33 found
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  1. Language Agents Reduce the Risk of Existential Catastrophe.Simon Goldstein & Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - forthcoming - AI and Society:1-11.
    Recent advances in natural language processing have given rise to a new kind of AI architecture: the language agent. By repeatedly calling an LLM to perform a variety of cognitive tasks, language agents are able to function autonomously to pursue goals specified in natural language and stored in a human-readable format. Because of their architecture, language agents exhibit behavior that is predictable according to the laws of folk psychology: they function as though they have desires and beliefs, and then make (...)
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  2. Probability for Epistemic Modalities.Simon Goldstein & Paolo Santorio - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (33).
    This paper develops an information-sensitive theory of the semantics and probability of conditionals and statements involving epistemic modals. The theory validates a number of principles linking probability and modality, including the principle that the probability of a conditional If A, then C equals the probability of C, updated with A. The theory avoids so-called triviality results, which are standardly taken to show that principles of this sort cannot be validated. To achieve this, we deny that rational agents update their credences (...)
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  3. The normality of error.Sam Carter & Simon Goldstein - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (8):2509-2533.
    Formal models of appearance and reality have proved fruitful for investigating structural properties of perceptual knowledge. This paper applies the same approach to epistemic justification. Our central goal is to give a simple account of The Preface, in which justified belief fails to agglomerate. Following recent work by a number of authors, we understand knowledge in terms of normality. An agent knows p iff p is true throughout all relevant normal worlds. To model The Preface, we appeal to the normality (...)
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  4. AI Wellbeing.Simon Goldstein & Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - manuscript
    Under what conditions would an artificially intelligent system have wellbeing? Despite its obvious bearing on the ethics of human interactions with artificial systems, this question has received little attention. Because all major theories of wellbeing hold that an individual’s welfare level is partially determined by their mental life, we begin by considering whether artificial systems have mental states. We show that a wide range of theories of mental states, when combined with leading theories of wellbeing, predict that certain existing artificial (...)
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  5. Fragile Knowledge.Simon Goldstein - 2022 - Mind 131 (522):487-515.
    This paper explores the principle that knowledge is fragile, in that whenever S knows that S doesn’t know that S knows that p, S thereby fails to know p. Fragility is motivated by the infelicity of dubious assertions, utterances which assert p while acknowledging higher-order ignorance whether p. Fragility is interestingly weaker than KK, the principle that if S knows p, then S knows that S knows p. Existing theories of knowledge which deny KK by accepting a Margin for Error (...)
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  6. Safety, Closure, and Extended Methods.Simon Goldstein & John Hawthorne - 2024 - Journal of Philosophy 121 (1):26-54.
    Recent research has identified a tension between the Safety principle that knowledge is belief without risk of error, and the Closure principle that knowledge is preserved by competent deduction. Timothy Williamson reconciles Safety and Closure by proposing that when an agent deduces a conclusion from some premises, the agent’s method for believing the conclusion includes their method for believing each premise. We argue that this theory is untenable because it implies problematically easy epistemic access to one’s methods. Several possible solutions (...)
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  7. Conditional Heresies.Fabrizio Cariani & Simon Goldstein - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):251-282.
  8. A Question-Sensitive Theory of Intention.Bob Beddor & Simon Goldstein - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):346-378.
    This paper develops a question-sensitive theory of intention. We show that this theory explains some puzzling closure properties of intention. In particular, it can be used to explain why one is rationally required to intend the means to one’s ends, even though one is not rationally required to intend all the foreseen consequences of one’s intended actions. It also explains why rational intention is not always closed under logical implication, and why one can only intend outcomes that one believes to (...)
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  9. Mighty Knowledge.Bob Beddor & Simon Goldstein - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (5):229-269.
    We often claim to know what might be—or probably is—the case. Modal knowledge along these lines creates a puzzle for information-sensitive semantics for epistemic modals. This paper develops a solution. We start with the idea that knowledge requires safe belief: a belief amounts to knowledge only if it could not easily have been held falsely. We then develop an interpretation of the modal operator in safety that allows it to non-trivially embed information-sensitive contents. The resulting theory avoids various paradoxes that (...)
