I perform an economic and ethical analysis on wealth and income inequality. Economists have performed many statistical studies that reveal a number of, often contradictory, findings in connection with the distribution of wealth and income. Hence, the statistical findings leave us with no better knowledge of the effects that inequality has on economic progress. At the same time, the existing theoretical results have not provided us with a definitive answer concerning the effects of inequality on progress. By gaining knowledge of (...) the nature of inequality, and bringing basic economic principles to bear on the subject, we can come to an understanding of what the causal relationship is between inequality and economic progress. Furthermore, I apply a new theory of ethics – rational egoism – to assess economic inequality. I show that, in the right context, economic inequality is both economically and morally desirable. (shrink)
An important application of cognitive architectures is to provide human performance models that capture psychological mechanisms in a form that can be “programmed” to predict task performance of human–machine system designs. Although many aspects of human performance have been successfully modeled in this approach, accounting for multitalker speech task performance is a novel problem. This article presents a model for performance in a two-talker task that incorporates concepts from psychoacoustics, in particular, masking effects and stream formation.
The Devlin Commission Report of 1959 on the handling of the emergency in Nyasaland (Malawi) was unique in British colonial history. On no other occasion was a commission, chaired by a British judge, established to consider generally the response of a colonial government to a problem of law and order. Though now remembered mainly as an incident in decolonization, the report has a special legal significance in that it addresses the perennial problem of the relationship between respect for the rule (...) of law and the supposed need to suppress an insurrectionary movement. Documents now available make it possible to give a full account of the work of the commission, and of the processes whereby the text was modified so as to downplay Devlin's desire to publish a report which squarely faced this problem. The suppressed passages in the draft report are here published for the first time. (shrink)
The apology to the reader -- The corpus chair and oxford jurisprudence as evolved by 1952 -- The gladsome light of philosophical jurisprudence -- The elusive sources of Hart's ideas in The Concept of Law -- Cyclops, hedgehogs, and foxes -- Where Homer nodded? -- Judging a pioneer.
A collection of essays with themes in human rights and legal history, spanning several centuries, containing a tribute to one of the most remarkable jurists of our time. Linked by an historical and contextual approach, these essays add to knowledge of legal history and human rights and provide a reference point for future research.
In the preface to his book God the Problem , Gordon Kaufman writes ‘Although the notion of God as agent seems presupposed by most contemporary theologians … Austin Farrer has been almost alone in trying to specify carefully and consistently just what this might be understood to mean.’.
In ‘The ethics of belief and Christian faith as commitment to assumptions’, Rik Peels attacks the views that I advanced in ‘Christianity and the ethics of belief’. Here, I rebut his criticisms of the claim that it is wrong to believe without sufficient evidence, of the contention that Christians are committed to that claim, and of the notion of that faith is not belief but commitment to assumptions in the hope of salvation. My original conclusions still stand.
William Hasker replies to my arguments against Social Trinitarianism, offers some criticism of my own view, and begins a sketch of another account of the Trinity. I reply with some defence of my own theory and some questions about his.
In teaching jurisprudence, I typically distinguish between two different families of theories of adjudication—theories of how judges do or should decide cases. “Formalist” theories claim that the law is “rationally” determinate, that is, the class of legitimate legal reasons available for a judge to offer in support of his or her decision justifies one and only one outcome either in all cases or in some significant and contested range of cases ; and adjudication is thus “autonomous” from other kinds of (...) reasoning, that is, the judge can reach the required decision without recourse to nonlegal normative considerations of morality or political philosophy. I also note that “formalism” is sometimes associated with the idea that judicial decision-making involves nothing more than mechanical deduction on the model of the syllogism—Beccaria, for example, expresses such a view. I call the latter “Vulgar Formalism” to emphasize that it is not a view to which anyone today cares to subscribe. (shrink)
Brian Skyrms offers a fascinating demonstration of how fundamental signals are to our world. He uses various scientific tools to investigate how meaning and communication develop. Signals operate in networks of senders and receivers at all levels of life, transmitting and processing information. That is how humans and animals think and interact.
