Assume that it is your evidence that determines what opinions you should have. I argue that since you should take peer disagreement seriously, evidence must have two features. (1) It must sometimes warrant being modest: uncertain what your evidence warrants, and (thus) uncertain whether you’re rational. (2) But it must always warrant being guided: disposed to treat your evidence as a guide. Surprisingly, it is very difficult to vindicate both (1) and (2). But diagnosing why this (...) is so leads to a proposal—Trust—that is weak enough to allow modesty but strong enough to yield many guiding features. In fact, I claim that Trust is the Goldilocks principle—for it is necessary and sufficient to vindicate the claim that you should always prefer to use free evidence. Upshot: Trust lays the foundations for a theory of disagreement and, more generally, an epistemology that permits self-doubt—a modest epistemology. (shrink)
How should the concept of evidence be understood? And how does the concept of evidence apply to the controversy about creationism as well as to work in evolutionary biology about natural selection and common ancestry? In this rich and wide-ranging book, Elliott Sober investigates general questions about probability and evidence and shows how the answers he develops to those questions apply to the specifics of evolutionary biology. Drawing on a set of fascinating examples, he analyzes whether claims (...) about intelligent design are untestable; whether they are discredited by the fact that many adaptations are imperfect; how evidence bears on whether present species trace back to common ancestors; how hypotheses about natural selection can be tested, and many other issues. His book will interest all readers who want to understand philosophical questions about evidence and evolution, as they arise both in Darwin's work and in contemporary biological research. (shrink)
Perceptions guide our actions and provide us with evidence of the world around us. Illusions and hallucinations can mislead us: they may prompt as to act in ways that do not mesh with the world around us and they may lead us to form false beliefs about that world. The capacity view provides an account of evidence that does justice to these two facts. It shows in virtue of what illusions and hallucinations mislead us and prompt us to (...) act. Moreover, it shows in virtue of what we are in a better epistemic position when we perceive than when we hallucination. In this paper, I develop the capacity view, that is, the view that perceptual experience has epistemic force in virtue of the epistemic and metaphysical primacy of the perceptual capacities employed in perception. By grounding the epistemic force of experience in facts about the metaphysical structure of experience, the capacity view is not only an externalist view, but moreover a naturalistic view of the epistemology of perceptual experience. So it is an externalist and naturalistic alternative to reliabilism. I discuss the repercussions of this view for the justification of beliefs and the epistemic transparency of mental states, as well as, familiar problem cases. (shrink)
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has thus far failed to adequately account for the appropriate incorporation of other potential warrants for medical decision making into clinical practice. In particular, EBM has struggled with the value and integration of other kinds of medical knowledge, such as those derived from clinical experience or based on pathophysiologic rationale. The general priority given to empirical evidence derived from clinical research in all EBM approaches is not epistemically tenable. A casuistic alternative to EBM approaches recognizes (...) that five distinct topics, 1) empirical evidence, 2) experiential evidence, 3) pathophysiologic rationale, 4) patient goals and values, and 5) system features are potentially relevant to any clinical decision. No single topic has a general priority over any other and the relative importance of a topic will depend upon the circumstances of the particular case. The skilled clinician must weigh these potentially conflicting evidentiary and non-evidentiary warrants for action, employing both practical and theoretical reasoning, in order to arrive at the best choice for an individual patient. (shrink)
In this important new work, Haack develops an original theory of empirical evidence or justification, and argues its appropriateness to the goals of inquiry. In so doing, Haack provides detailed critical case studies of Lewis's foundationalism; Davidson's and Bonjour's coherentism; Popper's 'epistemology without a knowing subject'; Quine's naturalism; Goldman's reliabilism; and Rorty's, Stich's, and the Churchlands' recent obituaries of epistemology.
