Welcome to our discussion thread on Julie Rose’s Free Time, recently reviewed by Eric Rakowski for NDPR. We have invited Julie and Eric to provide any comments they’d like on either the book or the review, and we hope other readers of PEA Soup will chime in with their thoughts on either the book or the review as well.
Much is made these days of ideological bubbles and commitment cocoons (OK, I made up that one), in which people stick to their beliefs regardless of any “evidence” or “reasoning” otherwise. But, let’s admit it, it’s hard to change your mind about something you’ve been committed to solely based on your assessment of reasons. This is true even for — perhaps especially for — professional philosophers.
It might be worth hearing, then, about your true conversion stories and the role contrary reasons played for you: What moral/political view were you committed to — perhaps even published about — that you abandoned solely in the face of good reasons otherwise? Were the reasons available to you all along and you just saw them in a newly salient light, or were they new reasons to you? Have you “backslid”? Have you gone on to publish on the contrary view? (See my conversion story below the fold.)
The newly formed Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Society is hosting its first annual conference from March 16th to March 19th,2017 in New Orleans. The conference contains a variety of panels, and we’re hosting one on policy epistemology. Policy epistemology concerns questions surrounding the ethics of belief and advocacy regarding public policy, especially with respect to those who formulate and implement policy. How much evidence does one require in order to justify an expansion of public health insurance? How high of an evidential bar must empirical evidence satisfy before it can justify legal restrictions, such as regulations on carbon emissions? How should we handle rational disputes about social scientific questions as they bear on public policy? For instance, how seriously should we take the fact that macroeconomic policy is the subject of enormous disputes between expert economists in formulating countercyclical policy? Does disagreement prevent government officials from implementing, say, Keynesian countercyclical economic policy?
If you would like to present at the PPE society on topics falling under the general heading of policy epistemology, I encourage you to submit an abstract of fewer than 250 words to me at firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of the year, December 31st, 2016.