The veil of ignorance argument was used by John C. Harsanyi to defend Utilitarianism and by John Rawls to defend the absolute priority of the worst off. In a recent paper, Lara Buchak revives the veil of ignorance argument, and uses it to defend an intermediate position between Harsanyi's and Rawls' that she calls Relative Prioritarianism. None of these authors explore the implications of allowing that agent's behind the veil are averse to ambiguity. Allowing for aversion to ambiguity---which (...) is both the most commonly observed and a seemingly reasonable attitude to ambiguity---however supports a version of Egalitarianism, whose logical form is quite different from the theories defended by the aforementioned authors. Moreover, it turns out that the veil of ignorance argument neither supports standard Utilitarianism nor Prioritarianism unless we assume that rational people are insensitive to ambiguity. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the interrelated topics of stereotype threat and attributional ambiguity as they relate to gender and gender identity. The former has become an emerging topic in feminist philosophy and has spawned a tremendous amount of research in social psychology and elsewhere. But the discussion, at least in how it connects to gender, is incomplete: the focus is only on cisgender women and their experiences. By considering trans women's experiences of stereotype threat and attributional ambiguity, (...) we gain a deeper understanding of the phenomena and their problematic effects. (shrink)
Much has been said on the religious pluralism of John Hick but little attention has been given to a key step in his argument for religious pluralism. This key step is the observation that the universe is religiously ambiguous. Hick himself is ambiguous about what he means by ‘religious ambiguity’. In this essay I will attempt to rectify this ambiguity by analysing the notion of ‘religious ambiguity’ and arguing what interpretation of this term Hick must commit himself (...) to. (shrink)
We use probability-matching variations on Ellsberg’s single-urn experiment to assess three questions: (1) How sensitive are ambiguity attitudes to changes from a gain to a loss frame? (2) How sensitive are ambiguity attitudes to making ambiguity easier to recognize? (3) What is the relation between subjects’ consistency of choice and the ambiguity attitudes their choices display? Contrary to most other studies, we find that a switch from a gain to a loss frame does not lead to (...) a switch from ambiguity aversion to ambiguity neutrality and/or ambiguity seeking. We also find that making ambiguity easier to recognize has little effect. Finally, we find that while ambiguity aversion does not depend on consistency, other attitudes do: consistent choosers are much more likely to be ambiguity neutral, while ambiguity seeking is much more frequent among highly inconsistent choosers. (shrink)
Experimental results on the Ellsberg paradox typically reveal behavior that is commonly interpreted as ambiguity aversion. The experiments reported in the current paper find the objective probabilities for drawing a red ball that make subjects indifferent between various risky and uncertain Ellsberg bets. They allow us to examine the predictive power of alternative principles of choice under uncertainty, including the objective maximin and Hurwicz criteria, the sure-thing principle, and the principle of insufficient reason. Contrary to our expectations, the principle (...) of insufficient reason performed substantially better than rival theories in our experiment, with ambiguity aversion appearing only as a secondary phenomenon. (shrink)
We develop a framework for understanding how lack of clarity in business press coverage of corporate social responsibility functions as a mediated and emergent form of strategic ambiguity. Many stakeholders expect CSR to exhibit clarity, consistency, and discursive closure. But stakeholders also expect CSR to conform to varying degrees of both formal and substantive rationality. These diverse expectations conflict with each other and change over time. A content analysis of press coverage in Denmark suggests that the business media reflect (...) and amplify the ambiguity generated by these shifting demands. We propose that this very public lack of discursive closure provides strategic advantages to CSR stakeholders by rendering the concept of CSR adaptable, resilient, and meaningful to diverse interests. From this perspective, strategic ambiguity emerges from a relational and mediated process, not from the direct intentions of individual stakeholders. Our framework suggests that CSR is best understood not as a clear or consistent agenda, but rather as a forum for sensemaking, diversity of opinion, and debate over the conflicting social norms and expectations attached to corporate activity. (shrink)
