Decision-theoretic and risk-based approaches to naked statistical evidence: some consequences and challenges

Rafał Urbaniak , Alicja Kowalewska , Pavel Janda , Patryk Dziurosz-Serafinowicz


In the debate about the legal value of naked statistical evidence, Di Bello argues that (1) the likelihood ratio of such evidence is unknown, (2) the decision-theoretic considerations indicate that a conviction based on such evidence is unacceptable when expected utility maximization is combined with fairness constraints, and (3) the risk of mistaken conviction based on such evidence cannot be evaluated and is potentially too high. We argue that Di Bello’s argument for (1) works in a rather narrow context, and that (1) is not exactly in line with the way expert witnesses are required to formulate their opinions. Consequently, Di Bello’s argument for (2), which assumes (1), does not apply uniformly to all convictions based on naked evidence. Moreover, if Di Bello’s analysis is correct, it applies also to eyewitness testimony, given empirical results about its quality, and so the distinctions drawn by DiBello cut across the distinction between naked statistical evidence and other types of evidence. Finally, if we weaken the rather strong requirement of precise measurability of the risk of mistaken conviction, to the availability of reasonable but imprecise and fallible estimates, many field and empirical studies show that often the risk of mistaken conviction based on naked statistical evidence can be estimated to a similar extent as the risk of mistaken conviction based on any other sort of evidence.
Publication typeIn press (online first, early view)
Author Rafał Urbaniak (FSS/IPSJ/DLPSE)
Rafał Urbaniak,,
- Division of Logic, Philosophy of Science and Epistemology
, Alicja Kowalewska
Alicja Kowalewska,,
, Pavel Janda (FSS/IPSJ/DLPSE)
Pavel Janda,,
- Division of Logic, Philosophy of Science and Epistemology
, Patryk Dziurosz-Serafinowicz (FSS/IPSJ/DLPSE)
Patryk Dziurosz-Serafinowicz,,
- Division of Logic, Philosophy of Science and Epistemology
Journal seriesLaw Probability & Risk, [Law, Probability and Risk], ISSN 1470-8396, e-ISSN 1470-840X, (N/A 100 pkt)
Issue year2020
Noonline first
Publication size in sheets0.80
Article numbermgaa001
Keywords in Polishprawdopodobieństwo, ryzyko, dowody statystyczne
Keywords in Englishprobability, risk, statistical evidence
ASJC Classification1211 Philosophy; 1804 Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty; 3308 Law
Languageen angielski
Urbaniak_Rafal_Kowalewska_Alicja_Janda_Pavel_Dziurosz_Serafinowicz_Patryk_Decision_theoretic_2020.pdf 240,37 KB
Score (nominal)100
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 100.0, 24-02-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 0.870; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 0.821 (2) - 2018=1.026 (5)
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