Philosophy 152: Philosophy of Social Science Winter Term 2011 Professor: Nancy Cartwright Meeting times: M-W-F, 12 12:50 02/23/20 1 Course Topics Part I. The Ethics of the Economics of Climate Change Part 2. Value-free Social Science: Is it Possible? Desirable? Part 3. Feminist perspectives Part 4. Evidence-based social policy
02/23/20 2 Part I. The Ethics of the Economics of Climate Change Week 1. The economy and the environment: Who matters? Readings Stern, N. (2009), Ethics, discounting and the case for action Broome, J (2007), Climate Change: Why Economics Requires Ethics Dasgupta, P (2006), Comments on the Stern Reviews Economics of Climate Change Week 2. Which values? Whose values? Readings Sen, A (1999), Development as Freedom, Chapter 3 Sen, A (2009), The Idea of Justice, Forms of Reasoning Week 3. Dealing with dissent Readings Oreskes, N. & Conway, E. (2010), Merchants of Doubt
02/23/20 3 Part 2. Value-free Social Science: Is it Possible? Desirable? Week 4. The value-free ideal Readings Douglas, H. (2009), Origins of the Value-Free Ideal for Science Nagel, E. (1961), The Value-oriented Bias of Social Enquiry Rudner, R. (1953), The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments Week 5. Chasing out values: can it be done? Readings Sen, A (1981), Accounts Actions and Values: Objectivity of Social Science Dupre, J (2007), Facts and Values
02/23/20 4 Part 3. Feminist perspectives Week 7. Is value-free social science all that good an idea? Readings Lloyd, E. (1995), Objectivity and the Double Standard for Feminist Epistemologies Wylie, A. (2003), Why Standpoint Matters Crasnow, S. (2007), Feminist Anthropology and Sociology 02/23/20 5
Part 4. Evidence-based social policy Week 8. Whats EBP? Whats so good about RCTs? Readings Social Programs that Work Cartwright, N & Hardie, J (2011), The long road from It workssomewhere to It will work for us Week 9. What went wrong with class-size reduction? Readings What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards Stecher, B. & Bohrnstedt, G. (2002), Class Size Reduction in California Cartwright, N and Hardie, J (2011), Getting the right support team. Week 10. What went wrong in Bangladesh?
Readings White, H. (2009), Theory-based impact evaluation Cartwright, N. and Hardie, J. Knowing what you are talking about 02/23/20 6 Readings are available from: http://reserves.ucsd.edu/ Office hours and location: tba Format: lectures M,W; discussion F Requirements: Attendance and participation are expected.
Overall, 6 hours out of class prep per week, including essay writinfg and exam prep. There will be Exams: midterm, final Essays: 1 short, 3-4 pages, due Monday, week 4; 1 longer , 7-8 pages, due Monday week 9. Grading: Midterm: 20%, final 30%; Essay 1: 10%; Essay 2: 20%; class participation 20% Some readings can look daunting. You arent expected to understand all, esp technical details. 02/23/20 7 The Ethics of the Economics of Climate Change Phil 152: Philosophy of Social Science The Stern Review on the Economics of
Climate Change Week 1 Winter Term, 2010-11 The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change Commissioned in July 2005 by Gordon Brown, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer to understand more comprehensively the nature of the economic challenges and how they can be met in the UK and globally. Published 30 October 2006. The Review met with hugely mixed reception 02/23/20 9
The Stern review on the economics of climate change completely fails to acknowledge the imminent decline in global oil production David Strahan www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=8954 - 53k Not stern enough The Stern review offers a way out of climate change catastrophe - but only by playing down the scale of the problem. //www.guardian.co.uk 02/23/20 10
Stern warning The review on climate change marks a turning point. From The Times The Stern Review: "It's balls Recall the governments dodgy dossier on Iraq? Now its issued another scare story. Am I the only businessman who is just a little bit dubious about economist Sir Nicholas Sterns findings? GB Magazine, Jan 2007 by David Soskin 02/23/20 11 Lord Stern of Brentford
Lord (Nicholas) Stern is currently the IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government at LSE and chair LSEs Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and also a Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. He was Adviser to the UK Government on the Economics of Climate Change and Development, reporting to the Prime Minister from 2003-2007 and during that period headed both the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and the Government Economic Service.
