Both left libertarians, who support the redistribution of income and wealth through taxation, and right libertarians, who oppose redistributive taxation, share an important view: that, looming catastrophes aside, the state must never redistribute any part of our body or our person without our consent. Cécile Fabre rejects that view. For her, just as the undeservedly poor have a just claim to money from their fellow citizens in order to lead a minimally flourishing life, the undeservedly ‘medically poor’ have a just (...) claim to help from fellow citizens in order to lead such a life. Such obligatory help may in principle involve even the supply of body parts for transplantation. The state ought to exact such resources from the medically rich whenever doing so would secure the prospect of a minimally flourishing life to the medically poor without denying that prospect to anyone else. Fabre criticizes Ronald Dworkin's belief in ‘a prophylactic line that comes close to making the body inviolate, that is, making body parts not parts of social resources at all’. For her, ‘Duties to help. . . do not stop at material resources: they involve the body. . . in invasive ways’. (shrink)
Law, Economics, and Morality examines the possibility of combining economic methodology and deontological morality through explicit and direct incorporation of moral constraints into economic models. Economic analysis of law is a powerful analytical methodology. However, as a purely consequentialist approach, which determines the desirability of acts and rules solely by assessing the goodness of their outcomes, standard cost-benefit analysis is normatively objectionable. Moderate deontology prioritizes such values as autonomy, basic liberties, truth-telling, and promise-keeping over the promotion of good outcomes. It (...) holds that there are constraints on promoting the good. Such constraints may be overridden only if enough good is at stake. While moderate deontology conforms to prevailing moral intuitions and legal doctrines, it is arguably lacking in methodological rigor and precision. Eyal Zamir and Barak Medina argue that the normative flaws of economic analysis can be rectified without relinquishing its methodological advantages and that moral constraints can be formalized so as to make their analysis more rigorous. They discuss various substantive and methodological choices involved in modeling deontological constraints. Zamir and Medina propose to determine the permissibility of any act or rule infringing a deontological constraint by means of mathematical threshold functions. Law, Economics, and Morality presents the general structure of threshold functions, analyzes their elements and addresses possible objections to this proposal. It then illustrates the implementation of constrained CBA in several legal fields, including contract law, freedom of speech, antidiscrimination law, the fight against terrorism, and legal paternalism. (shrink)
We examine whether the "evidence of evidence is evidence" principle is true. We distinguish several different versions of the principle and evaluate recent attacks on some of those versions. We argue that, whatever the merits of those attacks, they leave the more important rendition of the principle untouched. That version is, however, also subject to new kinds of counterexamples. We end by suggesting how to formulate a better version of the principle that takes into account those new counterexamples.
Suppose we learn that we have a poor track record in forming beliefs rationally, or that a brilliant colleague thinks that we believe P irrationally. Does such input require us to revise those beliefs whose rationality is in question? When we gain information suggesting that our beliefs are irrational, we are in one of two general cases. In the first case we made no error, and our beliefs are rational. In that case the input to the contrary is misleading. In (...) the second case we indeed believe irrationally, and our original evidence already requires us to fix our mistake. In that case the input to that effect is normatively superfluous. Thus, we know that information suggesting that our beliefs are irrational is either misleading or superfluous. This, I submit, renders the input incapable of justifying belief revision, despite our not knowing which of the two kinds it is. (shrink)
The Self-Intimation thesis has it that whatever justificatory status a proposition has, i.e., whether or not we are justified in believing it, we are justified in believing that it has that status. The Infallibility thesis has it that whatever justificatory status we are justified in believing that a proposition has, the proposition in fact has that status. Jointly, Self-Intimation and Infallibility imply that the justificatory status of a proposition closely aligns with the justification we have about that justificatory status. Self-Intimation (...) has two noteworthy implications. First, assuming that we never have sufficient justification for a proposition and for its negation, we can derive Infallibility from Self-Intimation. Interestingly, there seems to be no equivalently simple way to derive Self-Intimation from Infallibility. This asymmetry provides reason for thinking that bottom-level justification rather than top-level justification drives the explanation for why the levels of justification align. Second, Self-Intimation suggests a counterintuitive treatment of information concerning what justificatory status a proposition has. It follows from Self-Intimation that we always have justification for the truth about whether a proposition is justified for us, and therefore, that higher-order evidence could change what we should believe on this matter only by misleading us. This permits forming beliefs about whether a proposition is justified for us without regard to higher-order evidence, and thus reveals a reason for thinking that top-level justification is evidentially inert. (shrink)
