FC Talks

Gender Norms, Women’s Executive Function and Mental Health, and Anti-Poverty Programs: Experimental Evidence from India

Thursday, Febuary 27th

12:30-1:45pm

The Freedom Center Spring 2020 Colloquium Series presents Tauhid Rahman, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona's Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics.

Tauhid Rahman is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona's Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics. Much of his research concerns the connections between gender and the economics of poverty. Professor Rahman was the Co-Principal Investigator of the National Science Foundation’s multidisciplinary Research Coordination Network (2012–2018) on sustainable food systems and food security. He is also a frequent visiting researcher at the World Bank and involved in several World Bank-supported research projects.

Abstract:
Sociocultural norms, executive function and mental health are powerful factors in an individual’s agency, decision-making, and development. Gender norms, for example, mediate the relationship between economic development and women's labor market outcomes. Executive functions make it possible for a person to live, work, and learn. They are important for taking simple to complex actions, from cooking, shopping, nurturing children, planning, and to execution. Low executive functions can frustrate the success of anti-poverty and empowerment programs through participants’ inadequate planning, improper utilization of resources, and the lack of timely actions. Similarly, mental and emotional health of a person powerfully affect their decision-making and choices. In developing countries, the fundamental obstacles to poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment are gender norms, low executive functions, and poor mental and emotional health. In this talk, I will describe a women’s anti-poverty program in India and present evidence on its causal effects on gender norms, women’ executive function, and mental and emotional health. I will also discuss the implications of these results for anti-poverty programs and women’s empowerment policies.

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community. RSVP to Lucy Schwarz at luciaschwarz@email.arizona.edu.

When

12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. Feb. 27, 2020

Academic year

2019-2020

Semester

Spring

Where

Kendrick Seminar Room, Social Sciences 128

The Welfare State as a Discovery Procedure: Basic Income and Social Evolution

Thursday, Febuary 6th

12:30-1:45pm

The Freedom Center Spring 2020 Colloquium Series presents Otto Lehto, PhD candidate in The Department of Political Economy at King's College London.

Otto Lehto is a PhD Candidate in Political Economy at King’s College (BA and MA from the University of Helsinki). He primarily studies Universal Basic Income, Classical Liberalism, and Evolutionary Economics. Besides his academic research, Otto also composes music and actively participates in Finnish politics.

ABSTRACT: Poverty relief entails the provision of goods and services. As such, it seems like a simple matter of redistribution. However, according to the liberal interpretation of evolutionary economics, as exemplified by e.g. F.A. Hayek and J.S. Mill, governments must overcome knowledge problems that limit their competence. In this view, efficient poverty relief should function as a discovery procedure that takes advantage of bottom-up experimentation and evolutionary learning. The goal of welfare policy, then, is to fumble in the dark in order to answer the question(s), "What do poor people want? And how should it be given to them?" To this end, Universal Basic Income (UBI) has several design features (e.g. its rule-based delivery and non-paternalism) that make it theoretically promising as a tool of welfare discovery. But it is also expensive, strange, and unpopular. Can it pass the test of comparative institutional analysis?

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community. RSVP to Lucy Schwarz at luciaschwarz@email.arizona.edu.

When

12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. Feb. 6, 2020

Academic year

2019-2020

Semester

Spring

Where

Kendrick Seminar Room, Social Sciences 128

Inequality in America: Assessing the Evidence

Thursday, January 16th

12:30-1:45pm

The Freedom Center Spring 2020 Colloquium Series presents Phil Magness, Senior Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research.

Phil Magness is an economic historian and a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. Among other things, Professor Magness has done work on black colonization during the Civil War era, the economy of slavery, and the relationship between taxation and wealth inequality. In his FC talk, he is going to call into question what is almost a commonplace of current political discourse, namely, that wealth inequality in American is at an all time high and rising. According to Professor Magness, the evidence on wealth inequality is more ambiguous than most commentators realize.

ABSTRACT: Is inequality rising at unprecedented rates? Are the rich really paying fewer taxes than the rest? These claims are staples of our present political discourse, but the evidence behind them is more ambiguous than most commentators realize. In this talk I will examine how inequality is measured, what we can interpret from those measurements, and what they portend for economic prosperity and fairness.

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community. RSVP to Lucy Schwarz at luciaschwarz@email.arizona.edu.

When

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Jan. 16, 2020

Academic year

2019-2020

Semester

Spring

Where

Kendrick Seminar Room, Social Sciences 128

Thursday, October 17th
12:30-1:45pm

The Freedom Center Fall 2019 colloquium series presents Albertina Antognini, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Arizona.  

