Gordon Belot argues that Bayesian theory is epistemologically immodest. In response, we show that the topological conditions that underpin his criticisms of asymptotic Bayesian conditioning are self-defeating. They require extreme a priori credences regarding, for example, the limiting behavior of observed relative frequencies. We offer a different explication of Bayesian modesty using a goal of consensus: rival scientific opinions should be responsive to new facts as a way to resolve their disputes. Also we address Adam Elga’s rebuttal to Belot’s analysis, (...) which focuses attention on the role that the assumption of countable additivity plays in Belot’s criticisms. (shrink)
The Sleeping Beauty problem has spawned a debate between “thirders” and “halfers” who draw conflicting conclusions about Sleeping Beauty's credence that a coin lands heads. Our analysis is based on a probability model for what Sleeping Beauty knows at each time during the experiment. We show that conflicting conclusions result from different modeling assumptions that each group makes. Our analysis uses a standard “Bayesian” account of rational belief with conditioning. No special handling is used for self-locating beliefs or centered propositions. (...) We also explore what fair prices Sleeping Beauty computes for gambles that she might be offered during the experiment. (shrink)
Recent cases have found factual disclosure requirements to be constitutional when imposed on abortion providers but unconstitutional when imposed on crisis pregnancy centers. This paper argues that the outcomes in both kinds of cases can be explained by courts' perception of abortion as an ideological, political, or moral act rather than as health care.
Drawing on the work of Levi-Strauss, Malinowski, Dumezil, Van Gennep, Eliade and many others, Dr. Marsland proposes a dual/triune structure to early religion--a structure which appears to be worldwide.Marslander discusses the ideas of E.B.Tylor?s PRIMITIVE CULTURE (1872); James Frazer?s GOLDEN BOUGH (1890): the work of the Cambridge Ritualists, such as Jane Harrison?s THEMIS (1912) and F.M.Cornford?s ORIGINS OF ATTIC COMMEDY (1914); and Jessie Weston?s FROM RITUAL TO ROMANCE (1920). Also explored are the epistemological dilemmas of culture-formation and cultural diffusion (...) based on mythic and societal change. This synthesis encompasses in a coherent whole gods, goddesses and their functions, festival rituals, the composition of sacred sites, the meaning of animal emblems and symbols in art, along with tribal social patterns. Taking a post-Lacanian view of the religious origin of culture, Dr.Marslander posits the use and structure of symbol in new and intricate ways. (shrink)
In the period from January 1920 to December 1921 a cooperation between Jessie Fauset, Augustus Dill and W.E.B. Du Bois resulted in the publication of a periodical called “The Brownies’ Book” the first publication for North American black, and not white children and young people. The creation of “The Brownies' Book” was a pioneering event in African American literature in general and, more specifically, in the field of African American children's literature, as it was the first periodical composed and (...) published by African Americans for black children who, until then, searched in vain for material that included a perspective on their experience and history. This article argues that the TBBs were one of the harbingers of the movement called the Harlem Renaissance, constituting a children's literary materialization of the path towards the emergence of what the philosopher Alain Locke called the New Negro. What was being formulated was both the deconstruction of stereotypes associated with blacks and the active projection/creation of a positive identification with their local and ancestral community. This paper seeks to identify the post-WWI discursive strategies and practices of de-racialization proposed for “the children of the sun”, as W.E.B. Du Bois called them, in order to stop seeing themselves “through the eyes of others”. (shrink)
Jessy Giroux | : J’aborde dans cet article un problème que je nomme le « spectre épistocratique ». Le problème se présente ainsi : s’il existe des vérités politiques, c’est-à-dire des positions politiques qui soient véritablement bonnes, ne devrait-on pas faire de l’atteinte de ces vérités politiques l’objectif central de notre système politique, ce qui pourrait nous conduire à limiter le pouvoir populaire afin de laisser les individus « éclairés » prendre toutes les décisions politiques ? J’explore différentes stratégies possibles (...) afin de défendre la démocratie contre l’attrait d’une telle épistocratie, et je conclus que la meilleure stratégie consiste à souligner qu’une démocratie délibérative bien organisée démontre un potentiel épistémique supérieur à tout autre système politique. Je termine en montrant comment une telle conclusion parvient à nous informer sur le phénomène de la contestation politique. | : In this paper, I consider a problem that I call the “epistocratic specter”. The problem goes as follows : if there are political truths, by which I mean political positions that are truly good, shouldn’t we make the attainment of such truths the central goal of our political system, which could lead us to restrict popular power and let only truly “enlightened” individuals make every political decision ? I explore various possible strategies in order to defend democracy against the appeal of such an epistrocratic system, and I conclude that the best available strategy is one that emphasizes that a well-organized deliberative democracy possesses an epistemic potential that is superior to that of any other political system. I conclude by showing how this fact can inform our understanding of the phenomenon of political dissent. (shrink)
Presupposing that our consideration of ethical issues can be enriched by examining literary works, this paper focuses on Marsha Norman's play ‘night, Mother. The play describes the last hour and a half in the life of Jessie, a young woman who decides to die by suicide. Before ending her life, Jessie explains to her mother her reasons for her suicide. In the context of the play, these are presented as quite weighty and as, perhaps, justifying her decision. Scholarly (...) research on the play has also treated Jessie's suicide favorably. In this paper I argue that Jessie, and people in similar conditions, are wrong to die by suicide. Among other points, I criticize Jessie's arguments from the impossibility to improve life; the assured termination of suffering; the badness of the world; and the right for suicide. I also criticize arguments in the scholarly literature that view Jessie's suicide favorably, such as the arguments from independence, heroism, authenticity, and emotional closeness. (shrink)
The paper illustrates how organic chemists dramatically altered their practices in the middle part of the twentieth century through the adoption of analytical instrumentation — such as ultraviolet and infrared absorption spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy — through which the difficult process of structure determination for small molecules became routine. Changes in practice were manifested in two ways: in the use of these instruments in the development of ‘rule-based’ theories; and in an increased focus on synthesis, at the expense (...) of chemical analysis. These rule-based theories took the form of generalizations relating structure to chemical and physical properties, as measured by instrumentation. This ‘Instrumental Revolution’ in organic chemistry was two-fold: encompassing an embrace of new tools that provided unprecedented access to structures, and a new way of thinking about molecules and their reactivity in terms of shape and structure. These practices suggest the possibility of a change in the ontological status of chemical structures, brought about by the regular use of instruments. The career of Robert Burns Woodward provides the central historical examples for the paper. Woodward was an organic chemist at Harvard from 1937 until the time of his death. In 1965, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. (shrink)
From Chaos to Creativity is a book that teaches readers how to build a productivity system that works with their art and with their lifestyle. Author Jessie Kwak helps readers tame the chaos that often surrounds a creative career and further enhance readers' creative output.
