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  1. The Evidentialist's Wager.William MacAskill, Aron Vallinder, Caspar Oesterheld, Carl Shulman & Johannes Treutlein - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    Suppose that an altruistic agent who is uncertain between evidential and causal decision theory finds herself in a situation where these theories give conflicting verdicts. We argue that even if she has significantly higher credence in CDT, she should nevertheless act in accordance with EDT. First, we claim that the appropriate response to normative uncertainty is to hedge one’s bets. That is, if the stakes are much higher on one theory than another, and the credences you assign to each of (...)
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  • On Keeping Things in Proportion.Adam Lovett & Stefan Riedener - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (3).
    Formula One isn’t very important. You can't care about it too much. The refugee crisis is more important. You can care about it much more. In this paper we investigate how important something is. By ‘importance’ we mean how much it is fitting to care about a thing. We explore a view about this which we call Proportionalism. This view says that a thing’s importance depends on that thing’s share of the world’s total value. The more of what matters there (...)
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  • The Personite Problem: Should Practical Reason Be Tabled?Mark Johnston - 2016 - Noûs 50 (4):617-644.
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  • Infinite Aggregation: Expanded Addition.Hayden Wilkinson - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    How might we extend aggregative moral theories to compare infinite worlds? In particular, how might we extend them to compare worlds with infinite spatial volume, infinite temporal duration, and infinitely many morally valuable phenomena? When doing so, we face various impossibility results from the existing literature. For instance, the view we adopt can endorse the claim that 1) worlds are made better if we increase the value in every region of space and time, or 2) that they are made better (...)
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  • Exceeding Expectations: Stochastic Dominance as a General Decision Theory.Christian Tarsney - manuscript
    The principle that rational agents should maximize expected utility or choiceworthiness is intuitively plausible in many ordinary cases of decision-making under uncertainty. But it is less plausible in cases of extreme, low-probability risk (like Pascal's Mugging), and intolerably paradoxical in cases like the St. Petersburg and Pasadena games. In this paper I show that, under certain conditions, stochastic dominance reasoning can capture most of the plausible implications of expectational reasoning while avoiding most of its pitfalls. Specifically, given sufficient background uncertainty (...)
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  • Infinite Value and the Best of All Possible Worlds.Nevin Climenhaga - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):367-392.
    A common argument for atheism runs as follows: God would not create a world worse than other worlds he could have created instead. However, if God exists, he could have created a better world than this one. Therefore, God does not exist. In this paper I challenge the second premise of this argument. I argue that if God exists, our world will continue without end, with God continuing to create value-bearers, and sustaining and perfecting the value-bearers he has already created. (...)
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  • Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards.Nick Bostrom - unknown
    Because of accelerating technological progress, humankind may be rapidly approaching a critical phase in its career. In addition to well-known threats such as nuclear holocaust, the propects of radically transforming technologies like nanotech systems and machine intelligence present us with unprecedented opportunities and risks. Our future, and whether we will have a future at all, may well be determined by how we deal with these challenges. In the case of radically transforming technologies, a better understanding of the transition dynamics from (...)
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  • The Epistemic Problem Does Not Refute Consequentialism.Tyler Cowen - 2006 - Utilitas 18 (4):383.
    “Perhaps the most common objection to consequentialism is this: it is impossible to know the future…This means that you will never be absolutely certain as to what all the consequences of your act will be…there may be long term bad effects from your act, side effects that were unforeseen and indeed unforeseeable…So how can we tell which act will lead to the best results overall – counting all the results? This seems to mean that consequentialism will be unusable as a (...)
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  • Literal Self-Deception.Maiya Jordan - 2020 - Analysis 80 (2):248-256.
    It is widely assumed that a literal understanding of someone’s self-deception that p yields the following contradiction. Qua self-deceiver, she does not believe that p, yet – qua self-deceived – she does believe that p. I argue that this assumption is ill-founded. Literalism about self-deception – the view that self-deceivers literally self-deceive – is not committed to this contradiction. On the contrary, properly understood, literalism excludes it.
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  • Consequentialism in Infinite Worlds.Adam Jonsson & Martin Peterson - 2020 - Analysis 80 (2):240-248.
    We show that in infinite worlds the following three conditions are incompatible: The spatiotemporal ordering of individuals is morally irrelevant. All else being equal, the act of bringing about a good outcome with a high probability is better than the act of bringing about the same outcome with a low probability. One act is better than another only if there is a nonzero probability that it brings about a better outcome. The impossibility of combining these conditions shows that it is (...)
