A psychiatrist responsible for the DSM definition says he does not, but the reasons given are not very good ones. (See an earlier discussion of this topic here.) He claims that Trump does not suffer distress and impairment connected to his personality traits (note that the psychiatrist does not deny he manifests those traits). He appears to confuse the fact that money and lawyers shield him from the worst consequences of his psychological peculiarities with the fact that he does not appear to be severely impaired in his profession. But the impairment is apparent in other ways: he doesn't appear to have real human relationships (he's on his third purchased wife), his relations with others are wholly instrumental, and despite inheriting a huge fortune and investing in New York real estate in the 1970s, he was never able to become a real player in the New York real estate market because others avoided him because of his problems. (This bears emphasizing: he was never one of the top ten developers in New York, and those folks would not deal with him. Anyone familiar with the NYC real estate market knows this!) We have less evidence about the distress he suffers, but it is hard not to interpret the bizarre tweeting and other outbursts as signs of serious distress, which he then tries to mend via public displays of various kinds.
Psychiatry is an epistemically feeble discipline, and the connotations of "mental illness" complicate things further. Let's drop the question of whether his narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness. What's useful about the personality disorders, when they are useful at all, is that they do identify stable patterns of behavior that some people do exemplify. Trump is one. Having a narcissistic personality disorder may or may not be incompatible with being President--so far, the evidence is that he's quite impaired in his ability to govern, but that's all to the good given the mischief he would otherwise pursue were he more competent.
This is interesting, and far more real than fantasies about our robot overlords (as opposed to our actual capitalist overlords). What do readers know about these developments? (Thanks to Phil Gasper for the pointer.)
I've noticed The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN all refer to false statements by President [sic] Trump as simply "false": no hedging, none of the "Trump says, but others say," they just declare, correctly and flat out, that what Trump (or sometimes Spicer, his increasingly pathetic spokesperson) have sometimes said is "false." I imagine other outlets are doing this, given the influence of the Times in particular. This is a significant change in practice--even during the campaign, media outlets often hedged. But no more: when the man lies, as he does constantly, the media are reporting that his statements are false.
...which it's not impossible Trump will adopt, which would be hugely salutary and maybe the only salutary thing he might accomplish. (My main disagreement with Mearsheimer is that "liberal hegemony" is mostly ideological cover for the traditional ambitions of imperial powers.)
What may be in store. Of the two conservative thinktanks in Washington, American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, only AEI has ever been concerned with adult policy analysis; Heritage is just a front for reactionary hacks. And the budget plan allegedly comes from Heritage.
This is a welcome development. Trump's lawyers will argue that this is a matter of "public interest," so the standard for a defamation action to proceed is that Trump spoke with "actual malice," i.e., without any regard for the truth of what he said. Of course, this is tricky, because if he would know whether the allegations she made were true, and if they are true and he still called her a liar, then it certainly looks like actual malice! (A court might also simply treat the plaintiff as an ordinary citizen, so it will simply suffice if the statement that she is a "liar" is false--but in this context, for the reason noted, this may no matter.)
UPDATE: Some more details, including the complaint, here. An ironic sidenote: Trump apologist and spokesperson Kellyanne Conway is married to the lawyer (George Conway) who briefed the Supreme Court case that held that a sitting President (in that case Bill Clinton) could be a defendant in a civil suit. Mr. Conway is mentioned as a possible candidate for Trump's Solicitor General!
Edouard Machery (Pittsburgh), a leading scholar working at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, gives a useful assessment:
The history of attitude measurement in psychology is one of exuberant, irrational enthusiasm followed by disappointment when the shortcomings of the new indirect measures come to light.
The recent history of the implicit association test is just the most recent episode in this sad history of irrational exuberance followed by disappointment. We were told that the IAT measures a novel type of attitude—mental states that are both unconscious and beyond intentional control, which we’ve come to know as “implicit attitudes”—and that people’s explicit and implicit attitudes can diverge dramatically: As we’ve been told dozens of times, the racial egalitarian can be implicitly racist, and the sexist egalitarian can implicitly be a sexist pig! And law enforcement agencies, deans and provosts at universities, pundits, and philosophers concerned with the sad gender and racial distribution of philosophy have swallowed this story.
