Accuracy and Statistical Evidence


Abstract. Suppose that the word of an eyewitness makes it 80% probable that A committed a crime, and that B is drawn from a population in which the incidence rate of that crime is 80%. Many philosophers and legal theorists have held that if this is our only evidence against those parties then (i) we may be justified in finding against A but not against B; but (ii) that doing so incurs a loss in the accuracy of our findings. This paper argues against (ii). It argues that accuracy considerations can motivate taking different attitudes towards individualized and statistical evidence even across cases where they generate the same probability that the defendant is guilty.

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Arif Ahmed
Cambridge University


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