From 2000-2003, Sir Nicholas was World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Development Economics. 02/23/20 12 The Stern Review forecasts that 1% of global gross domestic product (GDP) must be spent on tackling climate change immediately. It warns that if no action is taken: Floods from rising sea levels could displace up to 100 million people. Melting glaciers could cause water shortages for 1 in 6 of the world's population. Wildlife will be harmed; at worst up to 40% of species could become extinct.
Droughts may create tens or even hundreds of millions of "climate refugees. 02/23/20 13 The conclusion of the review is essentially optimistic, said Lord Stern. There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change if we act now and act internationally. We can grow and be green. The report identified carbon pricing, including carbon-emissions trading worldwide and green taxes, improved low- carbon technology, energy efficiency and halting deforestation as
the main methods of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. 02/23/20 14 Recommendations from the Stern report aim for a temperature change of about 2C in 100 years, stabilizing at 3. By contrast, along the more-gradual majoritarian optimal trajectories, CO2 concentrations a century from now are >600 ppm and E[T] 2.5C with temperatures expected to continue rising to well above E[T] 3 after year 2105. (Weitzman 2) BUT see The Guardian, 6 August 2008 Prepare for global temperature rise of 4C, warns top scientistDefra's chief adviser says we need strategy to adapt
to potential catastrophic increase. 02/23/20 15 The Stern review recommends immediate, decisive and expensive measures starting now to reduce CO2 emissions and green house gases. Because our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and economic depression of the first half of the 20th century. 02/23/20
16 The issues for value freedom 1. 2. 3. 02/23/20 The recommendations depend sensitively on certain ethical assumptions. But economics should be value-free (wertfrei). Or should it? These assumptions are made by the wrong persons. Or not? Values for specific parameters are too
ethically demanding. Or are they? that measures how much the welfare of future generations counts. that reflects trade-offs between the poor (us!) and the rich (future generations!). 17 Stern Review: Ethical assumptions The breadth, magnitude and nature of impacts imply that several ethical perspectives, such as those focussing on welfare, equity and justice, freedoms and rights, are relevantQuestions of intra- and inter-generational equity are central. (Stern 25) the strong, immediate action on climate change advocated by the authors is an implication of their views on intergenerational equity; it isnt driven so much by the new climatic
facts the authors have stressed. (Dasgupta 2) 02/23/20 18 Positive vs normative social science Means v ends Positive social science a body of systematized knowledge concerning what is. (following JN Keynes) Normative social science a body of systematized knowledge implying what ought to be. (JN Keynes) Value-free ideal: Normative social science or someone outside social science altogether sets the ends; positive social science
describes the means. 02/23/20 19 Positive (value-free) social science Establishes (true or false) claims reporting positive facts without presupposing the truth of any value claims (i.e. objectively). An objective claim is a claim about positive facts that is established objectively. Examples of positive facts:
02/23/20 The force exerted by the magnet is 2 dynes. The grass in my backyard now is greener than in my friends backyard in Northern Alberta. The charge of an electron is The import elasticity of demand for automobiles in Britain in 1979 is 1.3. Nancy is 55 tall. 20 Three big questions
Is social science value free? Can it be? Should it be? 02/23/20 21 How far does positive soc sci reach? Milton Friedman, Chicago School Nobel prize winner: The distinction is relatively clear and positive economics rules. I venture that currently in the Western worlddifferences about economic policy amongst disinterested citizens derive predominantly from different predictions about the economic consequences of taking action differences that can in principle be eliminated by the progress of positive economics rather than from
fundamental differences in basic values, differences about which men can ultimately only fight. (5) 02/23/20 22 How far does positive soc sci reach? John Broome, Whites Professor of Moral Philosophy, Oxford (and ex-economist) 02/23/20 Economics is a branch of ethics A great deal of
economics is explicitly practical, and this practical side is a branch of ethics. 23 The problem: the intertwining of facts and values The intertwining is both explicit and implicit. It can occur at differing points: Choice of general framework. Modelling assumptions. Concepts and measures. 02/23/20 24
Choice of general framework Rational choice theory, welfare economics: maximize expected utility. Game theory is a version: maximize expected utility given that your opponent chooses the best strategy to do the same. Cf. Stern report. Choice of other goals and the exact way they are conceived: efficiency, freedom, Choice of standpoint, or attempt to avoid standpoint. 02/23/20 25 Modelling assumptions Some places we can see these playing a role: Discounting
