Evidence

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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Summary

The notion of evidence features importantly in epistemology and philosophy of science. There are three primary questions that a theory of evidence must address. The constitution question asks: What is the nature of evidence? A major divide in answers to the constitution question is between those who think that all evidence is propositional and those who think that some evidence is non-propositional. The possession question asks: When does someone possess a piece of information as evidence? Restrictive views of evidence possession hold that one has as evidence only information that one is consciously entertaining. More inclusive views of evidence possession hold that one’s evidence includes non-occurrent information, such as stored memories. Lastly, a theory of evidence must address the positive support question. In philosophy of science and formal epistemology the positive support question is: When is a hypothesis confirmed by evidence? In contemporary epistemology the positive support question is: When is a belief justified by evidence?

Introductions Encyclopedia entries on evidence include DiFate 2007 and Kelly 2006. Additional overviews of evidence include Conee & Feldman 2008 and Kelly 2008.
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  1. Précis of The Unity of Perception.Susanna Schellenberg - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):715-720.
  2. Sceptical Theism and the Paradox of Evil.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):319-333.
    Given plausible assumptions about the nature of evidence and undercutting defeat, many believe that the force of the evidential problem of evil depends on sceptical theism’s being false: if evil is...
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  3. Extrapolating From Laboratory Behavioral Research on Non-Human Primates is Unjustified.Parker Crutchfield - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    Conducting research on animals is supposed to be valuable because it provides information on how human mechanisms work. But for the use of animal models to be ethically justified, it must be epistemically justified. The inference from an observation about an animal model to a conclusion about humans must be warranted for the use of animals to be moral. When researchers infer from animals to humans, it’s an extrapolation. Often non-human primates are used as animal models in laboratory behavioral research. (...)
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  4. A Paradox of Evidential Equivalence.David Builes - 2020 - Mind 129 (513):113-127.
    Our evidence can be about different subject matters. In fact, necessarily equivalent pieces of evidence can be about different subject matters. Does the hyperintensionality of ‘aboutness’ engender any hyperintensionality at the level of rational credence? In this paper, I present a case which seems to suggest that the answer is ‘yes’. In particular, I argue that our intuitive notions of independent evidence and inadmissible evidence are sensitive to aboutness in a hyperintensional way. We are thus left with a paradox. While (...)
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  5. Being Rational and Being Right.Juan Comesaña - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
  6. Evolutionary Debunking, Self-Defeat, and All the Evidence.Silvan Wittwer - forthcoming - In Michael Klenk (ed.), Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. New York, NY, USA:
    Recently, Tomas Bogardus (2016), Andreas Mogensen (2017) and – at least on one plausible reconstruction – Sharon Street (2005) have argued that evolutionary theory debunks our moral beliefs by providing higher-order evidence of error. In response, moral realists such as Katia Vavova (2014) have objected that such evolutionary debunking arguments are self-defeating. The literature lacks any discussion of whether this self-defeat objection can be handled. My overall aim is to argue that it cannot, thus filling that lacuna – and vindicating (...)
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  7. Knowing Our Limits.Nathan Ballantyne - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Changing our minds isn't easy. Even when we recognize our views are disputed by intelligent and informed people, we rarely doubt our rightness. Why is this so? How can we become more open-minded, putting ourselves in a better position to tolerate conflict, advance collective inquiry, and learn from differing perspectives in a complex world? -/- Nathan Ballantyne defends the indispensable role of epistemology in tackling these issues. For early modern philosophers, the point of reflecting on inquiry was to understand how (...)
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  8. Belief and Credence: Why the Attitude-Type Matters.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2477-2496.
    In this paper, I argue that the relationship between belief and credence is a central question in epistemology. This is because the belief-credence relationship has significant implications for a number of current epistemological issues. I focus on five controversies: permissivism, disagreement, pragmatic encroachment, doxastic voluntarism, and the relationship between doxastic attitudes and prudential rationality. I argue that each debate is constrained in particular ways, depending on whether the relevant attitude is belief or credence. This means that epistemologists should pay attention (...)
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  9. Bayesian Norms and Non-Ideal Agents.Julia Staffel - forthcoming - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton M. Littlejohn (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy Evidence. Routledge.
    Bayesian epistemology provides a popular and powerful framework for modeling rational norms on credences, including how rational agents should respond to evidence. The framework is built on the assumption that ideally rational agents have credences, or degrees of belief, that are representable by numbers that obey the axioms of probability. From there, further constraints are proposed regarding which credence assignments are rationally permissible, and how rational agents’ credences should change upon learning new evidence. While the details are hotly disputed, all (...)
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  10. Historical Inductions Meet the Material Theory.Elay Shech - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Historical inductions, viz., the pessimistic meta-induction and the problem of unconceived alternatives, are critically analyzed via John D. Norton’s material theory of induction and subsequently rejected as non-cogent arguments. It is suggested that the material theory is amenable to a local version of the pessimistic meta-induction, e.g., in the context of some medical studies.
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  11. Belief, Credence, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    I explore how rational belief and rational credence relate to evidence. I begin by looking at three cases where rational belief and credence seem to respond differently to evidence: cases of naked statistical evidence, lotteries, and hedged assertions. I consider an explanation for these cases, namely, that one ought not form beliefs on the basis of statistical evidence alone, and raise worries for this view. Then, I suggest another view that explains how belief and credence relate to evidence. My view (...)
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  12. Reasons, Evidence, and Explanations.John Brunero - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 321-341.
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  13. Can Experience Fulfill the Many Roles of Evidence?Logan Paul Gage - 2018 - Quaestiones Disputatae 8 (2):87-111.
    It is still a live question in epistemology and philosophy of science as to what exactly evidence is. In my view, evidence consists in experiences called “seemings.” This view is a version of the phenomenal conception of evidence, the position that evidence consists in nonfactive mental states with propositional content. This conception is opposed by sense-data theorists, disjunctivists, and those who think evidence consists in physical objects or publicly observable states of affairs—call it the courtroom conception of evidence. Thomas Kelly (...)
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  14. Patient-Specific Devices and Population-Level Evidence: Evaluating Therapeutic Interventions with Inherent Variation.Mary Jean Walker - 2018 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 21 (3):335-345.
    Designing and manufacturing medical devices for specific patients is becoming increasingly feasible with developments in 3D printing and 3D imaging software. This raises the question of how patient-specific devices can be evaluated, since our ‘gold standard’ method for evaluation, the randomised controlled trial, requires that an intervention is standardised across a number of individuals in an experimental group. I distinguish several senses of patient-specific device, and focus the discussion on understanding the problem of variations between instances of an intervention for (...)
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  15. Douglas Walton: Argument Evaluation and Evidence: Springer, 2016, 286 Pp. [REVIEW]Marcello Di Bello & Bart Verheij - 2018 - Argumentation 32 (2):301-307.
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  16. Combining Probability with Qualitative Degree-of-Certainty Metrics in Assessment.Casey Helgeson, Richard Bradley & Brian Hill - 2018 - Climatic Change 149:517-525.
    Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) employ an evolving framework of calibrated language for assessing and communicating degrees of certainty in findings. A persistent challenge for this framework has been ambiguity in the relationship between multiple degree-of-certainty metrics. We aim to clarify the relationship between the likelihood and confidence metrics used in the Fifth Assessment Report (2013), with benefits for mathematical consistency among multiple findings and for usability in downstream modeling and decision analysis. We discuss how our (...)
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  17. The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Medicine by Jeremy Howick. [REVIEW]Leemon McHenry - 2017 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (3):1-5.
    The idea that prescribing physicians should be guided by the most reliable scientific evidence seems obvious, but the actual methodology of evidence-based medicine was only introduced in the early 1990s by an international group of clinicians and researchers led by Gordon Guyatt. Since then it has provided a new paradigm for the scientific foundation of medicine and has influenced other disciplines outside of medicine, for example, evidence-based psychotherapy, science and government. The novel concept of evidence-based medicine is based on hierarchies (...)
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  18. Reasonableness, Credibility, and Clinical Disagreement.Mary Jean Walker & Wendy A. Rogers - 2017 - AMA Journal of Ethics 19 (2):176-182.
    Evidence in medicine can come from more or less trustworthy sources and be produced by more or less reliable methods, and its interpretation can be disputed. As such, it can be unclear when disagreements in medicine result from different, but reasonable, interpretations of the available evidence and when they result from unreasonable refusals to consider legitimate evidence. In this article, we seek to show how assessments of the relevance and implications of evidence are typically affected by factors beyond that evidence (...)
