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  1. Can Subjectivism Account for Degrees of Wellbeing?Willem van der Deijl & Huub Brouwer - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (3):767-788.
    Wellbeing describes how good life is for the person living it. Wellbeing comes in degrees. Subjective theories of wellbeing maintain that for objects or states of affairs to benefit us, we need to have a positive attitude towards these objects or states of affairs: the Resonance Constraint. In this article, we investigate to what extent subjectivism can plausibly account for degrees of wellbeing. There is a vast literature on whether preference-satisfaction theory – one particular subjective theory – can account for (...)
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  • Eliminating ‘ life worth living’.Fumagalli Roberto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):769-792.
    This article argues for the elimination of the concept of life worth living from philosophical vocabulary on three complementary grounds. First, the basic components of this concept suffer from multiple ambiguities, which hamper attempts to ground informative evaluative and classificatory judgments about the worth of life. Second, the criteria proposed to track the extension of the concept of life worth living rest on unsupported axiological assumptions and fail to identify precise and plausible referents for this concept. And third, the concept (...)
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  • The utility of goods or actions? A neurophilosophical assessment of a recent neuroeconomic controversy.Enrico Petracca - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    The paper provides a neurophilosophical assessment of a controversy between two neuroeconomic models that compete to identify the putative object of neural utility: goods or actions. We raise two objections to the common view that sees the ‘good-based’ model prevailing over the ‘action-based’ model. First, we suggest extending neuroeconomic model discrimination to all of the models’ neurophilosophical assumptions, showing that action-based assumptions are necessary to explain real-world value-based decisions. Second, we show that the good-based model’s presumption of introducing a normative (...)
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  • Triangulation across the lab, the scanner and the field: the case of social preferences.Jaakko Kuorikoski & Caterina Marchionni - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (3):361-376.
    This paper deals with the evidential value of neuroeconomic experiments for the triangulation of economically relevant phenomena. We examine the case of social preferences, which involves bringing together evidence from behavioural experiments, neuroeconomic experiments, and observational studies from other social sciences. We present an account of triangulation and identify the conditions under which neuroeconomic evidence is diverse in the way required for successful triangulation. We also show that the successful triangulation of phenomena does not necessarily afford additional confirmation to general (...)
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  • Evidential Diversity and the Triangulation of Phenomena.Jaakko Kuorikoski & Caterina Marchionni - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (2):227-247.
    The article argues for the epistemic rationale of triangulation, namely, the use of multiple and independent sources of evidence. It claims that triangulation is to be understood as causal reasoning from data to phenomenon, and it rationalizes its epistemic value in terms of controlling for likely errors and biases of particular data-generating procedures. This perspective is employed to address objections against triangulation concerning the fallibility and scope of the inference, as well as problems of independence, incomparability, and discordance of evidence. (...)
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  • Preferences: neither behavioural nor mental.Francesco Guala - 2019 - Economics and Philosophy 35 (3):383-401.
    Recent debates on the nature of preferences in economics have typically assumed that they are to be interpreted either as behavioural regularities or as mental states. In this paper I challenge this dichotomy and argue that neither interpretation is consistent with scientific practice in choice theory and behavioural economics. Preferences are belief-dependent dispositions with a multiply realizable causal basis, which explains why economists are reluctant to make a commitment about their interpretation.
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  • We Should Not Use Randomization Procedures to Allocate Scarce Life-Saving Resources.Roberto Fumagalli - 2022 - Public Health Ethics 15 (1):87-103.
    In the recent literature across philosophy, medicine and public health policy, many influential arguments have been put forward to support the use of randomization procedures to allocate scarce life-saving resources. In this paper, I provide a systematic categorization and a critical evaluation of these arguments. I shall argue that those arguments justify using RAND to allocate SLSR in fewer cases than their proponents maintain and that the relevant decision-makers should typically allocate SLSR directly to the individuals with the strongest claims (...)
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  • Theories of well-being and well-being policy: a view from methodology.Roberto Fumagalli - 2021 - Journal of Economic Methodology 28 (1):124-133.
