Synthese 197 (12):5253-5286 (2020)

Authors
Clayton Littlejohn
King's College London
Abstract
Could it be right to convict and punish defendants using only statistical evidence? In this paper, I argue that it is not and explain why it would be wrong. This is difficult to do because there is a powerful argument for thinking that we should convict and punish defendants using statistical evidence. It looks as if the relevant cases are cases of decision under risk and it seems we know what we should do in such cases (i.e., maximize expected value). Given some standard assumptions about the values at stake, the case for convicting and punishing using statistical evidence seems solid. In trying to show where this argument goes wrong, I shall argue (against Lockeans, reliabilists, and others) that beliefs supported only by statistical evidence are epistemically defective and (against Enoch, Fisher, and Spectre) that these epistemic considerations should matter to the law. To solve the puzzle about the role of statistical evidence in the law, we need to revise some commonly held assumptions about epistemic value and defend the relevance of epistemology to this practical question.
Keywords Knowledge-First Epistemology  Lockean View  Individualized Evidence  Criminal Law  Blame
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Reprint years 2020
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1608-4
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Accuracy and the Laws of Credence.Richard Pettigrew - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Ignorance: A Case for Scepticism.Peter K. Unger - 1975 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Rehabilitating Statistical Evidence.Lewis Ross - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1):3-23.
Justification, knowledge, and normality.Clayton Littlejohn & Julien Dutant - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1593-1609.
The Disvalue of Knowledge.David Papineau - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5311-5332.

View all 33 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

No Evidence is False.Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (2):145-159.
Knowledge and Normativity.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Markos Valaris & Stephen Hetherington (eds.), Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy. Bloomsbury Academic.
Rethinking Criminal Law. [REVIEW]Andrew Botterell - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 22:93-112.
Evidence and its Limits.Clayton Littlejohn - 2018 - In Conor McHugh Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford University Press.
Learning From Learning From Our Mistakes.Clayton Littlejohn - 2016 - In Pedro Schmechtig & Martin Grajner (eds.), Epistemic Reasons, Norms and Goals. De Gruyter. pp. 51-70.

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