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  1. Legal Evidence and Knowledge.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - In Clayton Littlejohn & Maria Lasonen Aarnio (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence.
    This essay is an accessible introduction to the proof paradox in legal epistemology. -/- In 1902 the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine filed an influential legal verdict. The judge claimed that in order to find a defendant culpable, the plaintiff “must adduce evidence other than a majority of chances”. The judge thereby claimed that bare statistical evidence does not suffice for legal proof. -/- In this essay I first motivate the claim that bare statistical evidence does not suffice for legal (...)
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  • Reductive Views of Knowledge and the Small Difference Principle.Simon Wimmer - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (8):777-788.
    I develop a challenge to reductive views of knowing that φ that appeal to what I call a gradable property. Such appeal allows for properties that are intrinsically very similar to the property of knowing that φ, but differ significantly in their normative significance. This violates the independently plausible claim Pautz (2017) labels the small difference principle.
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  • Certainty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.Giovanni Tuzet - 2023 - Contemporary Pragmatism 20 (4):398-423.
    The paper argues for a pragmatist understanding of the reasonable doubt standard in law. It builds on the idea that our dispositions to act signal the epistemic states we are in. This helps clarify the notion of a reasonable doubt and the idea of being certain beyond it. More specifically, the paper points out three major standards of proof used in legal contexts and the rationale of their distinction. It articulates the received view according to which the reasonable doubt standard (...)
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  • Hope for the Evolutionary Debunker: How Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and Arguments from Moral Disagreement Can Join Forces.Folke Tersman & Olle Risberg - 2022 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-17.
    Facts about moral disagreement and human evolution have both been said to exclude the possibility of moral knowledge, but the question of how these challenges interact has largely gone unaddressed. The paper aims to present and defend a novel version of the evolutionary “debunking” argument for moral skepticism that appeals to both types of considerations. This argument has several advantages compared to more familiar versions. The standard debunking strategy is to argue that evolutionary accounts of moral beliefs generate skeptical implications (...)
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  • More on Normic Support and the Criminal Standard of Proof.Martin Smith - 2021 - Mind 130 (519):943-960.
    In this paper I respond to Marcello Di Bello’s criticisms of the ‘normic account’ of the criminal standard of proof. In so doing, I further elaborate on what the normic account predicts about certain significant legal categories of evidence, including DNA and fingerprint evidence and eyewitness identifications.
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  • Reconsidering the Rule of Consideration: Probabilistic Knowledge and Legal Proof.Tim Smartt - 2022 - Episteme 19 (2):303-318.
    In this paper, I provide an argument for rejecting Sarah Moss's recent account of legal proof. Moss's account is attractive in a number of ways. It provides a new version of a knowledge-based theory of legal proof that elegantly resolves a number of puzzles about mere statistical evidence in the law. Moreover, the account promises to have attractive implications for social and moral philosophy, in particular about the impermissibility of racial profiling and other harmful kinds of statistical generalisation. In this (...)
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  • Accuracy Across Doxastic Attitudes: Recent Work on the Accuracy of Belief.Robert Weston Siscoe - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (2):201-217.
    James Joyce's article “A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism” introduced an approach to arguing for credal norms by appealing to the epistemic value of accuracy. The central thought was that credences ought to accurately represent the world, a guiding thought that has gone on to generate an entire research paradigm on the rationality of credences. Recently, a number of epistemologists have begun to apply this same thought to full beliefs, attempting to explain and argue for norms of belief in terms of (...)
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  • Statistical Evidence and the Problem of Specification.Frederick Schauer - 2023 - Episteme 20 (2):367-376.
    Philosophical debates over statistical evidence have long been framed and dominated by L. Jonathan Cohen's Paradox of the Gatecrasher and a related hypothetical example commonly called Prison Yard. These examples, however, raise an issue not discussed in the large and growing literature on statistical evidence – the question of what statistical evidence is supposed to be evidence of. In actual practice, the legal system does not start with a defendant and then attempt to determine if that defendant has committed some (...)
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  • Knowledge and decision: Introduction to the Synthese topical collection.Moritz Schulz, Patricia Rich, Jakob Koscholke & Roman Heil - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-13.
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  • The Foundations of Criminal Law Epistemology.Lewis Ross - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
    Legal epistemology has been an area of great philosophical growth since the turn of the century. But recently, a number of philosophers have argued the entire project is misguided, claiming that it relies on an illicit transposition of the norms of individual epistemology to the legal arena. This paper uses these objections as a foil to consider the foundations of legal epistemology, particularly as it applies to the criminal law. The aim is to clarify the fundamental commitments of legal epistemology (...)
