The world has surpassed three million deaths from COVID-19, and faces potentially catastrophic tipping points in the global climate system. Despite the urgency, governments have struggled to address either problem. In this paper, we argue that COVID-19 and anthropogenic climate change (ACC) are critical examples of an emerging type of governance challenge: severe collective action problems that require significant individual behavior change under conditions of hyper- partisanship and scientific misinformation. Building on foundational political science work demonstrating the potential for norms (...) (or informal rules of behavior) to solve collective action problems, we analyze more recent work on norms from neighboring disciplines to offer novel recommendations for more difficult challenges like COVID-19 and ACC. Key insights include more attention to (1) norm-based messaging strategies that appeal to individuals across the ideological spectrum or that reframe collective action as consistent with resistant subgroups’ pre-existing values, (2) messages that emphasize both the prevalence and the social desirability of individual behaviors required to address these challenges, (3) careful use of public policies and incentives that make individual behavior change easier without threatening norm internalization, and (4) greater attention to epistemic norms governing trust in different information sources. We conclude by pointing out that COVID-19 and climate change are likely harbingers of other polarized collective action problems that governments will face in the future. By connecting work on norms and political governance with a broader, interdisciplinary literature on norm psychology, motivation, and behavior change, we aim to improve the ability of political scientists and policy makers to respond to these and future collective action challenges. (shrink)
Last year I published a short article urging bioethicists to carefully examine the question of what ought to constitute the canonical issues topics and questions driving research and teaching in bioethics. Why some subjects dominate the field whereas other topics are regarded as matters for scholars in other disciplines is a question that has intrigued me for nearly a decade. How are the boundaries of bioethics established? What factors influence research agendas and the creation of bioethics curricula? How do funding (...) agencies, editors, and leading scholars shape the field of bioethics? These questions are increasingly receiving scrutiny from Charles Bosk, Raymond De Vries, and other researchers as they explore the sociology of bioethics and the “construction” of the “ethical enterprise.". (shrink)
The Raymond Tallis Reader provides a comprehensive survey of the work of this passionate, perceptive, and often controversial thinker. Key selections from Tallis's major works are supplemented by Michael Grant's detailed introduction and linking commentary. From nihilism to Theorrhoea, from literary theory to the role of the unconscious, The Raymond Tallis Reader guides us through the panoptic sweep of Tallis's critical insights and reveals a way of thinking for the 21st century.
At the turn of the 21st century, Susan Leigh Anderson and Michael Anderson conceived and introduced the Machine Ethics research program, that aimed to highlight the requirements under which autonomous artificial intelligence systems could demonstrate ethical behavior guided by moral values, and at the same time to show that these values, as well as ethics in general, can be representable and computable. Today, the interaction between humans and AI entities is already part of our everyday lives; in the near (...) future it is expected to play a key role in scientific research, medical practice, public administration, education and other fields of civic life. In view of this, the debate over the ethical behavior of machines is more crucial than ever and the search for answers, directions and regulations is imperative at an academic, institutional as well as at a technical level. Our discussion with the two inspirers and originators of Machine Ethics highlights the epistemological, metaphysical and ethical questions arising by this project, as well as the realistic and pragmatic demands that dominate artificial intelligence and robotics research programs. Most of all, however, it sheds light upon the contribution of Susan and Michael Anderson regarding the introduction and undertaking of a main objective related to the creation of ethical autonomous agents, that will not be based on the “imperfect” patterns of human behavior, or on preloaded hierarchical laws and human-centric values. (shrink)
Former colleagues of distinguished philosopher Raymond Klibansky examine tolerance from a number of perspectives, including historical roots in Bayle and Locke, the plea for tolerance in literature and poetry, as well as judicial, cultural and societal aspects.
Does anyone ever survive his or her bodily death ? Could anyone? No speculative questions are older than these, or have been answered more frequently or more variously. None have been laid to rest more often, or — in our times — with more claimed decisiveness. Jay Rosenberg, for instance, no doubt speaks for many contemporary philosophers when he claims, in his recent book, to have ‘ demonstrated ’ that ‘ we cannot [even] make coherent sense of the supposed possibility (...) that a person's history might continue beyond that person's [bodily] death’. (shrink)
When society seems to demand confidence and certainty, how much courage does it take to admit doubt, especially self-doubt? In this personal essay, one of Australia's most respected journalists argues in favour of a doubtful mind.
