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Luc Bovens
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  1.  40
    'From Each According to Ability; To Each According to Needs': Origin, Meaning, and Development of Socialist Slogans.Luc Bovens & Adrien Lutz - forthcoming - History of Political Economy.
    There are three slogans in the history of Socialism that are very close in wording, viz. the famous Cabet-Blanc-Marx slogan: "From each according to his ability; To each according to his needs"; the earlier Saint-Simon-Pecqueur slogan: "To each according to his ability; To each according to his works"; and the later slogan in Stalin’s Soviet Constitution: "From each according to his ability; To each according to his work." We will consider the following questions regarding these slogans: a) What are the (...)
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  2.  37
    Secular Hopes in the Face of Death.Luc Bovens - forthcoming - In Rochelle Green (ed.), Theories of Hope: Exploring Alternative Affective Dimensions of Human Experience. Lexington Press.
    I discuss various questions concerning secular hopes in the face of death, that is, hopes other than the hope for eternal life. What is it to hope that one has lived a worthwhile life? Is there some contemporary analogue to Aristotle claim that death on the battlefield is the most desirable death? “After me the downfall” said Louis XV—what interest should we take in the world in which we are no more? In her poem “Song” Christina Rossetti asks her beloved (...)
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  3.  20
    The Ethics of Making Risky Decisions for Others.Luc Bovens - forthcoming - In Mark D. White (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Economics. Oxford University Press.
    Utilitarianism, it has been said, is not sensitive to the distribution of welfare. In making risky decisions for others there are multiple sensitivities at work. I present examples of risky decision-making involving drug allocations, charitable giving, breast-cancer screening and C-sections. In each of these examples there is a different sensitivity at work that pulls away from the utilitarian prescription. Instances of saving fewer people at a greater risk to many is more complex because there are two distributional sensitivities at work (...)
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  4.  30
    Commentary: Why Couldn't I Be Nudged to Like a Big Mac.Luc Bovens - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (8):495-6.
    In this commentary on Yashar Saghai's article "Salvaging the Concept of Nudge" (JME 2013) I discuss his distinction between a 'prod' (which is 'substantially controlling') and a 'nudge' (which is ‘substantially non-controlling’).
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  5.  13
    The Ethics of Nudge.Luc Bovens - 2008 - In Mats J. Hansson & Till Grüne-Yanoff (eds.), Preference Change: Approaches from Philosophy, Economics and Psychology. Berlin: Springer, Theory and Decision Library A. pp. 207-20.
    In their recently published book Nudge (2008) Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein (T&S) defend a position labelled as ‘libertarian paternalism’. Their thinking appeals to both the right and the left of the political spectrum, as evidenced by the bedfellows they keep on either side of the Atlantic. In the US, they have advised Barack Obama, while, in the UK, they were welcomed with open arms by the David Cameron's camp (Chakrabortty 2008). I will consider the following questions. What (...)
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  6.  15
    Vergiffenis in Elsschots Het Been: Boorman vs. Laarmans.Luc Bovens - 2008 - Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 100 (4).
    In the novel "Het Been" by the Flemish writer Willem Elsschot. In the novel, a businessman becomes obsessive over the fact that a victim of his unscrupulous business practices refuses to forgive him. This raises the following questions: Why does one find it upsetting when the victim of one's wrongdoing refuses to accept our apologies? Why does one find it upsetting when the victim is unwilling to grant us the forgiveness that we are asking for?
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  7. Selection Under Uncertainty: Affirmative Action at Shortlisting Stage.Luc Bovens - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):421-437.
    Choice often proceeds in two stages: We construct a shortlist on the basis of limited and uncertain information about the options and then reduce this uncertainty by examining the shortlist in greater detail. The goal is to do well when making a final choice from the option set. I argue that we cannot realise this goal by constructing a ranking over the options at shortlisting stage which determines of each option whether it is more or less worthy of being included (...)
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  8. Child Euthanasia: Should We Just Not Talk About It?Luc Bovens - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (8):630-634.
    Belgium has recently extended its euthanasia legislation to minors, making it the first legislation in the world that does not specify any age limit. I consider two strands in the opposition to this legislation. First, I identify five arguments in the public debate to the effect that euthanasia for minors is somehow worse than euthanasia for adults—viz. arguments from weightiness, capability of discernment, pressure, sensitivity and sufficient palliative care—and show that these arguments are wanting. Second, there is another position in (...)
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  9. Evaluating Risky Prospects: The Distribution View.Luc Bovens - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):243-253.
    Risky prospects represent policies that impose different types of risks on multiple people. I present an example from food safety. A utilitarian following Harsanyi's Aggregation Theorem ranks such prospects according to their mean expected utility or the expectation of the social utility. Such a ranking is not sensitive to any of four types of distributional concerns. I develop a model that lets the policy analyst rank prospects relative to the distributional concerns that she considers fitting in the context at hand. (...)
