Foundations of Epistemic Risk

Dissertation, University of Michigan (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


My goal in this dissertation is to start a conversation about the role of risk in the decision-theoretic assessment of partial beliefs or credences in formal epistemology. I propose a general theory of epistemic risk in terms of relative sensitivity to different types of graded error. The approach I develop is broadly inspired by the pragmatism of the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce and his notion of the ``economy of research.'' I express this framework in information-theoretic terms and show that epistemic risk, so understood, is dual to information entropy. As a result, every unit increase in risk comes with a corresponding unit decrease in information entropy and epistemic risk may be expressed in terms of entropic change. I explain the significance of this for the selection of priors and the Laplacian principle of indifference. I also extend this notion of epistemic risk to the assessment of updating rules, where a similar duality between risk and information holds. In the dynamic context, epistemic risk is given by cross-entropic change. Here I explore the relationship between risk, the Value of Knowledge Theorem, dynamic coherence, and the role of expected accuracy in the selection of update rules. Finally, I apply these considerations to a social institution where attitudes to error are especially salient -- namely, legal decision-making -- and argue that considerations regarding the relative severity of different types of error are central to understanding evidentiary burdens of proof and the probative value of statistical evidence.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,122

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

A Theory of Epistemic Risk.Boris Babic - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (3):522-550.
Epistemic Risk and the Demands of Rationality.Richard Pettigrew - 2022 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
The philosophical foundations of risk.Paul B. Thompson - 1986 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 24 (2):273-286.
Varieties of Epistemic Risk.Duncan Pritchard - 2021 - Acta Analytica 37 (1):9-23.
The Philosophical Foundations of Risk.Paul B. Thompson - 1986 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 24 (2):273-286.
Veritism, Epistemic Risk, and the Swamping Problem.Richard Pettigrew - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):761-774.
The Irrelevance of the Risk-Uncertainty Distinction.Dominic Roser - 2017 - Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (5):1387-1407.
Epistemic Luck and Epistemic Risk.Jesús Navarro - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (3):1-22.


Added to PP

16 (#813,109)

6 months
5 (#366,001)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Boris Babic
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references