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  1. How to Read a Representor.Edward Elliott - forthcoming - Ergo.
    Imprecise probabilities are often modelled with representors, or sets of probability functions. In the recent literature, two ways of interpreting representors have emerged as especially prominent: vagueness interpretations, according to which each probability function in the set represents how the agent's beliefs would be if any vagueness were precisified away; and comparativist interpretations, according to which the set represents those comparative confidence relations that are common to all probability functions therein. I argue that these interpretations have some important limitations. I (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality and Hyperintensionality in Mathematics.Timothy Bowen - 2017 - Dissertation, Arché, University of St Andrews
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality and hyperintensionality and their applications to the philosophy of mathematics. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality and hyperintensionality relate to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality and hyperintensionality; the types of mathematical modality and hyperintensionality; to the epistemic status of large cardinal axioms, undecidable propositions, (...)
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  • What does incommensurability tell us about agency?Luke Elson - 2021 - In Henrik Andersson & Anders Herlitz (eds.), Value Incommensurability: Ethics, Risk. And Decision-Making. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 181-198.
    Ruth Chang and Joseph Raz have both drawn far-reaching consequences for agency from the phenomenon of incommensurability. After criticizing their arguments, I outline an alternative view: if incommensurability is vagueness, then there are no substantial implications for agency, except perhaps a limited form of naturalistic voluntarism if our reasons are provided by desires.
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  • The Worseness of Nonexistence.Theron Pummer - 2019 - In Saving Lives from the Badness of Death. Oxford University Press. pp. 215-228.
    Most believe that it is worse for a person to die than to continue to exist with a good life. At the same time, many believe that it is not worse for a merely possible person never to exist than to exist with a good life. I argue that if the underlying properties that make us the sort of thing we essentially are can come in small degrees, then to maintain this commonly-held pair of beliefs we will have to embrace (...)
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  • Modeling future indeterminacy in possibility semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - manuscript
    Possibility semantics offers an elegant framework for a semantic analysis of modal logic that does not recruit fully determinate entities such as possible worlds. The present papers considers the application of possibility semantics to the modeling of the indeterminacy of the future. Interesting theoretical problems arise in connection to the addition of object-language determinacy operator. We argue that adding a two-dimensional layer to possibility semantics can help solve these problems. The resulting system assigns to the two-dimensional determinacy operator a well-known (...)
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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • Seeming incomparability and rational choice.Leo Yan - 2022 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 21 (4):347-371.
    Politics, Philosophy & Economics, Volume 21, Issue 4, Page 347-371, November 2022. We sometimes have to choose between options that are seemingly incomparable insofar as they seem to be neither better than, worse than, nor equal to each other. This often happens when the available options are quite different from one another. For instance, consider a choice between prioritizing either criminal justice reform or healthcare reform as a public policy goal. Even after the relevant details of the goals and possible (...)
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  • Vagueness as Indecision.J. Robert G. Williams - 2016 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 90 (1):285-309.
    This essay explores the thesis that for vague predicates, uncertainty over whether a borderline instance x of red/large/tall/good is to be understood as practical uncertainty over whether to treat x as red/large/tall/good. Expressivist and quasi-realist treatments of vague predicates due to John MacFarlane and Daniel Elstein provide the stalking-horse. It examines the notion of treating/counting a thing as F , and links a central question about our attitudes to vague predications to normative evaluation of plans to treat a thing as (...)
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  • The Cognitive Role of Fictionality.J. Robert G. Williams & Richard Woodward - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    The question of the cognitive role of fictionality is this: what is the correct cognitive attitude to take to p, when it is fictional that p? We began by considering one answer to this question, implicit in the work of Kendall Walton, that the correct response to a fictional proposition is to imagine that proposition. However, this approach is silent in cases of fictional incompleteness, where neither p nor its negation are fictional. We argue that that Waltonians should embrace a (...)
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  • Rational Illogicality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):127-141.
    Many accounts of structural rationality give a special role to logic. This paper reviews the problem case of clear-eyed logical uncertainty. An account of rational norms on belief that does not give a special role to logic is developed: doxastic probabilism.
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  • Nonclassical Minds and Indeterminate Survival.J. Robert G. Williams - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (4):379-428.