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  10.  57
    A Lockean Defense of Grandfathering Emission Rights.Luc Bovens - 2011 - In Denis G. Arnold (ed.), The Ethics of Global Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. pp. 124-144.
    I investigate whether any plausible moral arguments can be made for ‘grandfathering’ emission rights (that is, for setting emission targets for developed countries in line with their present or past emission levels) on the basis of a Lockean theory of property rights.
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  11.  6
    ‘Interview’, Probability and Statistics: 5 Questions.Luc Bovens - 2010 - In Vincent Hendricks & Alan Hajek (eds.), Probability and Statistics: 5 Questions. XX: Automatic Press. pp. 13-28.
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  12.  3
    Behavioural Public Policies and Charitable Giving.Luc Bovens - 2018 - Behavioural Public Policy 2 (2):168-173.
    Some of the challenges in Sanders et al. (this issue) can be aptly illustrated by means of charity nudges, that is, nudges designed to increase charitable donations. These nudges raise many ethical questions. First, Oxfam’s triptychs with suggested donations are designed to increase giving. If successful, do our actions match ex ante or ex post preferences? Does this make a difference to the autonomy of the donor? Second, the Behavioural Insights Team conducted experiments using social networks to nudge people to (...)
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  13. Concerns for the Poorly Off in Ordering Risky Prospects.Luc Bovens - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy 31 (3):397-429.
    The Distribution View provides a model that integrates four distributional concerns in the evaluation of risky prospects. Starting from these concerns, we can generate an ordering over a set of risky prospects, or, starting from an ordering, we can extract a characterization of the underlying distributional concerns. Separability of States and/or Persons for multiple-person risky prospects, for single-person risky prospects and for multiple-person certain prospects are discussed within the model. The Distribution View sheds light on public health policies and provides (...)
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  14.  5
    Interview: Epistemology: 5 Questions.Luc Bovens - 2008 - In Vincent Hendricks & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Epistemology: 5 Questions. XX: Automatic Press. pp. 47-61.
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  15. The Two Faces of Akratics Anonymous.Luc Bovens - 1999 - Analysis 59 (4):230–236.
    I argue that by constructing an identity of Bohemian whim and spontaneity one can make what was previously an akratic action into a fully rational action, since in performing the action, one asserts one identity.
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  16.  5
    Henry James, Paardenrennen, en Relatieve Deprivatie--Rational Choice Theory aan het Werk.Luc Bovens - 1987 - In J. Verhoeven (ed.), Social Theory. Leuven, Belgium: Acco.
    I illustrate the use of decision-theory and game-theory in the social sciences by means of examples from Gauthier, Tversky and Kahneman, and Bouldon.
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  17.  4
    Real Nudge.Luc Bovens - 2012 - European Journal of Risk Regulation 3 (1):43-6.
    The novelty in Adam Burgess’ paper is that he assesses nudge policies in the context of the shift in the UK government’s approach to risk from the nannying policies of Labour to the nudge policies of the Conservatives. There is a wealth of ideas in this paper. I find it useful to disentangle some of these ideas focusing on the following two questions: 1. In what respects do Labour’s nannying policies and the Conservatives’ nudge policies differ? 2. What is problematic (...)
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  18.  48
    Don’T Mess with My Smokes: Cigarettes and Freedom.Luc Bovens - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (7):15-17.
    Considerations of objective-value freedom and status freedom do impose constraints on policies that restrict access to cigarettes. As to the objective-value freedom, something of value is lost when anti-alcohol policies lead to pub closures interfering with valued life styles, and a similar, though weaker, argument can be made for cigarettes. As to status freedom, non-arbitrariness requires consultation with vulnerable populations to learn what might aid them with smoking cessation.
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  19.  45
    On Arguments From Self-Interest for the Nash Solution and the Kalai Egalitarian Solution to the Bargaining Problem.Luc Bovens - 1987 - Theory and Decision 23 (3):231-260.
    I argue in this paper that there are two considerations which govern the dynamics of a two-person bargaining game, viz. relative proportionate utility loss from conceding to one's opponent's proposal and relative non-proportionate utility loss from not conceding to one's opponent's proposal, if she were not to concede as well. The first consideration can adequately be captured by the information contained in vNM utilities. The second requires measures of utility which allow for an interpersonal comparison of utility differences. These considerations (...)
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  20.  36
    The Meaning of "Darn It!".Luc Bovens & Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Weighing and Reasoning: Themes from the Philosophy of John Broome. Oxford University Press. pp. 129-39.
    In decision-theory, the notion of regret enters into the minimax decision-rule and has a determinate usage in this context. However, there are many alternative ways of conceiving of regret. The chapter constructs the einmalist- nicht-keinmal ('once is not never') game, in which a single sampling radically changes the expected value of the game in a way that is quite counterintuitive, as the basis for studying regret after a loss following the choice of an uncertain action. Crucially, the very loss affects (...)