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  10.  46
    Shutdown-seeking AI.Simon Goldstein & Pamela Robinson - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-13.
    We propose developing AIs whose only final goal is being shut down. We argue that this approach to AI safety has three benefits: (i) it could potentially be implemented in reinforcement learning, (ii) it avoids some dangerous instrumental convergence dynamics, and (iii) it creates trip wires for monitoring dangerous capabilities. We also argue that the proposal can overcome a key challenge raised by Soares et al. (2015), that shutdown-seeking AIs will manipulate humans into shutting them down. We conclude by comparing (...)
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  11. Believing epistemic contradictions.Beddor Bob & Simon Goldstein - 2018 - Review of Symbolic Logic (1):87-114.
    What is it to believe something might be the case? We develop a puzzle that creates difficulties for standard answers to this question. We go on to propose our own solution, which integrates a Bayesian approach to belief with a dynamic semantics for epistemic modals. After showing how our account solves the puzzle, we explore a surprising consequence: virtually all of our beliefs about what might be the case provide counterexamples to the view that rational belief is closed under logical (...)
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  12. A Case for AI Consciousness: Language Agents and Global Workspace Theory.Simon Goldstein & Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - manuscript
    It is generally assumed that existing artificial systems are not phenomenally conscious, and that the construction of phenomenally conscious artificial systems would require significant technological progress if it is possible at all. We challenge this assumption by arguing that if Global Workspace Theory (GWT) — a leading scientific theory of phenomenal consciousness — is correct, then instances of one widely implemented AI architecture, the artificial language agent, might easily be made phenomenally conscious if they are not already. Along the way, (...)
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  13. Knowledge from multiple experiences.Simon Goldstein & John Hawthorne - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (4):1341-1372.
    This paper models knowledge in cases where an agent has multiple experiences over time. Using this model, we introduce a series of observations that undermine the pretheoretic idea that the evidential significance of experience depends on the extent to which that experience matches the world. On the basis of these observations, we model knowledge in terms of what is likely given the agent’s experience. An agent knows p when p is implied by her epistemic possibilities. A world is epistemically possible (...)
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  14. Counterfactual Contamination.Simon Goldstein & John Hawthorne - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (2):262-278.
    Many defend the thesis that when someone knows p, they couldn’t easily have been wrong about p. But the notion of easy possibility in play is relatively undertheorized. One structural idea in the literature, the principle of Counterfactual Closure (CC), connects easy possibility with counterfactuals: if it easily could have happened that p, and if p were the case, then q would be the case, it follows that it easily could have happened that q. We first argue that while CC (...)
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  15. Epistemic Modal Credence.Simon Goldstein - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (26).
    Triviality results threaten plausible principles governing our credence in epistemic modal claims. This paper develops a new account of modal credence which avoids triviality. On the resulting theory, probabilities are assigned not to sets of worlds, but rather to sets of information state-world pairs. The theory avoids triviality by giving up the principle that rational credence is closed under conditionalization. A rational agent can become irrational by conditionalizing on new evidence. In place of conditionalization, the paper develops a new account (...)
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  16. Does ChatGPT Have a Mind?Simon Goldstein & Benjamin Anders Levinstein - manuscript
    This paper examines the question of whether Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT possess minds, focusing specifically on whether they have a genuine folk psychology encompassing beliefs, desires, and intentions. We approach this question by investigating two key aspects: internal representations and dispositions to act. First, we survey various philosophical theories of representation, including informational, causal, structural, and teleosemantic accounts, arguing that LLMs satisfy key conditions proposed by each. We draw on recent interpretability research in machine learning to support these (...)
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  17. Free choice and homogeneity.Simon Goldstein - 2019 - Semantics and Pragmatics 12:1-48.
    This paper develops a semantic solution to the puzzle of Free Choice permission. The paper begins with a battery of impossibility results showing that Free Choice is in tension with a variety of classical principles, including Disjunction Introduction and the Law of Excluded Middle. Most interestingly, Free Choice appears incompatible with a principle concerning the behavior of Free Choice under negation, Double Prohibition, which says that Mary can’t have soup or salad implies Mary can’t have soup and Mary can’t have (...)
