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Zach Barnett
National University of Singapore
  1. No Free Lunch: The Significance of Tiny Contributions.Zach Barnett - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):3-13.
    There is a well-known moral quandary concerning how to account for the rightness or wrongness of acts that clearly contribute to some morally significant outcome – but which each seem too small, individually, to make any meaningful difference. One consequentialist-friendly response to this problem is to deny that there could ever be a case of this type. This paper pursues this general strategy, but in an unusual way. Existing arguments for the consequentialist-friendly position are sorites-style arguments. Such arguments imagine varying (...)
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  2. Philosophy Without Belief.Zach Barnett - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):109-138.
    Should we believe our controversial philosophical views? Recently, several authors have argued from broadly conciliationist premises that we should not. If they are right, we philosophers face a dilemma: If we believe our views, we are irrational. If we do not, we are not sincere in holding them. This paper offers a way out, proposing an attitude we can rationally take toward our views that can support sincerity of the appropriate sort. We should arrive at our views via a certain (...)
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  3. Belief Dependence: How Do the Numbers Count?Zach Barnett - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):297-319.
    This paper is about how to aggregate outside opinion. If two experts are on one side of an issue, while three experts are on the other side, what should a non-expert believe? Certainly, the non-expert should take into account more than just the numbers. But which other factors are relevant, and why? According to the view developed here, one important factor is whether the experts should have been expected, in advance, to reach the same conclusion. When the agreement of two (...)
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  4. Tolerance and the Distributed Sorites.Zach Barnett - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):1071-1077.
    On some accounts of vagueness, predicates like “is a heap” are tolerant. That is, their correct application tolerates sufficiently small changes in the objects to which they are applied. Of course, such views face the sorites paradox, and various solutions have been proposed. One proposed solution involves banning repeated appeals to tolerance, while affirming tolerance in any individual case. In effect, this solution rejects the reasoning of the sorites argument. This paper discusses a thorny problem afflicting this approach to vagueness. (...)
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  5. Conciliationism and Merely Possible Disagreement.Zach Barnett & Han Li - 2016 - Synthese 193 (9):1-13.
    Conciliationism faces a challenge that has not been satisfactorily addressed. There are clear cases of epistemically significant merely possible disagreement, but there are also clear cases where merely possible disagreement is epistemically irrelevant. Conciliationists have not yet accounted for this asymmetry. In this paper, we propose that the asymmetry can be explained by positing a selection constraint on all cases of peer disagreement—whether actual or merely possible. If a peer’s opinion was not selected in accordance with the proposed constraint, then (...)
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  6. Fool Me Once: Can Indifference Vindicate Induction?Zach Barnett & Han Li - 2018 - Episteme 15 (2):202-208.
    Roger White (2015) sketches an ingenious new solution to the problem of induction. He argues from the principle of indifference for the conclusion that the world is more likely to be induction- friendly than induction-unfriendly. But there is reason to be skeptical about the proposed indifference-based vindication of induction. It can be shown that, in the crucial test cases White concentrates on, the assumption of indifference renders induction no more accurate than random guessing. After discussing this result, the paper explains (...)
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