If Wishes Were Horses: Discursive Comments on Attempts to Prevent Individuals from Being Unfairly Burdened by Their Reference Classes
Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Law, Probability and Risk, Vol. 4, pp. 33-49, 2003
Group-to-individual inferences are inevitable. They are sometimes epistemically legitimate. Sometimes such inferences are morally odious. It is important to distinguish between morally odious and epistemically odious inferences. A prohibition of group-to-individual inferences exclusively on epistemic grounds in both unwise and impossible. These principles apply to both statistical inference and inference that is not overtly statistical. A legal case involving statistical data about the behaviour of a group of Nigerian drug smugglers is discussed.
Keywords: inference, epistemology, reference classes, reference class problem, group behaviour, individualization, individuated inference, narcotics, criminal punishment, guilt by associationAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 29, 2008
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