ABSTRACTShould conciliating with disagreeing peers be considered sufficient for reaching rational beliefs? Thomas Kelly argues that when taken this way, Conciliationism lets those who enter into a disagreement with an irrational belief reach a rational belief all too easily. Three kinds of responses defending Conciliationism are found in the literature. One response has it that conciliation is required only of agents who have a rational belief as they enter into a disagreement. This response yields a requirement that no one should (...) follow. If the need to conciliate applies only to already rational agents, then an agent must conciliate only when her peer is the one irrational. A second response views conciliation as merely necessary for having a rational belief. This alone does little to address the central question of what is rational to believe when facing a disagreeing peer. Attempts to develop the response either reduce to the first response, or deem necessary an unnecessary doxastic revision, or imply that rational dilemmas obtain in cases where intuitively there are none. A third response tells us to weigh what our pre-disagreement evidence supports against the evidence from the disagreement itself. This invites epistemic akrasia. (shrink)
Detecting that two images are different is faster for highly dissimilar images than for highly similar images. Paradoxically, we showed that the reverse occurs when people are asked to describe how two images differ—that is, to state a difference between two images. Following structure-mapping theory, we propose that this disassociation arises from the multistage nature of the comparison process. Detecting that two images are different can be done in the initial (local-matching) stage, but only for pairs with low overlap; thus, (...) “different” responses are faster for low-similarity than for high-similarity pairs. In contrast, identifying a specific difference generally requires a full structural alignment of the two images, and this alignment process is faster for high-similarity pairs. We described four experiments that demonstrate this dissociation and show that the results can be simulated using the Structure-Mapping Engine. These results pose a significant challenge for nonstructural accounts of similarity comparison and suggest that structural alignment processes play a significant role in visual comparison. (shrink)
The Stroop effect is composed of interference and facilitation effects. The facilitation is less stable and thus many times is referred to as a “fragile effect”. Here we suggest the facilitation effect is highly vulnerable to individual differences in control over the task conflict . We replicated previous findings of a significant correlation between stop-signal reaction time and Stroop interference, and also found a significant correlation between SSRT and the Stroop facilitation effect—participants with low inhibitory control had no facilitation effect (...) or even a reversed one. These results shed new light on the “fragile” facilitation effect and highlight the necessity of awareness of task conflict, especially in the Stroop task. (shrink)
We revisit the analogy suggested by Madelung between a non-relativistic time-dependent quantum particle, to a fluid system which is pseudo-barotropic, irrotational and inviscid. We first discuss the hydrodynamical properties of the Madelung description in general, and extract a pressure like term from the Bohm potential. We show that the existence of a pressure gradient force in the fluid description, does not violate Ehrenfest’s theorem since its expectation value is zero. We also point out that incompressibility of the fluid implies conservation (...) of density along a fluid parcel trajectory and in 1D this immediately results in the non-spreading property of wave packets, as the sum of Bohm potential and an exterior potential must be either constant or linear in space. Next we relate to the hydrodynamic description a thermodynamic counterpart, taking the classical behavior of an adiabatic barotopric flow as a reference. We show that while the Bohm potential is not a positive definite quantity, as is expected from internal energy, its expectation value is proportional to the Fisher information whose integrand is positive definite. Moreover, this integrand is exactly equal to half of the square of the imaginary part of the momentum, as the integrand of the kinetic energy is equal to half of the square of the real part of the momentum. This suggests a relation between the Fisher information and the thermodynamic like internal energy of the Madelung fluid. Furthermore, it provides a physical linkage between the inverse of the Fisher information and the measure of disorder in quantum systems—in spontaneous adiabatic gas expansion the amount of disorder increases while the internal energy decreases. (shrink)