But then we’ve learned that people aren’t really unaware of whatever it is that the IAT measures. So, whatever it is that the IAT measures isn’t really unconscious. And we’ve learned that the IAT predicts very little proportion of variance. In particular, only a tiny proportion of biased behavior correlates with IAT scores. We have also learned that your IAT score today will be quite different from your IAT score tomorrow. And it is now clear that there is precious little, perhaps no, evidence that whatever it is that the IAT measures causes biased behavior. So, we have a measure of attitude that is not reliable, does not predict behavior well, may not measure anything causally relevant, and does not give us access to the unconscious causes of human behavior. It would be irresponsible to put much stock in it and to build theoretical castles on such quicksand.
Lesson: Those who ignore the history of psychology are bound to repeat its mistakes.
There are other commentaries at the same site, though Machery's stood out for cutting to the chase.
Today is MLK day in the U.S. This is from King's famous "I've been to the mountain top" speech delivered the day before his murder. Would that we had a public figure of his rhetorical power and moral clarity to confront the barbarian about to be inaugurated as President this Friday.
The problem is that the hype over IAT research, and the eagerness to apply the test to real-world problems, has so outpaced the evidence that it has launched a lot of studies built on underwhelming foundations. “Implicit bias research has been driven by both the desire to understand truths about the human mind and the desire to solve social problems,” said Forscher. “These goals have not always been in conflict. Unfortunately, one of the ways they have is that the desire to do something, anything, to solve problems related to race has led some people to jump to conclusions about the causal role of implicit bias that they might have been more cautious about had their only focus been on establishing truth.”
To Forscher, implicit bias’s role in propagating racial inequality should be given a “fair trial in the court of scientific evidence,” not simply assumed. But what’s going on now isn’t a fair trial; instead, the overhyping of IAT stacks the deck so much that sometimes it feels like implicit bias can explain everything. But plenty of researchers think that other factors play a bigger role in determining some of the most important societal outcomes. “I think unconscious racial prejudice is real and consequential,” said Robb Willer, a sociologist at Stanford University, “but my sense is that racial inequality in America is probably driven more by structural factors like concentrated poverty, the racial wealth gap, differential exposure to violence, the availability of early childhood education, and so on. Though it is also worth noting that past and present racial prejudice helped create these structural inequalities.” This is a fairly common sentiment among social scientists who study race and discrimination.
So it’s an open question, at least: The scientific truth is that we don’t know exactly how big a role implicit bias plays in reinforcing the racial hierarchy, relative to countless other factors. We do know that after almost 20 years and millions of dollars’ worth of IAT research, the test has a markedly unimpressive track record relative to the attention and acclaim it has garnered. Leading IAT researchers haven’t produced interventions that can reduce racism or blunt its impact. They haven’t told a clear, credible story of how implicit bias, as measured by the IAT, affects the real world. They have flip-flopped on important, baseline questions about what their test is or isn’t measuring. And because the IAT and the study of implicit bias have become so tightly coupled, the test’s weaknesses have caused collateral damage to public and academic understanding of the broader concept itself. As Mitchell and Tetlock argue in their book chapter, it is “difficult to find a psychological construct that is so popular yet so misunderstood and lacking in theoretical and practical payoff” as implicit bias. They make a strong case that this is in large part due to problems with the IAT.
In five days, a new President of the U.S. will be inaugurated. Although it would be unprecedented for someone other than the winner of the electoral college to be inaugurated on Friday, this has been a year of unprecedented happenings, so perhaps, given the wide reach of this blog, you, dear readers, can influence the nation's direction. Rank order these 30 individuals from most to least qualified to serve as President of the U.S. Let's see how the President-elect fares in a real competition!
...call them to voice support for the Affordable Care Act (see this useful NYT piece). It's clear that a good number of Republican Senators are getting cold feet about the disaster they're about to unleash if they cut the funding for the ACA (which they can do with a bare majority) but leave the regulations in place (e.g., the prohibition on denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions). Phone calls have much more impact than any other form of communication with these ding-dongs!
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Harvard, and the University of Virginia examined 499 studies over 20 years involving 80,859 participants that used the IAT and other, similar measures. They discovered two things: One is that the correlation between implicit bias and discriminatory behavior appears weaker than previously thought. They also conclude that there is very little evidence that changes in implicit bias have anything to do with changes in a person’s behavior. These findings, they write, "produce a challenge for this area of research."
That’s putting it mildly. "When you actually look at the evidence we collected, there’s not necessarily strong evidence for the conclusions people have drawn," says Patrick Forscher, a co-author of the paper, which is currently under review at Psychological Bulletin. The finding that changes in implicit bias don’t lead to changes in behavior, Forscher says, "should be stunning"....
