My research focuses on policy decision-making about highly uncertain sciences. I have done a lot of work with one case study: insurance against damage from hurricanes in the North Atlantic.

I am interested in a cluster of questions arising from these decision contexts. These include:

  • Which decision theoretic resources are available to agents in highly uncertain contexts?
  • How should non-expert policy makers respond to disagreement within a science? In particular, how useful and applicable are various techniques in the social/formal epistemology literature, such as opinion pooling?
  • How best can institutions of policy decision-making support the normatively preferred answers to the above questions?

I am also interested in formal epistemology more broadly, and in the philosophy of scientific models.

My blog contains a section of research-related posts. You can find more formal examples of my work below.

 

Work in progress

  • Making confident decisions with model ensembles – joint paper with Roman Frigg and Richard Bradley (submitted)
    • We apply the “confidence” approach developed by Hill and Bradley to the case of hurricane models, demonstrating a method that can be generalised to decision-making with ensembles of structurally different models
  • Formal epistemology as modelling (draft available)
    • I am developing an analysis formal philosophy (i.e., using mathematics) as instances of modelling. I argue that they should be analysed and understood in terms of prominent approaches to scientific models in the philosophy of science literature, such as the DEKI account of representation
    • I have a working draft available discussing an account of normative modelling, applying it to the theory of partial belief, and drawing conclusions for the debate over precise vs. imprecise probabilism
  • Opinion pooling and the novice/2-expert problem
    • I examine how various tools from formal epistemology can be used to assist non-experts faced with expert disagreement
    • I argue that careful de-idealisation is required to make progress on this problem, as most prominent approaches in philosophy idealise over features of the problem that do important work
  • Against aggregation
    • I argue against the aggregation of model outputs using a weighted average, looking at the case of hurricane model

 

Physics research

My Master’s research was in particle physics.