Mind 127 (508):1193-1218 (2018)

Authors
Martin Smith
University of Edinburgh
Abstract
There is something puzzling about statistical evidence. One place this manifests is in the law, where courts are reluctant to base affirmative verdicts on evidence that is purely statistical, in spite of the fact that it is perfectly capable of meeting the standards of proof enshrined in legal doctrine. After surveying some proposed explanations for this, I shall outline a new approach – one that makes use of a notion of normalcy that is distinct from the idea of statistical frequency. The puzzle is not, however, merely a legal one. Our unwillingness to base beliefs on statistical evidence is by no means limited to the courtroom, and is at odds with almost every general principle that epistemologists have proposed as to how we ought to manage our beliefs.
Keywords beyond reasonable doubt  preponderance of evidence  probability  normic support  sensitivity  Blue Bus case  statistical evidence  DNA evidence
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzx026
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Counterfactuals.David Kellogg Lewis - 1973 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Blackwell.
Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John P. Hawthorn - 2003 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

Belief, Credence, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):5073-5092.
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.

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'More Likely Than Not' - Knowledge First and the Role of Statistical Evidence in Courts of Law.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2017 - In Adam Carter, Emma Gordon & Benjamin Jarvis (eds.), Knowledge First - Approaches in Epistemology and Mind. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 278-292.
Objective Evidence and Absence: Comment on Sober.Michael Strevens - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (1):91 - 100.

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