The law views with suspicion statistical evidence, even evidence that is probabilistically on a par with direct, individual evidence that the law is in no way suspicious of. But it has proved remarkably hard to either justify this suspicion, or to debunk it. In this paper, we connect the discussion of statistical evidence to broader epistemological discussions of similar phenomena. We highlight Sensitivity – the requirement that a belief be counterfactually sensitive to the truth in a (...) specific way – as a way of epistemically explaining the legal suspicion towards statistical evidence. Still, we do not think of this as a satisfactory vindication of the reluctance to rely on statistical evidence. Knowledge – and Sensitivity, and indeed epistemology in general – are of little, if any, legal value. Instead, we tell an incentive-based story vindicating the suspicion towards statistical evidence. We conclude by showing that the epistemological story and the incentive-based story are closely and interestingly related, and by offering initial thoughts about the role of statistical evidence in morality. (shrink)
Obviously medicine should be evidence-based. The issues lie in the details: what exactly counts as evidence? Do certain kinds of evidence carry more weight than others? And how exactly should medicine be based on evidence? When it comes to these details, the evidence-based medicine movement has got itself into a mess – or so it will be argued. In order to start to resolve this mess, we need to go 'back to basics'; and that means (...) turning to the philosophy of science. The theory of evidence, or rather the logic of the interrelations between theory and evidence, has always been central to the philosophy of science – sometimes under the alias of the 'theory of confirmation'. When taken together with a little philosophical commonsense, this logic can help us move towards a position on evidence in medicine that is more sophisticated and defensible than anything that EBM has been able so far to supply. (shrink)
Evidence-Based Medicine is a relatively new movement that seeks to put clinical med- icine 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 (randomized controlled trials).
How can philosophy of science be of more practical use? One thing we can do is provide practicable advice about how to determine when one empirical claim is relevant to the truth of another; i.e., about evidential relevance. This matters especially for evidence-based policy, where advice is thin—and misleading—about how to tell what counts as evidence for policy effectiveness. This paper argues that good efficacy results, which are all the rage now, are only a very small part of (...) the story. To tell what facts are relevant for judging policy effectiveness, we need to construct causal scenarios about will happen when the policy is implemented. (shrink)
The paper argues that knowledge is not closed under logical inference. The argument proceeds from the openness of evidential support and the dependence of empirical knowledge on evidence, to the conclusion that knowledge is open. Without attempting to provide a full-fledged theory of evidence, we show that on the modest assumption that evidence cannot support both a proposition and its negation, or, alternatively, that information that reduces the probability of a proposition cannot constitute evidence for its (...) truth, the relation of evidential support is not closed under known entailment. Therefore the evidence-for relation is deductively open regardless of whether evidence is probabilistic or not. Given even a weak dependence of empirical knowledge on evidence, we argue that empirical knowledge is also open. On this basis, we also respond to the strongest argument in support of knowledge closure. Finally, we present a number of significant benefits of our position, namely, offering a unified explanation for a range of epistemological puzzles. (shrink)
Should learning we disagree about p lead you to reduce confidence in p? Some who think so want to except beliefs in which you are rationally highly confident. I argue that this is wrong; we should reject accounts that rely on this intuitive thought. I then show that quite the opposite holds: factors that justify low confidence in p also make disagreement about p less significant. I examine two such factors: your antecedent expectations about your peers’ opinions and the difficulty (...) of evaluating your evidence. I close by proposing a different way of thinking about disagreement. (shrink)
Evidentialism is the thesis that epistemic justification for belief supervenes on evidential support. However, we claim there are cases in which, even though two subjects have the same evidential support for a proposition, only one of them is justified. What make the difference are pragmatic factors, factors having to do with our cares and concerns. Our argument against evidentialism is not based on intuitions about particular cases. Rather, we aim to provide a theoretical basis for rejecting evidentialism by defending a (...) “pragmatic” necessary condition on epistemic justification. We argue for the following necessary condition for justification: S is justified in believing that p only if S is rational to prefer (and, hence, act) as if p. In light of this necessary condition, the price of evidentialism is skepticism, or something close to it. (shrink)
This paper critically analyses the concept of evidence in evidence-based-policy arguing that there is key problem: that there is no existing practicable theory of evidence, one which is philosophically grounded and yet applicable for evidencebased policy. The paper critically considers both philosophical accounts of evidence and practical treatments of evidence in evidence-based-policy. It argues that both fail in different ways to provide a theory of evidence that is adequate for evidence-basedpolicy. The paper (...) is a valuable contribution to the part of the research project that explores how evidence can and should be used to reduce contingency in science, and policy based on science. (shrink)
We examine whether the "evidence of evidence is evidence" principle is true. We distinguish several different versions of the principle and evaluate recent attacks on some of those versions. We argue that, whatever the merits of those attacks, they leave the more important rendition of the principle untouched. That version is, however, also subject to new kinds of counterexamples. We end by suggesting how to formulate a better version of the principle that takes into account those new (...) counterexamples. (shrink)
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.