    In the recent well-being literature, various theory-free accounts of well-being have been proposed to ground informative evaluations of policies’ welfare implications without relying on any specifi...
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  • Preferences versus Opportunities: On the Conceptual Foundations of Normative Welfare Economics.Roberto Fumagalli - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy:1-25.
    Normative welfare economics commonly assumes that individuals’ preferences can be reliably inferred from their choices and relies on preference satisfaction as the normative standard for welfare. In recent years, several authors have criticized welfare economists’ reliance on preference satisfaction as the normative standard for welfare and have advocated grounding normative welfare economics on opportunities rather than preferences. In this paper, I argue that although preference-based approaches to normative welfare economics face significant conceptual and practical challenges, opportunity-based approaches fail to provide (...)
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  • Rationality, preference satisfaction and anomalous intentions: why rational choice theory is not self-defeating.Roberto Fumagalli - 2021 - Theory and Decision 91 (3):337-356.
    The critics of rational choice theory frequently claim that RCT is self-defeating in the sense that agents who abide by RCT’s prescriptions are less successful in satisfying their preferences than they would be if they abided by some normative theory of choice other than RCT. In this paper, I combine insights from philosophy of action, philosophy of mind and the normative foundations of RCT to rebut this often-made criticism. I then explicate the implications of my thesis for the wider philosophical (...)
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  • Neural Findings and Economic Models: Why Brains Have Limited Relevance for Economics.Roberto Fumagalli - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (5):606-629.
    Proponents of neuroeconomics often argue that better knowledge of the human neural architecture enables economists to improve standard models of choice. In their view, these improvements provide compelling reasons to use neural findings in constructing and evaluating economic models. In a recent article, I criticized this view by pointing to the trade-offs between the modeling desiderata valued by neuroeconomists and other economists, respectively. The present article complements my earlier critique by focusing on three modeling desiderata that figure prominently in economic (...)
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  • On the Individuation of Choice Options.Roberto Fumagalli - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (4):338-365.
    Decision theorists have attempted to accommodate several violations of decision theory’s axiomatic requirements by modifying how agents’ choice options are individuated and formally represented. In recent years, prominent authors have worried that these modifications threaten to trivialize decision theory, make the theory unfalsifiable, impose overdemanding requirements on decision theorists, and hamper decision theory’s internal coherence. In this paper, I draw on leading descriptive and normative works in contemporary decision theory to address these prominent concerns. In doing so, I articulate and (...)
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  • On the neural enrichment of economic models: recasting the challenge.Roberto Fumagalli - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (2):201-220.
    In a recent article in this Journal, Fumagalli argues that economists are provisionally justified in resisting prominent calls to integrate neural variables into economic models of choice. In other articles, various authors engage with Fumagalli’s argument and try to substantiate three often-made claims concerning neuroeconomic modelling. First, the benefits derivable from neurally informing some economic models of choice do not involve significant tractability costs. Second, neuroeconomic modelling is best understood within Marr’s three-level of analysis framework for information-processing systems. And third, (...)
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  • A Reformed Division of Labor for the Science of Well-Being.Roberto Fumagalli - 2022 - Philosophy 97 (4):509-543.
    This paper provides a philosophical assessment of leading theory-based, evidence-based and coherentist approaches to the definition and the measurement of well-being. It then builds on this assessment to articulate a reformed division of labor for the science of well-being and argues that this reformed division of labor can improve on the proffered approaches by combining the most plausible tenets of theory-based approaches with the most plausible tenets of coherentist approaches. This result does not per se exclude the possibility that theory-based (...)
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  • Choice models and realistic ontologies: three challenges to neuro-psychological modellers.Roberto Fumagalli - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (1):145-164.
    Choice modellers are frequently criticized for failing to provide accurate representations of the neuro-psychological substrates of decisions. Several authors maintain that recent neuro-psychological findings enable choice modellers to overcome this alleged shortcoming. Some advocate a realistic interpretation of neuro-psychological models of choice, according to which these models posit sub-personal entities with specific neuro-psychological counterparts and characterize those entities accurately. In this article, I articulate and defend three complementary arguments to demonstrate that, contrary to emerging consensus, even the best available neuro-psychological (...)
