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A Logic Blog | Can Başkent

Can Başkent

logic and the rest...

Climate Change

A utilitarian approach to a basic and fundamental problem of climate change leaves us with undesired (and I must say unacceptable) consequences. The following is from Wagner and Weitzman's book "The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet":

"Why act, if your actions cost you more than they benefit you personally? Total benefits of your actions may outweigh costs. Yet benefits get spread across seven billion others, while you incur the full costs. The same logic holds for everybody else. Too few are going to do what is in the common interest. Everyone else free rides"

A deontic/paraconsistent/deontologic logic of obligations may present a decent analysis of this issue, it seems.

Sweatshop Workers

Adult workers take jobs in these unpleasant, low-wage manufacturing facilities voluntarily. (I am not writing about forced labor or child labor, both of which are different cases.) So one of two things must be true. Either (1) workers take unpleasant jobs in sweatshops because it is the best employment option they have; or (2) Asian sweatshop workers are persons of weak intellect who have many more attractive job offers but choose to work in sweatshops instead. Most arguments against globalization implicitly assume number two. The protesters smashing windows in Seattle were trying to make the case that workers in the developing world would be better off if we curtailed international trade, thereby closing down the sweatshops that churn out shoes and handbags for those of us in the developed world. But how exactly does that make workers in poor countries better off.

From Wheelan Charles, “Naked Economics

Paradoxical Rational

The idea of an irrational action, belief, intention, inference, or emotion is paradoxical. For the irrational is not merely the non-rational, which lies outside the ambit of the rational; irrationality is a failure within the house of reason.

From Donald Davidson, "Problems of Rationality", p. 169, Oxford University Press.