In certain judgmental situations where a “correct” decision is presumed to exist, optimal decision making requires evaluation of the decision-makers’ capabilities and the selection of the appropriate aggregation rule. The major and so far unresolved difficulty is the former necessity. This article presents the optimal aggregation rule that simultaneously satisfies these two interdependent necessary requirements. In our setting, some record of the voters’ past decisions is available, but the correct decisions are not known. We observe that any arbitrary evaluation of (...) the decision-makers’ capabilities as probabilities yields some optimal aggregation rule that, in turn, yields a maximum-likelihood estimation of decisional skills. Thus, a skill-evaluation equilibrium can be defined as an evaluation of decisional skills that yields itself as a maximum-likelihood estimation of decisional skills. We show that such equilibrium exists and offer a procedure for finding one. The obtained equilibrium is locally optimal and is shown empirically to generally be globally optimal in terms of the correctness of the resulting collective decisions. Interestingly, under minimally competent (almost symmetric) skill distributions that allow unskilled decision makers, the optimal rule considerably outperforms the common simple majority rule (SMR). Furthermore, a sufficient record of past decisions ensures that the collective probability of making a correct decision converges to 1, as opposed to accuracy of about 0.7 under SMR. Our proposed optimal voting procedure relaxes the fundamental (and sometimes unrealistic) assumptions in Condorcet’s celebrated theorem and its extensions, such as sufficiently high decision-making quality, skill homogeneity or existence of a sufficiently large group of decision makers. (shrink)
To counter the pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, some have proposed accelerating SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development through controlled human infection trials. These trials would involve the deliberate exposure of relatively few young, healthy volunteers to SARS-CoV-2. We defend this proposal against the charge that there is still too much uncertainty surrounding the risks of COVID-19 to responsibly run such a trial.
This article looks at the way people determine the antecedent of a pronoun in sentence pairs, such as: Albert invited Ron to dinner. He spent hours cleaning the house. The experiment reported here is motivated by the idea that such judgments depend on reasoning about identity . Because the identity of an individual over time depends on the causal-historical path connecting the stages of the individual, the correct antecedent will also depend on causal connections. The experiment varied how likely it (...) is that the event of the first sentence would cause the event of the second for each of the two individuals . Decisions about the antecedent followed causal likelihood. A mathematical model of causal identity accounted for most of the key aspects of the data from the individual sentence pairs. (shrink)
The world’s first COVID-19 human challenge trial using the D614G strain of SARS-CoV-2 is underway in the United Kingdom. The Wellcome Trust is funding challenge stock preparation of the Beta variant (B.1.351) for a follow-up human challenge trial, and researchers at Imperial College London are considering conducting that trial. However, little has been written thus far about the ethical justifiability of human challenge trials with SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. While vaccine resistance as such does not increase risks for volunteers in (...) COVID-19 challenge trials, we explore two specific characteristics of some variants that may initially be thought to make such trials unethical and conclude that SARS-CoV-2 variant challenge trials can remain ethical. (shrink)
What it means for an action to have moral worth, and what is required for this to be the case, is the subject of continued controversy. Some argue that an agent performs a morally worthy action if and only if they do it because the action is morally right. Others argue that a morally worthy action is that which an agent performs because of features that make the action right. These theorists, though they oppose one another, share something important in (...) common. They focus almost exclusively on the moral worth of right actions. But there is a negatively valenced counterpart that attaches to wrong actions, which we will call moral counterworth. In this paper, we explore the moral counterworth of wrong actions in order to shed new light on the nature of moral worth. Contrary to theorists in both camps, we argue that more than one kind of motivation can affect the moral worth of actions. (shrink)
The Madelung equations map the non-relativistic time-dependent Schrödinger equation into hydrodynamic equations of a virtual fluid. While the von Neumann entropy remains constant, we demonstrate that an increase of the Shannon entropy, associated with this Madelung fluid, is proportional to the expectation value of its velocity divergence. Hence, the Shannon entropy may grow due to an expansion of the Madelung fluid. These effects result from the interference between solutions of the Schrödinger equation. Growth of the Shannon entropy due to expansion (...) is common in diffusive processes. However, in the latter the process is irreversible while the processes in the Madelung fluid are always reversible. The relations between interference, compressibility and variation of the Shannon entropy are then examined in several simple examples. Furthermore, we demonstrate that for classical diffusive processes, the “force” accelerating diffusion has the form of the positive gradient of the quantum Bohm potential. Expressing then the diffusion coefficient in terms of the Planck constant reveals the lower bound given by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in terms of the product between the gas mean free path and the Brownian momentum. (shrink)
In _Differentiating the Pearl from the Fish-Eye_, Eyal Aviv offers an account of Ouyang Jingwu, a revolutionary Buddhist thinker and educator. The book surveys the life and career of Ouyang and his influence on modern Chinese intellectual history.
