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Do computer simulations support the Argument from Disagreement?

Vallinder, Aron and Olsson, Erik J LU (2013) In Synthese 190(8). p.1437-1454
Abstract
According to the Argument from Disagreement (AD) widespread and persistent disagreement on ethical issues indicates that our moral opinions are not influenced by moral facts, either because there are no such facts or because there are such facts but they fail to influence our moral opinions. In an innovative paper, Gustafsson and Peterson (Synthese, published online 16 October, 2010) study the argument by means of computer simulation of opinion dynamics, relying on the well-known model of Hegselmann and Krause (J Artif Soc Soc Simul 5(3):1-33, 2002; J Artif Soc Soc Simul 9(3):1-28, 2006). Their simulations indicate that if our moral opinions were influenced at least slightly by moral facts, we would quickly have reached consensus, even if... (More)
According to the Argument from Disagreement (AD) widespread and persistent disagreement on ethical issues indicates that our moral opinions are not influenced by moral facts, either because there are no such facts or because there are such facts but they fail to influence our moral opinions. In an innovative paper, Gustafsson and Peterson (Synthese, published online 16 October, 2010) study the argument by means of computer simulation of opinion dynamics, relying on the well-known model of Hegselmann and Krause (J Artif Soc Soc Simul 5(3):1-33, 2002; J Artif Soc Soc Simul 9(3):1-28, 2006). Their simulations indicate that if our moral opinions were influenced at least slightly by moral facts, we would quickly have reached consensus, even if our moral opinions were also affected by additional factors such as false authorities, external political shifts and random processes. Gustafsson and Peterson conclude that since no such consensus has been reached in real life, the simulation gives us increased reason to take seriously the AD. Our main claim in this paper is that these results are not as robust as Gustafsson and Peterson seem to think they are. If we run similar simulations in the alternative Laputa simulation environment developed by Angere and Olsson (Angere, Synthese, forthcoming and Olsson, Episteme 8(2):127-143, 2011) considerably less support for the AD is forthcoming. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Argument from Disagreement, Computer simulation, Formal epistemology, Bayesianism, Probability, Trust
in
Synthese
volume
190
issue
8
pages
1437 - 1454
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000316879900006
  • scopus:84875529830
ISSN
0039-7857
DOI
10.1007/s11229-012-0107-x
project
Kunskap i sociala nätverk
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
db12d2f4-4b10-4770-9eac-d4e0d5ddc8ed (old id 3739424)
date added to LUP
2013-05-21 13:16:25
date last changed
2018-10-03 10:13:05
@article{db12d2f4-4b10-4770-9eac-d4e0d5ddc8ed,
  abstract     = {According to the Argument from Disagreement (AD) widespread and persistent disagreement on ethical issues indicates that our moral opinions are not influenced by moral facts, either because there are no such facts or because there are such facts but they fail to influence our moral opinions. In an innovative paper, Gustafsson and Peterson (Synthese, published online 16 October, 2010) study the argument by means of computer simulation of opinion dynamics, relying on the well-known model of Hegselmann and Krause (J Artif Soc Soc Simul 5(3):1-33, 2002; J Artif Soc Soc Simul 9(3):1-28, 2006). Their simulations indicate that if our moral opinions were influenced at least slightly by moral facts, we would quickly have reached consensus, even if our moral opinions were also affected by additional factors such as false authorities, external political shifts and random processes. Gustafsson and Peterson conclude that since no such consensus has been reached in real life, the simulation gives us increased reason to take seriously the AD. Our main claim in this paper is that these results are not as robust as Gustafsson and Peterson seem to think they are. If we run similar simulations in the alternative Laputa simulation environment developed by Angere and Olsson (Angere, Synthese, forthcoming and Olsson, Episteme 8(2):127-143, 2011) considerably less support for the AD is forthcoming.},
  author       = {Vallinder, Aron and Olsson, Erik J},
  issn         = {0039-7857},
  keyword      = {Argument from Disagreement,Computer simulation,Formal epistemology,Bayesianism,Probability,Trust},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {1437--1454},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Synthese},
  title        = {Do computer simulations support the Argument from Disagreement?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11229-012-0107-x},
  volume       = {190},
  year         = {2013},
}