    Revisionary theories of logic or truth require revisionary theories of mind. This essay outlines nonclassically based theories of rational belief, desire, and decision making, singling out the supervaluational family for special attention. To see these nonclassical theories of mind in action, this essay examines a debate between David Lewis and Derek Parfit over what matters in survival. Lewis argued that indeterminacy in personal identity allows caring about psychological connectedness and caring about personal identity to amount to the same thing. The (...)
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  • Indeterminate Oughts.J. Robert G. Williams - 2017 - Ethics 127 (3):645-673.
    Sometimes it is indeterminate what an agent morally ought do. This generates a Decision Ought Challenge—to give moral guidance to agents in such a scenario. This article is a field guide to the options for a theory of the decision ought for cases of indeterminacy. Three categories of view are evaluated, and the best representative for each is identified.
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  • Indeterminacy, Angst and Conflicting Values.Jrg Williams - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):412-433.
    How should we make choices where the values we subscribe to give conflicting recommendations? I will be defending a reduction of decision making under conflict to decision making under indeterminacy, in the spirit of Broome. To defend this, I set out and endorse the basic features of decision making under conflict that Ruth Chang identifies. I show that we find exactly those features in cases of decision making under indeterminacy not involving conflicting values. Further, my theory of decision making under (...)
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  • Scrying an Indeterminate World.Jason Turner - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):229-237.
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  • Indeterminacy and collective harms.Christine Tiefensee - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3307-3324.
    The ‘no-difference problem’ challenges us to explain in which way the occurrence of an aggregate effect gives us reason to act in a specific way, although our individual actions make no difference to the effect’s occurrence. When discussing this problem, philosophers usually distinguish between so-called ‘triggering cases’, where the aggregate effect in question is brought about upon reaching a precise threshold, and ‘non-triggering cases’, in which no such precise threshold exists. However, despite their relevant differences, it is widely assumed not (...)
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  • Is it Reasonable to Study Decision‐Making Quantitatively?Richard M. Shiffrin - 2022 - Topics in Cognitive Science 14 (3):621-633.
    Topics in Cognitive Science, Volume 14, Issue 3, Page 621-633, July 2022.
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  • Superhard Choices.Miguel F. Dos Santos - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):248-265.
    Sometimes, when comparing a pair of items, it appears that neither is better than the other, nor that they are equally good, relative to a certain value that they bear. Cases of this kind have come to be referred to as superhard comparisons. What grounds superhard comparisons? On the dominant views, held by Joseph Raz and Ruth Chang, they are grounded, at least partially, in the failure of the three classic value relations—‘better than’, ‘worse than’, and ‘equally good’. On an (...)
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  • Indeterminacy and Triviality.Paolo Santorio & J. Robert G. Williams - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (4):727-742.
    Suppose you’re certain that a claim—say, ‘Frida is tall’—does not have a determinate truth value. What attitude should you take towards it? This is the question of the cognitive role of indeterminacy. This paper presents a puzzle for theories of cognitive role. Many of these theories vindicate a seemingly plausible principle: if you are fully certain that A, you are rationally required to be fully certain that A is determinate. Call this principle ‘Certainty’. We show that Certainty, in combination with (...)
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  • Divided we fall.Jacob Ross - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):222-262.
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  • Counterfactuals, indeterminacy, and value: a puzzle.Eli Pitcovski & Andrew Peet - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-20.
    According to the Counterfactual Comparative Account of harm and benefit, an event is overall harmful for a subject to the extent that this subject would have been better off if it had not occurred. In this paper we present a challenge for the Counterfactual Comparative Account. We argue that if physical processes are chancy in the manner suggested by our best physical theories, then CCA faces a dilemma: If it is developed in line with the standard approach to counterfactuals, then (...)
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  • Moral Rightness Comes in Degrees.Martin Peterson - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (4):645-664.
    This article questions the traditional view that moral rightness and wrongness are discrete predicates with sharp boundaries. I contend that moral rightness and wrongness come in degrees: Some acts are somewhat rightandsomewhat wrong. My argument is based on the assumption that meaning tracks use. If an overwhelming majority of competent language users frequently say that some acts are a bit right and a bit wrong, this indicates that rightness and wrongnessaregradable concepts. To support the empirical part of the argument I (...)
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  • Abortion Is Neither Right Nor Wrong.Martin Peterson - 2022 - Journal of Value Inquiry 56 (2):219-240.
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  • Updating as Communication.Sarah Moss - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):225-248.