As the author of Justice as Impartiality, I am not ashamed to admit that I was delighted by the liveliness of the discussion generated by it at the meeting on which this symposium is based. I am likewise grateful to the six authors for finding the book worthy of the careful attention that they have bestowed on it. Between them, the symposiasts take up many more points than I can cover in this response. I shall therefore focus on some themes (...) that cluster round the contractual device that I associate with the notion of justice as impartiality. Is it necessary? If it is not necessary is it nevertheless useful? Within an overall contractual framework is the form of contract that I propose uniquely justifiable? And does the form of contract that I defend generate the implications that I claim for it? (shrink)
There are three questions associated with Simpson’s Paradox (SP): (i) Why is SP paradoxical? (ii) What conditions generate SP?, and (iii) What should be done about SP? By developing a logic-based account of SP, it is argued that (i) and (ii) must be divorced from (iii). This account shows that (i) and (ii) have nothing to do with causality, which plays a role only in addressing (iii). A counterexample is also presented against the causal account. Finally, the causal and (...) logic-based approaches are compared by means of an experiment to show that SP is not basically causal. (shrink)
This is the English (and extended version) of an interview originally published in Estonian in October 2018. In the interview, Simpson summarizes a particular way of defending the practice of no-platforming. The varying appeal of different defences of the practice in different socio-historical contexts (i.e. the UK/US versus a post-Soviet country such as Estonia) is discussed also.
Scientific Essentialism defends the view that the fundamental laws of nature depend on the essential properties of the things on which they are said to operate, and are therefore not independent of them. These laws are not imposed upon the world by God, the forces of nature or anything else, but rather are immanent in the world. Ellis argues that ours is a dynamic world consisting of more or less transient objects which are constantly interacting with each other, and whose (...) identities depend on their roles in these processes. Natural objects must behave as they do, because to do otherwise would be contrary to their natures. The laws of nature are, therefore, metaphysically necessary, and consequently, there are necessary connections between events. Brian Ellis calls for the rejection of the theory of Humean Supervenience and an implementation of a new kind of realism in philosophical analysis. (shrink)
A textbook on modal logic, intended for readers already acquainted with the elements of formal logic, containing nearly 500 exercises. Brian F. Chellas provides a systematic introduction to the principal ideas and results in contemporary treatments of modality, including theorems on completeness and decidability. Illustrative chapters focus on deontic logic and conditionality. Modality is a rapidly expanding branch of logic, and familiarity with the subject is now regarded as a necessary part of every philosopher's technical equipment. Chellas here offers (...) an up-to-date and reliable guide essential for the student. (shrink)
Although the body has been the focus of much contemporary cultural theory, the models that are typically applied neglect the most salient characteristics of embodied existence—movement, affect, and sensation—in favor of concepts derived from linguistic theory. In _Parables for the Virtual_ Brian Massumi views the body and media such as television, film, and the Internet, as cultural formations that operate on multiple registers of sensation beyond the reach of the reading techniques founded on the standard rhetorical and semiotic models. (...) Renewing and assessing William James’s radical empiricism and Henri Bergson’s philosophy of perception through the filter of the post-war French philosophy of Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault, Massumi links a cultural logic of variation to questions of movement, affect, and sensation. If such concepts are as fundamental as signs and significations, he argues, then a new set of theoretical issues appear, and with them potential new paths for the wedding of scientific and cultural theory. Replacing the traditional opposition of literal and figural with new distinctions between stasis and motion and between actual and virtual, _Parables for the Virtual _tackles related theoretical issues by applying them to cultural mediums as diverse as architecture, body art, the digital art of Stelarc, and Ronald Reagan’s acting career. The result is an intriguing combination of cultural theory, science, and philosophy that asserts itself in a crystalline and multi-faceted argument. _Parables for the Virtual_ will interest students and scholars of continental and Anglo-American philosophy, cultural studies, cognitive science, electronic art, digital culture, and chaos theory, as well as those concerned with the “science wars” and the relation between the humanities and the sciences in general. (shrink)
Brian Skyrms, author of the successful Evolution of the Social Contract has written a sequel. The book is a study of ideas of cooperation and collective action. The point of departure is a prototypical story found in Rousseau's A Discourse on Inequality. Rousseau contrasts the pay-off of hunting hare where the risk of non-cooperation is small but the reward is equally small, against the pay-off of hunting the stag where maximum cooperation is required but where the reward is so (...) much greater. Thus, rational agents are pulled in one direction by considerations of risk and in another by considerations of mutual benefit. Written with Skyrms's characteristic clarity and verve, this intriguing book will be eagerly sought out by students and professionals in philosophy, political science, economics, sociology and evolutionary biology. (shrink)
The last two decades have seen two significant trends emerging within the philosophy of science: the rapid development and focus on the philosophy of the specialised sciences, and a resurgence of Aristotelian metaphysics, much of which is concerned with the possibility of emergence, as well as the ontological status and indispensability of dispositions and powers in science. Despite these recent trends, few Aristotelian metaphysicians have engaged directly with the philosophy of the specialised sciences. Additionally, the relationship between fundamental Aristotelian concepts—such (...) as "hylomorphism", "substance", and "faculties"—and contemporary science has yet to receive a critical and systematic treatment. _Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science _aims to fill this gap in the literature by bringing together essays on the relationship between Aristotelianism and science that cut across interdisciplinary boundaries. The chapters in this volume are divided into two main sections covering the philosophy of physics and the philosophy of the life sciences. Featuring original contributions from distinguished and early-career scholars, this book will be of interest to specialists in analytical metaphysics and the philosophy of science. (shrink)