Your evidence constrains your rational degrees of confidence both locally and globally. On the one hand, particular bits of evidence can boost or diminish your rational degree of confidence in various hypotheses, relative to your background information. On the other hand, epistemic rationality requires that, for any hypothesis h, your confidence in h is proportional to the support that h receives from your total evidence. Why is it that your evidence has these two epistemic powers? I (...) argue that various proposed accounts of what it is for something to be an element of your evidence set cannot answer this question. I then propose an alternative account of what it is for something to be an element of your evidence set. 1 Introduction 2 The elements of one's evidence set are propositions 3 Which kinds of propositions are in one's evidence set? 3.1 Doxastic accounts of evidence 3.2 Non-doxastic accounts of evidence 4 Elaborating and defending the LIE CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
If evidence is propositional, is one’s evidence limited to true propositions or might false propositions constitute evidence? In this paper, I consider three recent attempts to show that there can be ‘false evidence,’ and argue that each of these attempts fails. The evidence for the thesis that evidence consists of truths is much stronger than the evidence offered in support of the theoretical assumptions that people have relied on to argue against this thesis. (...) While I shall not defend the view that evidence is propositional, I shall defend the view that any propositional evidence must be true. (shrink)
According to factive accounts of the norm of belief and decision-making, you should not believe or base decisions on a falsehood. Even when the evidence misleadingly suggests that a false proposition is true, you should not believe it or base decisions on it. Critics claim that factive accounts are counterintuitive and badly mischaracterize our ordinary practice of evaluating beliefs and decisions. This paper reports four experiments that rigorously test the critic’s accusations and the viability of factive accounts. The results (...) undermine the accusations and provide the best evidence yet of factive norms of belief and decision-making. The results also help discriminate between two leading candidates for a factive norm: truth and knowledge. Knowledge is the superior candidate. (shrink)
Cancer research is experiencing ‘paradigm instability’, since there are two rival theories of carcinogenesis which confront themselves, namely the somatic mutation theory and the tissue organization field theory. Despite this theoretical uncertainty, a huge quantity of data is available thanks to the improvement of genome sequencing techniques. Some authors think that the development of new statistical tools will be able to overcome the lack of a shared theoretical perspective on cancer by amalgamating as many data as possible. We think instead (...) that a deeper understanding of cancer can be achieved by means of more theoretical work, rather than by merely accumulating more data. To support our thesis, we introduce the analytic view of theory development, which rests on the concept of plausibility, and make clear in what sense plausibility and probability are distinct concepts. Then, the concept of plausibility is used to point out the ineliminable role played by the epistemic subject in the development of statistical tools and in the process of theory assessment. We then move to address a central issue in cancer research, namely the relevance of computational tools developed by bioinformaticists to detect driver mutations in the debate between the two main rival theories of carcinogenesis. Finally, we briefly extend our considerations on the role that plausibility plays in evidence amalgamation from cancer research to the more general issue of the divergences between frequentists and Bayesians in the philosophy of medicine and statistics. We argue that taking into account plausibility-based considerations can lead to clarify some epistemological shortcomings that afflict both these perspectives. (shrink)
Many oppose the use of profile evidence against defendants at trial, even when the statistical correlations are reliable and the jury is free from prejudice. The literature has struggled to justify this opposition. We argue that admitting profile evidence is objectionable because it violates what we call “equal protection”—that is, a right of innocent defendants not to be exposed to higher ex ante risks of mistaken conviction compared to other innocent defendants facing similar charges. We also show why (...) admitting other forms of evidence, such as eyewitness, trace, and motive evidence, does not violate equal protection. (shrink)
The evidence-based medicine (EBM) movement is touted as a new paradigm in medical education and practice, a description that carries with it an enthusiasm for science that has not been seen since logical positivism ﬂourished (circa 1920–1950). At the same time, the term ‘‘evidence-based medicine’’ has a ring of obviousness to it, as few physicians, one suspects, would claim that they do not attempt to base their clinical decision-making on available evidence. However, the apparent obviousness of EBM (...) can and should be challenged on the grounds of how ‘evidence’ has been problematised in the philosophy of science. EBM enthusiasm, it follows, ought to be tempered. The post-positivist, feminist, and phenomenological philosophies of science that are examined in this paper contest the seemingly unproblematic nature of evidence that underlies EBM by emphasizing different features of the social nature of science. The appeal to the authority of evidence that characterizes evidence-based practices does not increase objectivity but rather obscures the subjective elements that inescapably enter all forms of human inquiry. The seeming common sense of EBM only occurs because of its assumed removal from the social context of medical practice. In the current age where the institutional power of medicine is suspect, a model that represents biomedicine as politically disinterested or merely scientiﬁc should give pause. (shrink)