    Traditional procedures for rational updating fail when it comes to self-locating opinions, such as your credences about where you are and what time it is. This paper develops an updating procedure for rational agents with self-locating beliefs. In short, I argue that rational updating can be factored into two steps. The first step uses information you recall from your previous self to form a hypothetical credence distribution, and the second step changes this hypothetical distribution to reflect information you have genuinely (...)
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  • Subjunctive Credences and Semantic Humility.Sarah Moss - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (2):251-278.
    This paper argues that several leading theories of subjunctive conditionals are incompatible with ordinary intuitions about what credences we ought to have in subjunctive conditionals. In short, our theory of subjunctives should intuitively display semantic humility, i.e. our semantic theory should deliver the truth conditions of sentences without pronouncing on whether those conditions actually obtain. In addition to describing intuitions about subjunctive conditionals, I argue that we can derive these ordinary intuitions from justified premises, and I answer a possible worry (...)
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  • Global Constraints on Imprecise Credences: Solving Reflection Violations, Belief Inertia, and Other Puzzles.Sarah Moss - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (3):620-638.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 103, Issue 3, Page 620-638, November 2021.
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  • Credal Dilemmas.Sarah Moss - 2014 - Noûs 48 (3):665-683.
    Recently many have argued that agents must sometimes have credences that are imprecise, represented by a set of probability measures. But opponents claim that fans of imprecise credences cannot provide a decision theory that protects agents who follow it from foregoing sure money. In particular, agents with imprecise credences appear doomed to act irrationally in diachronic cases, where they are called to make decisions at earlier and later times. I respond to this claim on behalf of imprecise credence fans. Once (...)
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  • The dispositional account of credence.Anna Mahtani - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):727-745.
    In this paper I offer an alternative - the ‘dispositional account’ - to the standard account of imprecise probabilism. Whereas for the imprecise probabilist, an agent’s credal state is modelled by a set of credence functions, on the dispositional account an agent’s credal state is modelled by a set of sets of credence functions. On the face of it, the dispositional account looks less elegant than the standard account – so why should we be interested? I argue that the dispositional (...)
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  • Imprecise Probabilities and Unstable Betting Behaviour.Anna Mahtani - 2018 - Noûs 52 (1):69-87.
    Many have argued that a rational agent's attitude towards a proposition may be better represented by a probability range than by a single number. I show that in such cases an agent will have unstable betting behaviour, and so will behave in an unpredictable way. I use this point to argue against a range of responses to the ‘two bets’ argument for sharp probabilities.
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  • Imprecise Credences and Acceptance.Benjamin Lennertz - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
    Elga (2010) argues that no plausible decision rule governs action with imprecise credences. I follow Moss (2015a) in claiming that the solution to Elga’s challenge is found in the philosophy of mind, not in devising a special new decision rule. Moss suggests that in decision situations that involve imprecise credences, we must identify with a precise credence, but she says little about identification. By reflecting on the common conception of identification and on what is necessary for Moss’s solution to succeed, (...)
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  • Non-Measurability, Imprecise Credences, and Imprecise Chances.Yoaav Isaacs, Alan Hájek & John Hawthorne - 2021 - Mind 131 (523):892-916.
    – We offer a new motivation for imprecise probabilities. We argue that there are propositions to which precise probability cannot be assigned, but to which imprecise probability can be assigned. In such cases the alternative to imprecise probability is not precise probability, but no probability at all. And an imprecise probability is substantially better than no probability at all. Our argument is based on the mathematical phenomenon of non-measurable sets. Non-measurable propositions cannot receive precise probabilities, but there is a natural (...)
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  • Higher‐order evidence and losing one's conviction.Leah Henderson - 2022 - Noûs 56 (3):513-529.
    There has been considerable puzzlement over how to respond to higher-order evidence. The existing dilemmas can be defused by adopting a ‘two-dimensional’ representation of doxastic attitudes which incorporates not only substantive uncertainty about which first-order state of affairs obtains but also the degree of conviction with which we hold the attitude. This makes it possible that in cases of higher-order evidence the evidence sometimes impacts primarily on our conviction, rather than our substantive uncertainty. I argue that such a two-dimensional representation (...)
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  • Cluelessness.Hilary Greaves - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (3):311-339.
    Decisions, whether moral or prudential, should be guided at least in part by considerations of the consequences that would result from the various available actions. For any given action, however, the majority of its consequences are unpredictable at the time of decision. Many have worried that this leaves us, in some important sense, clueless. In this paper, I distinguish between ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ possible sources of cluelessness. In terms of this taxonomy, the majority of the existing literature on cluelessness focusses (...)
