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Bicchieri, Cristina, , . The Grammar of Society: The Nature and Dynamics of Social Norms
2006, Cambridge University Press
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Jurgis Karpus

Publisher’s Note: In The Grammar of Society, first published in 2006, Cristina Bicchieri examines social norms, such as fairness, cooperation, and reciprocity, in an effort to understand their nature and dynamics, the expectations that they generate, and how they evolve and change. Drawing on several intellectual traditions and methods, including those of social psychology, experimental economics and evolutionary game theory, Bicchieri provides an integrated account of how social norms emerge, why and when we follow them, and the situations where we are most likely to focus on relevant norms. Examining the existence and survival of inefficient norms, she demonstrates how norms evolve in ways that depend upon the psychological dispositions of the individual and how such dispositions may impair social efficiency. By contrast, she also shows how certain psychological propensities may naturally lead individuals to evolve fairness norms that closely resemble those we follow in most modern societies.

Comment: Extracts from Bicchieri’s book can be read in a course that covers game theory and social norms. Bicchieri’s book is famous and highly praised for its contribution to our understanding of how social norms form and influence our choice behaviour in day-to-day social interactions. Christina Bicchieri has recently also co-authored a revised version of the entry ‘social norms’ in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP).

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Ivanova, Milena, , . Pierre Duhem’s Good Sense as a Guide to Theory Choice
2010, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science part A 41(1): 58-64.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by: Ivanova, Milena

Abstract: This paper examines Duhem’s concept of good sense as an attempt to support a non rule-governed account of rationality in theory choice. Faced with the underdetermination of theory by evidence thesis and the continuity thesis, Duhem tried to account for the ability of scientists to choose theories that continuously grow to a natural classification. The author examines the concept of good sense and the problems that stem from it. The paper presents a recent attempt by David Stump to link good sense to virtue epistemology. It is argued that even though this approach can be useful for the better comprehension of the concept of good sense, there are some substantial differences between virtue epistemologists and Duhem. The athor proposes a possible way to interpret the concept of good sense, which overcomes the noted problems and fits better with Duhem’s views on scientific method and motivation in developing the concept of good sense.

Comment: Interesting article that could serve as further reading in both epistemology courses and philosophy of science classes. Really good as an in-depth study of Duhem’s views on scientific method. Recommendable for postgraduates or senior undergraduates.

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Paul, L. A., , . What You Can’t Expect When You’re Expecting
2015, Res Philosophica 92 (2):1-23 (2015)
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Abstract: It seems natural to choose whether to have a child by reflecting on what it would be like to actually have a child. I argue that this natural approach fails. If you choose to become a parent, and your choice is based on projections about what you think it would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. If you choose to remain childless, and your choice is based upon projections about what you think it would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. This suggests we should reject our ordinary conception of how to make this life-changing decision, and raises general questions about how to rationally approach important life choices.

Comment: Good to use as a shorter introductory reading to L.A. Paul’s work and how to make decisions about life choices. It could be used in a module on decision making, or imagination.

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