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  • Economics, Psychology, and the Unity of the Decision Sciences.Roberto Fumagalli - 2016 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 46 (2):103-128.
    In recent years, several authors have reconstructed the relationship between 20th-century economic theory and neuro-psychological research in terms of a three-stage narrative of initial unity, increasing separation, and ongoing reunification. In this article, I draw on major developments in economic theory and neuro-psychological research to provide a descriptive and normative critique of this reconstruction. Moreover, I put forward a reconstruction of the relationship between economics and neuro-psychology that, I claim, better fits both the available empirical evidence and the methodological foundations (...)
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  • (F)utility Exposed.Roberto Fumagalli - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):955-966.
    In recent years, several authors have called to ground descriptive and normative decision theory on neuro-psychological measures of utility. In this paper, I combine insights from the best available neuro-psychological findings, leading philosophical conceptions of welfare and contemporary decision theory to rebut these prominent calls. I argue for two claims of general interest to philosophers, choice modellers and policy makers. First, severe conceptual, epistemic and evidential problems plague ongoing attempts to develop accurate and reliable neuro-psychological measures of utility. And second, (...)
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  • Five theses on neuroeconomics.Roberto Fumagalli - 2016 - Journal of Economic Methodology 23 (1):77-96.
    Over the last decade, neuroeconomic research has attracted increasing attention by economic modellers and methodologists. In this paper, I examine five issues about neuroeconomic modelling and methodology that have recently been subject to considerable controversy. For each issue, I explicate and appraise prominent neuroeconomists' findings, focusing on those that are claimed to directly inform economic theorizing. Moreover, I assess often-made assertions concerning how neuroeconomic research putatively advances the economic modelling of choice. In doing so, I combine review and critical arguments (...)
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  • Which choices merit deference? A comparison of three behavioural proxies of subjective welfare.João V. Ferreira - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    Recently several authors have proposed proxies of welfare that equate some choices with welfare. In this paper, I first distinguish between two prominent proxies: one based on context-independent choices and the other based on reason-based choices. I then propose an original proxy based on choices that individuals state they would want themselves to repeat at the time of the welfare/policy evaluation. I articulate three complementary arguments that, I claim, support confirmed choices as a more reliable proxy of welfare than context-independent (...)
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  • Don’t Stop Believing (Hold onto That Warm Fuzzy Feeling).Edward J. R. Elliott & Jessica Isserow - 2021 - Ethics 132 (1):4-37.
    If beliefs are a map by which we steer, then, ceteris paribus, we should want a more accurate map. However, the world could be structured so as to punish learning with respect to certain topics—by learning new information, one’s situation could be worse than it otherwise would have been. We investigate whether the world is structured so as to punish learning specifically about moral nihilism. We ask, if an ordinary person had the option to learn the truth about moral nihilism, (...)
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  • Embodied Decisions and the Predictive Brain.Christopher Burr - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Bristol
    Decision-making has traditionally been modelled as a serial process, consisting of a number of distinct stages. The traditional account assumes that an agent first acquires the necessary perceptual evidence, by constructing a detailed inner repre- sentation of the environment, in order to deliberate over a set of possible options. Next, the agent considers her goals and beliefs, and subsequently commits to the best possible course of action. This process then repeats once the agent has learned from the consequences of her (...)
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  • Imprecise Probabilities.Seamus Bradley - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Decision Sciences and the New Case for Paternalism: Three Welfare-Related Justificatory Challenges.Roberto Fumagalli - 2016 - Social Choice and Welfare 47 (2):459-480.
    Several authors have recently advocated a so-called new case for paternalism, according to which empirical findings from distinct decision sciences provide compelling reasons in favour of paternalistic interference. In their view, the available behavioural and neuro-psychological findings enable paternalists to address traditional anti-paternalistic objections and reliably enhance the well-being of their target agents. In this paper, I combine insights from decision-making research, moral philosophy and evidence-based policy evaluation to assess the merits of this case. In particular, I articulate and defend (...)
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