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Neil Levy
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The landscape of the moral responsibility/ free will debate has changed considerably in the approximately 15 years I've been involved in it. The pool is bigger and deeper than it was then. One significant change is that there are many more talented women making important contributions. Readers of Flickers should... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2016 at Flickers of Freedom
Natalie Gold has asked me to pass on the details of this two-year post-doc, which might be suitable for x-phi folks. The successful applicant will work with Natalie on her ERC funded project, “Self-control and the Person: An interdisciplinary account”. KCL has an excellent philosophy department, and is in close... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2014 at Experimental Philosophy
Nice discussion here:
That is the topic of the latest post on Big Questions on Line. It is sure to be of interest to those who are interested in that sort of thing. My review of a book edited by the author of the post is available here. Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
This will be my last post: I want to leave plenty of room for Eddy. I’ve had a good time doing this: it has stimulated me to think of things in different ways. I wrote a whole paper as a result of thinking through responses to a post. I even... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Just happened to notice that "Dark was the night" was on Ry Cooder's very first album (1970).
In comments, I have had a go at explaining how luck works to eliminate responsibility. I claim that the conjunction of constitutive luck – luck in how one is, roughly as a product of genes and environment – and present luck (for example, luck in how one makes decisions) eliminate... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Diego, no one is suggesting you are responsible for the decision of those who turn down invitations. It may be true, for a variety of women, that one needs to try extra efforts to get women to contribute than men (possible explanations: being in a minority means the bigger name women get more invitations, women may take family, committee and teaching commitments more seriously than men and a result have greater burdens, women may less confident about letting work be published before they have polished it longer... I have heard anecdotes along these lines, but I don't know if they are true). That entails that people like you who make some effort to invite women will end up with unbalanced volumes. The solution: try harder! Invite more women. If you can't think of more women (as you say) ask other people if they know any. There are helpful list of women working in various areas which a quick google will turn up. There is philpapers as a resource to find people. Why isn't it enough to do what you did? Because women are underrepresented in philosophy and that's a burden for those women who are working in it and a problem as a whole, and we all have an obligation to do something about that.
Todd claims that the John and Mary case is impotent against the zygote argument as Todd interprets it. Todd says (fairly) that our audience ought to be agnostic, not the committed compatibilist. So pointing out to the agnostic (who doesn’t know what to say about the compatibility question but has... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Two thirds of ‘my’ month is over, and you’re still waiting patiently for some philosophy. Here it is. I will shortly proceed to monger some intuitions about zygote cases. What I plan to do now is a two-part post. The first will reflect on the dialectic of these cases, just... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
At least, he would were it possible for anyone to deserve such a thing on the basis of their actions alone. Probably most of you have already seen this, but just in case...Working together with two students, Toni Adleberg and Morgan Thompson, Eddy has gathered some data on a really... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Exactly. The precedent gave Marois the opportunity to exploit this as a wedge issue. This is dog whistle politics: you are able to say one thing explicitly ("this is about safety, not religion or race") and know that another message is heard by segments of your constituency. It allows you to play to prejudice while disavowing it.
That is to say, the banning of garments on safety grounds has some precedent. It was silly in the English case: I am not defending it; I am saying that the Quebeckers can cite FIFA precedent. Of course, to right thinking people having FIFA on one's side would be an embarrassment.
Has some precedent:
As promised, a new post on a different topic. Again, this is going to be driven by thoughts about cognitive science. I may be giving those of you who don’t know my work a rather distorted picture. Don’t be put off reading Hard Luck because you’re skeptical or uninterested in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
As promised, a response to some of the comments made to my last post. I am going to make some general comments. Because this is so damn long, I am posting it as a new post. I will not make the responses explicit: instead I will use the comments section... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
On your worries about 8. It seems to me - partly on the basis of my own experience with acceptances and rejections - that at least some of the very best journals are more open to quirky, left-field papers than some of those slightly lower down the food chain. I think Nous for instance is more likely to look favourably on a quirky paper that is interesting but lacking in rigor in various ways than, say, Phil Stud. Clement, I don't want to try to exhume the history of any of my papers. But - echoing the advice Jore quotes - I get a lot of rejections. Sometimes a rejected paper gets published at a journal of similar quality, sometimes better, though usually I resubmit to a journal a tier down.
