverse category of cognitive phenomena that likely represent both the effects of psychological adaptations that are specific to music (e.g., rhythmic entrainment) and the effects of adaptations for non-musical functions (e.g., auditory scene analysis). How did music evolve? Here, we show that prevailing views on the evolution of music – that music is a byproduct of other evolved faculties, evolved for social bonding, or evolved to signal mate quality – are incomplete or wrong. We argue instead that (...) music evolved as a credible signal in at least two contexts: coalitional interactions and infant care. Specifically, we propose that (1) the production and reception of coordinated, entrained rhythmic displays is a co-evolved system for credibly signaling coalition strength, size, and coordination ability; and (2) the production and reception of infant-directed song is a co-evolved system for credibly signaling parental attention to secondarily altricial infants. These proposals, supported by interdisciplinary evidence, suggest that basic features of music, such as melody and rhythm, result from adaptations in the proper domain of human music. The adaptations provide a foundation for the cultural evolution of music in its actual domain, yielding the diversity of musical forms and musical behaviors found worldwide. (shrink)
What if "liberal democracy" were a contradiction in terms? This book distinguishes liberalism from democracy to defend a Rancirean vision of impure politics. Disclosing Rancire's refusal of ontology as political, The Lessons of Rancire enacts a critical theory beyond unmasking and a democratic politics beyond liberalism.
We discuss approaches to the study of the evolution of music (sect. R1); challenges to each of the two theories of the origins of music presented in the companion target articles (sect. R2); future directions for testing them (sect. R3); and priorities for better understanding the nature of music (sect. R4).
Over the past decade, Jacques Rancière’s writings have increasingly provoked and inspired political theorists who wish to avoid both the abstraction of so-called normative theories and the philosophical platitudes of so-called postmodernism. Rancière offers a new and unique definition of politics, la politique, as that which opposes, thwarts and interrupts what Rancière calls the police order, la police — a term that encapsulates most of what we normally think of as politics (the actions of bureaucracies, parliaments, and courts). Interpreters have (...) been tempted to read Rancière as proffering a formally pure conception of politics, wherein politics is ultimately separate from and in utter opposition to all police orders. Here I provide a different account of Rancière’s thinking of politics: for Rancière politics goes on within police orders and for this reason he strongly rejects the very idea of a pure politics. Politics is precisely that which could never be pure; politics is an act of impurity, a process that resists purification. In carefully delineating the politique—police relation I show that the terms of Rancière’s political writings are multiple and multiplied. Rancière consistently undermines any effort to render politics pure, and therein lies his potential contribution to contemporary political theory. (shrink)
Though the notion of common-sense plays an important role in Kant’s aesthetic theory, it is not immediately clear what Kant means by this term. This essay works to clarify the role that common-sense plays in the logic of Kant’s argument. My interpretive hypothesis is that a careful examination of the way common-sense functions in Kant’s account of judgments of taste can help explain what this notion means. I argue that common-sense names the capacity to discern the relation between the cognitive (...) faculties by means of a feeling, and I conclude that this understanding of common-sense lays the groundwork for an account of the unity of judgments of taste. I conclude that attending to Kant’s notion of common-sense is especially important because it highlights the anthropological significance of Kant’s account of beauty. (shrink)
This essay examines René Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy. It argues that the evil genius is the meditator who narrates Meditations and that Descartes’ goal in Meditation One is to transform his readers into evil geniuses. This account of the evil genius is significant because it explains why the evil genius must be finite and why it cannot call mathematics or logic into doubt. Further, it highlights the need to read the Meditations on two levels—one examining the meditator’s line of (...) thinking on its own terms and the other exploring Descartes’ reasons for depicting the meditator’s progress in the way that he does. (shrink)
Prior scholarly approaches to meaningful work have largely fallen into two camps. One focuses on identifying how work can contribute to a meaningful life. The other studies the antecedents and outcomes of workers experiencing their work as meaningful. Neither of these approaches, however, captures what people look for when they seek meaningful work—or so I argue. In this paper, I give a new, commitment-based account of meaningful work by focusing on the reasons people have to choose meaningful work over other (...) options. I draw on philosopher Ruth Chang’s account of voluntarist reasons (reasons that arise from an act of the will) to argue that commitments can create distinctive reasons to pursue certain work. It is the presence of these distinctive reasons that makes work meaningful. (shrink)