Martin Smith has recently proposed, in this journal, a novel and intriguing approach to puzzles and paradoxes in evidence law arising from the evidential standard of the Preponderance of the Evidence. According to Smith, the relation of normic support provides us with an elegant solution to those puzzles. In this paper I develop a counterexample to Smith’s approach and argue that normic support can neither account for our reluctance to base affirmative verdicts on bare statistical evidence nor (...) resolve the pertinent paradoxes. Normic support is, as a consequence, not a successful epistemic anti-luck condition. (shrink)
Berislav Marusic explores how we should take evidence into account when thinking about future actions, such as resolving to do something we know will be difficult. Should we believe we will follow through, or not? He argues that if it is important to us, we can rationally believe we will do it, even if our belief contradicts the evidence.
The philosophy of evidence-based medicine -- What is EBM? -- What is good evidence for a clinical decision? -- Ruling out plausible rival hypotheses and confounding factors : a method -- Resolving the paradox of effectiveness : when do observational studies offer the same degree of evidential support as randomized trials? -- Questioning double blinding as a universal methodological virtue of clinical trials : resolving the Philip's paradox -- Placebo controls : problematic and misleading baseline measures of effectiveness (...) -- Questioning the methodological superiority of "placebo" over "active" controlled trials -- Examining the paradox that traditional roles for mechanistic reasoning and expert -- Judgment have been up-ended by EBM -- A qualified defence of the EBM stance on mechanistic reasoning -- Knowledge that versus knowledge how : situating the EBM position on expert clinical judgment -- Moving EBM forward. (shrink)
The Law of Evidence has traditionally been perceived as a dry, highly technical, and mysterious subject. This book argues that problems of evidence in law are closely related to the handling of evidence in other kinds of practical decision-making and other academic disciplines, that it is closely related to common sense and that it is an interesting, lively and accessible subject. These essays develop a readable, coherent historical and theoretical perspective about problems of proof, evidence, and (...) inferential reasoning in law. Although each essay is self-standing, they are woven together to present a sustained argument for a broad inter-disciplinary approach to evidence in litigation, in which the rules of evidence play a subordinate, though significant, role. This revised and enlarged edition includes a revised introduction, the best-known essays in the first edition, and new chapters on narrative and argumentation, teaching evidence, and evidence as a multi-disciplinary subject. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to examine the kind of evidence that might be adduced in support of relativist semantics of a kind that have recently been proposed for predicates of personal taste, for epistemic modals, for knowledge attributions and for other cases. I shall concentrate on the case of taste predicates, but what I have to say is easily transposed to the other cases just mentioned. I shall begin by considering in general the question of what kind (...) of evidence can be offered in favour of some semantic theory or framework of semantic theorizing. In other words, I shall begin with the difficult question of the empirical significance of semantic theorizing. In Sect. 2, I outline a relativist semantic theory, and in Sect. 3, I review four types of evidence that might be offered in favour of a relativistic framework. I show that the evidence is not conclusive because a sophisticated form of contextualism can stand up to the evidence. However, the evidence can be taken to support the view that either relativism or the sophisticated form of contextualism is correct. (shrink)
The concept of evidence is central to both epistemology and the philosophy of science. Of course, ‘evidence’ is hardly a philosopher's term of art: it is not only, or even primarily, philosophers who routinely speak of evidence, but also lawyers and judges, historians and scientists, investigative journalists and reporters, as well as the members of numerous other professions and ordinary folk in the course of everyday life. The concept of evidence would thus seem to be on (...) firmer pre-theoretical ground than various other concepts which enjoy similarly central standing within philosophy. (Contrast, for example, the epistemologist's quasi-technical term ‘epistemic justification’.). (shrink)
Proponents of evidence-based medicine have argued convincingly for applying this scientific method to medicine. However, the current methodological framework of the EBM movement has recently been called into question, especially in epidemiology and the philosophy of science. The debate has focused on whether the methodology of randomized controlled trials provides the best evidence available. This paper attempts to shift the focus of the debate by arguing that clinical reasoning involves a patchwork of evidential approaches and that the emphasis (...) on evidence hierarchies of methodology fails to lend credence to the common practice of corroboration in medicine. I argue that the strength of evidence lies in the evidence itself, and not the methodology used to obtain that evidence. Ultimately, when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of medical interventions, it is the evidence obtained from the methodology rather than the methodology that should establish the strength of the evidence. (shrink)