I said I wasn’t going to talk skepticism anymore, and here I am, talking about skepticism again. Further evidence that lack of belief in free will predicts anti-social behavior! I want to follow up on a debate that has been occurring in comments on my previous post. I apologize in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
One reason the free will/moral responsibility debate is interesting is that it is multifaceted: different people approach these topics from quite different perspectives, with different sets of questions in mind and different kinds of tools. Some are primarily concerned with the metaphysics of agency, others with questions in moral philosophy... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Greetings from the future! I write from Melbourne, Australia, where my principal employer, the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, is located. We here are 14 hours ahead of New York and 17 hours ahead of California. I am often asked “what it’s like in the future?” Well, with... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Hi Bruce, I tried to comment previously but my comment seems to have disappeared. Trying again. I was actually going to blog about this issue next month: now I'll have to try to think of something else... I've been thinking about this issue ever since I read your book. The move you make there, distinguishing between free will and moral responsibility and reserving scepticism for the latter alone is quite attractive (not least because if I adopted the view my life would be simplified, insofar as I could defend compatibilism without all the hedging I now have to do). Here's why I continue to resist. In a recent paper, David Chalmers gives the free will debate as an example of a dispute that is merely verbal. Once we produce appropriate subscripts, there is not a lot more to say. Do we have free will (subscript libertarian)? Well that's an empirical question (as Mark Balaguer has pointed out): is the brain indeterministic in the right kind of way? Do we have free will (subscript Fischer)? Well, yes, we do. Debate over; at least for philosophers. If the dispute is not to be merely verbal, there had better be some substantive question remaining, The obvious one is: is free will (subscript Fischer, or subscript Frankfurt, or..) sufficient for moral responsibility (in the post I was going to write, I was going to ask whether there are other candidates besides MR to make the issue substantive). Of course we can ask that question while distinguishing fw and mr, but at the cost of making the latter question merely verbal. By the way, a similar kind of issue arises wrt theorists who make mr very insubstantive. I need not be a skeptic about responsibility (subscript Scanlon) but that's because nothing hangs on that kind of responsibility.
I'm having trouble understanding the supposition. Is a "motivated biasing mechanism" a mechanism that has function of biasing reasoning? Why would we have such a mechanism? How would it evolve? It seems more likely that motivated reasoning is the product of an interplay of mechanisms: independent signals of costs alter the workings of whatever mechanism is involved. Neuropsychologically, almost all reasoning is the product of interacting mechanisms. It is open to Fischer to identify the relevant mechanism with the set of (neuropsychological) mechanisms that are involved in a token piece of reasoning, though I suspect that would entail that no mechanism is actually moderately reasons-responsive (because if we hold fixed that mechanism, we will see some weird reasoning).
Philippe Chuard has asked me to draw the attention of Flickerers to this forthcoming event. Here's the lineup: FRIDAY FEBRUARY 8 11:00am – 1:00pm: CAROLINA SARTORIO (Arizona) “Causation & Free Will” 3:00pm – 5:00pm: ERIC BARNES (SMU) “Drunk Drivers, Evil Characters, & Moral Responsibility” SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9 10:00am – 12:00am:... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2013 at Flickers of Freedom
Chandra, I think you may be right that there are epistemic conditions that are not control conditions; that's what Philip's case establishes. But there are also epistemic conditions of control, I contend. The mom knows that she is exposing her child to vaccines, and thereby satisfies the control relevant epistemic condition. I certainly lack surgical know how, and that may excuse me. But I also lack surgical knowing that; just where is the gall bladder anyway? If I had the first but not the second - quite possible, so far as I can see - I would lack control over the fact that the gall bladder is removed.
Damn you autocorrect: I do know your name, Clayton.