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February 2015

Nick Baigent (LSE): “Revealed Preference – or should it be Revealed Choice?”

18 February 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
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March 2015

Shaun Hargreaves-Heap (KCL): An experiment on the stability of social preferences

4 March 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: This paper examines the robustness of individual pro-sociality and individual discriminatory behaviour, as measured by the in-group bias in pro-sociality. Discriminatory behaviour is not robust in two respects. First, there is discrimination in aggregate in the Trust and Public goods game but it disappears in the market framed decision over whether to compete. Second, individual discrimination in one decision…

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Antony Millner (LSE Grantham Institute): Resolving intertemporal conflicts: Economics vs. Politics

18 March 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Intertemporal conflicts occur when a group of agents with heterogeneous time preferences must make a collective decision. How should this be done? We examine two methods: an ‘Economics’ approach that emphasizes efficiency, and a ‘Politics’ approach in which agents vote over plans. If the group can commit to intertemporal plans Economics Pareto dominates Politics, regardless of whether agents’ preferences are…

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April 2015

Elliott Sober (Wisconsin): The Philosophical Significance of Stein’s Paradox

8 April 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Charles Stein discovered a paradox in 1955 that many statisticians think is of fundamental importance.  Here we explore its philosophical implications.  We outline the nature of Stein’s result and of subsequent work on shrinkage estimators; then we describe how these results are related to Bayesianism and to model selection criteria like AIC.  We also discuss their bearing on scientific realism…

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Jennifer Carr (Leeds): Accuracy without Consequences

29 April 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Veritism is the claim that the fundamental source of epistemic value of doxastic states is accuracy. I present some puzzles that show that in order for epistemic utility theory to vindicate veritism, its decision rules must be revised. But the revisionary form of epistemic utility conflicts with evidentialism. So epistemic utility theorists face a dilemma: they must give up…

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May 2015

Campbell Brown (Glasgow): Is Close Enough Good Enough?

13 May 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Suppose that we can spare someone a great harm, but only at the cost of allowing a lesser harm to befall a larger group of people. Does what we should do in this situation depend on the number of people in this group? According to the Close Enough View, the numbers matter only if the harm to the group…

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June 2015

Christopher Hitchcock (Caltech): Updating on the Credences of Others

10 June 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: How should you update your credences upon learning the credences of others? Because of the complexity of Bayesian conditionalization in this context, there has been considerable interest in developing simple heuristics, the most popular being linear averaging. However, linear averaging has a number of drawbacks: it does not commute with itself, nor with conditionalization; it does not preserve independence;…

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Brian Skyrms (University of California, Irvine): TBA

24 June 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: TBA

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July 2015

Matthew Adler (Duke): “Extended preferences and measuring well-being”

1 July 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: In this talk, I present an account of interpersonal comparisons – the so-called "extended preferences" account – for the case where individuals have heterogeneous preferences. The term "extended preferences" was introduced by John Harsanyi. My account builds from Harsanyi's pioneering work concerning interpersonal comparisons, and in recognition of his contribution I use that term. The key insights are, first,…

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October 2015

Luke Elson (Reading): “Indeterminacy and Permissibility”

21 October 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract:I defend a decision theory for action under indeterminacy: we ought to maximise an analogue of expected value. I argue that this decision theory renders the right result in the standard puzzling cases of action under indeterminacy, and allows indeterminism about vagueness to capture the decision-theoretic advantages of epistemicism. A surprising upshot of the view is that it is sometimes…

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Luke Fenton-Glynn (UCL): “Probabilistic Actual Causation”

28 October 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Suzy will throw a stone at a particular bottle if and only if Billy does not throw a stone at the bottle. Suzy is a better shot than Billy. In fact, Billy throws his stone at the bottle and, as luck would have it, he hits and breaks the bottle. Here Suzy’s intention to throw iff Billy doesn’t raises…

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November 2015

Peter Dennis (LSE): “What is Interpersonal Justification?”

4 November 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: We seek not only to be justified in our beliefs, but also to justify our beliefs to one another. While traditional epistemology has focused on the former kind of justification (viz. personal justification), it is through the latter kind (viz. interpersonal justification) that our most successful forms of enquiry make progress. Contrary to the received view, I argue that…

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Joe Mazor (LSE): “Moral Foundations of Fair Division”

11 November 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: The “fair division” approach to problems of distribution is increasingly prominent in welfare economics. Complex variations of hypothetical problems like dividing a cake have been analysed in detail, and the solutions have been applied to real world problems such as dividing an inheritance and allocating land rights. Although the problems of heterogeneity and indivisibility that are considered in these…

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Ralf Bader (Oxford): “Separability, choice consistency, and transitivity”

18 November 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: This paper focuses on the problem of option individuation as it arises in the context of separability, choice consistency and transitivity.

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Hilary Greaves (Oxford): “Against the badness of death”

25 November 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Orthodox choice-theoretic approaches (decision theory, social choice theory and so on) take the primary axiological notion to be an overall ordering of possible worlds. This is appropriate, since it is only via such an overall ordering that axiology plausibly connects to normativity. In possible contrast, many moral philosophers are more directly concerned with the goodness or badness of certain…

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December 2015

Ofra Magidor (Oxford): “Reflections on Reasons”

2 December 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: In this paper (co-authored with John Hawthorne), we offer a series reflections on the rather complex ideology of reasons. We start by introducing some common notions in the reasons literature: normative reasons; possessed normative reasons; and motivating reasons. In the first part of the paper we argue for a series of theses concerning these notions: that the normative reason…

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Magda Osman (Queen Mary University of London): “The value of effort”

9 December 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: The aim of this presentation is to provide psychological insights into the relationship between rewards and effort. The association between the two may seem trivially simple, that is, we put more in to get more back. In addition to this, other simple assumptions that are held in psychological and behavioural economic literature (i.e. effort is aversive, effort aversion is…

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February 2016

Franz Dietrich (CNRS): “Decisions under uncertainty with variable concepts of outcomes and states”

4 February 2016, 11:30 am1:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: A notorious problem with Savage's decision theory and much of the literature on decisions under uncertainty is the reliance on ready-made and fixed concepts of outcomes and states. Real decision makers first of all need to form such concepts before even beginning to engage into expected-utility reasoning. Worse, a real agent’s concepts of outcomes and states – that is,…

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James Joyce (Michigan): “Accuracy, Updating, and the Choice of Scoring Rules”

4 February 2016, 2:00 pm3:30 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Proponents of an accuracy-centered epistemology have argued that proper scoring rules can be used to assess the accuracy of degrees of belief (or “credences”), and have suggested that certain core epistemic norms for credecnces can be understood and justified with the help of such rules. Many who go this route are attracted to the idea that revising credences in light…

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Gerald Lang (Leeds): “Equality and Variation”

24 February 2016, 5:30 pm7:00 pm
LAK 2.06, Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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Abstract: Egalitarians usually task themselves with answering the "equality of what?" question, having assumed that we already enjoy a status as "abstract" equals. But what is it about us which is such that we are owed an equal amount of something-or-other? This is what Jeremy Waldron calls "basic equality". Human beings come in all shapes and sizes, and exhibit striking…

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