Everyone agrees that the statistical effect linking bias to behavior is slight. They only disagree about how slight. Blanton’s 2013 meta-analysis found less of a link than a 2009 meta-analysis by Banaji and Greenwald. Blanton sees the correlation as so small as to be trivial. Banaji and Greenwald, in a 2015 paper, argue that "statistically small effects" can have "societally large effects."
The new analysis seems to bolster Blanton’s less-sanguine take. It found that the correlation between implicit bias and behavior was even smaller than what Blanton had reported. That came as a surprise, the researchers write.
Another surprise is that one of the co-authors of the paper is Brian Nosek, who is — along with Greenwald and Banaji — one of the three founders of the IAT. Nosek, best known these days as the director of the Center for Open Science and an advocate for better research practices, is well aware that this paper will provide aid and comfort to critics of the test he helped create....
He does defend the IAT, noting that it’s engaged millions of people in a conversation about the science of bias. He points to the test’s successes, like experiments that show how it can predict who someone would favor in a presidential election by tracking their associations. But what he calls the "very weak overall" connection between implicit bias and discriminatory behavior should, he believes, put researchers on notice. "You would think that if you change the associations, and the associations predict behavior, then the behavior would change too," Nosek says. "But the evidence is really limited on it."
Patrick Forscher, who shares the title of first author of the paper with Calvin Lai, a Harvard postdoc, thinks that there’s been pressure on researchers over the years to make the science of implicit bias sound more definitive and relevant than the evidence justifies. "A lot of people want to know, How do we tackle these disparities?" says Forscher, a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. "It makes us feel important to say, Aha, we have these measures that can tell us what the problem is, and, not only that, we can tell them how to fix the problem."
That’s essentially Blanton’s argument as well. Public discussion about implicit bias has been based largely on the results from one particular test, and that test, in his view, has been falsely sold as solid science. "They have engaged the public in a way that has wrapped the feeling of science and weight around a lot of ‘cans’ and ‘maybes,’" Blanton says. "Most of your score on this test is noise, and what signal there is, we don’t know what it is or what it means."
I trust the philosophers who jumped on this bandwagon will now rethink their positions in light of the actual evidence. If one is looking for an explanation for the obstacles women face in philosophy, perhaps explicit bias and sexual harassment deserve the real attention.
(As a sidenote, and a reminder of the totalitarian environment in some departments, the PhD student who sent this to me asked not to be named since, "Folks in my department take this stuff as gospel, so I'd rather not be targeted as a skeptic." After this newest research, anyone who still takes it as "gospel" will have a lot in common with those who take the actual gospel literally.)
What you're calling "elitism" is just simply not being ignorant. We don't have our heads shoved up Jesus's ass. And when the left gets angry because of how fucking dumb some of the shit coming out of rural and red mouths is, we're told we need to understand what they believe. No, we're just gonna say that stupid is stupid.
There are more than 200 suggestions by a diverse group of contributors, including many non-scientists, some philosophers (e.g., Daniel Dennett, Andy Clark), and even one charlatan. It's an interesting list, though a few of the concepts seem to me more the purview of pseudo-science (or not-well-confirmed scientific ideas or concepts).
The percentage of workers engaged in alternative work arrangements – defined as temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, and independent contractors or freelancers – rose from 10.1 percent [of all employed workers] in February 2005 to 15.8 percent in late 2015.
That is a huge jump, especially since the percentage of workers with alternative work arrangements barely budged over the period February 1995 to February 2005; it was only 9.3 in 1995.
But their most startling finding is the following:
A striking implication of these estimates is that all of the net employment growth in the U.S. economy from 2005 to 2015 appears to have occurred in alternative work arrangements. Total employment according to the CPS increased by 9.1 million (6.5 percent) over the decade, from 140.4 million in February 2005 to 149.4 in November 2015. The increase in the share of workers in alternative work arrangements from 10.1 percent in 2005 to 15.8 percent in 2015 implies that the number of workers employed in alternative arrangement increased by 9.4 million (66.5 percent), from 14.2 million in February 2005 to 23.6 million in November 2015. Thus, these figures imply that employment in traditional jobs (standard employment arrangements) slightly declined by 0.4 million (0.3 percent) from 126.2 million in February 2005 to 125.8 million in November 2015.
Take a moment to let that sink in—and think about what that tells us about the operation of the US economy and the future for working people. Employment in so-called traditional jobs is actually shrinking. The only types of jobs that have been growing in net terms are ones in which workers have little or no security and minimal social benefits....
There is a clear age gradient that has grown stronger, with older workers more likely to have nonstandard employment than younger workers. In 2015, 6.4 percent of those aged 16 to 24 were employed in an alternative work arrangement, while 14.3 percent of those aged 25-54 and 23.9 percent of those aged 55-74 had nonstandard work arrangements.
