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Duflo, Esther. Field Experiments in Development Economics
2006, Advances in Economics and Econometrics: Theory and Applications, Ninth World Congress (Econometric Society Monographs), R. Blundell, W. Newey, & T. Persson (eds.), 322-348
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Johanna Thoma
Abstract: There is a long tradition in development economics of collecting original data to test specific hypotheses. Over the last 10 years, this tradition has merged with an expertise in setting up randomized field experiments, resulting in an increasingly large number of studies where an original experiment has been set up to test economic theories and hypotheses. This paper extracts some substantive and methodological lessons from such studies in three domains: incentives, social learning, and time-inconsistent preferences. The paper argues that we need both to continue testing existing theories and to start thinking of how the theories may be adapted to make sense of the field experiment results, many of which are starting to challenge them. This new framework could then guide a new round of experiments.

Comment: Duflo, of the MIT Poverty Action Lab and recent Nobel Prize Winner, summarizes some of the successes of randomized field evaluations in development economics. She then argues that the way forward for development economics should indeed involve some theorizing, but theorizing on the basis of our new empirical evidence - which might end up looking quite different from standard economic theory. This is a very useful (opinionated) introduction to field experiments for a week on field experiments in a philosophy of economics or philosophy of the social sciences course.

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Mankiller, Wilma, et al.. Everyday is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women
2004, Fulcrum Publishing.
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Added by: Sonja Dobroski and Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: Nineteen prominent Native artists, educators, and activisits share their candid and often profound thoughts on what it means to be a Native American woman in the early 21st century. Their stories are rare and often intimate glimpses of women who have made a conscious decision to live every day to its fullest and stand for something larger than themselves.

Comment: available in this Blueprint

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Smith, Subrena. Organisms as Persisters
2017, Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (14)
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Ellen Clarke

Abstract: This paper addresses the question of what organisms are and therefore what kinds of biological entities qualify as organisms. For some time now, the concept of organismality has been eclipsed by the notion of individuality. Biological individuals are those systems that are units of selection. I develop a conception of organismality that does not rely on evolutionary considerations, but instead draws on development and ecology. On this account, organismality and individuality can come apart. Organisms, in my view, are as Godfrey-Smith puts it “essentially persisters.” I argue that persistence is underpinned by differentiation, integration, development, and the constitutive embeddedness of organisms in their worlds. I examine two marginal cases, the Portuguese Man O’ War and the honey bee colony, and show that both count as organisms in light of my analysis. Next, I examine the case of holobionts, hosts plus their microsymbionts, and argue that they can be counted as organisms even though they may not be biological individuals. Finally, I consider the question of whether other, less tightly integrated biological systems might also be treated as organisms.

Comment: This paper is ideal for teaching the problem of biological individuality, in a philosophy of biology course

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