Traxler, Pickering, and Clifton found that ambiguous sentences are read faster than their unambiguous counterparts. This so-called ambiguity advantage has presented a major challenge to classical theories of human sentence comprehension because its most prominent explanation, in the form of the unrestricted race model, assumes that parsing is non-deterministic. Recently, Swets, Desmet, Clifton, and Ferreira have challenged the URM. They argue that readers strategically underspecify the representation of ambiguous sentences to save time, unless disambiguation is required by task demands. (...) When disambiguation is required, however, readers assign sentences full structure—and Swets et al. provide experimental evidence to this end. On the basis of their findings, they argue against the URM and in favor of a model of task-dependent sentence comprehension. We show through simulations that the Swets et al. data do not constitute evidence for task-dependent parsing because they can be explained by the URM. However, we provide decisive evidence from a German self-paced reading study consistent with Swets et al.'s general claim about task-dependent parsing. Specifically, we show that under certain conditions, ambiguous sentences can be read more slowly than their unambiguous counterparts, suggesting that the parser may create several parses, when required. Finally, we present the first quantitative model of task-driven disambiguation that subsumes the URM, and we show that it can explain both Swets et al.'s results and our findings. (shrink)
This book expounds and defends a new conception of the relation between truth and meaning. Atlas argues that the sense of a sense-general sentence radically underdetermines its truth-conditional content. He applies this linguistic analysis to illuminate old and new philosophical problems of meaning, truth, falsity, negation, existence, presupposition, and implicature. In particular, he demonstrates how the concept of ambiguity has been misused and confused with other concepts of meaning, and how the interface between semantics and pragmatics has been misunderstood. (...) The problems he tackles are common to philosophy, linguistics, cognitive psychology, and artificial intelligence, and his conclusions will be of interest to all those working in these fields. (shrink)
Marriage is one of the most important topics in the education field since life in this world is structured by interaction among families and between families and other social institutions. Dissatisfaction and unsustainability of marriage have led the urgency of premarital education in various countries. The problem is that the spread of virtual reality has made marriage itself to become more complex and experience reinterpretation and reconfiguration, moreover with the emergence of new kind of marriage in the digital era, i.e. (...) virtual marriage. Everybody who has observed, known, or even tried, certainly asks the question, “Could (or: should) I accept virtual marriage?” . This study was aimed to investigate the role of tolerance of ambiguity and illusion of intimacy in online dating in predicting the acceptance of virtual marriage. There were 420 adolescents and young adults (212 males, 208 females; Mage=21.10 years old, SDage=1.459 years; 338 students, 82 employees or entrepreneurs) in the Greater Jakarta, Indonesia, participated in this study. It was found that the acceptance was not predicted by the ambiguity tolerance, but by the illusion of intimacy in online dating. The psychometric issues, substantive discussion, and recommendation are presented at the end of this article. The trend of virtual marriage should not be allowed to roll away, by autopilot, without loaded by strategies in designing an online game as one of the pivotal educational technologies that needs to shape appropriate character and attitude for it. (shrink)
Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Ambiguity is the first full-length study of Beauvoir's political thinking. Best known as the author of The Second Sex, Beauvoir also wrote an array of other political and philosophical texts that together, constitute an original contribution to political theory and philosophy. Sonia Kruks here locates Beauvoir in her own intellectual and political context and demonstrates her continuing significance. Beauvoir still speaks, in a unique voice, to many pressing questions concerning politics: the values (...) and dangers of liberal humanism; how oppressed groups become complicit in their own oppression; how social identities are perpetuated; the limits to rationalism; and the place of emotions, such as the desire for revenge, in politics. In discussing such matters Kruks puts Beauvoir's ideas into conversation with those of many contemporary thinkers, including feminist and race theorists, as well as with historical figures in the liberal, Hegelian, and Marxist traditions. Beauvoir's political thinking emerges from her fundamental insights into the ambiguity of human existence. Combining phenomenological descriptions with structural analyses, she focuses on the tensions of human action as both free and constrained. To be human is to be a paradoxical being, at once capable of free choice and yet, because embodied, vulnerable to injury from others. Politics is thus a domain of complexly interwoven, multiple, human interactions that is rife with ambiguity, and where freedom and violence too often closely intertwine. Beauvoir accordingly argues that failure is a necessary part of political action. However, she also insists that, while acknowledging this, we should assume responsibility for the outcomes of what we do. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: In this paper I show that, contrary to the prevalent view, in his De Interpretatione chapter 8, Aristotle is concerned with a kind of ambiguity, i.e. with homonymy; more precisely, with homonymy of linguistic expressions as it may occur in dialectical argument. The paper has two parts. In the first part, I argue that in the Sophistici Elenchi 175b39-176a5 Aristotle indubitably deals with homonymy in dialectical argument; that De Interpretatione 8 is a parallel to Sophistici Elenchi 175b39-176a5; that (...) De Interpretatione 8 is concerned with dialectical argument; that, hence, De Interpretatione 8, too, deals with homonymy in dialectical argument. In the second part I discuss objections that have been put forward against the view that De Interpretatione 8 is about homonymy and demonstrate that they do not succeed. (shrink)