This paper defends and develops the capacity view against insightful critiques from Matt McGrath, Adam Pautz, and Ram Neta. In response to Matt McGrath, I show why capacities are essential and cannot simply be replaced with representational content. I argue moreover, that the asymmetry between the employment of perceptual capacities in the good and the bad case is sufficient to account for the epistemic force of perceptual states yielded by the employment of such capacities. In response to Adam Pautz, I (...) show why a perceiver’s belief is better justified than the belief of someone who suffers a subjectively indistinguishable hallucination. I show, moreover, why the capacity view is compatible with standard Bayesian principles and how it accounts for degrees of justification. In response to Ram Neta, I discuss the relationship between evidence and rational confidence, as well as the notion of evidence in light of an externalism about perceptual content. (shrink)
The use of evidence in medicine is something we should continuously seek to improve. This book seeks to develop our understanding of evidence of mechanism in evaluating evidence in medicine, public health, and social care; and also offers tools to help implement improved assessment of evidence of mechanism in practice. In this way, the book offers a bridge between more theoretical and conceptual insights and worries about evidence of mechanism and practical means to fit the (...) results into evidence assessment procedures. (shrink)
Can beliefs that are not consciously formulated serve as part of an agent's evidence for other beliefs? A common view says no, any belief that is psychologically immediate is also epistemically immediate. I argue that some unconscious beliefs can serve as evidence, but other unconscious beliefs cannot. Person-level beliefs can serve as evidence, but subpersonal beliefs cannot. I try to clarify the nature of the personal/subpersonal distinction and to show how my proposal illuminates various epistemological problems and (...) provides a principled framework for solving other problems. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has argued that a person S ’s total evidence is constituted solely by propositions that S knows. This theory of evidence entails that a false belief can not be a part of S ’s evidence base for a conclusion. I argue by counterexample that this thesis (E = K for now) forces an implausible separation between what it means for a belief to be justified and rational from one’s perspective and what it means to base (...) one’s beliefs on the evidence. Furthermore, I argue that E = K entails the implausible result that there are cases in which a well-evidenced belief necessarily can not serve as evidence for a further proposition. (shrink)
Many philosophers have claimed that evidence for a theory is better when multiple independent tests yield the same result, i.e., when experimental results are robust. Little has been said about the grounds on which such a claim rests, however. The present essay presents an analysis of the evidential value of robustness that rests on the fallibility of assumptions about the reliability of testing procedures and a distinction between the strength of evidence and the security of an evidence (...) claim. Robustness can enhance the security of an evidence claim either by providing what I call second-order evidence, or by providing back-up evidence for a hypothesis. (shrink)
Gilbert et al. have raised important questions about the empirical grounding of neuroethical analyses of the apparent phenomenon of Deep Brain Stimulation ‘causing’ personality changes. In this paper, we consider how to make neuroethical claims appropriately calibrated to existing evidence, and the role that philosophical neuroethics has to play in this enterprise of ‘evidence-based neuroethics’. In the first half of the paper, we begin by highlighting the challenges we face in investigating changes to PIAAAS following DBS, explaining how (...) different trial designs may be of different degrees of utility, depending on how changes to PIAAAS following DBS are manifested. In particular, we suggest that the trial designs Gilbert et al. call for may not be able to tell us whether or not DBS directly causes changes to personality. However, we suggest that this is not the most significant question about this phenomenon; the most significant question is whether these changes should matter morally, however they are caused. We go on to suggest that neuroethical analyses of novel neuro-interventions should be carried out in accordance with the levels of evidence hierarchy outlined by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, and explain different ways in which neuroethical analyses of changes to PIAAAS can be evidence-based on this framework. In the second half of the paper, we explain how philosophical neuroethics can play an important role in contributing to mechanism-based reasoning about potential effects on PIAAAS following DBS, a form of evidence that is also incorporated into the CEBM levels of evidence hierarchy. (shrink)
An important question in the current debate on the epistemic significance of peer disagreement is whether evidence of evidence is evidence. Fitelson argues that, at least on some renderings of the thesis that evidence of evidence is evidence, there are cases where evidence of evidence is not evidence. I introduce a condition and show that under this condition evidence of evidence is evidence.
