•  479
    Rehabilitating Statistical Evidence
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1): 3-23. 2021.
    Recently, the practice of deciding legal cases on purely statistical evidence has been widely criticised. Many feel uncomfortable with finding someone guilty on the basis of bare probabilities, even though the chance of error might be stupendously small. This is an important issue: with the rise of DNA profiling, courts are increasingly faced with purely statistical evidence. A prominent line of argument—endorsed by Blome-Tillmann 2017; Smith 2018; and Littlejohn 2018—rejects the use of such evi…Read more
  •  450
    Is Understanding Reducible?
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (2): 117-135. 2020.
    Despite playing an important role in epistemology, philosophy of science, and more recently in moral philosophy and aesthetics, the nature of understanding is still much contested. One attractive framework attempts to reduce understanding to other familiar epistemic states. This paper explores and develops a methodology for testing such reductionist theories before offering a counterexample to a recently defended variant on which understanding reduces to what an agent knows.
  •  439
    Philosophical expertise under the microscope
    Synthese 197 (3): 1077-1098. 2020.
    Recent experimental studies indicate that epistemically irrelevant factors can skew our intuitions, and that some degree of scepticism about appealing to intuition in philosophy is warranted. In response, some have claimed that philosophers are experts in such a way as to vindicate their reliance on intuitions—this has become known as the ‘expertise defence’. This paper explores the viability of the expertise defence, and suggests that it can be partially vindicated. Arguing that extant discussi…Read more
  •  389
    The virtue of curiosity
    Episteme 17 (1): 105-120. 2020.
    ABSTRACTA thriving project in contemporary epistemology concerns identifying and explicating the epistemic virtues. Although there is little sustained argument for this claim, a number of prominent sources suggest that curiosity is an epistemic virtue. In this paper, I provide an account of the virtue of curiosity. After arguing that virtuous curiosity must be appropriately discerning, timely and exacting, I then situate my account in relation to two broader questions for virtue responsibilists:…Read more
  •  309
    Recent work on the proof paradox
    Philosophy Compass 15 (6). 2020.
    Recent years have seen fresh impetus brought to debates about the proper role of statistical evidence in the law. Recent work largely centres on a set of puzzles known as the ‘proof paradox’. While these puzzles may initially seem academic, they have important ramifications for the law: raising key conceptual questions about legal proof, and practical questions about DNA evidence. This article introduces the proof paradox, why we should care about it, and new work attempting to resolve it.
  •  204
    How Intellectual Communities Progress
    Episteme. forthcoming.
    Recent work takes both philosophical and scientific progress to consist in acquiring factive epistemic states such as knowledge. However, much of this work leaves unclear what entity is the subject of these epistemic states. Furthermore, by focusing only on states like knowledge, we overlook progress in intermediate cases between ignorance and knowledge—for example, many now celebrated theories were initially so controversial that they were not known. This paper develops an improved framework f…Read more
  •  173
    Legal proof and statistical conjunctions
    Philosophical Studies 178 (6): 2021-2041. 2020.
    A question, long discussed by legal scholars, has recently provoked a considerable amount of philosophical attention: ‘Is it ever appropriate to base a legal verdict on statistical evidence alone?’ Many philosophers who have considered this question reject legal reliance on bare statistics, even when the odds of error are extremely low. This paper develops a puzzle for the dominant theories concerning why we should eschew bare statistics. Namely, there seem to be compelling scenarios in wh…Read more
  •  115
    The truth about better understanding?
    Erkenntnis 1-24. forthcoming.
    The notion of understanding occupies an increasingly prominent place in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. A central and ongoing debate about the nature of understanding is how it relates to the truth. In a series of influential contributions, Catherine Elgin has used a variety of familiar motivations for antirealism in philosophy of science to defend a non- factive theory of understanding. Key to her position are: (i) the fact that false theories can contribute …Read more
  •  94
    Profiling, Neutrality and Social Equality
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Traditional views on which beliefs are subject only to purely epistemic assessment can reject demographic profiling, even when based on seemingly robust evidence. This is because the moral failures involved in demographic profiling can be located in the decision not to suspend judgement, rather than supposing that beliefs themselves are a locus of moral evaluation. A key moral reason to suspend judgement when faced with adverse demographic evidence is to promote social equality—this explains why…Read more
  •  49
    This paper defends the heretical view that, at least in some cases, we ought to assign legal liability based on purely statistical evidence. The argument draws on prominent civil law litigation concerning pharmaceutical negligence and asbestos-poisoning. The overall aim is to illustrate moral pitfalls that result from supposing that it is never appropriate to rely on bare statistics when settling a legal dispute.