Ambiguity, vagueness and metaphor are pervasive features of language, deserving of systematic study in their own right. Yet they have frequently been considered mere deviations from ideal language or obstacles to be avoided in the construction of scientific systems. First published in 1979, Beyond the Letter offers a consecutive study of these features from a philosphical point of view, providing analyses of each and treating their relations to one another. Addressed to the fundamental task of logical and semantic explanation, (...) the book employs an inscriptional methodology in the attempt to avoid prevalent forms of question-begging, and, further, in the conviction that sparseness of assumption often reveals points of theoretical interest irrespective of methodolgical preference. The author distinguishes and analyses several varieties of ambiguity, developing new semantic notions in the process; recasts the philosophical treatment of vagueness in the light of recent criticisms of analyticity; discusses the bearing of vagueness on logic; and provides a systematic critique of major recent interpretations of metaphor, developing a revised version of contextualism. (shrink)
This article has one aim, to reject the claim that negation is semantically ambiguous. The first section presents the putative incompatibility between truth-value gaps and the truth-schema; the second section presents the motivation for the ambiguity thesis; the third section summarizes arguments against the claim that natural language negation is semantically ambiguous; and the fourth section indicates the problems of an introduction of two distinct negation operators in natural language.
We use the multiple price list method and a recursive expected utility theory of smooth ambiguity to separate out attitude towards risk from that towards ambiguity. Based on this separation, we investigate if there are differences in agent behaviour under uncertainty over gain amounts vis-a-vis uncertainty over loss amounts. On an aggregate level, we find that (i) subjects are risk averse over gains and risk seeking over losses, displaying a “reflection effect” and (ii) they are ambiguity neutral (...) over gains and are mildly ambiguity seeking over losses. Further analysis shows that on an individual level, and with respect to both risky and ambiguous prospects, there is limited incidence of a reflection effect where subjects are risk/ambiguity averse (seeking) in gains and seeking (averse) in losses, though this incidence is higher for ambiguous prospects. A very high proportion of such cases of reflection exhibit risk (ambiguity) aversion in gains and risk (ambiguity) seeking in losses, with the reverse effect being significantly present in the case of risk but almost absent in case of ambiguity. Our results suggest that reflection across gains and losses is not a stable individual characteristic, but depends upon whether the form of uncertainty is precise or ambiguous, since we rarely find an individual who exhibits reflection in both risky and ambiguous prospects. We also find that correlations between attitudes towards risk and ambiguity were domain dependent. (shrink)
Freud proposes that in unconscious processing, logical connections are also (heavily) based upon phonological similarities. Repressed concerns, for example, would also be expressed by way of phonologic ambiguity. In order to investigate a possible unconscious influence of phonological similarity, 31 participants were submitted to a tachistoscopic subliminal priming experiment, with prime and target presented at 1ms. In the experimental condition, the prime and one of the 2 targets were phonological reversed forms of each other, though graphemically dissimilar (e.g., “nice” (...) and “sign”); in the control condition the targets were pseudo-randomly attributed to primes to which they don’t belong. The experimental task was to “blindly” pick the choice most similar to the prime. ERPs were measured with a focus on the N320, which is known to react selectively to phonological mismatch in supraliminal visual word presentations. The N320 amplitude-effects at the electrodes on the midline and at the left of the brain significantly predicted the participants’ net behavioral choices more than half a second later, while their subjective experience is one of arbitrariness. Moreover, the social desirability score (SDS) significantly correlates with both the behavioral and the N320 brain responses of the participants. It is proposed that in participants with low SDS the phonological target induces an expected reduction of N320 and this increases their probability to pick this target. In contrast, high defensive participants have a perplexed brain reaction upon the phonological target, with a negatively peaking N320 as compared to control and this leads them to avoid this target more often. Social desirability, which is understood as reflecting defensiveness, might also manifest itself as a defense against the (energy-consuming) ambiguity of language. The specificity of this study is that all of this is happening totally out of awareness and at the level of very elementary linguistic distinctions. (shrink)
