Philosophy - Journal Articles

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    A forward-looking approach to climate change and the risk of societal collapse
    (Elsevier, 2024-03-08) Steel, Daniel; Phillips, Charly; Giang, Amanda; Mintz-Woo, Kian; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
    This article proposes a forward-looking approach to studying societal collapse risks related to climate change. Such an approach should indicate how to study emerging collapse risks and suggest strategies for adapting to them. Our approach is based on three postulates that facilitate a forward-looking approach: (1) collapse, if it occurred, would be a lengthy process rather than an abrupt event; (2) significant collapse risks already exist in some places; and (3) diminishing returns on adaptation to intensifying climate impacts are a key driver of collapse risks. The first two postulates suggests that collapse risks can be studied in process, while the third points to strategies for adaptation pathways that avoid unsustainable diminishing returns. Applying diminishing returns to climate change adaptation, rather than sociopolitical complexity or resource extraction, is also a novel theoretical contribution to collapse literature.
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    Group identification, joint attention, and preferences: a cluster of minimal pre-conditions for joint actions
    (Routledge, 2024-01-18) Salice, Alessandro
    An important thesis discussed in the literature on shared agency is that group identification motivates pre-school children to act together. This paper aims at further illuminating this thesis by clarifying what triggers the process of group identification in young children. It is argued that joint attention, among other functions in supporting joint actions, can reveal to the co-attenders that they share some preferences. Since sharing preferences has been established by the literature to be a reliable motivation of group identification and since joint attention has an early emergence in development, one can consider joint attention to be a putative trigger of group identification in pre-school children. If this is on the right track, group identification, joint attention, and preferences identify a cluster of minimal pre-conditions for joint actions.
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    Carbon pricing is not unjust
    (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2023-12-10) Mintz-Woo, Kian
    The aim of this perspective is to argue that carbon pricing is not unjust. Two important dimensions of justice are distributive and procedural (sometimes called “participatory”) justice. In terms of distributive justice, it is argued that carbon pricing can be made distributionally just through revenue recycling and that it should be expected that even neutral reductions in emissions will generate progressive benefits, both internationally and regionally. In terms of procedural justice, it is argued that carbon pricing is in principle compatible with any procedure; however, there is also a particular morally justifiable procedure, the Citizens’ Assembly, which has been implemented in Ireland on this precise question and has generated broad agreement on carbon pricing. It is suggested that this morally matters because such groups are like “ideal advisors” that offer morally important advice. Finally, an independent objection is offered to some ambitious alternatives to carbon pricing like Green New Deal-type frameworks, frameworks that aim to simultaneously tackle multiple social challenges. The objection is that these will take too long to work in a climate context, both to develop and to iterate.
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    A flexible, sloppy blob? Ontology, AI, and the role of metaphysics
    (University of Illinois Press, 2023-01-01) Ross, Don
    Ladyman and Ross argue that analytic metaphysics is a misguided enterprise that should give way to a naturalized metaphysics that aims to reconcile everyday and special-scientific ontologies with fundamental physics as the authoritative source of knowledge on the general structure of the universe. Le Bihan and Barton (argue, as against this, that analytic metaphysics remains useful as a basis for the body of work in AI known as “applied ontology.” They stop short of claiming, however, that analytic metaphysics is useful as metaphysics. I consider a basis for making the stronger claim: Smith's project for building what he claims to be metaphysical foundations for applied ontology (and for AI generally). Ultimately, the stronger claim is rejected; but in the course of this dialectic new aspects of the naturalistic metaphysical project come to light, including relationships between it and the traditional metaphysical project of providing foundations for philosophical semantics of truth and reference.
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    Scientific metaphysics and social science
    (Springer Nature Ltd., 2023-10-27) Ross, Don
    Recently, philosophers have developed an extensive literature on social ontology that applies methods and concepts from analytic metaphysics. Much of this is entirely abstracted from, and unconcerned with, social science. However, Epstein (2015) argues explicitly that analytic social metaphysics, provided its account of ontological ‘grounding’ is repaired in specific ways, can rescue social science from explanatory impasses into which he thinks it has fallen. This version of analytic social ontology thus directly competes with radically naturalistic alternatives, in a way that helps to clarify what makes some metaphysics genuinely scientific (that is, part of the scientific enterprise and worldview). I consider this competition, marshal considerations against the value to social science of analytic metaphysics, and sketch a contrasting scientific metaphysics for understanding the implications of revisionist social ontology in unified scientific ontology.