Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Philosopher Spotlight: Hrishikesh Joshi

Philosophy News image
I'm delighted to introduce another great "philosopher spotlight" entry, this time from Hrishikesh Joshi!* * *My work focuses on neglected topics and perspectives within moral and political philosophy. I often employ a philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) approach, by using tools from the social sciences in trying to analyze philosophical problems. In my view, there are these large vistas of underexplored terrain, and what motivates me to do philosophy is the desire to explore that terrain by using the methods and distinctions our discipline has developed. It’s a Wild West out there and I’d rather settle that territory than remain in the crowded coastal cities. My recent book, Why It’s OK to Speak Your Mind (Routledge, 2021) elaborates on this point in terms of marginal value. As researchers, we have a defeasible duty to seek out projects and defend approaches that add the most marginal value in terms of improving our collective picture of the world. Of course, it is not easy to tell where that value will lie, though we can be reasonably confident about extreme cases. The problem is that in general the incentives need not always align – what’s best for one’s career and social standing need not be the same as what’s best for improving our collective epistemic condition.   Here’s a toy example from the book to illustrate the broader problem. 3 engineers are in charge of the upkeep of a dam. There are (2) good reasons to think the dam will stand, and (3) good reasons to think it will collapse this year. Let’s suppose these reasons add up as if unit weights on a scale, so that the total evidence suggests the dam is going to break. However, there is social pressure to avoid raising doubts about the dam – imagine that the community and its politicians are heavily invested in the dam’s success. Now, the reasons to think the dam will stand are common knowledge, but the reasons to think it will collapse are distributedamong the engineers. So, each engineer thinks,. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Philosophy, et cetera

blog comments powered by Disqus