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  • Recent work on the proof paradox.Lewis D. Ross - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (6):e12667.
    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.
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  • Rehabilitating Statistical Evidence.Lewis Ross - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1):3-23.
    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 evidence by appealing to epistemic norms that (...)
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  • Profiling, Neutrality, and Social Equality.Lewis Ross - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (4):808-824.
    I argue that 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 judgment, rather than supposing that beliefs themselves are a locus of moral evaluation. A key moral reason to suspend judgment when faced with adverse demographic evidence is to promote social equality—this explains why positive profiling is (...)
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  • Legal proof and statistical conjunctions.Lewis D. Ross - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):2021-2041.
    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 which there are multiple sources of (...)
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  • Justice in epistemic gaps: The ‘proof paradox’ revisited.Lewis Ross - 2021 - Philosophical Issues 31 (1):315-333.
    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.
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  • Criminal Proof: Fixed or Flexible?Lewis Ross - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly (4):1-23.
    Should we use the same standard of proof to adjudicate guilt for murder and petty theft? Why not tailor the standard of proof to the crime? These relatively neglected questions cut to the heart of central issues in the philosophy of law. This paper scrutinises whether we ought to use the same standard for all criminal cases, in contrast with a flexible approach that uses different standards for different crimes. I reject consequentialist arguments for a radically flexible standard of proof, (...)
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  • Meta‐Skepticism.Olle Risberg - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (3):541-565.
    The epistemological debate about radical skepticism has focused on whether our beliefs in apparently obvious claims, such as the claim that we have hands, amount to knowledge. Arguably, however, our concept of knowledge is only one of many knowledge-like concepts that there are. If this is correct, it follows that even if our beliefs satisfy our concept of knowledge, there are many other relevantly similar concepts that they fail to satisfy. And this might give us pause. After all, we might (...)
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  • In defence of the modal account of legal risk.Duncan Pritchard - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-16.
    This paper offers an articulation and defence of the modal account of legal risk in light of a range of objections that have been proposed against this view in the recent literature. It is argued that these objections all trade on a failure to distinguish between the modal nature of risk more generally, and the application of this modal account to particular decision-making contexts, such as legal contexts, where one must rely on a restricted body of information. It is argued (...)
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  • No Reasons to Believe the False.Javier González Prado - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):703-722.
    I argue that if there are nondisabled reasons to believe p, then there cannot be nondisabled reasons to believe something incompatible with p. I first defend a restricted version of the view, which applies only to situations where the relevant agent has complete evidence. Then, I argue for a generalized version of the view, which holds regardless of the agent's evidence. As a related result, I show that, given plausible assumptions, there cannot be nondisabled reasons to believe something false.
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  • No Reasons to Believe the False.Javier González De Prado Salas - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):703-722.
    I argue that if there are nondisabled reasons to believe p, then there cannot be nondisabled reasons to believe something incompatible with p. I first defend a restricted version of the view, which applies only to situations where the relevant agent has complete evidence. Then, I argue for a generalized version of the view, which holds regardless of the agent's evidence. As a related result, I show that, given plausible assumptions, there cannot be nondisabled reasons to believe something false.
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  • The disvalue of knowledge.David Papineau - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5311-5332.
    I argue that the concept of knowledge is a relic of a bygone age, erroneously supposed to do no harm. I illustrate this claim by showing how a concern with knowledge distorts the use of statistical evidence in criminal courts, and then generalize the point to show that this concern hampers our enterprises across the board and not only in legal contexts.
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  • Privacy rights and ‘naked’ statistical evidence.Lauritz Aastrup Munch - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3777-3795.
    Do privacy rights restrict what is permissible to infer about others based on statistical evidence? This paper replies affirmatively by defending the following symmetry: there is not necessarily a morally relevant difference between directly appropriating people’s private information—say, by using an X-ray device on their private safes—and using predictive technologies to infer the same content, at least in cases where the evidence has a roughly similar probative value. This conclusion is of theoretical interest because a comprehensive justification of the thought (...)
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  • Knowledge, Individualised Evidence and Luck.Dario Mortini - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (12):3791-3815.