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  21.  58
    The Epistemology of Social Facts: The Evidential Value of Personal Experience Versus Testimony.Luc Bovens & Stephen Leeds - 2002 - In Georg Meggle (ed.), Social Facts and Collective Intentionality. Philosophische Forschung / Philosophical research. Frankfurt A. M.: Dr. Haensel-Hohenhausen. pp. 43-51.
    "The Personal is Political": This was an often-heard slogan of feminist groups in the late sixties and early seventies. The slogan is no doubt open to many interpretations. There is one interpretation which touches on the epistemology of social facts, viz. the slogan claims that in assessing the features of a political system, personal experiences have privileged evidentiary value. For instancte, in the face of third person reports about political corruption, I may remain unmoved in my belief that the political (...)
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  22.  26
    Rawls on Mutual Disinterest and Hume's Subjective Circumstances of Justice.Luc Bovens - 1994 - Archiv Fuer Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie 80 (2):203-207.
    It is important in its own right to determine what conception of mutual disinterest Rawls has in mind at the various junctions in the text. Furthermore, disambiguating this notion counters a common objection that there is no reason to accept principles of justice that are chosen by rational egoists. The persons in Rawls' OP are not rational egoists. Rather, in identifying with the token persons in society they make the actual interests of the token persons into their ends and they (...)
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  23.  23
    Do Beliefs Supervene on Degrees of Confidence?Luc Bovens - 1999 - In Anthonie W. M. Meijers (ed.), Belief, Cognition, and the Will. Tilburg University Press. pp. 6--27.
    I examine the relationship between belief and credences and distinguish between a dogmatic, a Lockean, an agentic, and an abductive notion of belief. I conclude with some thoughts on voluntarism and evidentialism.
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  24.  18
    Minimizing the Threat of a Positive Majority Deficit in Two-Tier Voting Systems with Equipopulous Units.Claus Beisbart & Luc Bovens - 2013 - Public Choice 132 (1-2):75-94.
    The mean majority deficit in a two-tier voting system is a function of the partition of the population. We derive a new square-root rule: For odd-numbered population sizes and equipopulous units the mean majority deficit is maximal when the member size of the units in the partition is close to the square root of the population size. Furthermore, within the partitions into roughly equipopulous units, partitions with small even numbers of units or small even-sized units yield high mean majority deficits. (...)
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  25.  27
    Review: Hausman, D. Essays on Philosophy and Economic Methodology.Luc Bovens - 1994 - Review of Metaphysics 47 (4):818-820.
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  26.  19
    A Response to Prelec.Luc Bovens - 2013 - In Adam Oliver (ed.), Essays in Behavioural Public Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 228-33.
    At the heart of Drazen Prelec’s chapter is the distinction between outcome utility and diagnostic utility. There is a particular distinction in the literature on causal networks (Pearl 2000), namely the distinction between observing and intervening, that maps onto Prelec’s distinction between diagnostic and outcome utility. I will explore the connection between both frameworks.
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  27.  17
    Situationist Charges Versus Personologist Defenses and the Issue of Skills.Luc Bovens & Arnold Bohrer - 1989 - In Ronna F. Dillon & James W. Pellegrino (eds.), Testing--Theoretical and Applied Perspectives. New York: Praeger. pp. 199-217.
    We discuss theoretical topics in personality theory and in the methodology of personality measurement, and present personality tests that were developed in the Center for Recruitment and Selection in the Belgian Army.
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  28.  13
    Book Note: Danielson, P *Artificial Morality*.Luc Bovens - 1993 - Political Studies 41:719.
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  29.  9
    Can There Be More Than One Set of Categories?Luc Bovens - 1989 - Proceedings of the Sixth International Kant Congress 2 (1):169-181.
    Kant's aim in the transcendental deduction is to show that the categories, i.e., a specific set of categories, are a necessary condition for all possible experience. Some philosophers have extended this idea in the following way: Kant solely identified a set of a priori concepts, which are a necessary condition for all possible epistemic claims within a framework of Newtonian physics; however, there exist other sets of epistemic claims, which can solely be justified by means of alternative sets of a (...)
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  30.  8
    Affirmative Action - a Polish Example?Luc Bovens - 1994 - In Robert Solomon (ed.), Above the Bottom Line - An Introduction to Business Ethics. Fort Worth: Harcourt. pp. 337-9.
    I argue that the post-1990 practice of giving leadership positions in companies to non-ex-communists is an example of affirmative action.
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  31.  7
    Contextual Pluralism and the Libertarian Paradox.Luc Bovens - 1993 - Archiv Fuer Rechts Und Sozialphilosphie 79 (2):188-197.
    I argue that we can generate intransitive preference orderings for a single person on the model of Sen's Libertarian Paradox.
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