Evidence and Perceptions in the Post-Brexit Immigration Debate (2017-18)
The UK has voted to leave the EU, and there is a consensus that anti-immigration sentiments played an important role in the minds of many voters. Indeed, large sections of the British public think of immigration as bad, despite ample evidence that it is good, at least economically. As part of this Leverhulme-funded project, I'll be working with the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) to understand why, by examining how people process evidence about the positive impact of immigration. Among other things, we will be testing whether people are more prone to listen to experts testifying to such impact if those experts are willing to listen in turn (see, e.g., my 'Procedural Justice and the Problem of Intellectual Deference' in Episteme). Our aim is to identify effective forms of communication, ensuring that whatever people’s views on immigration might be, they will at least be grounded in evidence.
self-resolving information markets (2017)
Information markets are online platforms that allow people to place bets on future or otherwise unknown events. Over the past couple of decades, the price signals arising on such markets have proven highly accurate (see, e.g., my piece in The Blackwell Companion to Applied Philosophy). But there's a limit to traditional information markets: settling pay-offs requires waiting until the event bet on takes place (or fails to take place). This makes it impossible to bet on events far into the future or on counterfactual events. That is, unless there's some way to set-up a self-resolving market, where pay-offs are settled with reference to factors internal to the market. Together with Dysrupt Labs, I designed and ran an experimental pilot study which suggests that trading behaviour on self-resolving markets can under fairly standard conditions be virtually identical to that on traditional markets.
epistemic consequentialism: Problems and prospects (2014-16)
Epistemic consequentialists believe that what's epistemically right (e.g., justified) is to be defined in terms of what's epistemically good (e.g., true belief). While highly controversial in ethics, consequentialism has arguably been widely accepted in epistemology -- up until very recently. As part of a British Academy-funded project, Jeff Dunn (DePauw) and I take on recent criticisms of epistemic consequentialism in a couple of papers (see 'A Defence of Epistemic Consequentialism', in Philosophical Quarterly, and 'Is Reliabilism a Form of Consequentialism?', in American Philosophical Quarterly), and also edit an anthology, entitled (fittingly enough) Epistemic Consequentialism, featuring some of the most recent and interesting work for and against epistemic consequentialism.
on cognitve outsourcing (2013-16)
As part of Lund University's £1.7M project Knowledge in a Digital World, funded by the Swedish Research Council, I worked on the epistemology of cognitive outsourcing, i.e., of handing over your information collection and processing to others. My main contribution to the project was published in Philosophical Issues as 'Is there a Problem with Cognitive Outsourcing?' (my main conclusion: it's not clear that there is), and will also be published in a shortened form in a special issue of the Italian philosophy journal Iride (under the title 'L’outsourcing cognitivo pone un problema epistemico?'), edited by Annalisa Coliva. A number of other papers from my participation in the project are currently under review.
the epistemic virtue of deference (2012-13)
As part of Wake Forest University's Character Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, I worked on the epistemic virtue of deference -- a virtue manifested in so far as one listens to, and subsequently believes, those who know what they're talking about. My work here resulted in a number of publications, including 'Against the Bifurcation of Virtue' (forthcoming in Noûs), 'The Social Virtue of Blind Deference' (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research), 'Procedural Justice and the Problem of Intellectual Deference' (Episteme), and 'The Epistemic Virtue of Deference' (forthcoming in The Routledge Handbook of Virtue Epistemology, edited by Heather Battaly). In the near future, I hope to develop these papers into a book-length defence of a consequentialist virtue epistemology.
defending Epistemic Paternalism (2010-12)
We know that we are fallible creatures, prone to a variety of systematic reasoning mistakes. We also know that we all have a tendency to be overconfident about the accuracy of our judgments, as well as about our ability to overcome or avoid reasoning mistakes. In my book Epistemic Paternalism: A Defence (Palgrave Macmillan 2013), I argue that this dual tendency for bias and overconfidence gives us reason to accept that we are sometimes justified in interfering with the inquiry of others without their consent but for their own epistemic good. My forthcoming piece in the Routledge Handbook in the Philosophy of Paternalism, edited by Kalle Grill and Jason Hanna, gives a summary of the case offered in the book.