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Steve Petersen
Niagara University
  1. Composition as Pattern.Steve Petersen - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    I argue for *patternism*, a new answer to the question of when some objects compose a whole. None of the standard principles of composition comfortably capture our natural judgments, such as that my cat exists and my table exists, but there is nothing wholly composed of them. Patternism holds, very roughly, that some things compose a whole whenever together they form a "real pattern". Plausibly we are inclined to acknowledge the existence of my cat and my table but not of (...)
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  2.  92
    Superintelligence as Superethical.Steve Petersen - 2017 - In Patrick Lin, Keith Abney & Ryan Jenkins (eds.), Robot Ethics 2.0. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 322-337.
    Nick Bostrom's book *Superintelligence* outlines a frightening but realistic scenario for human extinction: true artificial intelligence is likely to bootstrap itself into superintelligence, and thereby become ideally effective at achieving its goals. Human-friendly goals seem too abstract to be pre-programmed with any confidence, and if those goals are *not* explicitly favorable toward humans, the superintelligence will extinguish us---not through any malice, but simply because it will want our resources for its own purposes. In response I argue that things might not (...)
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  3.  50
    Is It Good for Them Too? Ethical Concern for the Sexbots.Steve Petersen - 2017 - In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Sex Robots: Philosophical, Ethical, and Social Implications. Cambridge, USA: MIT Press. pp. 155-171.
    In this chapter I'd like to focus on a small corner of sexbot ethics that is rarely considered elsewhere: the question of whether and when being a sexbot might be good---or bad---*for the sexbot*. You might think this means you are in for a dry sermon about the evils of robot slavery. If so, you'd be wrong; the ethics of robot servitude are far more complicated than that. In fact, if the arguments here are right, designing a robot to serve (...)
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  4.  17
    Toward an Algorithmic Metaphysics.Steve Petersen - 2013 - In David Dowe (ed.), Algorithmic Probability and Friends: Bayesian Prediction and Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 306-317.
    There are writers in both metaphysics and algorithmic information theory (AIT) who seem to think that the latter could provide a formal theory of the former. This paper is intended as a step in that direction. It demonstrates how AIT might be used to define basic metaphysical notions such as *object* and *property* for a simple, idealized world. The extent to which these definitions capture intuitions about the metaphysics of the simple world, times the extent to which we think the (...)
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  5.  64
    Designing People to Serve.Steve Petersen - 2011 - In Patrick Lin, George Bekey & Keith Abney (eds.), Robot Ethics. MIT Press.
    I argue that, contrary to intuition, it would be both possible and permissible to design people - whether artificial or organic - who by their nature desire to do tasks we find unpleasant.
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  6.  26
    A Normative Yet Coherent Naturalism.Steve Petersen - 2014 - Philo 17 (1):77-91.
    Naturalism is normally taken to be an ideology, censuring non-naturalistic alternatives. But as many critics have pointed out, this ideological stance looks internally incoherent, since it is not obviously endorsed by naturalistic methods. Naturalists who have addressed this problem universally foreswear the normative component of naturalism by, in effect, giving up science’s exclusive claim to legitimacy. This option makes naturalism into an empty expression of personal preference that can carry no weight in the philosophical or political spheres. In response to (...)
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  7.  95
    Analysis, Schmanalysis.Steve Petersen - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (2):pp. 289-299.
    In Naming and Necessity, Saul Kripke employs a handy philosophical trick: he invents the term ‘schmidentity’ to argue indirectly for his favored account of identity. Kripke says in a footnote that he wishes someday “to elaborate on the utility of this device”. In this paper, I first take up a general elaboration on his behalf. I then apply the trick to support an attractive but somewhat unorthodox picture of conceptual analysis—one according to which it is a process of forming intentions (...)
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  8.  60
    Construing Faith as Action Won't Save Pascal's Wager.Steve Petersen - 2006 - Philo 9 (2):221-229.
    Arthur Falk has proposed a new construal of faith according to which it is not a mere species of belief, but has essential components in action. This twist on faith promises to resurrect Pascal’s Wager, making faith compatible with reason by believing as the scientist but acting as the theist. I argue that Falk’s proposal leaves religious faith in no better shape; in particular, it merely reframes the question in terms of rational desires rather than rational beliefs.
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  9.  34
    Comments on Carl Wagner's Jeffrey Conditioning and External Bayesianity.Steve Petersen - manuscript
    Jeffrey conditioning allows updating in Bayesian style when the evidence is uncertain. A weighted average, essentially, over classically updating on the alternatives. Unlike classical Bayesian conditioning, this allows learning to be unlearned.
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  10.  30
    Belief-Desire Coherence.Steve Petersen - 2003 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    Tradition compels me to write dissertation acknowledgements that are long, effusive, and unprofessional. Fortunately for me, I heartily endorse that tradition.
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