We report on an experiment in which subjects choose actions in strategic games with either strategic complements or substitutes against a granny, a game theorist or other subjects. The games are selected in order to test predictions on the comparative statics of equilibrium with respect to changes in strategic ambiguity. We find that subjects face higher ambiguity while playing against the granny than playing against the game theorist if we assume that subjects are ambiguity averse. Moreover, under (...) the same assumption, subjects choose more secure actions in games more prone to ambiguity which is in line with the predictions. (shrink)
This article presents the results of a survey designed to test, with economically sophisticated participants, Ellsberg’s ambiguity aversion hypothesis, and Smithson’s conflict aversion hypothesis. Based on an original sample of 78 professional actuaries (all members of the French Institute of Actuaries), this article provides empirical evidence that ambiguity (i.e. uncertainty about the probability) affect insurers’ decision on pricing insurance. It first reveals that premiums are significantly higher for risks when there is ambiguity regarding the probability of the (...) loss. Second, it shows that insurers are sensitive to sources of ambiguity. The participants indeed, charged a higher premium when ambiguity came from conflict and disagreement regarding the probability of the loss than when ambiguity came from imprecision (imprecise forecast about the probability of the loss). This research thus documents the presence of both ambiguity aversion and conflict aversion in the field of insurance, and discuses economic and psychological rationales for the observed behaviours. (shrink)
We survey the literature that has explored the implications of decision-making under ambiguity for financial market outcomes, such as portfolio choice and equilibrium asset prices. This ambiguity literature has led to a number of significant advances in our ability to rationalize empirical features of asset returns and portfolio decisions, such as the failure of the two-fund separation theorem in portfolio decisions, the modest exposure to risky securities observed for a majority of investors, the home equity preference in international (...) portfolio diversification, the excess volatility of asset returns, the equity premium and the risk-free rate puzzles, and the occurrence of trading break-downs. (shrink)
The Ellsberg Paradox documented the aversion to ambiguity in the probability of winning a prize. Using an original sample of 266 business owners and managers facing risks from climate change, this paper documents the presence of departures from rationality in both directions. Both ambiguity-seeking behavior and ambiguity-averse behavior are evident. People exhibit âfearâ effects of ambiguity for small probabilities of suffering a loss and âhopeâ effects for large probabilities. Estimates of the crossover point from ambiguity (...) aversion (fear) to ambiguity seeking (hope) place this value between 0.3 and 0.7 for the risk per decade lotteries considered, with empirical estimates indicating a crossover mean risk of about 0.5. Attitudes toward the degree of ambiguity also reverse at the crossover point. (shrink)
The elimination of ambiguity and redundancy are unquestioned goals in the exact sciences, and yet, as this paper shows, there are inescapable lower bounds that constrain our wish to eliminate them. The author discusses contributions by Richard Hamming (inventor of the Hamming code) and Satosi Watanabe (originator of the Theorems of the Ugly Duckling). Utilizing certain of their results, the author leads readers to recognize the unavoidable, central roles in effective communication, of redundancy, and of ambiguity of meaning, (...) reference, and identification. (shrink)
The spaces provided by biotechnologies of sex selection are rich with epistemological, ontological, and ethical considerations that speak to broadly held social values and epistemic frameworks. In much of the discourse about sex selection that is not medically indicated, the figure of the “naturally” conceived child is treated as a problem for parents who want to select the sex of their child. As unknown, that child is ambiguous in terms of sex—“it” is both and neither, and might be the “wrong” (...) sex. Drawing on Beauvoirean thinking about ambiguity and desire, I cast part of the desire to select the sex of a child as bound to an ethic and epistemology of disambiguation, and urge that the space of being-unknown is one to which each person is entitled. (shrink)
Stoic work on ambiguity represents one of the most innovative, sophisticated and rigorous contributions to philosophy and the study of language in western antiquity. This book is both a comprehensive survey of the often difficult and scattered sources, and an attempt to locate Stoic material in the rich array of contexts, ancient and modern, which alone can guarantee full appreciation of its subtlety, scope and complexity. The comparisons and contrasts which this book constructs will intrigue not just classical scholars, (...) and philosophers, but also logicians, theoretical linguists, communication theorists and historians of grammar and of literary theory. The Stoics on Ambiguity is designed to be intelligible to readers with no Greek or Latin. (shrink)
Claims of causality and generalizability are the primary means through which sociologists triumph over ambiguity. Yet ambiguity also has significant uses in the process of theorizing. This article identifies and examines three ethnographic approaches: (1) Ambiguity in shared situations highlights how subjects create and resolve disruptions in face-to-face interactions, (2) ambiguity as a transitional social form addresses certain stages and spaces as persistently ambiguous types of situations and phenomena, and (3) ambiguity as separating means from (...) ends identifies mechanisms that conceal from subjects the risks and limitations of their own behaviors and choices in their everyday lives. Each of these approaches presents patterns in how ethnographers use analytic techniques to make sense of where ambiguities come from and how they can be turned into sociological cases. By making these approaches explicit, researchers can become better equipped at using them as provocations for sociological theorizing. (shrink)
Previous research reported that in processing structurally ambiguous sentences comprehenders often preserve an initial incorrect analysis even after adopting a correct analysis following structural disambiguation. One criticism is that the sentences tested in previous studies involved referential ambiguity and allowed comprehenders to make inferences about the initial interpretation using pragmatic information, suggesting the possibility that the initial analysis persisted due to comprehenders' pragmatic inference but not to their failure to perform complete reanalysis of the initial misanalysis. Our study investigated (...) this by testing locally ambiguous relative clause sentences in Japanese, in which the initial misinterpretation contradicts the correct interpretation. Our study using a self-paced reading technique demonstrated evidence for the persistence of the initial analysis with this structure. The results from an eye-tracking study further suggested that the phenomenon directly reflected the amount of support given to the initial incorrect analysis prior to disambiguating information: The more supported the incorrect main clause analysis was, the more likely comprehenders were to preserve the analysis even after the analysis was falsified. Our results thus demonstrated that the preservation of the initial analysis occurs not due to referential ambiguities but to comprehenders' difficulty to fully revise the highly supported initial interpretation. (shrink)
In this article, ambiguity attitude is measured through the maximum price a decision maker is willing to pay to know the probability of an event. Two problems are examined in which the decision maker faces an act: in one case, buying information implies playing a lottery, while, in the other case, buying information gives also the option to avoid playing the lottery. In both decision settings, relying on the Choquet expected utility model, we study how the decision maker’s risk (...) and ambiguity attitudes affect the reservation price for ambiguity resolution. These effects are analyzed for different levels of ambiguity of the act. Operating instructions for the elicitation of the reservation price for ambiguity resolution in an experimental setting are provided at the end of the article. (shrink)
Clinical trials of novel agents often present several layers of ethical challenge. Because time and resources for ethical and safety review are limited, how investigators, IRBs, and regulators allocate attention to a trial's various safety dimensions itself represents a critical ethical question. In what follows, I use the example of a Parkinson's disease gene transfer trial to show how risks involving unknown probabilities or outcomes (ambiguity), might sometimes draw attention away from risks that involve known probabilities or outcomes. This (...) potentially undermines the goal of ‘systematic and nonarbitrary analysis of risk’ during ethical review. To counteract the possible effects of such attention biases, I propose that reviewers develop ‘cognitive aids’ like lists and, where appropriate, set aside time to discuss non-ambiguous risks. I also propose further research for addressing and understanding how attention allocation, emotion, and ambiguity influence ethical decision-making. (shrink)
Abstract Theories of descriptions tend to involve commitments about the ambiguity of descriptions. For example, sentences containing descriptions are widely taken to be ambiguous between de re , de dicto , and intermediate interpretations and are sometimes thought to be ambiguous between the former and directly referential interpretations. I provide arguments to suggest that none of these interpretations are due to ambiguities (or indexicality). On the other hand, I argue that descriptions are ambiguous between the above family of interpretations (...) and what may be called ‘institutional’ as well as generic interpretations. My arguments suggest that an adequate theory of descriptions may require considerable rethinking. Most contemporary theories of descriptions appear to be committed to one or more claims about the ambiguity of descriptions that I reject in this paper. I suggest that my observations provide a reason to renew efforts to develop a theory of descriptions within a representationalist theory of interpretation. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9759-5 Authors Philipp Koralus, Philosophy Department, Princeton University, 212 1879 Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116. (shrink)
This paper discusses Jean-Yves Jaffray’s ideas on ambiguity and the views underlying his ideas. His models, developed 20 years ago, provide the most tractable separation of risk attitudes, ambiguity attitudes, and ambiguity beliefs available in the literature today.