We live in a world of crowds and corporations, artworks and artifacts, legislatures and languages, money and markets. These are all social objects — they are made, at least in part, by people and by communities. But what exactly are these things? How are they made, and what is the role of people in making them? In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein rewrites our understanding of the nature of the social world and the foundations of the social sciences. Epstein (...) explains and challenges the three prevailing traditions about how the social world is made. One tradition takes the social world to be built out of people, much as traffic is built out of cars. A second tradition also takes people to be the building blocks of the social world, but focuses on thoughts and attitudes we have toward one another. And a third tradition takes the social world to be a collective projection onto the physical world. Epstein shows that these share critical flaws. Most fundamentally, all three traditions overestimate the role of people in building the social world: they are overly anthropocentric. Epstein starts from scratch, bringing the resources of contemporary metaphysics to bear. In the place of traditional theories, he introduces a model based on a new distinction between the grounds and the anchors of social facts. Epstein illustrates the model with a study of the nature of law, and shows how to interpret the prevailing traditions about the social world. Then he turns to social groups, and to what it means for a group to take an action or have an intention. Contrary to the overwhelming consensus, these often depend on more than the actions and intentions of group members. (shrink)
Espen Hammer’s exceptionally fine book explores modern temporality, its problems and prospects. Hammer claims that how people experience time is a cultural/historical phenomenon, and that there is a peculiarly modern way of experiencing time as a series of present moments each indefinitely leading to the next in an ordered way. Time as measured by the clock is the paradigmatic instance of this sense of time. In this perspective time is quantifiable and forward-looking, and the present is dominated by the future. (...) Hammer argues that this manner of experiencing time provides a way of living that brings with it not only the basis for great successes in technology, but also great costs—specifically, what he calls the problems of transience and of meaning. Hammer goes about his task by considering the ways some of the great modern philosophers have characterized present-day temporality and have responded to the problems he has identified. Specifically, he considers what Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Habermas, Bloch, and Adorno provide in response to our peculiarly modern predicaments. The book is remarkable for its clarity and perceptiveness, but in the process in crucial places it simplifies the matters at hand or fails to push its insights as far as it ought, and in the end promises more than it can deliver. In this it betrays a rationalist confidence in the power of reason that founders on what in many ways remains a mystery. (shrink)
In this pithy and highly readable book, Brian Skyrms, a recognised authority on game and decision theory, investigates traditional problems of the social contract in terms of evolutionary dynamics. Game theory is skilfully employed to offer new interpretations of a wide variety of social phenomena, including justice, mutual aid, commitment, convention and meaning. The author eschews any grand, unified theory. Rather, he presents the reader with tools drawn from evolutionary game theory for the purpose of analysing and coming to (...) understand the social contract. The book is not technical and requires no special background knowledge. As such, it could be enjoyed by students and professionals in a wide range of disciplines: political science, philosophy, decision theory, economics and biology. (shrink)
Brian Skyrms constructs a theory of "dynamic deliberation" and uses it to investigate rational decision-making in cases of strategic interaction. This illuminating book will be of great interest to all those in many disciplines who use decision theory and game theory to study human behavior and thought. Skyrms begins by discussing the Bayesian theory of individual rational decision and the classical theory of games, which at first glance seem antithetical in the criteria used for determining action. In his effort (...) to show how methods for dealing with information feedback can be productively combined, the author skillfully leads us through the mazes of equilibrium selection, the Nash equilibria for normal and extensive forms, structural stability, causal decision theory, dynamic probability, the revision of beliefs, and, finally, good habits for decision. The author provides many clarifying illustrations and a handy appendix called "Deliberational Dynamics on Your Personal Computer." His powerful model has important implications for understanding the rational origins of convention and the social contract, the logic of nuclear deterrence, the theory of good habits, and the varied strategies of political and economic behavior. (shrink)
Brian Hedden defends a radical view about the relationship between rationality, personal identity, and time. On the standard view, personal identity over time plays a central role in thinking about rationality, because there are rational norms for how a person's attitudes and actions at one time should fit with her attitudes and actions at other times. But these norms are problematic. They make what you rationally ought to believe or do depend on facts about your past that aren't part (...) of your current perspective on the world, and they make rationality depend on controversial, murky metaphysical facts about what binds different instantaneous snapshots into a single person extended in time. Hedden takes a different approach, treating the relationship between different time-slices of the same person as no different from the relationship between different people. On his account, the locus of rationality is the time-slice rather than the temporally extended agent. This impersonal, time-slice-centric approach to rationality yields a unified approach to the rationality of beliefs, preferences, and actions where what rationality demands of you is solely determined by your evidence, with no special weight given to your past beliefs or actions. (shrink)
This article examines Simpson's paradox as applied to the theory of probabilites and percentages. The author discusses possible flaws in the paradox and compares it to the Sure Thing Principle, statistical inference, causal inference and probabilistic analyses of causation.
