- Kant’s Aesthetics: Overview and Recent Literature, Christian Helmut Wenzel
- Environmental Ethics: An Overview, Katie McShane
- Margaret Cavendish on the Relation between God and World, Karen Detlefsen
- Whatever Became of the Socratic Elenchus? Philosophical Analysis in Plato, Gareth Matthews
- Demonstratives in Philosophy and Linguistics, Lynsey Wolter
- Recent Work on Propositions, Peter Hanks
- Understanding Kripke’s Puzzles about Belief, Michael McGlone
- Computationalism in the Philosophy of Mind, Gualtiero Piccinini
- The Problem of Natural Evil I: General Theistic Replies, Luke Gelinas
- The Problem of Natural Evil II: Hybrid Replies, Luke Gelinas
- Aristotelian Homonymy, Julie Ward
- Intelligent Design, William Hasker
- Incongruent Counterparts and the Reality of Space, Graham Nerlich
Apologies to anyone who couldn’t get at the site for the previous hours. There was a server error. I’ve now fixed it, I think, and the site should be running. There are some details below the fold for anyone interested in that kind of thing.
Registration is now open for the Arché Scepticism Conference. This looks like it should be a very good conference; hopefully I’ll post my paper here in a few days.
And the schedule for the Formal Epistemology Workshop is up, along with links to a bunch of the papers to be presented. I vaguely hope to have something to say about Sarah Moss’s paper Updating as Communication (PDF), which looks like an interesting take on de se updating.
The workshop is timed to coincide with the visit of Nottingham Special Professor Michael Devitt, whose forthcoming volume Putting Metaphysics First includes some work (check out the title of essay 13) attacking the a priori (a popular pastime of late).
My good friend Antony Eagle has a survey on causation that he’d like people to have a look at. The link is here:
x-posted at logicandlanguage.net
In his very interesting paper at the Rutgers Epistemology Conference, Higher-Order Evidence (PDF), David Christensen discusses a lot of cases where, in the process of investigating whether p, we learn something about our ability to detect whether p. In the primary cases Christensen discusses, we first come to believe p, then come to believe that our capacities are impaired in some way. And one of the epistemologically interesting questions is what we should do at this stage. I wanted to consider a slightly different question.
S is investigating a murder. She gets evidence E, and on the basis of that quite reasonably concludes that it is quite likely the butler did it (her credence in that is 2/3), a serious possibility that the gardener did it (her credence in that is 1/4), and very little chance that neither did it (her credence in that is 1/12).
S then is told, by a usually reliable source, that she has taken some drug that leads to people systematically underestimating how strongly their evidence supports various propositions. So if someone’s taken this drug, and believes p to degree 2/3, then p is usually something that’s more or less guaranteed to be true by their evidence.
What should S do?
Continue reading “There is such a thing as being too cautious…”
Some stuff you might not have seen from around the web.
- Elsevier publishes fake journals. Henry Farrell has some suggestions for what to do about it.
- Alva Noe has an article about drugs in sport, focussing on why it is that we worry about some enhancements but not others. I think Alva is a little too dismissive of the health concerns; I wouldn’t care about steroids at all if they weren’t dangerous. More realistically, I wouldn’t care if a player with cancer took steroids as part of a standard cancer treatment. But it is interesting to think about where we draw the moral lines, and about what that says about what we value in sporting performance. And the terminology here is bizarre – if we cared about all ‘performance enhancing drugs’, presumably we’d want to get rid of the Gatorade in the dugout.
- Jacob Ross has a fascinating paper on Sleeping Beauty and Countable Additivity (PDF).
- This list of cities with the highest quality of life is interesting, but I think they’re not rating things I care about if Perth comes well ahead of New York.
I imagine the following point is well known, but it might be news enough to some people to be worth posting here. The following principle is inconsistent.
Trust Experts. If you know there is someone who is (a) perfectly rational and (b) strictly better informed than you, i.e. they know everything you know and know more as well, whose credence in p is x, then your credence in p should be x.
The reason this is inconsistent is that there can be multiple experts. Here’s one way to generate a problem for Trust Experts.
There are two coins, 1 and 2, to be flipped. The coin flipping procedure is known to be fair, so it is known that for each coin, the chance of it coming up heads is 1/2. And the coins are independent. Let H1 be that the first coin lands heads, and H2 be that the second coin lands heads.
The coins are now flipped, but you can’t see how they are flipped. There are sixteen people, called witnesses, in an adjacent room, plus an experimenter, who knows how the coin lands. Using a randomising device, the experimenter assigns each of the sixteen different propositions that are truth-functions of H1 and H2 to a different witness, and tells them what their assigned proposition is, and what its truth value is. The witnesses know that the experimenter is assigning propositions at random, and that the experimenter always tells the truth about the truth value of propositions. So the witnesses simply conditionalise on the truth of the information that they receive.
Consider first the witnesses who are told the truth values of (H1 v T2) and (H1 v ~T2). One of these will be told that their assigned proposition is true. Whoever that is, call them W1, will have credence 2/3 in H1.
Consider next the witnesses who are told the truth values of (~H1 v T2) and (~H1 v ~T2). Again, one of these will be told that their assigned proposition is true. Whoever that is, call them W2, will have credence 1/3 in H1.
So if you were following Trust Experts, you’d have to have credence 2/3 in H1, because of the existence of W1, and have credence 1/3 in H1, because of the existence of W2. That’s inconsistent, so Trust Experts is inconsistent.
For the curious, this prospectus gives details of the (institute provisionally known as the) Northern Institute of Philosophy, which will come into existence in Aberdeen this September.