Leigh Van Valen was an American evolutionary biologist who made major contributions to evolutionary theory. He is particularly remembered for his groundbreaking paper “A New Evolutionary Law” (1973) where he provided evidence from fossil record data that the probability of extinction within any group remains essentially constant through time. In order to explain such an unexpected result, Van Valen formulated a very influential idea that he dubbed the “Red Queen hypothesis.” It states that the constant decay must be a (...) consequence of evolutionary interactions among connected species within ecological networks. In Van Valen’s picture, species do not merely evolve: they also coevolve with other species. As a consequence, when thinking about adaptation to an external environment, the other species must be considered as part (maybe a major part) of such an external world. Van Valen’s law provided the first complex systems theory of coevolutionary dynamics and inspired a whole range of theoretical and experimental developments from very diverse fields, percolating far beyond its original formulation. Red Queen arms races are nowadays considered a widespread feature of complex adaptive systems. (shrink)
Economies are complicated systems encompassing micro behaviors, interaction patterns, and global regularities. Whether partial or general in scope, studies of economic systems must consider how to handle difficult real-world aspects such as asymmetric information, imperfect competition, strategic interaction, collective learning, and the possibility of multiple equilibria. Recent advances in analytical and computational tools are permitting new approaches to the quantitative study of these aspects. One such approach is Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE), the computational study of economic processes modeled as dynamic (...) systems of interacting agents. This chapter explores the potential advantages and disadvantages of ACE for the study of economic systems. General points are concretely illustrated using an ACE model of a two-sector decentralized market economy. Six issues are highlighted: Constructive understanding of production, pricing, and trade processes; the essential primacy of survival; strategic rivalry and market power; behavioral uncertainty and learning; the role of conventions and organizations; and the complex interactions among structural attributes, institutional arrangements, and behavioral dispositions. (shrink)
Trust is often an assumed outcome of participation in Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) as they directly connect producers with consumers. It is based on this potential for trust “between producers and consumers” that AFNs have emerged as a significant field of food studies analysis as it also suggests a capacity for AFNs to foster associated embedded qualities, like ‘morality’, ‘social justice’, ‘ecology’ and ‘equity’. These positive benefits of AFNs, however, cannot be taken for granted as trust is not necessarily an (...) outcome of AFN participation. Using Chinese case studies of AFNs, which are characterised by a distinct form of trust pressure—consumers who are particularly cynical about small scale farmers, food safety and the organic credentials of producers—this paper highlights how the dynamics of trust are in constant flux between producers and consumers. I suggest that it is the careful construction of the aesthetic and multi-sensory qualities of food, which is often celebrated via social media, that human centred relations in Chinese AFNs are mediated. This leads to two key conclusions: first, that the key variable for establishing trust is satisfying the consumer's desire for safe (i.e. "fresh") food; and second, the materiality of the food and the perception of foods materiality (especially through social media), must both be actively constructed by the farmer to fit the consumer's ideal of freshness. (shrink)
In “Global Knowledge Frameworks and the Tasks of Cross-Cultural Philosophy,” Leigh Jenco searches for the conception of knowledge that best justifies the judgment that one can learn from non-local traditions of philosophy. Jenco considers four conceptions of knowledge, namely, in catchwords, the esoteric, Enlightenment, hermeneutic, and self- transformative conceptions of knowledge, and she defends the latter as more plausible than the former three. In this critical discussion of Jenco’s article, I provide reason to doubt the self-transformative conception, and also (...) advance a fifth, pluralist conception of knowledge that I contend best explains the prospect of learning from traditions other than one’s own. (shrink)
Recipient of Choice Magazine's 1996 Outstanding Academic Book Award Author Raymond Morrow outlines and recounts the development of the major tenets of critical theory, exemplifying them through the works of two of their most influential, recent adherents: Jürgen Habermas and Anthony Giddens. Beginning with a comprehensive yet meticulous explication of critical theory and its history, the author next discusses it within the context of a research program; his work concludes with an examination of empirical methods. Emphasizing the connections between (...) critical theory, empirical research, and social science methodology, Morrow's volume offers refreshing insights on traditional and current material. (shrink)
_Decolonizing Educational Research_ examines the ways through which coloniality manifests in contexts of knowledge and meaning making, specifically within educational research and formal schooling. Purposefully situated beyond popular deconstructionist theory and anthropocentric perspectives, the book investigates the longstanding traditions of oppression, racism, and white supremacy that are systemically reseated and reinforced by learning and social interaction. Through these meaningful explorations into the unfixed and often interrupted narratives of culture, history, place, and identity, a bold, timely, and hopeful vision emerges to (...) conceive of how research in secondary and higher education institutions might break free of colonial genealogies and their widespread complicities. (shrink)