Abstract: This Article considers the limits of the right to contract across intimate relationships, with a focus on nonmarital relationships. It begins by setting out the puzzle of why courts are reluctant to uphold agreements to distribute property at the end of a nonmarital relationship at the same time that they eagerly enforce premarital contracts at the time of divorce. The answer seems to rely on how the law addresses homemaking services. The Article’s central argument is that contract doctrine currently does the work that status-based rules used to do in the context of marriage. That is, the way courts interpret agreements is similar to the effect that status once had – both limit the rights to property of an individual requesting them based on services rendered in the course of an intimate relationship. This holds true within marriage, but also, significantly, outside of marriage. In this way, contract works more expansively than status once did – the restrictions on the right to contract are carried beyond marriage to also impact individuals in nonmarital relationships. At a time when individuals are not marrying, and the Uniform Law Commission is considering what rules ought to regulate the economic rights of nonmarital couples, it is imperative to analyze whether contract is a viable legal option. This Article shows that the right to contract leaves most individuals relying on it with little recourse, whether married or not.
 

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community. RSVP to Lucy Schwarz at luciaschwarz@email.arizona.edu.

 

 

When

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Oct. 17, 2019

Academic year

2019-2020

Semester

Fall
Commentators: Nonmarital Contracts

Local Diversity and Polycentric Democracy

Tursday, November 14th
12:30-1:45pm

Abstract:
Especially at the local level, democratic orders have a number of ways of handling the diverse interests and needs of citizens.  There is of course deliberation and majority-rules voting, which allows people to determine some rule for all citizens.  But more interestingly, especially when we consider provisioning local public goods or services, we gain extra options that have serious prima facie appeal: we can either spatially split the electorate (via foot voting between existing jurisdictions or creating a new jurisdiction), or we can use private governance to allow for club goods provision that does not require support of the general electorate.  These latter two options are in a number of ways superior to deliberation and majority vote for accommodating a more diverse citizenry.  After all, we can do a far better job of ensuring that citizens are getting closer to the sort of social compact they are interested in, as they can more easily get more of the costly social goods that they want, and fewer of the ones that they do not.  However, I argue that these mechanisms come with serious costs, especially when we take into account the longer-run dynamics of these approaches.  These approaches have helped fuel stark racial and socio-economic segregation, and large differences in quality of governance.  Most worrisome, these costs are frequently shouldered by those outside of private governance contracts, and those who are being moved away from.  In particular, I am interested not only in material harms, but in the democratic harms that those outside of the extra polycentric arrangements bear, in the form of reduced democratic voice, and a weaker real option of foot voting.  The aim of this paper is to explore the extent to which we can recover the benefits of polycentric democracy while taking these externalities into account.

The Freedom Center Fall 2019 colloquium series presents Ryan Muldoon, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Buffalo. Professor Muldoon was a Core Author of the 2015 World Development Report at the World Bank. His research investigates the challenges and potential benefits that diversity poses for political, cultural, and scientific communities.

When

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Nov. 14, 2019

Academic year

2019-2020

Semester

Fall

Where

Kendrick Seminar Room, Social Sciences 128

Enjoy Debating Trolley Problems? You Can't With A Machine.

Thursday, September 19th

ABSTRACT: I will present the essence of "machine learning" using as little math and computer science as possible, but enough to convey that modern machine learning algorithms depend on impenetrably complicated mathematical computations. (Very, very little math, I promise.) Along the way, I will explain what constitutes "learning" to a machine, and how machines exercise what they've learned. Finally, I will discuss the fact that self-driving cars are essentially answering trivial real-world trolley problems constantly, and absolutely nobody knows what they will do when faced with an unforeseen non-trivial problem. The goal of this nontechnical talk is to demystify machine learning for an audience of philosophers, and, I hope, promote a discussion about how to think about what applications based on machine learning are actually doing and not doing.
 

The Freedom Center Fall 2019 colloquium series presents Todd Proebsting, Professor and Department Head of Computer Science (University of Arizona). His research interests are centered on reproducibility in Computer Science and the impact of programming tools on programmer productivity. Before coming to the U of A in 2012, he worked at Microsoft for 15 years, where he founded Microsoft's efforts in using prediction markets to help forecast future events. 

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community. RSVP to Lucy Schwarz at luciaschwarz@email.arizona.edu.

When

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019

Academic year

2019-2020

Semester

Fall

Where

Kendrick Seminar Room, Social Sciences 128

Culpability, Deporability and Hate Crime Legislation

Thursday, November 21st
12:30-1:45pm

The Freedom Center Fall 2019 colloquium series presents Kit Wellman, Dean of Academic Planning, Professor of Philosophy, and Chair of Education (Washington University in St. Louis). Professor Wellman has worked extensively on political legitimacy, political self-determination, duties to obey the law, immigration and the right to exclude, as well as the permissibility of punishment.

Abstract: I will explore whether it is morally permissible to impose stiffer punishments for hate crimes, where a hate criminal is defined as a wrongdoer who selects her victim at least in part because of an animus toward members of the group to which the victim belongs.  Starting from the assumption that the severity of the punishment it is permissible to impose is a function of the wrongdoer’s actus reus (bad act) and mens rea (guilty mind), I critically assess whether hate criminals commit worse acts or have guiltier minds than ordinary criminals.

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community. RSVP to Lucy Schwarz at luciaschwarz@email.arizona.edu.

When

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Nov. 21, 2019

Academic year

2019-2020

Semester

Fall

Where

Kendrick Seminar Room, Social Sciences 128

Why Cooperate? Mutualism in the Natural World

Thursday, September 5th
12:30-1:45pm

The Freedom Center Fall 2019 colloquium series presents Judith Bronstein, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (University of Arizona). Judith Bronstein is a University Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. She is an elected fellow of the Ecological Society of America and has received the University of Arizona's Honors College's Pillar of Excellence Award. She was also a program director at the National Science Foundation in 2007-2008. Professor Bronstein's research foucses on conflict and cooperation between different species ("mutualism"). Who cooperates, why do they cooperate, how does cooperation evolve, and what are the consequences of "cheating?"

Abstract: The classic view of nature is one of a deathly struggle for existence both within and among species. Yet, throughout nature, species cooperate with each other. Mutualisms are more than fascinating natural history stories: they turn out to be central to the diversity and the diversification of life on our planet. But mutualisms have only recently attracted focused scientific attention, and many mysteries remain. Charles Darwin mused that if species could be shown to act exclusively for the good of others, “it would annihilate my theory”. How do we now interpret mutualisms through a Darwinian lens? And how can cooperation persist, in the face of a persistent temptation to “cheat” one’s partner? The main points in this talk will be liberally illustrated by examples from nature, both familiar and exotic.

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community. RSVP to Lucy Schwarz at luciaschwarz@email.arizona.edu.

When

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Sept. 5, 2019

Academic year

2019-2020

Semester

Fall

Where

Kendrick Seminar Room, Social Sciences 128

Varieties of Deep Disagreement

Thu, 4/25 - 12:30 to 13:45

Location: Social Sciences 128

Abstract: Deep disagreement gained increasing attention in epistemology in the last years. Intuitively, deep disagreement arises if two parties fail to reach agreement about certain target propositions due to disagreement about fundamental “hinge” propositions and/or framework propositions about rules or conditions of rational argumentation. This paper will clarify two central questions concerning deep disagreement. First, it will elucidate the nature of deep disagreement by providing a taxonomy of various versions of deep disagreement, including deep disagreement relying on disagreement about the reliability of sources, on disagreement about premises of arguments and on disagreement about the rationality (or cogency) of arguments. Second, it provides arguments for why these versions of deep disagreement cannot be resolved via argumentation, which are based on reinterpretations of skeptical arguments.

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community. RSVP to Lucy Schwarz at luciaschwarz@email.arizona.edu.

When

12:30 p.m. April 25, 2019

Academic year

2018-2019

Semester

Spring

Topic: Blame and responsibility in morals and elsewhere

Thu, 4/11 - 12:30 to 13:45

Location: Social Sciences 128

Abstract: We blame ourselves and others on moral grounds as well as in relation to a wide range of non-moral norms and values, including those of sports, crafts, engineering, nursing, logic, and belief formation. In this talk, I expand on and deepen my earlier attempts to offer completely general accounts of responsibility and blame, and use lessons from non-moral domains to address problems for accounts of moral responsibility and moral blameworthiness.

We welcome faculty, students, and staff of the Philosophy and Moral Science Departments as well as members of the wider University community. RSVP to Lucy Schwarz at luciaschwarz@email.arizona.edu.

When

12:30 p.m. April 11, 2019

Academic year

2018-2019

Semester

Spring

Where

Soc. Sci. 128
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