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  19. Inference to the Best Explanation as a Theory for the Quality of Mechanistic Evidence in Medicine.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):353-372.
    Inference to the Best Explanation is usually employed in the Scientific Realism debates. As far as particular scientific theories are concerned, its most ready usage seems to be that of a theory of confirmation. There are however more uses of IBE, namely as an epistemological theory of testimony and as a means of categorising and justifying the sources of evidence. In this paper, I will present, develop and exemplify IBE as a theory of the quality of evidence - taking examples (...)
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  20. Facts, Artifacts, and Mesosomes: Practicing Epistemology with the Electron Microscope.Nicolas Rasmussen - 1993 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 24 (2):227-265.
  21. Standardized Study Designs, Value Judgments, and Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research.Kevin C. Elliott - 2016 - Perspectives on Science 24 (5):529-551.
    The potential for financial conflicts of interest to influence scientific research in problematic ways has recently become a significant topic of discussion across numerous fields. The chemical, petroleum, pharmaceutical, and tobacco industries have all been accused of suppressing evidence that their products are harmful, producing studies with questionable methodologies, generating questionable reinterpretations of studies that challenge their products, and working with public relations firms and front groups to mislead the public about relevant science. In an effort to address these influences, (...)
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  22. Evidence-Based Discovery.Catherine Blake - unknown
    Both data-driven and human-centric methods have been used to better understand the scientific process. We describe a new framework called evidence-based discovery, to reconcile the gulf between the data-driven and human-centered approaches. Our goal is to provide a vision statement for how these approaches can be unified in order to better understand the complex-decision making that occurs when creating new knowledge. Despite the inevitable challenges, the combination of data and human-centric methods are required to understand, characterize, and ultimately accelerate science.
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  23. What is Clinical Effectiveness?Richard Ashcroft - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (2):219-233.
    Clinical trials and other forms of evaluation of medical treatment are held to give an objective assessment of the ‘clinical effectiveness’ of the medical treatments under evaluation. This kind of evaluation is central to the evidence-based medicine movement, as it provides a basis for the rational selection of treatment. The ethical status of randomised clinical trials is widely agreed to depend crucially upon the state of equipoise regarding which of two (or more) treatments is more (or most) effective in a (...)
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  24. What Evidence in Evidence‐Based Medicine?John Worrall - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S316-S330.
    Evidence-Based Medicine is a relatively new movement that seeks to put clinical medicine on a firmer scientific footing. I take it as uncontroversial that medical practice should be based on best evidence—the interesting questions concern the details. This paper tries to move towards a coherent and unified account of best evidence in medicine, by exploring in particular the EBM position on RCTs.
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  25. Predicting Harms and Benefits in Translational Trials: Ethics, Evidence, and Uncertainty.Jonathan Kimmelman & Alex John London - unknown
    First-in-human clinical trials represent a critical juncture in the translation of laboratory discoveries. However, because they involve the greatest degree of uncertainty at any point in the drug development process, their initiation is beset by a series of nettlesome ethical questions [1]: has clinical promise been sufficiently demonstrated in animals? Should trial access be restricted to patients with refractory disease? Should trials be viewed as therapeutic? Have researchers adequately minimized risks? The resolution of such ethical questions inevitably turns on claims (...)
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  26. The Bandwagons of Medicine.Lawrence Cohen & Henry Rothschild - 1979 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 22 (4):531-538.
  27. Bone as a Target Organ: Toward a Better Definition of Osteoporosis.Frederic C. Bartter - 1973 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 16 (2):215-231.
  28. Classification, Disease, and Evidence.P. Huneman (ed.) - 2015 - Springer Science + Business.
    This anthology of essays presents a sample of studies from recent philosophy of medicine addressing issues which attempt to answer very general (interdependent) questions: (a) what is a disease and what is health? (b) How do we (causally) explain diseases? (c) And how do we distinguish diseases, i.e. define classes of diseases and recognize that an instance X of disease belongs to a given class B? (d) How do we assess and choose cure/ therapy?
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  29. Evidence, Errors, and Ethics.Franklin G. Miller, Steven Joffe & Aaron S. Kesselheim - 2014 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 57 (3):299-307.