We present two eye-tracking experiments on the interpretation of sentences like “The tall girl is the only one that …,” which are ambiguous between the anaphoric and the exophoric interpretation. These interpretations differ in informativeness: in a positive context, the exophoric reading entails the anaphoric, while in a negative context the entailment pattern is reversed and the anaphoric reading is the strongest one. We tested whether adults rely on considerations about informativeness in solving the ambiguity. The results show that (...) participants interpreted one exophorically in both positive and negative contexts. Given these findings, we cast doubts on the idea that Informativeness plays a role in ambiguity resolution and proposes a Principle of Maximal Exploitation: When a context is provided, adults extend their domain of evaluation to include the whole scenario, independently from truth-conditional considerations about informativity and strength. (shrink)
The paper studies the impact of informational ambiguity on behalf of informed traders on history-dependent price behaviour in a model of sequential trading in financial markets. Following Chateauneuf et al., we use neo-additive capacities to model ambiguity. Such ambiguity and attitudes to it can engender herd and contrarian behaviour, and also cause the market to break down. The latter, herd and contrarian behaviour, can be reduced by the existence of a bid-ask spread.
We often consider semantic-pragmatic properties of language independently of each other. In actual texts, however, the properties frequently interact. For this reason a robust theory should allow us to account not only for semantic-pragmatic properties in isolation, but also for the ways in which they are combined. This is especially important for the understanding of literary texts because the exploitation of semantic-pragmatic properties is characteristic of literary language. This article argues that it is possible to account systematically for the occurrence (...) of metaphorical \literal poetic ambiguity in terms of the interaction of such properties. Using the notion of conceptual domains and subdomains, the article proposes two necessary conditions and shows how the interaction of these conditions allows for a simple account of metaphorical/literal ambiguity. The article concludes by suggesting that examining the ways in which basic semantic-pragmatic principles of language are used in literature to create poetic effects offers us another path in understanding the poetic, one which neither equates poetic effects with a distinct poetic language, as do many formalists, nor reduces the exploration of the poetic to the properties of everyday language, as cognitivists often have. (shrink)
This article deals with the impact of governmental assistance on insurance demand under ambiguity, i.e., in situations where probabilities are uncertain. First, using a model of insurance demand under ambiguity, we derive theoretical predictions about the impact of several governmental assistance programmes on optimal insurance demand. For example, governmental assistance through a fixed public support scheme implies that partial insurance is always optimal under fair insurance with ambiguity. Second, we present the results of an experiment designed to (...) test these predictions. We find support for several of our theoretical predictions. For example, the presence of governmental assistance through a fixed public support scheme decreases individuals’ willingness to pay to be fully insured. Finally, we compare these results with those obtained for a risk situation. We find that, regardless of the form of governmental assistance, participants in the ambiguity context are consistently willing to pay more to be fully insured than participants in the risk situation. (shrink)
We report the results of an experiment which investigates the impact of the manner in which likelihood information is presented to decision-makers on valuations assigned to lotteries. We find that subjects who observe representative sequences of outcomes attach higher valuations to lotteries than those who are given only a verbal description of a probability distribution. We interpret this in terms of a reduction in ambiguity about the possible lottery outcomes. These findings suggest that ambiguity aversion may be a (...) confounding factor in reported experimental violations of expected utility theory based on verbal descriptions of probability distributions. (shrink)
Buildings are frequently described as ambiguous and, indeed, they often involve the ambivalence associated with ambiguous symbols. In this paper, I develop a theory of architectural ambiguity within the framework of a Goodmanian symbol theory. Based upon Israel Scheffler’s study of verbal and pictorial ambiguity, I present a theory of denotational ambiguity of buildings which distinguishes four types of ambiguity: elementary ambiguity, interpretation-ambiguity, multiple meaning and metaphor, which proves to be a special case of (...) multiple meaning. Denotationally ambiguous buildings are exceptions, because buildings usually exemplify rather than denote. I therefore add a theory of exemplificational ambiguity. The crucial distinction between mere multiple exemplification and genuine exemplificational ambiguity leads to two versions of each of the first three types of ambiguity. The resulting extension of Goodman’s symbol theory is of interest beyond architecture. (shrink)
