Jessie Munton (Cambridge): “Base rate neglect in the service of modal knowledge”

Are there ever good epistemic reasons to misrepresent base rates? I investigate this question in the context of recent legislation restricting the presentation of gender stereotypes, and the representation of minority groups in children’s books. I argue that our hesitancy around certain base rates makes sense in the context of a more general epistemic dilemma we face: between knowledge of actuality and knowledge of possibility.  Given this dilemma, there are sound epistemic reasons to behave in ways the may involve wariness or misrepresentation of base rates. This approach has implications for the way in which ethical and epistemic norms interact with one another.

Jessie Munton is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Her core areas of research are philosophy of mind, epistemology, and philosophy of psychology.