The Buddhist jhanas--successive states of deep focus or meditative absorbtion--demystified. A very practical guidebook for meditators for navigating their way through these states of bliss and concentration. One of the elements of the Eightfold Path the Buddha taught is Right Concentration: the one-pointedness of mind that, together with ethics, livelihood, meditation, and so forth, leads to the ultimate freedom from suffering. The Jhanas are the method the Buddha himself taught for achieving Right Concentration. They are a series of eight successive (...) states, beginning with bliss and moving on toward radically nonconceptual states. The fact that they can usually be achieved only during prolonged meditation retreat tends to keep them shrouded in mystery. Leigh Brasington is here to unshroud them. He takes away the mystique and gives instructions for them in plain, accessible language, noting the various pitfalls to avoid along the way, and then providing a wealth of material on the theory of jhana practice--all geared toward the practitioner rather than the scholar. (shrink)
The explosive growth in computational power over the past several decades offers new tools and opportunities for economists. This handbook volume surveys recent research on Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE), the computational study of economic processes modeled as open-ended dynamic systems of interacting agents. Empirical referents for “agents” in ACE models can range from individuals or social groups with learning capabilities to physical world features with no cognitive function. Topics covered include: learning; empirical validation; network economics; social dynamics; financial markets; innovation (...) and technological change; organizations; market design; automated markets and trading agents; political economy; social-ecological systems; computational laboratory development; and general methodological issues. (shrink)
When, why, and how does interpersonal forgiveness occur? These questions guided recent research that compared the relative abilities of empathy versus motivated reasoning models to account for the influence of relationship closeness on interpersonal forgiveness. Consistent support was provided for the Model of Motivated Interpersonal Forgiveness. This model hypothesizes that following relationship transgressions, relationship closeness leads to a desire to maintain a relationship. Desire to maintain a relationship leads to motivated reasoning. And motivated reasoning fosters interpersonal forgiveness. The goal of (...) the present research was to examine two concerns that emerged from the initial support for the Model of Motivated Interpersonal Forgiveness. First, were the measures of motivated reasoning and interpersonal forgiveness conflated, thus reducing the potential for empathy to account for interpersonal forgiveness? Second, did the analytic estimation used reduce the power to detect the mediational role of empathy? The present research examined these questions. When motivated reasoning was measured by thought listings (in addition to the original questionnaire items) and when the analytic estimation provided greater power, the Model of Motivated Interpersonal Forgiveness was replicated. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for the superiority of a critical realist understanding of interdisciplinarity over a mainstream understanding of it. I begin by exploring the reasons for the failure of mainstream researchers to achieve interdisciplinarity. My main argument is that mainstream interdisciplinary researchers tend to hypostatize facts, fetishize constant conjunctions of events and apply to open systems an epistemology designed for closed systems. I also explain how mainstream interdisciplinarity supports oppression and gross inequality. I argue that mainstream interdisciplinarity is (...) not true interdisciplinarity and refer to it accordingly as ‘condisciplinarity’. By way of example, I examine the condisciplinarity of the World Health Organization’s ecological model applied to the issue of men’s violence against women. Specifically, I argue that critical realist interdisciplinarity is preferable because it acknowledges inter alia the empirical, actual and real layers of reality, which allows it to develop depth-explanations of phenomena. In practice, this means that critical realist interdisciplinarity can potentially provide explanations that, compared to condisciplinarity, are broader and deeper. In the World Health Organization’s example of the causes of men’s violence against women, condisciplinarity resulted in the absence of historical, global and unconscious aspects of the problem. It is also restricted the analysis to reductive, constant-conjunction based theories of the causes of the problem, specifically ‘risk factors’, thereby providing a relatively shallow explanation for the problem. (shrink)
The Internet has drastically changed how people interact, communicate, conduct business, seek jobs, find partners, and shop. Millions of people are using social networking sites to connect with others, and employers are using these sites as a source of background information on jobapplicants.Employers report making decisions not to hire people based on the information posted on social networking sites. Few employers have policies in place to govern when and how these online character checks should be used and how to ensure (...) that the information viewed is accurate. In this article, we explore how these inexpensive, informal online character checks are harmful to society. Guidance is provided to employers on when and how to use these sites in a socially responsible manner. (shrink)