In a recent article, Machina (Am Econ Rev forthcoming, 2008) suggested choice problems in the spirit of Ellsberg (Q J Econ 75:643–669, 1961), which challenge tail-separability, an implication of Choquet expected utility (CEU), to a similar extent as the Ellsberg paradox challenged the sure-thing principle implied by subjective expected utility (SEU). We have tested choice behavior for bets on one of Machina’s choice problems, the reflection example. Our results indicate that tail-separability is violated by a large majority of subjects (over (...) 70% of the sample). These empirical findings complement the theoretical analysis of Machina (Am Econ Rev forthcoming, 2008) and, together, they confirm the need for new approaches in the analysis of ambiguity for decision making. (shrink)
Ambiguity associated with everyday practice of science has made it difficult to reach a consensus on how to define misconduct in science. This essay outlines some of the important ambiguities of practice such as distinguishing data from noise, deciding whether results falsify a hypothesis, and converting research into research publications. The problem of ambiguity is further compounded by the prior intellectual commitments inherent in choosing problems and in dealing with the skepticism of one's colleagues. In preparing a draft (...) code of ethics for the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), an attempt was made to take into account the ambiguities of practice. Also, the draft code adopted trust as its leading principle, specifically the importance of trust as a condition necessary for there to be science. During revision of the code, the focus on trust was changed. The new orientation was on trust as a consequence of carrying out science responsibly. By addressing the obligations necessary to engender trust, the ASBMB ethics code not only sets professional standards, but also makes a clear statement of public accountability. (shrink)
This response draws on Saba Mahmood's work on Muslim subjectivities in order to consider how Stalnaker's conceptualization of virtue might be applied to non-Confucian sources. I argue that when applied cross-culturally, Stalnaker's revised definition of “skillful virtue” raises normative and metaethical questions about what counts as a skill versus a mere bodily practice, the process by how skill is acquired, and how we can both allow for the ambiguity of skills and continue to make constructive arguments about them.
In this essay, I explore the ways that Beauvoir’s description of philosophical novels reveals her understanding of consciousness as a particular sort of ambiguity: that which not only gives the world meaning, but which also, necessarily, finds meaning in the world through the values, ideas, and objects given to it by others. It is through the philosophical (metaphysical) novel that Beauvoir finds a medium for the philosophical communication of ambiguity – that is, a medium for writing human being. (...) More specifically, I consider the metaphysical stance Beauvoir is able to describe because of her commitment to philosophical literature. In writing, and in reading, fiction, what is manifest is both found and given, discovered and created; and the metaphysics of the novel offers a way to read philosophy as poeisis, poetry in the sense of bringing-forth or revealing worldly meaning, in ways that are ambiguously particular and universal. (shrink)
In multi-armed bandit problems, information acquired from experimentation is valuable because it tells the agent whether to select a particular option again in the future. This article tests whether people undervalue this information because they are ambiguity averse, or have a distaste for uncertainty about the average quality of each alternative. It is shown that ambiguity averse agents have lower than optimal Gittins indexes, appearing to undervalue information from experimentation, but are willing to pay more than ambiguity (...) neutral agents to learn the true mean of the payoff distribution, appearing to overvalue objectively given information. This prediction is tested with a laboratory experiment that elicits a Gittins index and a willingness to pay on six two-armed bandits. Consistent with the predictions of ambiguity aversion, the Gittins indexes are significantly lower than optimal and willingnesses to pay are significantly higher than optimal. (shrink)
This study accounts for the observed patterns of variation and ambiguity in the expression and interpretation of aspect in bare habitual statements in Polish in the framework of Bouma’s ( 2008 ) recent version of stratified bi-directional Optimality Theory (OT).
