Monday, May 30, 2005

Sliding scales

I was out with Peter Leeson and Gene Callahan at David Gladstone's (incredibly beautiful) home last night. I asked them what they thought of two separate moralities over two separate 'domains.' Gene said that he considered morality a 'mode,' but didn't get in to it all that much. I'm not sure what he means by morality being a 'mode,' so I'll make sure to ask him.

At any rate, he thought the question was a bad one, on account of this 'modal' distinction.

Leeson, on the other hand, cited a friend of his, Tyler Cowan, as having a similar sort of idea. In this case, however, Cowan constructs a probability function over several morality views. He supposes that they all have something important and 'right' to say about human behaviour, and how we ought to behave and ought to treat one another. So you could be a two-thirds utilitarian, with one-third natural right's tendencies. I'm not clear, exactly, on this view either, and how you would apply the theory to instances, but I'm told Cowan is working on a book where he points out something like that.

I'll look into it.

But not just now. Just now I'll look into, let's see here... Subjective Expected Utility theory. Or maybe models in economics, and unrealism of assumptions. I have a Phil of Econ exam in two days' time, and I don't yet feel entirely confident about it. Mostly because there is far too much overlap, and I'm nervous that, should I write on unreal assumptions, I'll forget to mention Pemberton's critique, or Cartwright's critique, or whatever, and the grader will consider it a hole.

...Arrow's Impossibility Theorem. That's what I'll look into.


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