All major western countries today contain groups that differ in their religious beliefs, customary practices or ideas about the right way in which to live. How should public policy respond to this diversity? In this important new work, Brian Barry challenges the currently orthodox answer and develops a powerful restatement of an egalitarian liberalism for the twenty-first century. Until recently it was assumed without much question that cultural diversity could best be accommodated by leaving cultural minorities free to associate (...) in pursuit of their distinctive ends within the limits imposed by a common framework of laws. This solution is rejected by an influential school of political theorists, among whom some of the best known are William Galston, Will Kymlicka, Bhikhu Parekh, Charles Taylor and Iris Marion Young. According to them, this 'difference-blind' conception of liberal equality fails to deliver either liberty or equal treatment. In its place, they propose that the state should 'recognize' group identities, by granting groups exemptions from certain laws, publicly 'affirming' their value, and by providing them with special privileges or subsidies. In Culture and Equality, Barry offers an incisive critique of these arguments and suggests that theorists of multiculturism tend to misdiagnose the problems of minority groups. Often, these are not rooted in culture, and multiculturalist policies may actually stand in the way of universalistic measures that would be genuinely beneficial. (shrink)
"Brian Orend's The Morality of War promises to become the single most comprehensive and important book on just war for this generation. It moves far beyond the review of the standard just war categories to deal comprehensively with the new challenges of the conflict with terrorism. It thoughtfully reviews every major military conflict of the past few decades, mining them for implications of the evolving tradition of just war thinking. It concludes with a critical engagement with the major alternatives (...) to just war thinking: pacifism and 'realism.' It is, in short, the most comprehensive and thoughtful assessment of all aspects of just war since Michael Walzer's classic Just and Unjust Wars." - Martin L. Cook, United States Air Force Academy. (shrink)
Brian Leftow makes an important contribution to the longstanding debate among philosophers and theologians about the nature of God's eternity. The author develops a powerful and original defense of the notion that God is eternal in that he exists timelessly; that is, that though God exists, he does not exist at any time. Leftow defends the claim that a timeless God can be an object of human experience, and he attempts to delineate the extent of such a God's omniscience. (...) Finally, the author pays special attention to the relation between the claim that God is timeless and the claim that God is metaphysically simple. (shrink)
Epistemology orthodoxy is a purist one in the sense that it separates out the epistemic from the practical. What counts as evidence is independent of what we care about. Which beliefs count as justified and which count as knowledge are independent of our practical concerns. In recent years, many epistemologists have abandoned such purist views and embraced varying degrees of pragmatic encroachment on the epistemic. I survey a variety of these views and explore the main arguments that proponents of pragmatic (...) encroachment have offered in addition to the main criticisms of the pragmatic approach. (shrink)
During human evolutionary history, there were “trade-offs” between expending time and energy on child-rearing and mating, so both men and women evolved conditional mating strategies guided by cues signaling the circumstances. Many short-term matings might be successful for some men; others might try to find and keep a single mate, investing their effort in rearing her offspring. Recent evidence suggests that men with features signaling genetic benefits to offspring should be preferred by women as short-term mates, but there are trade-offs (...) between a mate's genetic fitness and his willingness to help in child-rearing. It is these circumstances and the cues that signal them that underlie the variation in short- and long-term mating strategies between and within the sexes. Key Words: conditional strategies; evolutionary psychology; fluctuating asymmetry; mating; reproductive strategies; sexual selection. (shrink)