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  • Rationality and Moral Risk: A Moderate Defense of Hedging.Christian Tarsney - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Maryland
    How should an agent decide what to do when she is uncertain not just about morally relevant empirical matters, like the consequences of some course of action, but about the basic principles of morality itself? This question has only recently been taken up in a systematic way by philosophers. Advocates of moral hedging claim that an agent should weigh the reasons put forward by each moral theory in which she has positive credence, considering both the likelihood that that theory is (...)
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  • Philosophical Implications of Inflationary Cosmology.Joshua Knobe, Ken D. Olum & And Alexander Vilenkin - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):47-67.
    Recent developments in cosmology indicate that every history having a non-zero probability is realized in infinitely many distinct regions of spacetime. Thus, it appears that the universe contains infinitely many civilizations exactly like our own, as well as infinitely many civilizations that differ from our own in any way permitted by physical laws. We explore the implications of this conclusion for ethical theory and for the doomsday argument. In the infinite universe, we find that the doomsday argument applies only to (...)
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  • Some Possibilities in Population Axiology.Teruji Thomas - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):807-832.
    It is notoriously difficult to find an intuitively satisfactory rule for evaluating populations based on the welfare of the people in them. Standard examples, like total utilitarianism, either entail the Repugnant Conclusion or in some other way contradict common intuitions about the relative value of populations. Several philosophers have presented formal arguments that seem to show that this happens of necessity: our core intuitions stand in contradiction. This paper assesses the state of play, focusing on the most powerful of these (...)
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  • Rationality with Respect to People, Places, and Times.Larry S. Temkin - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5-6):576-608.
    There is a rich tradition within game theory, decision theory, economics, and philosophy correlating practical rationality with impartiality, and spatial and temporal neutrality. I argue that in some cases we should give priority to people over both times and places, and to times over places. I also show how three plausible dominance principles regarding people, places, and times conflict, so that we cannot accept all three. However, I argue that there are some cases where we should give priority to times (...)
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  • Anton's Game: Deontological Decision Theory for an Iterated Decision Problem.Seth Lazar - 2017 - Utilitas 29 (1):88-109.
    How should deontologists approach decision-making under uncertainty, for an iterated decision problem? In this paper I explore the shortcomings of a simple expected value approach, using a novel example to raise questions about attitudes to risk, the moral significance of tiny probabilities, the independent moral reasons against imposing risks, the morality of sunk costs, and the role of agent-relativity in iterated decision problems.
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  • Trusting Moral Intuitions.John Bengson, Terence Cuneo & Russ Shafer‐Landau - forthcoming - Noûs.
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  • Classification of Global Catastrophic Risks Connected with Artificial Intelligence.Alexey Turchin & David Denkenberger - 2020 - AI and Society 35 (1):147-163.
    A classification of the global catastrophic risks of AI is presented, along with a comprehensive list of previously identified risks. This classification allows the identification of several new risks. We show that at each level of AI’s intelligence power, separate types of possible catastrophes dominate. Our classification demonstrates that the field of AI risks is diverse, and includes many scenarios beyond the commonly discussed cases of a paperclip maximizer or robot-caused unemployment. Global catastrophic failure could happen at various levels of (...)
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  • Axiological Absolutism and Risk.Seth Lazar & Chad Lee‐Stronach - 2019 - Noûs 53 (1):97-113.
    Consider the following claim: given the choice between saving a life and preventing any number of people from temporarily experiencing a mild headache, you should always save the life. Many moral theorists accept this claim. In doing so, they commit themselves to some form of ‘moral absolutism’: the view that there are some moral considerations that cannot be outweighed by any number of lesser moral considerations. In contexts of certainty, it is clear what moral absolutism requires of you. However, what (...)
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  • Formalizing Preference Utilitarianism in Physical World Models.Caspar Oesterheld - 2016 - Synthese 193 (9).
    Most ethical work is done at a low level of formality. This makes practical moral questions inaccessible to formal and natural sciences and can lead to misunderstandings in ethical discussion. In this paper, we use Bayesian inference to introduce a formalization of preference utilitarianism in physical world models, specifically cellular automata. Even though our formalization is not immediately applicable, it is a first step in providing ethics and ultimately the question of how to “make the world better” with a formal (...)
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  • Predicting Divine Action.Hugh Burling - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):785-801.
    This article sets out a formal procedure for determining the probability that God would do a specified action, using our moral knowledge and understanding God as a perfect being. To motivate developing the procedure I show how natural theology – design arguments, the problems of evil and divine hiddenness, and the treatment of miracles and religious experiences as evidence for claims about God – routinely appeals to judgments involving these probabilities. To set out the procedure, I describe a decision-theoretic model (...)
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  • Utilitarianism, Decision Theory and Eternity.Frank Arntzenius - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):31-58.
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  • The Hard Problem of the Many.Jonathan A. Simon - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):449-468.
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