Australasian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 86, No. 1, March 2008

The Review of Metaphysics, June 2008 | Go to article overview

Australasian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 86, No. 1, March 2008


Public Goods and Fairness, GARRETT CULLITY

To what extent can we as a community legitimately require individuals to contribute to producing public goods? Most of us think that, at least sometimes, refusing to pay for a public good that you have enjoyed can involve a kind of 'free riding' that makes it wrong. But what is less clear is under exactly which circumstances this is wrong. To work out the answer to that, we need to know why it is wrong. The author argues that when free riding is wrong, the reason is that it is unfair. That is not itself a very controversial claim. But spelling out why it is unfair allows us to see just which forms of free riding are wrong. Moreover, it supplies a basis from which some more controversial conclusions can be defended. Even if a public good is one that you have been given without asking for it or seeking it out, it can still be wrong not to be prepared to pay for it. It can be wrong not to be prepared to pay for public goods even when you do not receive them at all. And furthermore, it can be right to force you to do so.

In Defence of Causal Bases, JAN HAUSKA

C. B. Martin's finkish cases raise one of the most serious objections to conditional analyses of dispositions. David Lewis's reformed analysis is widely considered the most promising response to the objection. Despite its sophistication, however, the reformed analysis still provokes questions concerning its ability to handle finkish cases. They focus on the applicability of the analysis to 'baseless' dispositions. After sketching Martin's objection and the reformed analysis, Hauska argues that all dispositions have causal bases which the analysis can unproblematically invoke.

Counterfactuals vs. Conditional Probabilities: A Critical Analysis of the Counterfactual Theory of Information, HILMI DEMIR

Cohen and Meskin [2006] recently offered a counterfactual theory of information to replace the standard probabilistic theory of information. They claim that the counterfactual theory fares better than the standard account on three grounds: first, it provides a better framework for explaining information flow properties; second, it requires a less expensive ontology; and third, because it does not refer to doxastic states of the information-receiving organism, it provides an objective basis. In this paper, the author shows that none of these is really an advantage. Moreover, the counterfactual theory fails to satisfy one of the basic properties of information flow, namely the Conjunction Principle. Thus, Demir concludes, there is no reason to give up the standard probabilistic theory for the counterfactual theory of information.

Colour Constancy as Counterfactual, JONATHAN COHEN

In this paper, Cohen argues that two standard characterizations of colour constancy are inadequate to the phenomenon. This inadequacy matters, since, he contends, philosophical appeals to colour constancy as a way of motivating illumination independent conceptions of colour turn crucially on the shortcomings of these characterizations. After critically reviewing the standard characterizations, Cohen provides a novel counter factualist understanding of colour constancy, argue that it avoids difficulties of its traditional rivals, and defend it from objections. Finally, he shows why, on this improved understanding, colour constancy does not have the philosophical consequences that have been claimed for it in the literature. …

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Australasian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 86, No. 1, March 2008
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