WIP series: M. Fedorova: "On Virtues and Vices of Imaginative Constraints", Z.Daus: "Distribution, Recognition and the Politics of Justice in Medical AI"

May 2

We are happy to invite you to the next session of the Work-In-Progress series in a week, on Thursday 2nd May. There will be two presentations, given by Mariia Fedorova and Zachary Daus.

When & Where: Thursday, May 2, 17:15 - 18:45, Hörsaal 3A (NIG, Universitätsstraße 7)

Mariia Fedorova: On Virtues and Vices of Imaginative Constraints

Several philosophers have recently argued that imagination can be epistemically useful when it is properly constrained by reality. Nevertheless, the nature of the so-called imaginative constraints has remained a contentious matter. On the one hand, it is believed that imagination is constrained by one’s beliefs about the world which are readily accessible to introspection and available for voluntary control. I refer to this view as the voluntary-imaginative-constraints view (VIC). On the other hand, given the shared cognitive architecture of perception and imagination, imaginative constraints are stipulated to take the form of perceptual regularities, inaccessible to consciousness and, by extension, out of voluntary control. Call this view the architectural-imaginative-constraints view (AIC). Prima facie, VIC and AIC are compatible. It seems plausible to suppose that imagination can be constrained by one’s beliefs about the world as well as by perceptual regularities. Under closer examination, however, the advocates of VIC and AIC appear to talk about one and the same kind of imaginative constraints - the imaginer’s background knowledge of her environment. The key difference between VIC and AIC lies in the relationship they take to obtain between the imaginer and her knowledge. This puts pressure on the apparent compatibility of VIC and AIC and challenges us to make a choice between treating the imaginer’s knowledge as (i) consciously accessible and controlled or as (ii) inaccessible to consciousness and out of voluntary control. If we favour (i), imagination’s reliability is in jeopardy. If we favour (ii), its epistemic value is compromised. Fortunately, a dual-system model of imagination as proposed by Michael Stuart offers a way out of this dilemma. Instead of distinguishing different types of imaginative constraints, we can distinguish different ways of exercising imagination, one of which is consciously accessible and controlled, while the other is unconscious and automatic.

Zachary Daus: Distribution, Recognition and the Politics of Justice in Medical AI.

Advocates of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine suggest that one of its greatest benefits is its ability to resolve issues in the distribution of scarce medical resources. While there is real potential for medical AI to alleviate medical resource scarcity and consequently contribute to a more just distribution of medical resources, this would come at a cost to justice as recognition. A biased clinical decision support system (CDSS), for example, may result in more distributively just outcomes by expanding access to medical care, but at a cost to the mis-recognition of minorities and women. Should such a CDSS be tolerated for its improvement in distribution at its cost to recognition? Similarly a black box CDSS, for example, may arrive at decisions that are incapable of meaningful explanations despite expanding access to medical care. Must such systems incur the cost of being engineered for explainability in order to ensure that they do not mis-recognize humans qua rational agents? In light of these and similar issues, I argue that one of the predominant theories of justice that guides the distribution of medical resources—Norman Daniels's Rawls-inspired accountability for reasonableness (AFR)—must be either supplemented or replaced by a theory of justice as recognition, and consider the theories of recognition developed by Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth as potential candidates.

Please let us know (wip.philosophie@univie.ac.at) if you have any questions or if you would like to present for the Work-in-Progress series yourself. You can find calendar and event information at: https://vd-philosophy.univie.ac.at/phd-program/doctoral-training/wip-series/.