Is it ever rational to suspend judgment about whether a particular doxastic attitude of ours is rational? An agent who suspends about whether her attitude is rational has serious doubts that it is. These doubts place a special burden on the agent, namely, to justify maintaining her chosen attitude over others. A dilemma arises. Providing justification for maintaining the chosen attitude would commit the agent to considering the attitude rational—contrary to her suspension on the matter. Alternatively, in the absence of (...) such justification, the attitude would be arbitrary by the agent’s own lights, and therefore irrational from the agent’s own perspective. So, suspending about whether an attitude of ours is rational does not cohere with considering it rationally preferable to other attitudes, and leads to a more familiar form of epistemic akrasia otherwise. (shrink)
Increasingly, bioethicists defend informed consent as a safeguard for trust in caretakers and medical institutions. This paper discusses an ‘ideal type’ of that move. What I call the trust-promotion argument for informed consent states:1. Social trust, especially trust in caretakers and medical institutions, is necessary so that, for example, people seek medical advice, comply with it, and participate in medical research.2. Therefore, it is usually wrong to jeopardise that trust.3. Coercion, deception, manipulation and other violations of standard informed consent requirements (...) seriously jeopardise that trust.4. Thus, standard informed consent requirements are justified.This article describes the initial promise of this argument, then identifies challenges to it. As I show, the value of trust fails to account for some commonsense intuitions about informed consent. We should revise the argument, commonsense morality, or both. (shrink)
The article begins by reconstructing the just distribution of the social bases of self-respect, a principle of justice that is covert in Rawls’s writing. I argue that, for Rawls, justice mandates that each social basis for self-respect be equalized. Curiously, for Rawls, that principle ranks higher than Rawls’s two more famous principles of justice - equal liberty and the difference principle. I then recall Rawls’s well-known confusion between self-respect and another form of self-appraisal, namely, confidence in one’s determinate plans and (...) capacities. Correcting that confusion forces Rawls to accept objectionable and illiberal politics. Surprisingly, a consistent Rawls must endorse absolute economic equality, deny liberty any priority whatsoever, or sponsor still other illiberal political views - evidence of a flaw in the ethical basis of Rawls’s politics. (shrink)
Which inequalities in longevity and health among individuals, groups, and nations are unfair? And what priority should health policy attach to narrowing them? These essays by philosophers, economists, epidemiologists, and physicians attempt to determine how health inequalities should be conceptualized, measured, ranked, and evaluated.
Many voting rules and, in particular, the plurality rule and Condorcet-consistent voting rules satisfy the simple-majority decisiveness property. The problem implied by such decisiveness, namely, the universal disregard of the preferences of the minority, can be ameliorated by applying unbiased scoring rules such as the classical Borda rule, but such amelioration has a price; it implies erosion in the implementation of the widely accepted majority principle . Furthermore, the problems of majority decisiveness and of the erosion in the majority principle (...) are not necessarily severe when one takes into account the likelihood of their occurrence. This paper focuses on the evaluation of the severity of the two problems, comparing simple-majoritarian voting rules that allow the decisiveness of the smallest majority larger than 1/2 and the classical Borda method of counts. Our analysis culminates in the derivation of the conditions that determine, in terms of the number of alternatives k, the number of voters n, and the relative (subjective) weight assigned to the severity of the two problems, which of these rules is superior in light of the dual majoritarian approach. (shrink)
This article argues that, in its standard formulation, luck-egalitarianism is false. In particular, I show that disadvantages that result from perfectly free choice can constitute egalitarian injustice. I also propose a modified formulation of luck-egalitarianism that would withstand my criticism. One merit of the modification is that it helps us to reconcile widespread intuitions about distributive justice with equally widespread intuitions about punitive justice.