I argue elsewhere (Roche 2014) that evidence of evidence is evidence under screening-off. Tal and Comesaña (2017) argue that my appeal to screening-off is subject to two objections. They then propose an evidence of evidence thesis involving the notion of a defeater. There is much to learn from their very careful discussion. I argue, though, that their objections fail and that their evidence of evidence thesis is open to counterexample.
Two theses figure centrally in work on the epistemology of disagreement: Equal Weight (‘EW’) and Uniqueness (‘U’). According to EW, you should give precisely as much weight to the attitude of a disagreeing epistemic peer as you give to your own attitude. U has it that, for any given proposition and total body of evidence, some doxastic attitude is the one the evidence makes rational (justifies) toward that proposition. Although EW has received considerable discussion, the case for U (...) has not been critically evaluated. Endorsing U, we argue, commits one to the highly controversial thesis that whatever fixes your rational attitudes can do so only by fixing what evidence you have. This commitment imposes a relatively demanding requirement on justified belief in U, one that we argue is not satisfied by what is currently the strongest available case for U, due to Roger White . Our challenge to U makes more trouble for its proponents than do the worries about U expressed by Gideon Rosen  and Thomas Kelly . Moreover, if Kelly  is correct in thinking that EW “carries with it a commitment to” U—a claim which we accept for reasons similar to Kelly’s but is beyond this paper’s scope (but see Ballantyne and Coffman [forthcoming])—then our challenge to U bears importantly on EW: to the extent that our challenge to U succeeds, EW also suffers. (shrink)
Most philosophers agree that causal knowledge is essential to decision-making: agents should choose from the available options those that probably cause the outcomes that they want. This book argues against this theory and in favour of evidential or Bayesian decision theory, which emphasises the symptomatic value of options over their causal role. It examines a variety of settings, including economic theory, quantum mechanics and philosophical thought-experiments, where causal knowledge seems to make a practical difference. The arguments make novel use of (...) machinery from other areas of philosophical inquiry, including first-person epistemology and the free will debate. The book also illustrates the applicability of decision theory itself to questions about the direction of time and the special epistemic status of agents. (shrink)
Evidence based medicine (EBM) is under critical debate, and person centered healthcare (PCH) has been proposed as an improvement. But is PCH offered as a supplement or as a replacement of EBM? Prima facie PCH only concerns the practice of medicine, while the contended features of EBM also include methods and medical model. I here argue that there are good philosophical reasons to see PCH as a radical alternative to the existing medical paradigm of EBM, since the two seem (...) committed to conflicting ontologies. This paper aims to make explicit some of the most fundamental assumptions that motivate EBM and PCH, respectively, in order to show that the choice between them ultimately comes down to ontological preference. While EBM has a solid foundation in positivism, or what I here call Humeanism, PCH is more consistent with causal dispositionalism. I conclude that if there is a paradigmatic revolution on the way in medicine, it is first of all one of ontology. (shrink)
Sherrilyn Roush defends a new theory of knowledge and evidence, based on the idea of "tracking" the truth, as the best approach to a wide range of questions about knowledge-related phenomena. The theory explains, for example, why scepticism is frustrating, why knowledge is power, and why better evidence makes you more likely to have knowledge. Tracking Truth provides a unification of the concepts of knowledge and evidence, and argues against traditional epistemological realist and anti-realist positions about scientific (...) theories and for a piecemeal approach based on a criterion of evidence, a position Roush calls "real anti-realism." Epistemologists and philosophers of science will recognize this as a significant original contribution. (shrink)
We present a toy theory that is based on a simple principle: the number of questions about the physical state of a system that are answered must always be equal to the number that are unanswered in a state of maximal knowledge. Many quantum phenomena are found to have analogues within this toy theory. These include the noncommutativity of measurements, interference, the multiplicity of convex decompositions of a mixed state, the impossibility of discriminating nonorthogonal states, the impossibility of a universal (...) state inverter, the distinction between bipartite and tripartite entanglement, the monogamy of pure entanglement, no cloning, no broadcasting, remote steering, teleportation, entanglement swapping, dense coding, mutually unbiased bases, and many others. The diversity and quality of these analogies is taken as evidence for the view that quantum states are states of incomplete knowledge rather than states of reality. A consideration of the phenomena that the toy theory fails to reproduce, notably, violations of Bell inequalities and the existence of a Kochen-Specker theorem, provides clues for how to proceed with this research program. (shrink)