    The notion of individualised evidence holds the key to solve the puzzle of statistical evidence, but there’s still no consensus on how exactly to define it. To make progress on the problem, epistemologists have proposed various accounts of individualised evidence in terms of causal or modal anti-luck conditions on knowledge like appropriate causation, sensitivity and safety. In this paper, I show that each of these fails as satisfactory anti-luck condition, and that such failure lends abductive support to the following conclusion: (...)
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  • #MeToo & the role of Outright Belief.Alexandra Lloyd - 2022 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 25 (2):181-197.
    In this paper, I provide an account of the wrong that is done to women when everyday people fail to believe allegations of sexual assault made by women. I argue that an everyday person wrongs both the accuser and women causally distant from the accuser when they fail to believe the accuser’s allegation. First, I argue that there are responses that we, as everyday members of society, owe to victims of sexual assault. A condition enabling everyday people to respond in (...)
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  • The ranges of reasons and creasons.Clayton Littlejohn - 2023 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):1-10.
    In this discussion, we look at three potential problems that arise for Whiting’s account of normative reasons. The first has to do with the idea that objective reasons might have a modal dimension. The second and third concern the idea that there is some sort of direct connection between sets of reasons and the deliberative ought or the ought of rationality. We can see that we might be better served using credences about reasons (i.e., creasons) to characterise any ought that (...)
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  • Justification, knowledge, and normality.Clayton Littlejohn & Julien Dutant - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1593-1609.
    There is much to like about the idea that justification should be understood in terms of normality or normic support (Smith 2016, Goodman and Salow 2018). The view does a nice job explaining why we should think that lottery beliefs differ in justificatory status from mundane perceptual or testimonial beliefs. And it seems to do that in a way that is friendly to a broadly internalist approach to justification. In spite of its attractions, we think that the normic support view (...)
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  • Eleven angry men.Clayton Littlejohn - 2021 - Philosophical Issues 31 (1):227-239.
    While many of us would not want to abandon the requirement that a defendant can only be found guilty of a serious criminal offence by a unanimous jury, we should not expect epistemology to give us the resources we need for justifying this requirement. The doubts that might prevent jurors from reaching unanimity do not show that, say, the BARD standard has not been met. Even if it were true, as some have suggested, that rationality requires that a jury composed (...)
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  • Just Probabilities.Chad Lee-Stronach - forthcoming - Noûs.
    I defend the thesis that legal standards of proof are reducible to thresholds of probability. Many have rejected this thesis because it seems to entail that defendants can be found liable solely on the basis of statistical evidence. I argue that this inference is invalid. I do so by developing a view, called Legal Causalism, that combines Thomson's (1986) causal analysis of evidence with recent work in formal theories of causal inference. On this view, legal standards of proof can be (...)
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  • Norms of criminal conviction.Jennifer Lackey - 2021 - Philosophical Issues 31 (1):188-209.
    Philosophical Issues, Volume 31, Issue 1, Page 188-209, October 2021.
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  • Standards and values.Matthew Kotzen - 2021 - Philosophical Issues 31 (1):167-187.
    Philosophical Issues, Volume 31, Issue 1, Page 167-187, October 2021.
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  • On Living the Testimonial Sceptic’s Life: Can Testimonial Scepticism Be Dismissed?Arnon Keren - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (1):333-354.
    Within the contemporary epistemology of testimony, it is widely assumed that testimonial scepticism can be dismissed without engaging with possible reasons or arguments supporting the view. This assumption of dismissibility both underlies the debate between reductionist and non-reductionist views of testimony and is responsible for the neglect of testimonial scepticism within contemporary epistemology. This paper argues that even given liberal assumptions about what may constitute valid grounds for the dismissal of a sceptical view, the assumption that testimonial scepticism is dismissible (...)
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  • Sensitivity, safety, and admissibility.Zoë A. Johnson King - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-22.
    This paper concerns recent attempts to use the epistemological notions of sensitivity and safety to shed light on legal debates about so-called “bare” statistical evidence. These notions might be thought to explain either the outright inadmissibility of such evidence or its inadequacy for a finding of fact—two different phenomena that are often discussed in tandem, but that, I insist, we do better to keep separate. I argue that neither sensitivity nor safety can hope to explain statistical evidence’s inadmissibility, since neither (...)
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  • Statistical evidence and algorithmic decision-making.Sune Holm - 2023 - Synthese 202 (1):1-16.