    Novel therapeutics enter human testing after they show promise in animal and in vitro studies. They then begin a life cycle that extends from early phase trials without control groups, to randomized trials, to approval by regulatory authorities, to coverage by payers, to use in clinical practice. At each stage, scientific evidence is critical to determining whether to progress to the next step in this life cycle. Each of these decisions also implicitly involves issues of value and ethical norms based (...)
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  30. Comparative Effectiveness Research: Decision-Based Evidence.Charles Joseph Kowalski & Adam Joel Mrdjenovich - 2014 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 57 (2):224-248.
    Survival of the fittest in evolutionary biology has a counterpart in the evolution of research paradigms. It’s called survival of the funded, and there is a sense in which paradigms are even more adaptable than species. Whereas species may become extinct if their fitness declines below a critical threshold, paradigms can rise again, perhaps with a new name, following fiscal collapse, provided only that funding is once again made available.A current example is the born-again concept of comparative effectiveness research , (...)
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  31. Rational Diagnosis and Treatment an Introduction to Clinical Decision-Making.Henrik R. Wulff - 1981
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  32. In Defense Of Positive Relevance: A Reply To Peter Achinstein.Aaron Kenna - 2011 - Florida Philosophical Review 11 (1):26-35.
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  33. Reply to Goldman.Timothy Williamson - 2009 - In Duncan Pritchard & Patrick Greenough (eds.), Williamson on Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 305--312.
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  34. Anomalies Persist, So Does the Problem of Harm.Philip Thomas, Pat Bracken & Sami Timimi - 2012 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 19 (4):317-321.
    We are very grateful to Mona Gupta and Peter Zachar for their commentaries on our paper. In our view, the main challenge for both commentators is this: do they have empirical evidence to refute our rejection (on evidence-based grounds) of the primacy of the current technological paradigm in psychiatry? Although opinions may differ about our choice of the philosophical tools we use to interpret the facts, unless there is good evidence to contradict our basic premise, their arguments will fail to (...)
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  35. Values-Based Practice: From the Real to the Really Practical.W. M. K. - 2008 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 15 (2):183-185.
  36. External and Internal Evidence in Clinical Judgment: The Evidence-Based Medicine Attitude.Åge Wifstad - 2008 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 15 (2):135-139.
    A certain kind of externalism—"the view from nowhere"—lies at the heart of evidence-based medicine (EBM). As a consequence, the individual case glides out of focus. However, to judge to what extent external knowledge is applicable to an individual case, the clinician has to rely on some sort of knowledge of the case at hand. The article focuses on the tension between the externalism of EBM and the "internal evidence" one has to presuppose when making clinical judgments.
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  37. Self-Evidence and Proof.C. H. Perelman - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (127):289 - 302.
    There is an argument, well known in the history of philosophy, which makes all knowledge ultimately depend on some kind of intuitive or sensory immediacy. According to this argument, either the proposition itself is self–evident; 2 or else it can be shown to follow, with the help of a chain of intermediate links, from other propositions which are self–evident. Moreover, it is this self–evidence of immediate knowledge and only this which, again speaking traditionally, sufficiently guarantees the truth of the affirmations (...)
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  38. Evidence as a Criterion.M. der Schaavanr - unknown
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  39. Underconstrained Perception or Underconstrained Theory?André Aleman, Edward H. F. de Haan & René S. Kahn - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):787-788.
    Although the evidence remains tentative at best, the conception of hallucinations in schizophrenia as being underconstrained perception resulting from intrinsic thalamocortical resonance in sensory areas might complement current models of hallucination. However, in itself, the approach falls short of comprehensively explaining the neurogenesis of hallucinations in schizophrenia, as it neglects the role of external attributional biases, mental imagery, and a disconnection between frontal and temporal areas.
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  40. Psychosis and Autism as Diametrical Disorders of the Social Brain.Bernard Crespi & Christopher Badcock - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (3):241-261.
    Autistic-spectrum conditions and psychotic-spectrum conditions (mainly schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression) represent two major suites of disorders of human cognition, affect, and behavior that involve altered development and function of the social brain. We describe evidence that a large set of phenotypic traits exhibit diametrically opposite phenotypes in autistic-spectrum versus psychotic-spectrum conditions, with a focus on schizophrenia. This suite of traits is inter-correlated, in that autism involves a general pattern of constrained overgrowth, whereas schizophrenia involves undergrowth. These disorders also (...)