In this paper we assume that ‘theory’ is important for Clinical Ethics Support Services (CESS). We will argue that the underlying implicit theory should be reflected. Moreover, we suggest that the theoretical components on which any clinical ethics support (CES) relies should be explicitly articulated in order to enhance the quality of CES.A theoretical framework appropriate for CES will be necessarily complex and should include ethical (both descriptive and normative), metaethical and organizational components. The various forms of CES that exist (...) in North-America and in Europe show their underlying theory more or less explicitly, with most of them referring to some kind of theoretical components including ‘how-to’ questions (methodology), organizational issues (implementation), problem analysis (phenomenology or typology of problems), and related ethical issues such as end-of-life decisions (major ethical topics).In order to illustrate and explain the theoretical framework that we are suggesting for our own CES project METAP, we will outline this project which has been established in a multi-centre context in several healthcare institutions. We conceptualize three ‘pillars’ as the major components of our theoretical framework: (1) evidence, (2) competence, and (3) discourse. As a whole, the framework is aimed at developing a foundation of our CES project METAP.We conclude that this specific integration of theoretical components is a promising model for the fruitful further development of CES. (shrink)
The Evidence for the Top Quark offers both a historical and philosophical perspective on an important recent discovery in particle physics: evidence for the elementary particle known as the top quark. Drawing on published reports, oral histories, and internal documents from the large collaboration that performed the experiment, Kent Staley explores in detail the controversies and politics that surrounded this major scientific result. At the same time the book seeks to defend an objective theory of scientific evidence (...) based on error probabilities. Such a theory provides an illuminating explication of the points of contention in the debate over the evidence for the top quark. Philosophers wishing to defend the objectivity of the results of scientific research must face unflinchingly the realities of scientific practice, and this book attempts to do precisely that. (shrink)
The concept of evidence is among the central concerns of epistemology broadly construed. As such, it has long engaged the intellectual energies of both philosophers of science and epistemologists of a more traditional variety. Here I briefly survey some of the more important ideas to have emerged from this tradition of reflection. I then look somewhat more closely at an issue that has recently come to the fore, largely as a result of Williamson's Knowledge and Its Limits: that of (...) whether one's evidence supervenes on one's non-factive mental states. (shrink)
Plausibly, you should believe what your total evidence supports. But cases of misleading higher-order evidence—evidence about what your evidence supports—present a challenge to this thought. In such cases, taking both first-order and higher-order evidence at face value leads to a seemingly irrational incoherence between one’s first-order and higher-order attitudes: you will believe P, but also believe that your evidence doesn’t support P. To avoid sanctioning tension between epistemic levels, some authors have abandoned the thought (...) that both first-order and higher-order evidence have rational bearing. This sacrifice is both costly and unnecessary. We propose a principle, Evidential Calibration, which requires rational agents to accommodate first-order evidence correctly, while allowing rational uncertainty about what to believe. At the same time, it rules out irrational tensions between epistemic levels. We show that while there are serious problems for some views on which we can rationally believe, “P, but my evidence doesn’t support P”, Evidential Calibration avoids these problems. An important upshot of our discussion is a new way to think about the relationship between epistemic levels: why first-order and higher-order attitudes should generally be aligned, and why it is sometimes—though not always—problematic when they diverge. (shrink)
In this note, I consider various precisifications of the slogan ‘evidence of evidence is evidence’. I provide counter-examples to each of these precisifications (assuming an epistemic probabilistic relevance notion of ‘evidential support’).
