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Sage Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences

My chum Byron Kaldis’ big project has been brought to fruition. Bravo! My contribution: Hayek and the “Use of Knowledge in Society”. As you will see there is a terrific lineup – this is an exciting area to be in these days what with CogSci meeting social science – another project of Byron’s in the works.

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Latest issue of EPISTEME still free

Volume 9 – Issue 03 – September 2012

HIGHER-ORDER EPISTEMIC ATTITUDES AND INTELLECTUAL HUMILITY

Allan Hazlett

RELIABILISM: HOLISTIC OR SIMPLE?

Jeffrey Dunn

GROUP AGENCY AND EPISTEMIC DEPENDENCY

Aaron Dewitt

CONSTRUCTIVIST AND ECOLOGICAL MODELING OF GROUP RATIONALITY

Gerald Gaus

EPISTEMOLOGY IN GROUP AGENCY: SIX OBJECTIONS IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH

Fabrizio Cariani

HOW TO BE A REDUNDANT REALIST

Kurt L. Sylvan

THE NORMATIVE STANDING OF GROUP AGENTS

Rachael Briggs

EPISTEME SYMPOSIUM ON GROUP AGENCY: REPLIES TO GAUS, CARIANI, SYLVAN, AND BRIGGS

Christian List and Philip Pettit

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Episteme 9.3

New issue now available featuring symposium on Christian List and Phillip Pettit.

HIGHER-ORDER EPISTEMIC ATTITUDES AND INTELLECTUAL HUMILITY

Allan Hazlett

RELIABILISM: HOLISTIC OR SIMPLE?

Jeffrey Dunn

GROUP AGENCY AND EPISTEMIC DEPENDENCY Aaron Dewitt

CONSTRUCTIVIST AND ECOLOGICAL MODELING OF GROUP RATIONALITY

Gerald Gaus

EPISTEMOLOGY IN GROUP AGENCY: SIX OBJECTIONS IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH

Fabrizio Carrion

HOW TO BE A REDUNDANT REALIST

Kurt L. Sylvan

THE NORMATIVE STANDING OF GROUP AGENTS

Rachael Briggs

SYMPOSIUM ON GROUP AGENCY: REPLIES TO GAUS, CARIANI, SYLVAN, AND BRIGGS

Christian List and Philip Pettit

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EPISTEME: 9.1

Check out the freely available symposium on Pragmatic Encroachment. Also there is a critical notice of Sandy Goldberg’s Relying on Others (sadly not free) that:

focuses on the book’s central claim, the extendedness hypothesis, according to which the processes relevant for assessing the reliability of a hearer’s testimonial belief include the cognitive processes involved in the production of the testimony.

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Clash of the Titans: When the Market and Science Collide

Here is the abstract and the introduction from the volume Experts and Epistemic Monopolies where our paper can be found.

Abstract

Purpose/problem statement – Two highly successful complex adaptive systems are the Market and Science, each with an inherent tendency toward epistemic imperialism. Of late, science, notably medical science, seems to have become functionally subservient to market imperatives. We offer a twofold Hayekian analysis: a justification of the multiplicity view of spontaneous orders and a critique of the libertarian justification of market prioricity.

Methodology/approach – This chapter brings to light Hayekian continuities between diverse literatures – philosophical, epistemological, cognitive, and scientific.

Findings – The very precondition of knowledge is the exploitation of the epistemic virtues accorded by society’s manifold of spontaneous forces, a manifold that gives context and definition to intimate, regulate, and inform action. The free-flow of information is the lifeblood of civil (liberal) society. The commoditization of medical knowledge promotes a dysfunctional free-flow of information that compromises notions of expertise and ultimately has implications for the greater good.

Research limitations/implications – While we accept that there are irresolvable tensions between these epistemic magisteria we are troubled by the overt tampering with the spontaneous order mechanism of medical science. The lessons of Hayek are not being assimilated by many who would go by the adjective Hayekian.