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  • Fallibility without Facts.Will Gamester - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8.
    If, as expressivists maintain, the function of normative thought and talk is not to represent or describe the world, then how can normative judgements be correct or incorrect? In particular, how can I make sense of my own normative fallibility, the possibility that my own normative judgements might be mistaken? In this paper, I construct and defend a substantive but non-representational theory of normative (in)correctness for expressivists. Inspired by Blackburn’s (1998: 318) proposal that I make sense of my fallibility in (...)
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  • Tenenbaum and Raffman on Vague Projects, the Self-Torturer, and the Sorites.Luke Elson - 2016 - Ethics 126 (2):474-488.
    Sergio Tenenbaum and Diana Raffman contend that ‘vague projects’ motivate radical revisions to orthodox, utility-maximising rational choice theory. Their argument cannot succeed if such projects merely ground instances of the paradox of the sorites, or heap. Tenenbaum and Raffman are not blind to this, and argue that Warren Quinn’s Puzzle of the Self-Torturer does not rest on the sorites. I argue that their argument both fails to generalise to most vague projects, and is ineffective in the case of the Self-Torturer (...)
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  • Incommensurability as vagueness: a burden-shifting argument.Luke Elson - 2017 - Theoria 83 (4):341-363.
    Two options are ‘incommensurate’ when neither is better than the other, but they are not equally good. Typically, we will say that one option is better in some ways, and the other in others, but neither is better ‘all things considered’. It is tempting to think that incommensurability is vagueness—that it is (perhaps) indeterminate which is better—but this ‘vagueness view’ of incommensurability has not proven popular. I set out the vagueness view and its implications in more detail, and argue that (...)
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  • Normative Decision Theory.Edward Elliott - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):755-772.
    A review of some major topics of debate in normative decision theory from circa 2007 to 2019. Topics discussed include the ongoing debate between causal and evidential decision theory, decision instability, risk-weighted expected utility theory, decision-making with incomplete preferences, and decision-making with imprecise credences.
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  • Ethical Vagueness and Practical Reasoning.Billy Dunaway - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):38-60.
    This paper looks at the phenomenon of ethical vagueness by asking the question, how ought one to reason about what to do when confronted with a case of ethical vagueness? I begin by arguing that we must confront this question, since ethical vagueness is inescapable. I then outline one attractive answer to the question: we ought to maximize expected moral value when confronted with ethical vagueness. This idea yields determinate results for what one rationally ought to do in cases of (...)
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  • Credal imprecision and the value of evidence.Nilanjan Das - 2023 - Noûs 57 (3):684-721.
    This paper is about a tension between two theses. The first is Value of Evidence: roughly, the thesis that it is always rational for an agent to gather and use cost‐free evidence for making decisions. The second is Rationality of Imprecision: the thesis that an agent can be rationally required to adopt doxastic states that are imprecise, i.e., not representable by a single credence function. While others have noticed this tension, I offer a new diagnosis of it. I show that (...)
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  • Imprecise evidence without imprecise credences.Jennifer Rose Carr - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2735-2758.
    Does rationality require imprecise credences? Many hold that it does: imprecise evidence requires correspondingly imprecise credences. I argue that this is false. The imprecise view faces the same arbitrariness worries that were meant to motivate it in the first place. It faces these worries because it incorporates a certain idealization. But doing away with this idealization effectively collapses the imprecise view into a particular kind of precise view. On this alternative, our attitudes should reflect a kind of normative uncertainty: uncertainty (...)
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  • Belief and Indeterminacy.Michael Caie - 2012 - Philosophical Review 121 (1):1-54.
    An attractive approach to the semantic paradoxes holds that cases of semantic pathology give rise to indeterminacy. What attitude should a rational agent have toward a proposition that it takes to be indeterminate in this sense? Orthodoxy holds that rationality requires that an agent disbelieve such a proposition. I argue that a rational agent should be such that it is indeterminate whether it believes the proposition in question. For rational agents, indeterminacy in the objects of their attitudes will filter up (...)
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  • Unspecific Evidence and Normative Theories of Decision.Rhys Borchert - forthcoming - Episteme:1-23.