BackgroundThe increase in empirical methods of research in bioethics over the last two decades is typically perceived as a welcomed broadening of the discipline, with increased integration of social and life scientists into the field and ethics consultants into the clinical setting, however it also represents a loss of confidence in the typical normative and analytic methods of bioethics.DiscussionThe recent incipiency of "Evidence-Based Ethics" attests to this phenomenon and should be rejected as a solution to the current ambivalence toward (...) the normative resolution of moral problems in a pluralistic society. While "evidence-based" is typically read in medicine and other life and social sciences as the empirically-adequate standard of reasonable practice and a means for increasing certainty, I propose that the evidence-based movement in fact gains consensus by displacing normative discourse with aggregate or statistically-derived empirical evidence as the "bottom line". Therefore, along with wavering on the fact/value distinction, evidence-based ethics threatens bioethics' normative mandate. The appeal of the evidence-based approach is that it offers a means of negotiating the demands of moral pluralism. Rather than appealing to explicit values that are likely not shared by all, "the evidence" is proposed to adjudicate between competing claims. Quantified measures are notably more "neutral" and democratic than liberal markers like "species normal functioning". Yet the positivist notion that claims stand or fall in light of the evidence is untenable; furthermore, the legacy of positivism entails the quieting of empirically non-verifiable considerations like moral claims and judgments. As a result, evidence-based ethics proposes to operate with the implicit normativity that accompanies the production and presentation of all biomedical and scientific facts unchecked.SummaryThe "empirical turn" in bioethics signals a need for reconsideration of the methods used for moral evaluation and resolution, however the options should not include obscuring normative content by seemingly neutral technical measure. (shrink)
Background The increase in empirical methods of research in bioethics over the last two decades is typically perceived as a welcomed broadening of the discipline, with increased integration of social and life scientists into the field and ethics consultants into the clinical setting, however it also represents a loss of confidence in the typical normative and analytic methods of bioethics. Discussion The recent incipiency of "Evidence-Based Ethics" attests to this phenomenon and should be rejected as a solution to the (...) current ambivalence toward the normative resolution of moral problems in a pluralistic society. While "evidence-based" is typically read in medicine and other life and social sciences as the empirically-adequate standard of reasonable practice and a means for increasing certainty, I propose that the evidence-based movement in fact gains consensus by displacing normative discourse with aggregate or statistically-derived empirical evidence as the "bottom line". Therefore, along with wavering on the fact/value distinction, evidence-based ethics threatens bioethics' normative mandate. The appeal of the evidence-based approach is that it offers a means of negotiating the demands of moral pluralism. Rather than appealing to explicit values that are likely not shared by all, "the evidence" is proposed to adjudicate between competing claims. Quantified measures are notably more "neutral" and democratic than liberal markers like "species normal functioning". Yet the positivist notion that claims stand or fall in light of the evidence is untenable; furthermore, the legacy of positivism entails the quieting of empirically non-verifiable considerations like moral claims and judgments. As a result, evidence-based ethics proposes to operate with the implicit normativity that accompanies the production and presentation of all biomedical and scientific facts unchecked. Summary The "empirical turn" in bioethics signals a need for reconsideration of the methods used for moral evaluation and resolution, however the options should not include obscuring normative content by seemingly neutral technical measure. (shrink)
I argue that perceptual experience provides us with both phenomenal and factive evidence. To a first approximation, we can understand phenomenal evidence as determined by how our environment sensorily seems to us when we are experiencing. To a first approximation, we can understand factive evidence as necessarily determined by the environment to which we are perceptually related such that the evidence is guaranteed to be an accurate guide to the environment. I argue that the rational source (...) of both phenomenal and factive evidence lies in employing perceptual capacities that we have in virtue of being perceivers. In showing that both kinds of evidence have the same rational source, I provide a unified account of perceptual evidence and its rational source in perceptual experience. (shrink)