Research

My PhD 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:

  • What is the proper way of classifying uncertainty? Once we understand the varieties of uncertainty, what decision-theoretic tools are relevant/applicable to each? How does one identify a particular kind of uncertainty?
  • 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
  • Against aggregation
    • I argue against the aggregation of model outputs using a weighted average, looking at the case of hurricane models
  • Formal epistemology as modelling
    • I am developing an analysis of two classes of formal philosophical frameworks 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 two working drafts, one focused on decision  theory models, and another on agent-based models
  • (Abandoned) A fictionalist account of learning from scientific models

Physics research

My Master’s research was in particle physics.