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  18. Omega Knowledge Matters.Simon Goldstein - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Epistemology.
    You omega know something when you know it, and know that you know it, and know that you know that you know it, and so on. This paper first argues that omega knowledge matters, in the sense that it is required for rational assertion, action, inquiry, and belief. The paper argues that existing accounts of omega knowledge face major challenges. One account is skeptical, claiming that we have no omega knowledge of any ordinary claims about the world. Another account embraces (...)
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  19. Generalized Update Semantics.Simon Goldstein - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):795-835.
    This paper explores the relationship between dynamic and truth conditional semantics for epistemic modals. It provides a generalization of a standard dynamic update semantics for modals. This new semantics derives a Kripke semantics for modals and a standard dynamic semantics for modals as special cases. The semantics allows for new characterizations of a variety of principles in modal logic, including the inconsistency of ‘p and might not p’. Finally, the semantics provides a construction procedure for transforming any truth conditional semantics (...)
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  20. A Preface Paradox for Intention.Simon Goldstein - 2016 - Philosophers' Imprint 16.
    In this paper I argue that there is a preface paradox for intention. The preface paradox for intention shows that intentions do not obey an agglomeration norm, requiring one to intend conjunctions of whatever else one intends. But what norms do intentions obey? I will argue that intentions come in degrees. These partial intentions are governed by the norms of the probability calculus. First, I will give a dispositional theory of partial intention, on which degrees of intention are the degrees (...)
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  21. KK is Wrong Because We Say So.Simon Goldstein & John Hawthorne - forthcoming - Mind.
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  22. A Theory of Conditional Assertion.Simon Goldstein - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (6):293-318.
    According to one tradition, uttering an indicative conditional involves performing a special sort of speech act: a conditional assertion. We introduce a formal framework that models this speech act. Using this framework, we show that any theory of conditional assertion validates several inferences in the logic of conditionals, including the False Antecedent inference. Next, we determine the space of truth-conditional semantics for conditionals consistent with conditional assertion. The truth value of any such conditional is settled whenever the antecedent is false, (...)
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  23. Attitude verbs’ local context.Kyle Blumberg & Simon Goldstein - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 46 (3):483-507.
    Schlenker (Semant Pragmat 2(3):1–78, 2009; Philos Stud 151(1):115–142, 2010a; Mind 119(474):377–391, 2010b) provides an algorithm for deriving the presupposition projection properties of an expression from that expression’s classical semantics. In this paper, we consider the predictions of Schlenker’s algorithm as applied to attitude verbs. More specifically, we compare Schlenker’s theory with a prominent view which maintains that attitudes exhibit belief projection, so that presupposition triggers in their scope imply that the attitude holder believes the presupposition (Karttunen in Theor Linguist 34(1):181, (...)
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  24. Getting Accurate about Knowledge.Sam Carter & Simon Goldstein - 2022 - Mind 132 (525):158-191.
    There is a large literature exploring how accuracy constrains rational degrees of belief. This paper turns to the unexplored question of how accuracy constrains knowledge. We begin by introducing a simple hypothesis: increases in the accuracy of an agent’s evidence never lead to decreases in what the agent knows. We explore various precise formulations of this principle, consider arguments in its favour, and explain how it interacts with different conceptions of evidence and accuracy. As we show, the principle has some (...)
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  25. Contextology.Simon Goldstein & Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3187-3209.
    Contextology is the science of the dynamics of the conversational context. Contextology formulates laws governing how the shared information states of interlocutors evolve in response to assertion. More precisely, the contextologist attempts to construct a function which, when provided with just a conversation’s pre-update context and the content of an assertion, delivers that conversation’s post-update context. Most contextologists have assumed that the function governing the evolution of the context is simple: the post-update context is just the pre-update context intersected with (...)
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  26.  81
    Free Choice Impossibility Results.Simon Goldstein - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (2):249-282.
