•  5463
    Racial profiling has come under intense public scrutiny especially since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. This article discusses two questions: whether racial profiling is sometimes rational, and whether it can be morally permissible. It is argued that under certain circumstances the affirmative answer to both questions is justified.
  •  5238
    Kant Can’t Get No... Contradiction
    Philosophia (5): 1-18. 2020.
    According to Kant, the universalization of the maxim of false promising leads to a contradiction, namely, to everyone adopting the maxim of false promising which would in effect make promising impossible. I first propose a reconstruction of Kant’s reasoning in four steps and then show that each of these steps is highly problematic. In the second part I argue that attempts by several prominent contemporary philosophers to defend Kant fail because they encounter similar difficulties.
  •  5194
    Many Western intellectuals, especially those in humanities and social sciences, think that it can be easily shown that the persistent and massive opposition to same-sex marriage is rationally indefensible and that it is merely a result of prejudice or religious fanaticism. But a more detailed analysis of some of these widely accepted arguments against the conservative position reveals that these arguments are in fact based on logical fallacies and serious distortions of conservative criticisms o…Read more
  •  3519
    Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept
    Biology and Philosophy 25 (2): 143-162. 2010.
    It is nowadays a dominant opinion in a number of disciplines (anthropology, genetics, psychology, philosophy of science) that the taxonomy of human races does not make much biological sense. My aim is to challenge the arguments that are usually thought to invalidate the biological concept of race. I will try to show that the way “race” was defined by biologists several decades ago (by Dobzhansky and others) is in no way discredited by conceptual criticisms that are now fashionable and widely reg…Read more
  •  1717
    The article focuses on prosecutor's fallacy and interrogator's fallacy, the two kinds of reasoning in inferring a suspect's guilt. The prosecutor's fallacy is a combination of two conditional probabilities that lead to unfortunate commission of error in the process due to the inclination of the prosecutor in the establishment of strong evidence that will indict the defendant. It provides a comprehensive discussion of Gerd Gigerenzer's discourse on a criminal case in Germany explaining the perils…Read more
  •  1279
    Sudden Infant Death or Murder? A Royal Confusion About Probabilities
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2): 299-329. 2007.
    In this article I criticize the recommendations of some prominent statisticians about how to estimate and compare probabilities of the repeated sudden infant death and repeated murder. The issue has drawn considerable public attention in connection with several recent court cases in the UK. I try to show that when the three components of the Bayesian inference are carefully analyzed in this context, the advice of the statisticians turns out to be problematic in each of the steps.
  •  1177
    The Curious Case of the Double Dissident
    In T. Allan Hillman & Tully Borland (eds.), Dissident Philosophers: Voices Against the Political Current of the Academy, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 229-246. 2021.
  •  825
    Avoid Certain Frustration—Or Maybe Not?
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy. 2018.
    In the situation known as the “cable guy paradox” the expected utility principle and the “avoid certain frustration” principle (ACF) seem to give contradictory advice about what one should do. This article tries to resolve the paradox by presenting an example that weakens the grip of ACF: a modified version of the cable guy problem is introduced in which the choice dictated by ACF loses much of its intuitive appeal.
  •  689
    Confusions about Race: A New Installment
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3): 287-293. 2013.
    In his criticism of my paper on the concept of race (Sesardic, 2010), Adam Hochman raises many issues that deserve further clarification. First, I will comment on Hochman’s claim that I attack a straw man version of racial constructionism. Second, I will try to correct what I see as a distorted historical picture of the debate between racial naturalists and racial constructionists. Third, I will point out the main weaknesses in Hochman’s own defense of constructionism about race. And fourth, I w…Read more
  •  550
    Nature, Nurture, and Politics
    Biology and Philosophy 25 (3): 433-436. 2010.
    Political imputations in science are notoriously a tricky business. I addressed this issue in the context of the nature–nurture debate in the penultimate chapter of my book Making Sense of Heritability (Cambridge U. P. 2005). Although the book mainly dealt with the logic of how one should think about heritability of psychological differences, it also discussed the role of politics in our efforts to understand the dynamics of that controversy. I first argued that if a scholar publicly defends a c…Read more
  •  539
    In the first stage of his thinking Karl Marx founded his revolutionary politics on philosophical speculation, while in the second (mature) stage he relied on economics and the theory of exploitation based on his theory of surplus value. Marxism, however, developed in the opposite direction. After Marx's economic doctrine became vulnerable to powerful objections, Marxists tried to find a refuge in his early philosophical writings and in this way avoid refutation. Ultimately this attempt proved un…Read more
  •  499
    Science and Politics: Dangerous Liaisons
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 23 (1): 129-151. 1992.
