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Jacob Sparks
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  1. Can’t Buy Me Love.Jacob Sparks - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Research 42:341-352.
    Critics of commodification often claim that the buying and selling of some good communicates disrespect or some other inappropriate attitude. Such semiotic critiques have been leveled against markets in sex, pornography, kidneys, surrogacy, blood, and many other things. Brennan and Jaworski (2015a) have recently argued that all such objections fail. They claim that the meaning of a market transaction is a highly contingent, socially constructed fact. If allowing a market for one of these goods can improve the supply, access or (...)
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  2.  88
    Moral Occasionalism.David Killoren & Jacob Sparks - forthcoming - In Oxford Studies in Metaethics. pp. 299-325.
    This chapter develops Moral Occasionalism, according to which moral facts are grounded in certain natural facts, which are called sub-moral grounds, and these sub-moral grounds influence us in such a way as to induce largely correct moral beliefs. Moral Occasionalism is designed to explain the correlation of moral beliefs with the moral facts—and to do so in a way that is consistent with non-interactionist views, according to which moral facts neither influence nor are influenced by moral beliefs. It is argued (...)
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  3. Human-Centered AI: The Aristotelian Approach.Jacob Sparks & Ava Wright - 2023 - Divus Thomas 126 (2):200-218.
    As we build increasingly intelligent machines, we confront difficult questions about how to specify their objectives. One approach, which we call human-centered, tasks the machine with the objective of learning and satisfying human objectives by observing our behavior. This paper considers how human-centered AI should conceive the humans it is trying to help. We argue that an Aristotelian model of human agency has certain advantages over the currently dominant theory drawn from economics.
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  4. Is, Ought, and the Regress Argument.Jacob Sparks - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3):528-543.
    Many take the claim that you cannot ‘get’ an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ to imply that non- moral beliefs are by themselves incapable of justifying moral beliefs. I argue that this is a mistake and that the position that moral beliefs are justified exclusively by non-moral beliefs—a view that I call moral inferentialism—presents an attractive non-sceptical moral epistemology.
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  5. Anscombe's Relative Bruteness.Jacob Sparks - 2020 - Philosophical News 18:135-145.
    Ethical beliefs are not justified by familiar methods. We do not directly sense ethical properties, at least not in the straightforward way we sense colors or shapes. Nor is it plausible to think – despite a tradition claiming otherwise – that there are self-evident ethical truths that we can know in the way we know conceptual or mathematical truths. Yet, if we are justified in believing anything, we are justified in believing various ethical propositions e.g., that slavery is wrong. If (...)
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  6. Justifying the risks of COVID-19 challenge trials: The analogy with organ donation.Athmeya Jayaram, Jacob Sparks & Daniel Callies - 2022 - Bioethics 36 (1):100-106.
    In the beginning of the COVID pandemic, researchers and bioethicists called for human challenge trials to hasten the development of a vaccine for COVID. However, the fact that we lacked a specific, highly effective treatment for COVID led many to argue that a COVID challenge trial would be unethical and we ought to pursue traditional phase III testing instead. These ethical objections to challenge trials may have slowed the progress of a COVID vaccine, so it is important to evaluate their (...)
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  7. Rule by Automation: How Automated Decision Systems Promote Freedom and Equality.Athmeya Jayaram & Jacob Sparks - 2022 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 9 (2):201-218.
    Using automated systems to avoid the need for human discretion in government contexts – a scenario we call ‘rule by automation’ – can help us achieve the ideal of a free and equal society. Drawing on relational theories of freedom and equality, we explain how rule by automation is a more complete realization of the rule of law and why thinkers in these traditions have strong reasons to support it. Relational theories are based on the absence of human domination and (...)
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