This article examines the significance of Jacques Rancière’s work on pedagogy, and argues that to make sense of Rancière’s ‘lesson on the lesson’ one must do more but also less than merely explicate Rancière’s texts. It steadfastly refuses to draw out the lessons of Rancière’s writings in the manner of a series of morals, precepts or rules. Rather, it is committed to thinking through the ‘lessons’ of Rancière in another sense. Above all, Rancière wants to ‘teach’ his readers something absolutely (...) crucial about teaching. In making this claim the article emphasizes the extent to which Rancière advocates an utterly radical pedagogy, one that completely reconceives all the central elements of ‘schooling’, including teacher, student, intelligence and knowledge. Rancière thinks it possible to teach without knowing; he believes that the best schoolmasters can operate not on the assumption of their expertise, but on the equality of intelligence; and this means ultimately that Rancière contends that we can ‘teach what we do not know’. The best schoolmasters are ignorant schoolmasters. Rancière’s radical pedagogy depends upon, just as it consistently advances, a thoroughgoing resistance to a certain form of epistemological and ontological mastery. The rejection of mastery—of schoolmasters who would know it all, and convey this knowing to their students—forms the very backbone of all of Rancière’s writings and critical investigations. This is the chief reason why Rancière is, in a way, always talking about pedagogy, even when his subject matter appears to be something else entirely. (shrink)
This paper focuses on how African national leaders can make global democracy relevant to sustainable development in Africa. Seeing the problem of sustainable development in Africa from the structural and functional angles, this paper begins with an introduction and a clarification of terms such as ‘democracy’, ‘globalization’ and ‘development’. It then analyzes the underlying foundations of global democracy and its implications to cultures of the African peoples. This paper tries to place the impact of global democracy on Africa in perspectives (...) by weighing the pros and cons of global democracy. Tracing the genesis of functional and developmental problems in the post-colonial Africa to structural problems occasioned by Africa’s colonial experience, this paper however strongly contends that the main problem militating against sustainable development in the post-colonial Africa is bad politics and mismanagement of national resources. African peoples need to be taught that some of the African national leaders are responsible for the bad condition of underdevelopment in the global period because of bad political governance ranging from the inability of African leaders to calculate all the relevant factors in the making of their policies as well as failing to provide effective technologies and competent staff to deal with rigging of elections and other electoral problems in addition to corruption and mismanagement of public funds. There is no way for the African nations to survive without production of goods and services in terms of farming, agriculture and diversification of their revenue base. National leaders of the various African nations cannot avoid policies that enable the industrialization of African nations through the provision of the basic infrastructures and viable amenities for social, economic, and political development. They should however be wary of debt traps of International Monetary Fund and World Bank because borrowing nations are often given difficult conditions that often make it difficult for them to obtain the desired benefits in terms of sustainable development. The study recommends that for sustainable development to take place in Africa there is need for national leaders to embrace good political governance that places the people at the centre of development to be manifested in guileless electoral process and effective management of the resources. This paper contends that the realization of sustainable development in African nations requires moral, political, and economic integration. It concludes with perspectives for further research on the issue. (shrink)
This essay investigates Kant’s understanding of the philosopher’s proper activity. It begins by examining Kant’s well-known claim in the Critique of Pure Reason that the philosopher is the legislator of human reason. Subsequently, it explicates Kant’s oft-overlooked description of the transcendental philosopher as an admirer of nature’s logical purposiveness, in the ‘First Introduction’ to the Critique of the Power of Judgment. These two accounts suggest very different ways of thinking about the philosopher’s character and concerns. For, while Kant’s philosopher-legislator pursues (...) the practical, world-transformative task of furthering reason’s moral vocation, the transcendental philosopher’s admiration of nature’s purposiveness is a form of a contemplative openness to the contingent but wonderful orderliness of things. I conclude that Kant ultimately recognizes that the tension between legislation and admiration is characteristic of the philosopher and that it is the heart of philosophy’s vitality. (shrink)