In arguing against a supposed ambiguity, philosophers often rely on the zeugma test. In an application of the zeugma test, a supposedly ambiguous expression is placed in a sentence in which several of its supposed meanings are forced together. If the resulting sentence sounds zeugmatic, that is taken as evidence for ambiguity; if it does not sound zeugmatic, that is taken as evidence against ambiguity. The aim of this article is to show that arguments based on the (...) second direction of the test are misguided: ambiguous expressions, and in particular philosophically contested ones, do not reliably lead to zeugmaticity, so an absence of zeugmaticity provides no meaningful evidence for an absence of ambiguity. (shrink)
This paper considers a decision-making process under ambiguity in which the decision-maker is supposed to split outcomes between familiar and unfamiliar ones. She is assumed to behave differently with respect to unfamiliar gains, unfamiliar losses and customary (familiar) outcomes. In particular, she is supposed to be pessimistic on gains, optimistic on losses and ambiguity neutral on the familiar outcomes. A generalization of the usual Choquet Integral is formalized when the decision maker holds capacities and probabilities. A characterization of (...) the decision-maker’s behavior is provided for a specific subset of capacities, in which it is shown that the decision-maker underestimates the unfamiliar outcomes while is linear in probabilities on customary ones. (shrink)
In order to interpret the work of British photographer Miles Aldridge and gain insight into the semiotic ambiguity of his photographs, this paper relies on the capacity to decipher the photographs’ relationship to other arts such as Italian cinema and in particular, to the work of Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni. From the perspective of this present study, the decisive role of semiotics in relation to photography is that it promotes an interactive process between artist and spectator. The methodology (...) employed in this study to demonstrate how previous systems of language inspire a semiotic dialogue and produce multiple interpretations is a combination of Umberto Eco’s concept of open work and French narratological theories of hypertextuality. Through an examination of the Italian cinematic influence in the work of Miles Aldridge, this paper demonstrates how generating interpretations becomes an essential element of a photograph’s aesthetics. (shrink)
A sentence of the usual language of set theory is said to be stratified if it is obtained by “erasing” type indices in a sentence of the language of Russell's Simple Theory of Types. In this paper we give an alternative presentation of a proof the ambiguity theorem stating that any provable stratified sentence has a stratified proof. To this end, we introduce a new set of ambiguity axioms, inspired by Fraïssé's characterization of elementary equivalence; these axioms can (...) be naturally used to give different proofs of the ambiguity theorem . MSC: 03B15, 03F50, 03F55. (shrink)
This article studies the emergence of ambiguity in communication through the concept of logical irreversibility and within the framework of Shannon’s information theory. This leads us to a precise and general expression of the intuition behind Zipf’s vocabulary balance in terms of a symmetry equation between the complexities of the coding and the decoding processes that imposes an unavoidable amount of logical uncertainty in natural communication. Accordingly, the emergence of irreversible computations is required if the complexities of the coding (...) and the decoding processes are balanced in a symmetric scenario, which means that the emergence of ambiguous codes is a necessary condition for natural communication to succeed. (shrink)
In this particularly well written volume Graeme Hirst presents a theoretically motivated foundation for semantic interpretation (conceptual analysis) by computer, and shows how this framework facilitates the resolution of both lexical and syntactic ambiguities.
A close reading of the poem of Parmenides, with focal attention to the way the proem situates Parmenides' insight in relation to Hesiod and Anaximander and provides the context for the thought of "... is". I identify three pointed ambiguities, in the direction of the journey to the gates of the ways of Night and Day, in the way the gates swing open before the waiting traveler, and in the character of the "chasm" that their opening makes, and I suggest (...) ways in which these ambiguities at once complicate and determine the significance of the thought of "... is" and its implications for the status of the opinions of mortals. (shrink)