Amidst broad debates about the “New Green Revolution” in Africa, input-intensive agriculture is on the rise in some parts of Africa. This paper examines the underlying drivers of the recent and rapid adoption of herbicides and genetically modified seeds in the Burkina Faso cotton sector. Drawing on 8 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Houndé region, this article contends that economic and cultural dynamics—often considered separately in analyses of technology adoption—have co-produced a self-reinforcing technological treadmill. On the one hand, male (...) farmers seek to increase cotton production in response to an economic squeeze. At the same time, broader cultural shifts toward individualism have created labor shortages as a result of families splitting apart, parents putting their children in school, and some women and young men refusing to provide free labor. Male cotton farmers thus increase production by turning to labor-saving inputs like herbicides, but these inputs create more debt, further locking farmers into intensive production. This article thus expands on the classic concept of the technological treadmill, demonstrating how economic and cultural processes intersect within a process of agrarian change to drive labor-saving agricultural technology adoption in the Burkinabè cotton sector. This expanded treadmill concept illuminates the complex dynamics compelling farmers’ choices to opt into input-intensive agriculture, and also helps explain rising farmer differentiation, as poorer farmers struggle to stay afloat and wealthier farmers expand. (shrink)
This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
Visual perception relies on stored information and environmental associations to arrive at a determinate representation of the world. This opens up the disturbing possibility that our visual experiences could themselves be subject to a kind of racial bias, simply in virtue of accurately encoding previously encountered environmental regularities. This possibility raises the following question: what, if anything, is wrong with beliefs grounded upon these prejudicial experiences? They are consistent with a range of epistemic norms, including evidentialist and reliabilist standards for (...) justification. I argue that we will struggle to locate a flaw with these sorts of perceptual beliefs so long as we focus our analysis at the level of the individual and her response to information. We should instead broaden our analysis to include the social structure within which the individual is located. Doing so lets us identify a problem with the way in which unjust social structures in particular “gerrymander” the regularities an individual is exposed to, and by extension the priors their visual system draws on. I argue that in this way, social structures can cap perceptual skill. (shrink)
What kind of content must visual states have if they are to offer direct justification for our external world beliefs? How must they present that content if the degree of justification they provide is to reflect the nuance of our changing visual experiences? This paper offers an argument for the view that visual states comprise not only a content, but a confidence relation to that content. This confidence relation lets us explain how visual states can offer noninferential perceptual justification of (...) differing degrees for external world beliefs. These confidence relations let visual states justify beliefs in a way that is sensitive to subtle differences in the character of our visual experiences, while still allowing that visual states give us direct access to the external world in virtue of their content. (shrink)
By confronting variable use, the variationist method can reveal patterns of subjectification of grammatical morphemes. Applying this method to the analysis of salir(se) ‘go out’ variation in Mexican Spanish oral data, we conclude that subjectification is manifested structurally in the tendency for middle-marked salirse to co-occur with first-person singular or referents close to the speaker, positive polarity and the past tense. Further comparative dialectal and diachronic data indicate the origins of the se -marked form in physical spatial deviation. Usage of (...) the form then extends to situations that denote deviation from social norms. We thus propose that the locus of subjectification of this counter-expectation marker is an increasingly speaker-based construal of expectation. This semantic change appears to proceed via absorption of contextual meaning in the frequently occurring + de ‘from’ construction. (shrink)
What does it take to be prejudiced against a particular group? And is prejudice always epistemically problematic, or are there epistemically innocent forms of prejudice? In this paper, I argue that certain important forms of prejudice can be wholly constituted by the differential accessibility of certain pieces of information. These accessibility relations constitute a salience structure. A subject is prejudiced against a particular group when their salience structure is unduly organised around that category. This is significant because it reveals that (...) prejudice does not require the presence of any explicit cognitive or emotive attitude, nor need it manifest in behaviour: it can be solely constituted by the organisation of information, where that information may be accurate and well-founded. Nonetheless, by giving an account of ‘undue organisation’ in epistemic terms, I show that this account is compatible with an understanding of prejudice as a negatively valenced epistemic category. (shrink)