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June 2010 posts

Neuroeconomics: Hype or Hope (Journal of Economic Methodology)

Mark D. White

Today I received the latest issue of the Journal of Economic Methodology (17/2, June 2010), a special issue by guest editors Caterina Marchionni and Jack Vromen entitled "Neuroeconomics: Hype or Hope?" It features articles by Uskali Maki, Paul J. Zak, Jack Vromen, Don Ross, and more, and looks to be a fantastic and balanced look at this relatively new field that promises such new insights into human behavior. Being a skeptic of this approach to economics (largely stemming from my distaste for the reductionism of neuroscience), I'm very eager to delve into the essays in this issue.

Symposium on Dworkin's "Justice for Hedgehogs"

Mark D. White

The Boston University Law Review has released their issue (90/2, April 2010) collecting the papers presented at the symposium dedicated to Ronald Dworkin's upcoming book Justice for Hedgehogs that was held last fall. The line-up of scholars is very impressive, and includes Amartya Sen, Jeremy Waldron, Lawrence Solum, Robin West, C. Edwin Baker, just to name a few. Dworkin himself leads off and finishes the collection. (I may have to offer my Dworkin class again soon!)

Call for Papers: On Sen's "The Idea of Justice"

Mark D. White

The open access, online journal Rationality, Markets and Morality has issued the following call for papers:

Amartya Sen's recent book The Idea of Justice is put forward as a challenge to what Sen holds to be the predominant approach to justice in contemporary philosophy and marks as 'transcendentalism'. Justice is a matter of reason, but, argues Sen, there is no and cannot be a reasoned agreement on the nature of perfect justice. Moreover, no ideal conception of 'spotless' justice will help us solve the numerous problems of injustice easily identified in the real world. So Sen promotes a different 'comparative' account of justice whereby societies, practices and states of affairs are judged against actual and possible alternatives drawing on a plurality of views and conceptions of the good as expressed and argued for in public debate. Thorough economic and political analysis is at the heart of such moral reasoning. In expanding on and arguing for his conception of justice Sen expounds and integrates many of his well known ideas about welfare, capabilities, equality and liberty, democracy and human rights.

The Idea of Justice has immediately attracted the attention of the scholars in the field. Without doubt, it is an exceptionally resourceful and important contribution to the philosophy of justice. It is most instructive and illuminating but there is also plenty to argue with.

More details at the journal's website (linked above).

Call for Papers: Valuing Lives

Mark D. White

The NYU Center for Bioethics, in conjunction with the NYU Program in Environmental Studies, is hosting a conference named "Valuing Lives: A Conference on Ethics in Health and the Environment." From the call:

Various policy issues in environmental and health-related matters force policymakers to trade human lives against other values. We welcome original, unpublished papers from philosophers, economists and legal scholars that address whether and how this can be done in a morally acceptable manner. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: commensurability of human life and environmental values; compensation for harms to health; polling, public deliberation, and the appeal to expertise in evaluative matters; prioritizing the life and health of the young and the poorly-off; discounting future lives; saving identifiable lives vs. saving statistical lives; the precautionary principle; the human dignity objection to measuring the value of human life.

Submissions should not exceed 4000 words and must be prepared for blind review. Send the paper, a 150 word abstract and a separate document with your identifying information to Amanda Anjum ([email protected]). Submission deadline is November 1, 2010. Notification of acceptance will be sent by December 15. For further information, contact Ben Sachs ([email protected]) or go to the conference website at http://bioethics.as.nyu.edu/object/Bioethics.valuinglives.