    The use of algorithms to support prediction-based decision-making is becoming commonplace in a range of domains including health, criminal justice, education, social services, lending, and hiring. An assumption governing such decisions is that there is a property Y such that individual a should be allocated resource R by decision-maker D if a is Y. When there is uncertainty about whether a is Y, algorithms may provide valuable decision support by accurately predicting whether a is Y on the basis of known (...)
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  • Justification, excuse, and proof beyond reasonable doubt.Hock Lai Ho - 2021 - Philosophical Issues 31 (1):146-166.
    Philosophical Issues, Volume 31, Issue 1, Page 146-166, October 2021.
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  • A knowledge-first approach to episodic memory.Christoph Hoerl - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-27.
    This paper aims to outline, and argue for, an approach to episodic memory broadly in the spirit of knowledge-first epistemology. I discuss a group of influential views of epsiodic memory that I characterize as ‘two-factor accounts’, which have both proved popular historically and have also seen a resurgence in recent work on the philosophy of memory. What is common to them is that they try to give an account of the nature of episodic memory in which the concept of knowledge (...)
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  • Do we really need a knowledge-based decision theory?Davide Fassio & Jie Gao - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7031-7059.
    The paper investigates what type of motivation can be given for adopting a knowledge-based decision theory. KBDT seems to have several advantages over competing theories of rationality. It is commonly argued that this theory would naturally fit with the intuitive idea that being rational is doing what we take to be best given what we know, an idea often supported by appeal to ordinary folk appraisals. Moreover, KBDT seems to strike a perfect balance between the problematic extremes of subjectivist and (...)
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  • Belief, Credence and Statistical Evidence.Davide Fassio & Jie Gao - 2020 - Theoria 86 (4):500-527.
    According to the Rational Threshold View, a rational agent believes p if and only if her credence in p is equal to or greater than a certain threshold. One of the most serious challenges for this view is the problem of statistical evidence: statistical evidence is often not sufficient to make an outright belief rational, no matter how probable the target proposition is given such evidence. This indicates that rational belief is not as sensitive to statistical evidence as rational credence. (...)
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  • Statistical resentment, or: what’s wrong with acting, blaming, and believing on the basis of statistics alone.David Enoch & Levi Spectre - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5687-5718.
    Statistical evidence—say, that 95% of your co-workers badmouth each other—can never render resenting your colleague appropriate, in the way that other evidence (say, the testimony of a reliable friend) can. The problem of statistical resentment is to explain why. We put the problem of statistical resentment in several wider contexts: The context of the problem of statistical evidence in legal theory; the epistemological context—with problems like the lottery paradox for knowledge, epistemic impurism and doxastic wrongdoing; and the context of a (...)
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  • Does legal epistemology rest on a mistake? On fetishism, two‐tier system design, and conscientious fact‐finding.David Enoch, Talia Fisher & Levi Spectre - 2021 - Philosophical Issues 31 (1):85-103.
    Philosophical Issues, Volume 31, Issue 1, Page 85-103, October 2021.
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  • Game analogy in law reconsidered: is evidence at stake?Maciej Dybowski, Weronika Dzięgielewska & Wojciech Rzepiński - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-29.
    The aim of this paper is to show that the meaning and significance of legal evidence is being constituted throughout the course of a singular instance of legal proceedings. This is to be achieved by describing what legal agents _do_ while appealing to different propositions of fact and inferring from them throughout the course of legal proceedings. The authors claim that the process of applying the law is ultimately rooted in the inferential discursive practices of exchanging reasons on the part (...)
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  • When statistical evidence is not specific enough.Marcello Di Bello - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12251-12269.
    Many philosophers have pointed out that statistical evidence, or at least some forms of it, lack desirable epistemic or non-epistemic properties, and that this should make us wary of litigations in which the case against the defendant rests in whole or in part on statistical evidence. Others have responded that such broad reservations about statistical evidence are overly restrictive since appellate courts have expressed nuanced views about statistical evidence. In an effort to clarify and reconcile, I put forward an interpretive (...)
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  • Knowledge is Believing Something Because It's True.Tomas Bogardus & Will Perrin - 2022 - Episteme 19 (2):178-196.
    Modalists think that knowledge requires forming your belief in a “modally stable” way: using a method that wouldn't easily go wrong, or using a method that wouldn't have given you this belief had it been false. Recent Modalist projects from Justin Clarke-Doane and Dan Baras defend a principle they call “Modal Security,” roughly: if evidence undermines your belief, then it must give you a reason to doubt the safety or sensitivity of your belief. Another recent Modalist project from Carlotta Pavese (...)
