Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-21 (forthcoming)

Justin B. Biddle
Georgia Institute of Technology
Recent scholarship in philosophy of science and technology has shown that scientific and technological decision making are laden with values, including values of a social, political, and/or ethical character. This paper examines the role of value judgments in the design of machine-learning systems generally and in recidivism-prediction algorithms specifically. Drawing on work on inductive and epistemic risk, the paper argues that ML systems are value laden in ways similar to human decision making, because the development and design of ML systems requires human decisions that involve tradeoffs that reflect values. In many cases, these decisions have significant—and, in some cases, disparate—downstream impacts on human lives. After examining an influential court decision regarding the use of proprietary recidivism-prediction algorithms in criminal sentencing, Wisconsin v. Loomis, the paper provides three recommendations for the use of ML in penal systems.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/can.2020.27
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,634
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments.Richard Rudner - 1953 - Philosophy of Science 20 (1):1-6.
Inductive Risk and Values in Science.Heather Douglas - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):559-579.
Understanding From Machine Learning Models.Emily Sullivan - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):109-133.
Epistemic Trust in Science.Torsten Wilholt - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):233-253.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Taxonomy of Transparency in Science.Kevin C. Elliott - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
The New Worries About Science.Janet A. Kourany - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-19.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Democratizing Algorithmic Fairness.Pak-Hang Wong - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):225-244.
Towards a Design Science of Ethical Decision Support.Kieran Mathieson - 2007 - Journal of Business Ethics 76 (3):269-292.


Added to PP index

Total views
104 ( #115,429 of 2,533,674 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
25 ( #36,002 of 2,533,674 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes