Imitating Imitation: a response to Floridi & Chiriatti

In their 2020 paper, Floridi and Chiriatti subject giant language model GPT-3 to three tests: mathematical, semantic and ethical. I show that these tests are misconfigured to prove the points Floridi and Chiriatti are trying to make. We should attend to how such giant language models function to understand both their responses to questions and the ethical and societal impacts.

Minding the Gaps: Statistical Misrepresentation in Attainment Gap Research

Political interests configure the stories we tell with data. Closing the gap in attainment between disadvantaged students and their advantaged contemporaries is pivotal to an agenda to use education as a positive social force. But both the measurement and representation of this gap is politicised, skewed and open to manipulation. This paper shows how two organisations with inverse aims represent—and misrepresent—their measure of the attainment gap to portray diametric trajectories in the pursuit of equal attainment.

Conversion Therapy: Evidence is Irrelevant

Pressure mounts upon equalities minister Kemi Badenoch to resign over the UK government’s failure to ban conversion therapies. Attention has focused on the government’s failure to publish research commissioned in 2018. But evidence about whether conversion therapy works is irrelevant: conversion therapy is not a medical intervention.

The Stochastic Masquerade and the Streisand Effect

What does Google have in common with Barbra Streisand? Since Google fired AI ethicists Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gebru, our attention should turn to what they don’t want us to read: “On Stochastic Parrots”. Will the attempts to suppress this paper lead to it being overlooked, or will Google face Barbra Streisand’s fate?

The True Causal Effect

Do medical scientists need philosophers of medicine like birds need ornithologists? A quotation often attributed to Richard Feynman claims that “philosophy of science is as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds”. Feynman, never the intellectual slouch, acutely discounts the value of philosophy of science to him, without actually claiming that philosophers are useless, valueless, …

Pathognomy, Sine Qua Non and Constitutive Matching (Philosophy of Diagnosis, Part 2)

This series of philosophical papers unpacks six philosophical issues in diagnostics and develops a pluralistic model of diagnosis. This paper presents a set of minimal constraints which any theory of diagnostics must satisfy based on pathognomy and sine qua non relationships.