This paper merges the non-expected utility approach (Tversky and Kahneman, J Risk Uncertain 5:297–323, 1992 and Quiggin, J Econ Behav Organ 3:323–343, 1982) into Akerlof’s (Quart J Econ 84:488–500, 1970) model of Market for Lemons. We derive the results for different probability weighting functions and analyze the phenomenon of market failure in light of non-expected utility maximization. Our main finding suggests that when the proportion of traded lemons is high (low), the problem of market failure is mitigated (enhanced). In addition, (...) for the case of Cumulative Prospect Theory, we show that (a) the higher the loss aversion is, the more pronounced is the market failure; (b) gain-domain elevation is negatively related to the extent of market failure; and (c) the value function is (i) negatively monotonic in the gain-domain diminishing sensitivity parameter when the market is characterized by a high proportion of “peaches,” and (ii) positively monotonic in the loss-domain diminishing sensitivity parameter when the market is characterized by a high proportion of “lemons.”. (shrink)
We present a new theoretical construct labeled motivational readiness. It is defined as the inclination, whether or not ultimately implemented, to satisfy a desire. A general model of readiness is described which builds on the work of prior theories, including animal learning models and personality approaches, and which aims to integrate a variety of research findings across different domains of motivational research. Components of this model include the Want state, and the Expectancy of being able to satisfy that Want. We (...) maintain that the Want concept is the critical ingredient in motivational readiness: without it, readiness cannot exist. In contrast, some motivational readiness can exist without Expectancy. We also discuss the role of incentive in motivational readiness. Incentive is presently conceived of in terms of a Match between a Want and a Perceived Situational Affordance. Whereas in classic models incentive was portrayed as a first order determinant of motivational readiness, here we describe it as a second order factor which affects readiness by influencing Want, Expectancy, or both. The new model’s relation to its theoretical predecessors, and its implications for future research, also are discussed. (shrink)
In this article, we provide a comprehensive analysis and a normative assessment of rationing through inconvenience as a form of rationing. By “rationing through inconvenience” in the health sphere, we refer to a nonfinancial burden that is either intended to cause or has the effect of causing patients or clinicians to choose an option for health-related consumption that is preferred by the health system for its fairness, efficiency, or other distributive desiderata beyond assisting the immediate patient. We argue that under (...) certain conditions, rationing through inconvenience may turn out to serve as a legitimate and, compared to direct rationing, even a preferable tool for rationing; we propose a research agenda to identify more precisely when that might be the case and when, alternatively, rationing through inconvenience remains ethically undesirable. After defining and illustrating rationing through inconvenience, we turn to its moral advantages and disadvantages over other rationing methods. We take it as a starting assumption that rationing, understood as scarce-resource prioritization, is inevitable and, in a society that has goals beyond optimizing health care for individual patients—such as improving societal health care, education, or overall welfare—prudent and fair. (shrink)
The case study aims to reveal the praxis that serves the media during ethnic-violence conflicts. The article closely reads reports of the Israeli media covering the clashes between Israeli Arabs and the police, in the first days of the second Intifada. We analyze how mainstream Hebrew media covered the unfolding events, and also refer to reports in Arab-language newspapers. Two prominent trends shaped the frame through which events were reported: Inclusion and exclusion. Israel's Hebrew-language media excluded the Arab citizens from (...) the general Israeli public, while, at the same time, equating them with the residents of the Palestinian Authority. That is, the media framed the Arab Israeli citizens as Palestinians, blurring the line between the riots within Israel and the armed violence in the West Bank and Gaza. This coverage changed after the first and most intense days of riots; Israeli journalists then switched to a more civil framing after establishing an inner as well as an outer discourse. (shrink)