Abstracts of Invited Talks

On the attribution of intention and responsibility

Urs Fischbacher
What kind of action deserves praise and blame? Philosophers have addressed this question more from theoretical point of view while economists are particularly interested in the resulting incentives. We illustrate how game theoretic concepts help to bridge the disciplines and to formalize concepts that are important in how praise and blame are allocated. The experimental philosopher Joshua Knobe conducted a questionnaire study that revealed that people blame others for foreseen negative externalities but do not praise them for foreseen positive ones. We translated the Knobe questions into games and based on these games, we conducted an experiment. We could confirm the Knobe effect in a particular parameter setting but we found also settings in which the Knobe effect vanishes and even reverses. In a second study, we investigate empirically how responsibility is attributed in delegated decisions and suggest a theoretical notion of responsibility that captures the empirical patterns of responsibility attribution.

Origin of Agent-Based Computational Economics:Agent-Based Modeling of Economic Experiments

Shu-Heng Chen
There are at least two origins of the current agent-based modeling in economics or agent-based computational economics (ACE). The first one comes from von Neumann’s book on Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata, which is known as the cellular automata tradition. The pioneering applications of cellular automata to social sciences appeared in early 1970s, including Sakoda (1971), Schelling (1971) and Albin (1975). This tradition is widely known for computational social scientists, but many may not notice that, in his book, von Neumann made strong attempt to tighten the relation between natural automata and artificial automata. This intellectual effort not only well corresponded to his contemporary colleagues, such as Alan Turing (Turing, 1951), but also foreshadowed many works coming later, including Simon, (1969), Holland (1975) and, when coming to 1980s, also became the second origin of ACE, i.e., the experimental economics tradition. In this talk, I will give a review of this tradition, and the four concepts of artificial automata, namely, programmed agents (Axelrod, 1984; Rust, Miller and Palmer, 1993), calibrated artificial agents (Arthur, 1993), zero-intelligence agents (Gode and Sunder, 1993), and autonomous agents (Holland, 1992). We would see how these four conceptions of artificial agents are motivated by experimental economics. We continues to trace this tradition to its recent developments in the continuous efforts made to bridge human agents and artificial agents.

The Relevance of Experimental Epistemology to Traditional Epistemology

James R. Beebe
Experimental epistemology is the use of the experimental methods of the cognitive sciences to shed light on debates within epistemology, the philosophical study of knowledge and rationally justified belief. A variety of misconceptions about this experimental approach conspire to make it far more controversial than it should be. For example, no experimental philosopher has ever claimed that experimentation should completely replace philosophical theorizing. Yet experimental philosophers are continually faced with the following challenge by their would-be critics: “If we surveyed everyone and discovered that they believe that skepticism is false (or that it’s rational to believe in God, that we have free will, etc.), how is this fact supposed to put an end to the centuries-old philosophical debate?” The simple answer is “It is not.” The empirical data gathered by experimental philosophers is supposed to inform rather than replace philosophical debate. Experimental philosophers also do not claim that their methods and results will necessarily be relevant to every area of philosophy. Yet it is common for critics to try to think of areas of philosophical debate where experimentation would not seem to be relevant and present them as evidence for the lack of worth of experimental philosophy. However, consider the fact that no philosopher would dream of offering the following argument: “Insights from modal logic are not relevant to every area of philosophy; therefore, modal logic has no value and should not be practiced.” It turns out that the experiments being performed by experimental philosophers can shed light on surprisingly wide swaths of philosophical debate, but there is no claim that they must somehow be relevant to every dispute. What follows is an overview of the main areas of epistemological debate to which experimental philosophers have been contributing and the larger, philosophical challenges these contributions have raised.

Enriching the Framework of Experimental Philosophy

Masashi Kasaki
Despite its historical neglect, intuition is currently a scholarly focus in such a broad range of behavioural and social sciences, as psychology, cognitive science, economics, education, medicine, management, and so forth. Moreover, intuition is expected to be a ‘fundamental bridging construct’ (Hodgkinson et al., 2008) to unify inquiries in these areas. Experimental philosophy – socio-experimental psychological research on intuitions about philosophical cases – may be reckoned part of this fascinating, interdisciplinary movement. Little attention, however, has been paid, in experimental philosophy, to the movement, since the prevailing practice of experimental philosophy is mainly modeled on the heuristics and biases approach (HB), i.e., one, albeit paradigmatic, restrictive approach to intuition among many. Thus, reconsidering the practice of experimental philosophy in light of other approaches to intuition will suggest further possible directions it can take, or so I shall argue. The talk consists of four parts. In Section 1, the concept(s) of intuition that both traditional and experimental philosophers make use of is described. In Section 2, the two main positions in experimental philosophy, experimental restrictivism (ER) and experimental descriptism (ES), are delineated. Then, I will describe the common framework shared by ER and ES, which stems from HB. In addition, I reconstruct ER’s arguments against the evidential value of philosophical intuition. The reconstruction reveals several commitments of ER. In Section 3, naturalistic decision making (NDM), another prominent approach to intuition, is introduced and compared with HB. In Section 4, I will draw out implications of NDM for experimental philosophy. In light of NDM, the framework of experimental philosophy may be enriched.