Originality/value of chapter – On offer is a Hayekian restatement (contra the libertarian view typically attributed to Hayek) cautioning that no one spontaneous order should dominate over another, neither should they be made conversable. Indeed, we argue that the healthy functioning of a market presupposes institutions that should not answer to market imperatives.

Introduction

It’s a common error to mistake the nature of liberalism. Of course ‘‘liberalism’’ is a term with many meanings, some unrelated and not all compatible. A common refrain from both self-avowed Hayekians and critics alike attributes to Hayek the view that the market is the root of social order. In this chapter we dispute this assertion. Hayek made it clear in no uncertain terms that the market exists as part of a manifold of spontaneous orders that constitute the fabric of civil (liberal) society. Hayek’s defence of common law against legislation, morality, and tradition against so-called ‘‘social justice,’’ and the market against the egalitarian impulse affirms the multiplicity view. What Hayek was recommending was the interdependence of independent equals. This provides the philosophical backdrop to the discussion. As grist to the Hayekian mill we draw upon an eclectic body of literature and examples. The discussion unfolds as follows: the second section examines Hayek’s supposed economism and libertarianism; the third section looks at the characteristics of science as a spontaneous order; the fourth section recasts the notion of a spontaneous order as an extended cognitive system afforded by technological developments. The fifth section examines some of the distortive market influences upon medical science and the sixth section discusses the philosophical motivations behind the open access movement. The penultimate section looks at a specific case study – The Knowledge Hub for Pathology (hereafter TKHP) – that instantiates the virtues of a spontaneous order discussed in the preceding four sections. We conclude with a few brief remarks.

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Is Behavioral Economics Doomed?

Here is a skeptical take on the insights supposedly offered by the rise of behavioral economics as represented by Daniel Kahneman and others. Since I’m in the process of reviewing Kahneman it will be interesting to see if Levine’s take on behavioral economics jibes with my take on Kahneman in particular and behavioral economics in general – I have a strong sense that is unlikely to be the case.

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Hayek and Behavioral Economics: Mindscapes and Landscapes: Hayek and Simon on Cognitive Extension

I see that the publisher now has a fully detailed page up for a volume that I’ve been privileged to be a part of. The Foreword is by a very nice chappie going by the name of V.Smith and includes luminaries such as McCloskey, Boettke, Gintis, Steel and others. My abstract:

Mindscapes and Landscapes: Hayek and Simon on Cognitive Extension

Hayek’s and Simon’s social externalism runs on a shared presupposition: mind is constrained in its computational capacity to detect, harvest, and assimilate “data” generated by the infinitely fine-grained and perpetually dynamic characteristic of experience in complex social environments. For Hayek, mind and sociality are co-evolved spontaneous orders, allowing little or no prospect of comprehensive explanation, trapped in a hermeneutically sealed, i.e. inescapably context bound, eco-system. For Simon, it is the simplicity of mind that is the bottleneck, overwhelmed by the ambient complexity of the environmental. Since on Simon’s account complexity is unidirectional, Simon is far more ebullient about the prospects of explanation. Hayek’s social externalism functions as a kind of distributed “extra-neural” memory store manifest as dynamic spontaneous orders. Simon’s organizational rule-governed externalism negotiates the “inner” world (the mind) with the “outer” world through a homeostatic interface that offloads the cognitive burden into the environment. Their respective externalisms may differ in detail but not in spirit in that it ameliorates their shared presupposition of cognitive constraint. Even though any “optimization talk” for Hayek and Simon is objectionable, knowledge acquisition can be represented by a contextualized stigmergic swarm optimization algorithm that gives due emphasis to both the individual and the environment. The key insight is that “perfect” knowledge is unnecessary, impracticable and indeed irrelevant if one understands the mechanism at work in complex sociality, a stigmergic sociality that in effect augments or scaffolds cognition.

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Agent-Based Computational Sociology

Check out this new book I’ve just come across – Wiley’s lists, across disciplines, is certainly looking very strong these days. Also check out two colleagues’ excellent Wiley offerings – Ted Lewis’ Network Science and of course Ken Aizawa’s and Fred Adams’ The Bounds of Cognition.