Sunday, May 16, 2021

What Predicts Professional Philosophers’ Views?

 Queen to Announce Voter ID Requirements in UK to Tackle Election Fraud

Inside The Art NFT Boom

No one quite agrees on what this gold rush means. If you ask hard-core champions of Bitcoin — the often-libertarian “crypto natives,” as they call themselves — NFTs presage the future of digital property. They’re a glimpse at a coming day when people spend their income on digital items they can trade, resell or hoard as an investment; when government will lose its unique power to mint currency and protect property, because people will instead trust the implacable math of blockchain networks. – The New York Times

How A Dallas Choir Made $375,000 With An NFT “Crypto Music”

“2020 had all been about crypto art. We believe that Betty’s Notebook is the birth of crypto music. It makes music truly ‘crypto native’,” meaning the piece is designed and meant for consumption on the blockchain, instead of simply being added to it as a NFT. “You can’t have Betty’s Notebook without the blockchain.” – Dallas Morning News

Dr Fill Can: Wish you could solve a tricky kryptic crossword in under a minute?

The Big Screen Experience Is Unparalleled

No matter what you’ve got in your house, there’s nothing like watching a movie in the theatre with scores of other people. Then there are the prices: “The fact that I know I’m being ripped off is, somehow, part of the charm. Have you got a statistic about the ludicrous mark-up on popcorn for me? Have you got a story about seeing it loaded into the back of the cinema in a dozen bin bags? Ooh baby, yes: talk nasty to me.” – The Guardian (UK)

The End Of Net Neutrality Was Riddled With Fraud

Fraud – and 8.5 million (Eight. Point. Five. Million.) bot comments secretly created by ISPs to urge against net neutrality. To be fair, there were millions of other fake comments, but according to the New York Attorney General’s report, “the astroturfing effort by the broadband industry stood out because it used real people’s names without their consent, with third-party firms hired by the industry faking consent records.” – Wired

What Predicts Professional Philosophers’ Views? 

A new study looks at correlations between professional philosophers’ philosophical views and their psychological traits, religious beliefs, political views, demographic information, and other characteristics.

[Josef Albers – untitled from “Formulation: Articulation”]

The research was carried out by David B. Yaden (psychology, Johns Hopkins University) and Derek E. Anderson(philosophy, Boston University), and the results have recently been published as “The psychology of philosophy: Associating philosophical views with psychological traits in professional philosophers,” in Philosophical Psychology. They write:

Our interest was in how philosophical views (not merely intuitions about philosophical thought experiments) relate to psychological traits in professional philosophers… we aim to identify associations between psychological traits and philosophical views for further replication and study.

Their method involved asking philosophers questions based on the PhilPapers Survey and administering measures for “personality, well-being, mental health, numeracy, varieties of life experiences, questions related to public education of philosophy, and demographics.” Their results are based on a sample of 314 respondents (264 of which were philosophy professors, with the remaining being post-docs and graduate students), about which they gathered some background information, such as gender, race, political views, academic affiliation, and philosophical tradition.

What did they learn? Below are some of their findings (for which they used a “conservative criterion” for statistical significance “to increase the likelihood that the reported correlations would replicate”).

Some of their results were negative, or findings of a lack of correlation:

  • Age, gender, relationship status, income, ethnicity, professional status yielded no significant findings of correlations with particular philosophical views.
  • None of the five factor model’s list of personality traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) were associated with specific philosophical views.
  • Neither exercise nor meditation were associated with any views.
  • “Anti-naturalism” (a cluster of beliefs including libertarian notions of free will, nonphysicalism about the mind, belief in God, non-naturalism, belief in the metaphysical possibility of philosophical Zombies, and the further fact view of personal identity) is largely unassociated with particular personality traits or well-being.

But they did find some positive correlations:

  • Theism is associated with agreeableness.
  • Hard determinism is associated with lower life satisfaction and higher depression/anxiety.
  • Consequentialism, realism, physicalism, and correspondence theories of truth are associated with more numerical interest
  • Believing philosophical zombies are metaphysically possible is associated with conscientiousness
  • Theism and idealism are associated with having had a transformative or self-transcendent experience.
  • Accepting non-classical logic is associated with having had a self-transcendent experience.
  • Non-realism regarding aesthetics and morality is associated with having used psychoactive substances such as psychedelics and marijuana.
  • Contextualism about knowledge claims is associated with supporting more public education about philosophy
  • Naturalism is associated with the notion that projects such as this one by Yaden and Anderson have philosophical value

The authors also found evidence of correlations between being an analyticphilosopher and supporting certain philosophical views, such as the correspondence theory of truth, realism about the external world, invariantism about knowledge claims, scientific realism, and that one ought to pull the switch (sacrifice one person to save five others) in the bystander part of the trolley problem.

Additionally, they found that being more politically right-leaning was associated with several philosophical views, such as theism, free will libertarianism, nonphysicalist views in philosophy of mind, and the correspondence theory of truth.

What are we to take from all of these findings, if anything? The authors write:

To the extent that reliable causal patterns emerge between philosophical beliefs and other psychological factors, we are presented with the opportunity to study the structure of belief in a way that is elided by typical discussions in the philosophy of mind. Epistemically significant mental states such as beliefs and credences are typically characterized in terms of their contents and/or their functional roles in rational inference. Relatively little attention has been paid to connections between philosophical beliefs/views and personality, mental health, life experiences, psychopharmacology, or other psychological variables. The present study suggests that there may be important relationships between philosophical beliefs and various psychological traits. These findings therefore could raise doubts about the adequacy of a purely rationalistic conception of belief.

It is also possible that certain psychological states provide evidence for philosophical positions. Perhaps, for example, some features of depression might (seem to) provide evidence for a lack of free will. Or perhaps experiences with some mind-altering substances (seem to) provide evidence related to objective esthetic value. These possibilities suggest empirical lines of research into the ways in which individuals understand or consciously perceive the evidential relationships between their psychological states and their philosophical views.

The full article (paywalled) is here.

UPDATE: There’s an ungated version here, and supplemental materials (including more data than that which is discussed in the article) here

Why American Remakes Of Foreign Films Don’t Always Go To Plan

Art house films in particular bear the marks of their specific directors and writers – and that often doesn’t translate (sorry, Another Round and Leo DeCaprio). “This may explain why so many international films optioned for remakes never get made. Paramount’s version of German Oscar nominee Toni Erdmann (2016), DreamWorks’ planned adaptation of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Like Father, Like Son (2013), or Tom Hanks’ U.S. take of A Man Called Ove, the Swedish sleeper from 2015, remain, as of this writing, in development hell.” And then there are international streaming services. – The Hollywood Reporter

Amazon Fake Reviews Scam Exposed in Data Breach Safety Detectives