We argue that C. Darwin and more recently W. Hennig worked at times under the simplifying assumption of an eternal biosphere. So motivated, we explicitly consider the consequences which follow mathematically from this assumption, and the infinite graphs it leads to. This assumption admits certain clusters of organisms which have some ideal theoretical properties of species, shining some light onto the species problem. We prove a dualization of a law of T.A. Knight and C. Darwin, and sketch a decomposition result (...) involving the internodons of D. Kornet, J. Metz and H. Schellinx. A further goal of this paper is to respond to B. Sturmfels’ question, “Can biology lead to new theorems?”. (shrink)
In the U.S.A., advocates of academic freedom—the ability to pursue research unencumbered by government controls—have long found sparring partners in government officials who regulate technology trade. From concern over classified research in the 1950s, to the expansion of export controls to cover trade in information in the 1970s, to current debates over emerging technologies and global innovation, the academic community and the government have each sought opportunities to demarcate the sphere of their respective authority and autonomy and assert themselves in (...) that sphere. In this paper, we explore these opportunities, showing how the Social Contract for Science set the terms for the debate, and how the controversy turned to the proper interpretation of this compact. In particular, we analyze how the 1985 presidential directive excluding fundamental research from export controls created a boundary object that successfully demarcated science and the state, but only for a Cold War world that would soon come to an end. Significant changes have occurred since then in the governance structures of science and in the technical and political environment within which both universities and the state sit. Even though there have been significant and persistent calls for reassessing the Cold War demarcation, a new institutionalization of how to balance the concerns of national security and academic freedom is still only in its nascent stages. We explore the value of moving from a boundary object to a boundary organization, as represented in a proposed new governance body, the Science and Security Commission. (shrink)
Revealing what is happening in organizations in relation to ethical issues and what corrective action can be taken to prevent unethical practices, the author deals with a different aspect of ethical (or unethical) management within each chapter concluding with a quiz and case study.
Reinhardt’s conjecture, a formalization of the statement that a truthful knowing machine can know its own truthfulness and mechanicalness, was proved by Carlson using sophisticated structural results about the ordinals and transfinite induction just beyond the first epsilon number. We prove a weaker version of the conjecture, by elementary methods and transfinite induction up to a smaller ordinal.
This essay argues that §49 of Kant’s third Critique pursues the question of the nature of genius through an analysis of the spectator’s response to beautiful art. It presents and defends a spectator-centered interpretation of §49’s opening paragraphs, which clarifies Kant’s notion of aesthetic ideas and reveals that beautiful art provokes a productive imaginative activity in its spectators. This interpretation is significant because it elucidates the character of Kant’s account of genius and his understanding of art criticism. Moreover, it suggests (...) that the imagination’s productive activity may provide a certain satisfaction to theoretical reason’s natural but unrequited desire for knowledge of the transcendent. (shrink)
We study the structure of families of theories in the language of arithmetic extended to allow these families to refer to one another and to themselves. If a theory contains schemata expressing its own truth and expressing a specific Turing index for itself, and contains some other mild axioms, then that theory is untrue. We exhibit some families of true self-referential theories that barely avoid this forbidden pattern.
In this paper I argue that Aquinas’s doctrine of prophecy develops from the early period to his more mature articulation as a result of his complex handling of the metaphysical thought of Avicenna. Aquinas subtly distances himself from the implication of Avicenna’s emanationist framework for prophecy, namely that prophetic knowledge is acquired through perfected natural intellectual habit. Yet at the same time he accommodates this aspect insofar as it aligns with Augustine’s biblical neo-Platonism. He does so, as I shall demonstrate, (...) with Augustine’s notion of prayer as a kind of inquiry that disposes the soul to aptly receive the prophetic light by the extension of divine grace. In this, Aquinas incorporates Avicenna’s notion of prophetic habit without committing to the emanationist model from which it arises. (shrink)