    The nature of evidence is a problem for epistemology, but I argue that this problem intersects with normative decision theory in a way that I think is underappreciated. Among some decision theorists, there is a presumption that one can always ignore the nature of evidence while theorizing about principles of rational choice. In slogan form: decision theory only cares about the credences agents actually have, not the credences they should have. I argue against this presumption. In particular, I argue that (...)
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  • Tracking probabilistic truths: a logic for statistical learning.Alexandru Baltag, Soroush Rafiee Rad & Sonja Smets - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9041-9087.
    We propose a new model for forming and revising beliefs about unknown probabilities. To go beyond what is known with certainty and represent the agent’s beliefs about probability, we consider a plausibility map, associating to each possible distribution a plausibility ranking. Beliefs are defined as in Belief Revision Theory, in terms of truth in the most plausible worlds. We consider two forms of conditioning or belief update, corresponding to the acquisition of two types of information: learning observable evidence obtained by (...)
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  • Indeterminate permissibility and choiceworthy options.Adam Bales - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1693-1702.
    Various people have claimed that some cases involve indeterminate permissibility. However, it’s unclear what guidance one can take away from this fact: are indeterminately permissible options choiceworthy and if so when? In this paper, I present a counterexample that undermines two existing responses to this question and I then present two alternative solutions that avoid this counterexample.
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  • Decision-Theoretic Pluralism.Adam Bales - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):801-818.
    A prominent philosophical debate concerns whether we should accept causal decision theory or evidential decision theory as our best theory of rational choice. However, instead of accepting one of these theories at the expense of the other, an alternative would be to accept that both theories play a partial role in the true account of rational choice. In this paper, I defend a pluralist account of this sort. In particular, I argue that rational permissibility is an indeterminate notion, with EDT (...)
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  • An Absolutist Theory of Faultless Disagreement in Aesthetics.Carl Baker & Jon Robson - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (3):429-448.
    Some philosophers writing on the possibility of faultless disagreement have argued that the only way to account for the intuition that there could be disagreements which are faultless in every sense is to accept a relativistic semantics. In this article we demonstrate that this view is mistaken by constructing an absolutist semantics for a particular domain – aesthetic discourse – which allows for the possibility of genuinely faultless disagreements. We argue that this position is an improvement over previous absolutist responses (...)
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  • A Puzzle About Vagueness, Reasons, and Judicial Discretion.Hrafn Asgeirsson - 2022 - Legal Theory 28 (3):210-234.
    The following two theses seem both plausible and consistent: in cases where it is indeterminate whether the relevant legal language applies to the relevant set of facts, officials are not bound to decide the case one way rather than the other, but may reason either way; all reasons for action are—in some relevant sense—knowable. In this paper, I point out what I take to be a robust but unacknowledged tension between these two claims. The tension requires some careful teasing out, (...)
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  • On Evaluative Imprecision.Teruji Thomas - 2022 - In Jeff McMahan, Timothy Campbell, Ketan Ramakrishnan & Jimmy Goodrich (eds.), Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 478-497.
    This chapter presents several arguments related to Parfit's notion of evaluative imprecision and his imprecisionist lexical view of population ethics. After sketching Parfit's view, it argues that, contrary to Parfit, imprecision and lexicality are both compatible with thinking about goodness in terms of positions on a scale of value. Then, by examining the role that imprecision is meant to play in defusing spectrum argument, it suggests that imprecision should be identified with vagueness. Next, it argues that there is space for (...)
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  • Imprecise Probabilities.Seamus Bradley - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Topics in Population Ethics.Teruji Thomas - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    This thesis consists of several independent papers in population ethics. I begin in Chapter 1 by critiquing some well-known 'impossibility theorems', which purport to show there can be no intuitively satisfactory population axiology. I identify axiological vagueness as a promising way to escape or at least mitigate the effects of these theorems. In particular, in Chapter 2, I argue that certain of the impossibility theorems have little more dialectical force than sorites arguments do. From these negative arguments I move to (...)
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  • Pick the Sugar.Seamus Bradley - manuscript
    This paper presents a decision problem called the holiday puzzle. The decision problem is one that involves incommensurable goods and sequences of choices. This puzzle points to a tension between three prima facie plausible, but jointly incompatible claims. I present a way out of the trilemma which demonstrates that it is possible for agents to have incomplete preferences and to be dynamically rational. The solution also suggests that the relationship between preference and rational permission is more subtle than standardly assumed.
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