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  • Epistemology and the law: why there is no epistemic mileage in legal cases.Marvin Backes - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2759-2778.
    The primary aim of this paper is to defend the Lockean View—the view that a belief is epistemically justified iff it is highly probable—against a new family of objections. According to these objections, broadly speaking, the Lockean View ought to be abandoned because it is incompatible with, or difficult to square with, our judgments surrounding certain legal cases. I distinguish and explore three different versions of these objections—The Conviction Argument, the Argument from Assertion and Practical Reasoning, and the Comparative Probabilities (...)
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  • Are there counterexamples to the consistency principle?Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - Episteme.
    Must rational thinkers have consistent sets of beliefs? I shall argue that it can be rational for a thinker to believe a set of propositions known to be inconsistent. If this is right, an important test for a theory of rational belief is that it allows for the right kinds of inconsistency. One problem we face in trying to resolve disagreements about putative rational requirements is that parties to the disagreement might be working with different conceptions of the relevant attitudes. (...)
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  • Knowledge, Evidence, and Naked Statistics.Sherrilyn Roush - forthcoming - In Externalism about Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Many who think that naked statistical evidence alone is inadequate for a trial verdict think that use of probability is the problem, and something other than probability – knowledge, full belief, causal relations – is the solution. I argue that the issue of whether naked statistical evidence is weak can be formulated within the probabilistic idiom, as the question whether likelihoods or only posterior probabilities should be taken into account in our judgment of a case. This question also identifies a (...)
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  • Blame, punishment and intermediate options.Martin Smith - forthcoming - Edinburgh Law Review.
    In this paper I explore some ideas inspired by Federico Picinali’s Justice In-Between: A Study of Intermediate Criminal Verdicts. Picinali makes a case for the introduction of intermediate options in criminal trials – verdicts with consequences that are harsher than an acquittal, but not so harsh as a conviction. From a certain perspective, the absence of intermediate options in criminal trials is puzzling – out of kilter with much of our everyday decision-making and, perhaps, with the recommendations of expected utility (...)
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  • Knowledge and Legal Proof.Sarah Moss - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Epistemology.
    Existing discussions of legal proof address a host of apparently disparate questions: What does it take to prove a fact beyond a reasonable doubt? Why is the reasonable doubt standard notoriously elusive, sometimes considered by courts to be impossible to define? Can the standard of proof by a preponderance of the evidence be defined in terms of probability thresholds? Why is statistical evidence often insufficient to meet the burden of proof? -/- This paper defends an account of proof that addresses (...)
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  • Collective (Telic) Virtue Epistemology.J. Adam Carter - 2020 - In Mark Alfano, Jeroen de Ridder & Colin Klein (eds.), Social Virtue Epistemology. London: Routledge.
    A new way to transpose the virtue epistemologist’s ‘knowledge = apt belief’ template to the collective level, as a thesis about group knowledge, is developed. In particular, it is shown how specifically judgmental belief can be realised at the collective level in a way that is structurally analogous, on a telic theory of epistemic normativity (e.g., Sosa 2020), to how it is realised at the individual level—viz., through a (collective) intentional attempt to get it right aptly (whether p) by alethically (...)
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  • n-1 Guilty Men.Clayton Littlejohn & Julien Dutant - forthcoming - In The Future of Normativity. Oxford University Press.
    We discuss the difficulties that arise for standard reasons-first theories by looking at a case in which an agent who seems initially to know that n individuals are responsible for wrongdoing learns that n-1 are guilty. On the one hand, if this agent can retain their initial knowledge, it seems the agent should be able to believe in at least n-1 cases that the relevant subject is culpable, blame this agent for wrongdoing, and punish accordingly. Since we're not primarily interested (...)
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  • Evidence, Risk, and Proof Paradoxes: Pessimism about the Epistemic Project.Giada Fratantonio - 2021 - International Journal of Evidence and Proof:online first.
    Why can testimony alone be enough for findings of liability? Why statistical evidence alone can’t? These questions underpin the “Proof Paradox” (Redmayne 2008, Enoch et al. 2012). Many epistemologists have attempted to explain this paradox from a purely epistemic perspective. I call it the “Epistemic Project”. In this paper, I take a step back from this recent trend. Stemming from considerations about the nature and role of standards of proof, I define three requirements that any successful account in line with (...)
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