The percentage of women with nonstandard work arrangements grew dramatically from 2005 to 2015, from 8.3 percent to 17 percent. Women are now more likely to be employed under these conditions than men.
Workers in all educational levels experienced a jump in nonstandard work, with the increase greatest for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. “Occupational groups experiencing particularly large increases in the nonstandard work from 2005 to 2015 include computer and mathematical, community and social services, education, health care, legal, protective services, personal care, and transportation jobs.”
The authors also tested to determine “whether alternative work is growing in higher or lower wage sectors of the labor market.” They found that “workers with attributes and jobs that are associated with higher wages are more likely to have their services contracted out than are those with attributes and jobs that are associated with lower wages. Indeed, the lowest predicted quintile-wage group did not experience a rise in contract work.”
The take-away is pretty clear. Corporate profits and income inequality have grown in large part because US firms have successfully taken advantage of the weak state of unions and labor organizing more generally, to transform work relations. Increasingly workers, regardless of their educational level, find themselves forced to take jobs with few if any benefits and no long-term or ongoing relationship with their employer. Only a rejuvenated labor movement, one able to build strong democratic unions and press for radically new economic policies will be able to reverse existing trends.
Fewer American adults, especially those under 30, attend church — or even belong to a church. They tell interviewers their religion is “none.” They ignore faith.
Since 1990, the “nones” have exploded rapidly as a sociological phenomenon — from 10 percent of U.S. adults, to 15 percent, to 20 percent. Now they’ve climbed to 25 percent, according to a 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.
That makes them the nation’s largest faith category, outstripping Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent). They seem on a trajectory to become an outright majority. America is following the secular path of Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and other modern places. The Secular Age is snowballing.
Good work capitalism! Of course, the "nones" make up an even bigger part of certain elite institutions, such as universities. I would guess the percentage of "nones" on the law faculty here, for example, is on the order of 75%.
Here. Short version: African-Americans turned out in lower numbers than when Obama was running, and a number of less-educated whites who had previously voted for Obama switched to Trump.
Is it possible that but for James Comey's misconduct and hackers releasing e-mails revealing the corruption of the Democratic establishment, enough other demographics would have turned out to vote, thus offsetting the lower African-American turnout and the white voters who flipped to Trump? Yes, it is possible, but there is no evidence that supports thinking this to be true.
Did Putin want Trump to win? Presumably: Trump's expressed views are less hostile to Russia than Clinton's, and, in any case, it must be obvious to Putin that Trump is an unstable ignoramus who is easy to manipulate. Did Putin put hackers up to embarrassing the Democrats? It's not implausible, but we simply don't know, unless there is still someone in America who takes the pronouncements of American intelligence agencies on faith. Did the hackers embarrass the Democrats by publishing misinformation? No, they simply put the spotlight on how high-ranking Democratic officials were actually behaving. (Maybe the moral of the story is that Democratic officials shouldn't misbehave and show some respect for the democratic process?)
Is it hypocritical for the U.S. to complain about possible meddling in its electoral process? Obviously, but what else is new?
An informative piece a year after the right-wing nationalist takeover in Poland. There are two distinctive ingredients to developments there: first, a commitment to a real social welfare state (including, e.g., cash payments to families with children); and second, conservative Catholic social views. It's the latter that is responsible for a lot of the wickedness afoot in Poland, though the pattern is familiar. Until orthodox religiosity of whatever stripe dies out, humanity will be at risk, alas.
ADDENDUM: Or as RAWA put it: "Fundamentalism is the mortal enemy of all civilized humanity."
You lose your job for it, at least if you're at the mercy of the maniacs there in the Graduate Students Association. The irony of costing a human being his livelihood over a joke about wanting to hire a "slave" to "boss" around is unbelievable. Kudos to philosophy professor Byron Williston for speaking out:
The sudden closure drew criticism from many of the café’s customers. Laurier ethics professor Byron Williston penned a scathing open letter to the graduate students association, accusing them of acting like “spoiled children.”
“I suppose it’s a sign of the times, especially on university campuses whose student bodies — undergraduate and graduate — seem to have been taken over by the terminally thin-skinned and self-righteous,” Williston wrote. “Perhaps you should direct your moral outrage at some of the many real problems in the world rather than behaving like petty bullies.”
Williston said the termination was a gross overreaction to a joke, even if it was in poor taste.
“I wrote the letter because I think the operator has been morally wronged. I think it’s important for somebody to speak out for him,” he said in an interview.
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)