    Free Choice is the principle that possibly p or q implies and is implied by possibly p and possibly q. A variety of recent attempts to validate Free Choice rely on a nonclassical semantics for disjunction, where the meaning of p or q is not a set of possible worlds. This paper begins with a battery of impossibility results, showing that some kind of nonclassical semantics for disjunction is required in order to validate Free Choice. The paper then provides a (...)
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  27. Losing Confidence in Luminosity.Simon Goldstein & Daniel Waxman - 2020 - Noûs (4):1-30.
    A mental state is luminous if, whenever an agent is in that state, they are in a position to know that they are. Following Timothy Williamson’s Knowledge and Its Limits, a wave of recent work has explored whether there are any non-trivial luminous mental states. A version of Williamson’s anti-luminosity appeals to a safety- theoretic principle connecting knowledge and confidence: if an agent knows p, then p is true in any nearby scenario where she has a similar level of confidence (...)
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  28. The counterfactual direct argument.Simon Goldstein - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):193-232.
    Many have accepted that ordinary counterfactuals and might counterfactuals are duals. In this paper, I show that this thesis leads to paradoxical results when combined with a few different unorthodox yet increasingly popular theses, including the thesis that counterfactuals are strict conditionals. Given Duality and several other theses, we can quickly infer the validity of another paradoxical principle, ‘The Counterfactual Direct Argument’, which says that ‘A> ’ entails ‘A> ’. First, I provide a collapse theorem for the ‘counterfactual direct argument’. (...)
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  29. A Stronger Doctrine of Double Effect.Ben Bronner & Simon Goldstein - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):793-805.
    Many believe that intended harms are more difficult to justify than are harms that result as a foreseen side effect of one's conduct. We describe cases of harming in which the harm is not intended, yet the harmful act nevertheless runs afoul of the intuitive moral constraint that governs intended harms. We note that these cases provide new and improved counterexamples to the so-called Simple View, according to which intentionally phi-ing requires intending to phi. We then give a new theory (...)
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  30.  92
    AI Deception: A Survey of Examples, Risks, and Potential Solutions.Peter Park, Simon Goldstein, Aidan O'Gara, Michael Chen & Dan Hendrycks - manuscript
    This paper argues that a range of current AI systems have learned how to deceive humans. We define deception as the systematic inducement of false beliefs in the pursuit of some outcome other than the truth. We first survey empirical examples of AI deception, discussing both special-use AI systems (including Meta's CICERO) built for specific competitive situations, and general-purpose AI systems (such as large language models). Next, we detail several risks from AI deception, such as fraud, election tampering, and losing (...)
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  31. Sly Pete in Dynamic Semantics.Simon Goldstein - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (5):1103-1117.
    In ‘Sly Pete’ or ‘standoff’ cases, reasonable speakers accept incompatible conditionals, and communicate them successfully to a trusting hearer. This paper uses the framework of dynamic semantics to offer a new model of the conversational dynamics at play in standoffs, and to articulate several puzzles posed by such cases. The paper resolves these puzzles by embracing a dynamic semantics for conditionals, according to which indicative conditionals require that their antecedents are possible in their local context, and update this body of (...)
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    Losing confidence in luminosity.Simon Goldstein & Daniel Waxman - 2021 - Noûs 55 (4):962-991.
    A mental state is luminous if, whenever an agent is in that state, they are in a position to know that they are. Following Timothy Williamson's Knowledge and Its Limits, a wave of recent work has explored whether there are any non‐trivial luminous mental states. A version of Williamson's anti‐luminosity appeals to a safety‐theoretic principle connecting knowledge and confidence: if an agent knows p, then p is true in any nearby scenario where she has a similar level of confidence in (...)
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  33. Iterated Knowledge.Simon Goldstein - 2024 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    You omega know p when you possess every iteration of knowledge of p. This book argues that omega knowledge plays a central role in philosophy. In particular, the book argues that omega knowledge is necessary for permissible assertion, action, inquiry, and belief. Although omega knowledge plays this important role, existing theories of omega knowledge are unsatisfying. One theory, KK, identifies knowledge with omega knowledge. This theory struggles to accommodate cases of inexact knowledge. The other main theory is skeptical, claiming that (...)
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