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  41. Rational Reliance.James F. Ross - manuscript
    The notion of rational certainty[1] had developed a long way in four decades. Many now recognize that even to do science we characteristically claim rational certainty where we lack supporting proof of our own, have not engaged in some balancing of evidence, and have not even undertaken any articulate inquiry. Many further recognize that rational reliance is notably voluntary[2]and that our feelings, especially refined feelings, have indispensable roles in determining our willing reliances and in sustaining them. Scientists, and ordinary people, (...)
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  42. The Problem of Unreasoned Beliefs.W. T. Stace - 1945 - Mind 54 (213):27-49.
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  43. The Problem of Unreasoned Beliefs (II.).W. T. Stace - 1945 - Mind 54 (214):122-147.
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  44. Cohen on Evidential Support.R. G. Swinburne - 1972 - Mind 81 (322):244-248.
    CENTRAL TO COHEN’S NEW THEORY OF INDUCTION IS THE CLAIM THAT THE SUPPORT GIVEN BY EVIDENCE TO A HYPOTHESIS IS NOT A FUNCTION WHICH OBEYS THE AXIOMS OF THE PROBABILITY CALCULUS. THIS CLAIM DEPENDS ON THE TRUTH OF COHEN’S INSTANTIAL COMPARABILITY PRINCIPLE. UNDER NATURAL INTERPRETATIONS OF ’SUPPORT’, THIS PRINCIPLE IS FALSE. EVEN IF IT IS TRUE UNDER OTHER INTERPRETATIONS OF ’SUPPORT’, THAT DOES NOT SHOW THAT CONFIRMATION IN CARNAP’S SENSE DOES NOT OBEY THE AXIOMS.
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  45. Taking Evidence Seriously.Author unknown - manuscript
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Evidence and Knowledge
  1. Sleeping Beauty's Evidence.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - forthcoming - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton M. Littlejohn (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. Routledge.
    What degrees of belief does Sleeping Beauty's evidence support? That depends.
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  2. Pritchard’s Reasons.Clayton Littlejohn - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Research 41:201-219.
    My contribution to the author meets critics discussion of Pritchard's _Epistemological Disjunctivism_. In this paper, I examine some of the possible motivations for epistemological disjunctivism and look at some of the costs associated with the view. While Pritchard's view seems to be that our visual beliefs constitute knowledge because they're based on reasons, I argue that the claim that visual beliefs are based on reasons or evidence hasn't been sufficiently motivated. In the end I suggest that we'll get all the (...)
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  3. New Work For Certainty.Bob Beddor - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (8).
    This paper argues that we should assign certainty a central place in epistemology. While epistemic certainty played an important role in the history of epistemology, recent epistemology has tended to dismiss certainty as an unattainable ideal, focusing its attention on knowledge instead. I argue that this is a mistake. Attending to certainty attributions in the wild suggests that much of our everyday knowledge qualifies, in appropriate contexts, as certain. After developing a semantics for certainty ascriptions, I put certainty to explanatory (...)
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  4. What is epistemically wrong with research affected by sponsorship bias? The evidential account.Alexander Reutlinger - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (2):1-26.
    Biased research occurs frequently in the sciences. In this paper, I will focus on one particular kind of biased research: research that is subject to sponsorship bias. I will address the following epistemological question: what precisely is epistemically wrong with biased research of this kind? I will defend the evidential account of epistemic wrongness: that is, research affected by sponsorship bias is epistemically wrong if and only if the researchers in question make false claims about the evidential support of some (...)
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  5. Medical Nihilism By Jacob Stegenga. [REVIEW]Leemon McHenry - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Nihilism, as most commonly understood, is the existential thesis that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Medical nihilism is the radical skepticism, indeed cynicism, about the objectivity, purpose or value of medical interventions. According to Stegenga, it is the view that we should have little confidence in the effectiveness of medical treatments. Stegenga provides a rigorous epistemological investigation into the evidence for medical interventions, one that is informed by the methods of analytical philosophy and a Bayesian formalism.
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1 — 50 / 661