Knowledge, Evidence, and Naked Statistics

In Luis R. G. Oliveira (ed.), Externalism about Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2023)
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Abstract

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 major difference between the Process Reliabilist and Probabilistic Tracking views of knowledge and other concepts. Though both are externalist, and probabilistic, epistemic theories, Tracking does and Process Reliabilism does not put conditions on likelihoods. So Tracking implies that a naked statistic is not adequate evidence about an individual, and does not yield knowledge, whereas the Reliabilist thinks it gives justified belief and knowledge. Not only does the Tracking view imply that naked statistical evidence is insufficient for a verdict, but it gives us resources to explain why, in terms of risk and the special conditions of a trial.

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Author's Profile

Sherrilyn Roush
University of California, Los Angeles

References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Probabilistic Knowledge.Sarah Moss - 2018 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Risk and Rationality.Lara Buchak - 2013 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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