Rich v poor (Stern report). Present v future generations (Stern report, golden rule). Representative agents masking distributional problems. Atkinson discussion. Standard search and matching models of unemployment: individual welfare is measured by income, ignoring, e.g., the values of self-esteem or social inclusion, which would lead to different results. 02/23/20 26 Concepts and measures
Its easy for value judgements to slip in since often there are no compelling scientific reasons to decide what to do. Yet decisions have important and different effects on different groups. Maybe not so surprising wrt Freedom Human flourishing (e.g. the HDI) Poverty. But what about Unemployment (Children should not work)? Inflation ? High school finishing rates? 02/23/20 27 Stern report: explicit values enter into - The general framework:
Ethical perspective is essential. Underlying welfare framework for appraisal and costbenefit analysis. Neutral among a number of political theories. But all of these, they say, imply a concern with basic factors that overlap those of the Millennium Development Goals: consumption, education, health, environment. The modelling assumptions: Specific views on and , which imply specific ethical assumptions about trade-offs between generations and between richer and poorer. Who sets the values for these parameters. 02/23/20 28 Stern report: modelling assumptions. Choice of discount rate
Weitzman: The question for the Stern Review analysis then effectively becomes: is it worthwhile to sacrifice costs C 1% of GDP now to remove damages D 5% of GDP a century from nowby picking the extreme values = 1, = 0.1%, Stern.is really stacking the deck in favour of approving such kind of fractional GDP swaps across time. 02/23/20 29 The welfare of future generations Stern Review We take a simple approach: if a future generation will be present, we suppose that it has the same claim on our attentions as the current one. (35) It is hard to see any ethical justification for [discounting
the welfare of future generations]. (35) That is clearly a value judgement. But then any choice of a discount rate is a moral judgement. The maximize-expected-utility framework forces moral judgements in modelling assumptions. 02/23/20 30 Why discount future generations: ? If consumption grows, future people are better off. How much better off is measured by : the elasticity of marginal value wrt consumption. Suppose that a unit at the margin gives less utility
to the rich than the poor. This, ala Broome, favours prioritarianism over (Broomes version of) pure utilitarianism: 02/23/20 Broome: According to the utilitarian formula, an addition to a persons wellbeing counts the same whenever it occurs and to whomever it occurs. (5) A moral judgement is required willy-nilly. 31 Why discount future generations: ? is the rate of pure time preference Why discount future generations?
They may not be there. measure that. Impatience This hardly seems relevant across generations. We are the ones who decide what to do now and we decide not to care about future generations. Again, any value reflects a moral judgement. 02/23/20 32 Justification for using a positive (by Armartya Sen) in similar contexts: We may reasonably think the existence of future generations is uncertain nuclear war for example. BUT be careful about the values. In another
case, by Robert Lucas, AB Atkinson notes that if you think that it is 40% probable we dont survive into the next century this gives = .5%: an order of magnitude smaller than Robert Lucass (1+)= 1/0.95. 02/23/20 33 The Stern Review: who sets discount rates? Weitzman criticizes the Review for using a rate different from the preference revealed in the savings rate. For most economists, a major problem with Sterns numbers is that people are not observed as if they are operating with 0, 1. (8) Sterns worldview tends to blow off market-based
observations as being largely irrelevant to long-run discounting, which should instead be based primarily upon the ethical value 0 that Stern imposes on a priori grounds. (8) 02/23/20 34 Objection to Weitzman: scientific He makes two different conflations: Individual preferences regarding ones own future preferences about future generations. Deeper (and controversial): revealed preferences real preferences or values, because of Bounded rationality. Akrasia (weakness of the will). The philosophic method is a better method for eliciting
real preferences than looking at how people behave, or so say Sen and Cartwright. 02/23/20 35 Objection to Weitzman: moral On two grounds Who should decide the discount rate for future generations? Stern Review: moral theory. Weitzman: current people. The choice either way is a moral judgement. We ought to treat future generations equally. The Stern Review doesnt propose this on a priori grounds, but points to -02/23/20
36 Standard ethical perspectives all the perspectives would take into account the distribution of outcomes within and across generations, together with the risks involved in different actions, now and over time. Hence the Review focuses on the implications of action or inaction on climate change for these four dimensions. (32) How the implications for these four dimensions are assessed, will, of course, vary according to the ethical position adopted. (32) In arriving at a decision, or a view, it is not, however, always necessary to derive a single number that gives full quantitative content and appropriate weight to all the dimensions and elements involved. (32) 02/23/20
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