    In contrast to the opinion of numerous authors (e.g. R. Rudner, P. Kitcher, L. R. Graham, M. Dummett, N. Chomsky, R. Lewontin, etc.) it is argued here that the formation of opinion in science should be greatly insulated from political considerations. Special attention is devoted to the view that methodological standards for evaluation of scientific theories ought to vary according to the envisaged political uses of these theories.
  •  393
    The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture (review)
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (4): 417-420. 2011.
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume 25, Issue 4, Page 417-420, December 2011
  •  326
    Women in Philosophy: Problems with the Discrimination Hypothesis
    with Rafael de Clercq
    Academic Questions 27 (4): 461-473. 2014.
    A number of philosophers attribute the underrepresentation of women in philosophy largely to bias against women or some kind of wrongful discrimination. They cite six sources of evidence to support their contention: (1) gender disparities that increase along the path from undergraduate student to full time faculty member; (2) anecdotal accounts of discrimination in philosophy; (3) research on gender bias in the evaluation of manuscripts, grants, and curricula vitae in other academic disciplines;…Read more
  •  190
    Philosophy of Science that Ignores Science: Race, IQ and Heritability
    Philosophy of Science 67 (4): 580-602. 2000.
    Philosophers of science widely believe that the hereditarian theory about racial differences in IQ is based on methodological mistakes and confusions involving the concept of heritability. I argue that this "received view" is wrong: methodological criticisms popular among philosophers are seriously misconceived, and the discussion in philosophy of science about these matters is largely disconnected from the real, empirically complex issues debated in science
  •  171
    An Explosion without a Bang
    International Journal of Epidemiology 40 (3): 592-596. 2011.
  •  103
    My aim in this paper is to take a closer look at an influential argument that purports to prove that the existence of cultural prohibitions could never be explained by biological inhibitions. The argument is two-pronged. The first prong reduces to the claim: inhibitions cannot cause prohibitions simply because inhibitions undermine the raison dêtre of prohibitions. The second strategy consists in arguing that inhibitions cannot cause prohibitions because the two differ importantly in their conte…Read more
  •  87
    Heritability and indirect causation
    Philosophy of Science 70 (5): 1002-1014. 2003.
    Genetic differences can lead to phenotypic differences either directly or indirectly (via causing differences in external environments, which then affect phenotype). This possibility of genetic effects being mediated by environmental influences is often used by scientists and philosophers to argue that heritability is not a very helpful causal or explanatory notion. In this paper it is shown that these criticisms are based on serious misconceptions about methods of behavior genetics.
  •  81
    Heritability and Causality
    Philosophy of Science 60 (3): 396-418. 1993.
    The critics of "hereditarianism" often claim that any attempt to explain human behavior by invoking genes is confronted with insurmountable methodological difficulties. They reject the idea that heritability estimates could lead to genetic explanations by pointing out that these estimates are strictly valid only for a given population and that they are exposed to the irremovable confounding effects of genotype-environment interaction and genotype-environment correlation. I argue that these diffi…Read more
  •  77
    Evolution of human jealousy a just-so story or a just-so criticism?
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33 (4): 427-443. 2003.
    To operationalize the methodological assessment of evolutionary psychology, three requirements are proposed that, if satisfied, would show that a hypothesis is not a just-so story: (1) theoretical entrenchment (i.e., that the hypothesis under consideration is a consequence of a more fundamental theory that is empirically well-confirmed across a very wide range of phenomena), (2) predictive success (i.e., that the hypothesis generates concrete predictions that make it testable and eventually to a…Read more
  •  76
    Altruism
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (3): 457-466. 1999.
  •  62
    From genes to incest taboos
    In W. H. Durham & A. P. Wolf (ed.), Incest, Inbreeding, and the Incest Taboo: The State of Knowledge at the Turn of the Century, Stanford University Press. pp. 109-120. 2004.
  •  52
    Wittgenstein Without Tears
    Philosophy Now 83 54-54. 2011.
  •  48
    The Heritage of the Vienna Circle
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 9 (1): 121-129. 1979.
    This article presents a criticism of the widespread assumption that the programme of the Vienna Circle has been proven to be unrealizable and, therefore, that it is today quite uninteresting and to be entirely abandoned. The basic aim of logical positivists was to raise philosophy to the rigour and high standards of contemporary science. It must be admitted that they were unsuccessful in their attempts to eliminate old-fashioned and conservative philosophy by proving it to be senseless. There is…Read more
  •  42
    More attention perhaps could have been given to the implications of Aristotle’s repeated insistence that education should be relevant to the constitution, that democrats should be educated democratically and oligarchs oligarchically. Curren claims (p. 101) that, because education to preserve any constitution must aim to moderate the constitution, education for both oligarchs and democrats will be essentially the same. Certainly, Aristotle believes that oligarchies and democracies will be more se…Read more
  •  41
    Crossing the 'Explanatory Divide': A Bridge to Nowhere?
    International Journal of Epidemiology 44 1124-1127. 2015.