Academic Writing

Working papers are previewable online here:


Conference presentations:

Dominance Posturing and Spectacular Norm-Breaking

Counterfactual Empathy and Essence as Ensoulment: Dissonance and Resonance with Fichtean Self- Positing

Social Boundaries of Work
The Blockchain Leviathan: Latent Dangers and Opportunities in the Emerging Cryptoeconomy

The following abstracts represent some past and current research interests. Contact me with any questions, comments, requests, etc. 

2016 and the Split Prior: An Investigation into the Effect of Social Influence on Crowd Wisdom Predictions of Mass Behavior in Political Contexts

The following study is an exploration of the applicability of the wisdom of the crowd phenomenon to the The following study is an exploration of the applicability of the wisdom of the crowd phenomenon to the prediction of mass behavior in political contexts. I give a brief review of the crowd wisdom literature and the attendant advancement in usage of the crowd wisdom phenomenon through prediction markets and forecasting tournaments. I further explain and discuss recent advancements in the theory of the crowd wisdom phenomenon and the so-called ―surprisingly popular‖ principle in evaluating crowd wisdom responses. As a case study, I perform an analysis of the outcome of the prediction market called Good Judgment Open (GJO) in reference to the forecasts made in response to the question ―Who will win the 2016 US presidential election? I perform a quantitative analysis of all forecasts made on the 2016 presidential election outcome from the date of October 28th 2016 onward, and a qualitative, discourse analysis of comments made by forecasters in relation to this question over the entire period that the question was ―live. Two related research questions are addressed. Namely, in what way may various social conditions modulate the effectiveness of the wisdom of the crowd phenomenon? And also: Were forecasters who predicted the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election correctly in possession of some special knowledge or forecasting expertise, or were their predictions predicated on something else? I discuss implications for the theory of informational social influence, and present recommendations for future research. of mass behavior in political contexts. I give a brief review of the crowd wisdom literature and the attendant advancement in usage of the crowd wisdom phenomenon through prediction markets and forecasting tournaments. I further explain and discuss recent advancements in the theory of the crowd wisdom phenomenon and the so-called ―surprisingly popular principle in evaluating crowd wisdom responses. As a case study, I perform an analysis of the outcome of the prediction market called Good Judgment Open (GJO) in reference to the forecasts made in response to the question ―Who will win the 2016 US presidential election? I perform a quantitative analysis of all forecasts made on the 2016 presidential election outcome from the date of October 28th 2016 onward, and a qualitative, discourse analysis of comments made by forecasters in relation to this question over the entire period that the question was ―live. Two related research questions are addressed. Namely, in what way may various social conditions modulate the effectiveness of the wisdom of the crowd phenomenon? And also: Were forecasters who predicted the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election correctly in possession of some special knowledge or forecasting expertise, or were their predictions predicated on something else? I discuss implications for the theory of informational social influence, and present recommendations for future research.






Dominance Posturing and Spectacular Norm-Breaking

Abstract:
The present study is the result of a close reading of a corpus compiled from transcripts of press conferences held during a promotional tour for a boxing match of extraordinary social impact and< cultural import. I code the corpus for several types of dominance signaling: Skill Dominance, Economic/Financial Dominance, Oppositional Racial Dominance, Co-optational Racial Dominance, and Gendered Dominance. I argue that the data presented here is an indication of a decay in the public discourse surrounding dominance signaling in public. I analyze the behavior of the two fighters under examination, making use of Goffman’s work on self-presentation, and provide results of a quantitative linguistic analysis of the data under study. I discuss future avenues of research, including links between dominance signaling in the discourses surrounding sport and national politics.



Counterfactual Empathy and Essence as Ensoulment: Dissonance and Resonance with Fichtean Self- Positing


Abstract:
The paper discusses empathy as a necessary constituent feature of moral reasoning. Building on Brannmark (2015), I construct a definition of empathy employing two restrictions and two assertions: the Self Affecting Restriction (SAR), the Person Affecting Restriction (PAR), the Self Affecting Assertion (SAA), and the Person Affecting Assertion (PAA). I provide an adumbration of a counterfactual approach to grounding empathy and argue that a consistent practice of counterfactual empathy requires a concept of human essence, which in certain traditional contexts has been seen as some sort of ensoulment. The approach delineates a logic of the moral subject which asserts the primacy of empathy as a sine qua non of moral reasoning and behavior. Using Wittgenstein's private language argument, I attempt to provide a philosophical justification for the assumptions that undergird the empathy process, thereby providing a socio-logical grounding for the concept and practice of empathy as a constituent feature of ethicality and moral reasoning. Finally, I attempt to reinterpret these results in light of Fichtean self-positing. I highlight conceptual resonances and dissonances, as well as provide a path toward viewing the empathetic subject as an "other- positing" subject.




The Space of Possibility in Disaster’s Wake:
A Working Methodology

Mitchell Atkinson III
The Graduate School for Social Research


The following paper represents the working draft of the methodological chapter for a  forthcoming PhD dissertation to be completed in the course of attaining a doctorate in the field of Sociology. The project incorporates an ostensibly complex methodological structure incorporating qualitative components, quantitative components, and philosophical (phenomenological) components. The problem investigated centers on the recent crisis with respect to the public water supply of the city of Flint, MI. The project attempts to develop a theory regarding the structure of a space of possibility common to the citizens of Flint following the crisis, and to establish the social attitudes toward potential outcomes and the actors most likely to impact those outcomes, both positively and negatively. I situate this effort within what is commonly called Grounded Theory, although I outline the augmentations and departures of my approach from classical Grounded Theory. As is customary for a chapter of this kind, I provide theoretical foundations, descriptions of measurement instruments, a research schedule, research limitations, and the contribution to the literature.