Varieties of Risk

AHRC sponsored research project


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Professor Philip Ebert

My main research interests lie in Epistemology using traditional, formal, and experimental methods, as well as the History of Early Analytic Philosophy.

In Epistemology, I'm mainly interested in investigating different notions of risk, the role and relevance of probabilistic evidence, and different notions of epistemic rationality. My experimental work focuses on variations of risk and recklessness judgements.

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Dr Martin Smith

In previous work I have developed a theory of justification that I term the 'normic theory', and tried to apply it to various problems in epistemology and beyond. I am currently exploring whether aspects of this theory could offer a new way of thinking about the notion of risk - and whether this could, in turn, have significance for areas such as decision theory, legal reasoning and the ethics of risk imposition.


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Dr Claire Field

I am interested in the epistemology and ethics of recklessness. A risk can be reckless even if the agent is lucky and things turn out well. My research focuses on what makes a risk reckless (and so blameworthy). I am also interested in how the epistemic standing of moral beliefs affects moral recklessness, and in exploring possible symmetries between moral and factual recklessness.

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Xintong Wei

Xintong Wei received her PhD St Andrews/Stirling Philosophy Programme (SASP) in 2021 and was previously a Varieties of Risk PhD student. Since September 2022 she is a PostDoc on the Varieties of Risk Project.

Xintong works on topics that situate at the intersections between epistemology, normativity and philosophy of mind. Her thesis investigates the normative relation between truth and belief. Her wider research interests include moral epistemology, theory of mental action and history of philosophy (ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy)

Associated PostDocs

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Dr Giada Fratantonio, @GiadaFra_tanto

Giada works on epistemology (including social, and legal epistemology), normativity, and the philosophy of perception. In particular, she loves to think about anything that deals with evidence. As part of the Varieties of Risk Project, she'll investigate what it means to manage risk rationally, with a specific focus on risk assessment in criminal and asylum law.

Besides evidence, Giada's passions include singing, playing the piano, reading novels, and eating sun-dried tomatoes.

Giada was a PostDoc in the Varieties of Risk Project from September 2020 – August 2022 and is now working at the Catastrophic Risk Project at Lignan University, Hong Kong.

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Matthew Jope is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow (Postdoc) at Edinburgh, working on a project concerned with testimony, trust, and risk. The project addresses the puzzle of how so much of our knowledge can depend on trusting speakers if trust conceptually entails risk and risk undermines knowledge. Other research interests include the structure of justification, epistemic entitlement, closure, and norms of assertion.

Dr Matt Jope, @Mattjope

PhD Students

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Dylan Balfour

Dylan is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. He works in normative ethics and decision theory and is particularly interested in the decision-making implications of existential risk.

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Lilith Newton

Lilith Newton is a PhD researcher in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, supervised by Martin Smith. Her thesis concerns the instrumental and intrinsic (dis)value of doubt, conceived of as epistemic anxiety: an emotional response to epistemic risk.


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Angie O'Sullivan

My research develops an antirealist solution to the problem of epistemic scepticism. I am particularly interested in how function-first arguments and everyday intuitions regarding epistemic possibility and risk support various forms of antirealism about knowledge discourse.

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[Petronella Randell]

I'm a SASP PhD student working on transformative experience, decision theory, and authenticity. My main interests are in epistemology and the psychology of decision-making.

Local Network


Prof. Jessica Brown (St Andrews), Dr Adam Carter (Glasgow), Prof. Antony Duff (Stirling & Edinburgh), Dr. Patrick Greenough (St Andrews), Prof. Katherine Hawley (St Andrews), Dr Christoph Kelp (Glasgow), Dr Alisa Mandrigin (Stirling), Dr. Aidan McGlynn (Edinburgh), Dr Giacomo Melis (Stirling). Prof. Peter Milne (Stirling), Dr Luca Moretti (Aberdeen), Prof. Duncan Pritchard (Edinburgh & Irvine), Dr. Sonia Roca-Royes (Stirling), Dr Kevin Scharp (St Andrews), Dr Wolfgang Schwarz (Edinburgh), Dr Mona Simion (Glasgow), Dr Justin Snedegar (St Andrews), Prof. Crispin Wright (Stirling, NYU)

Economists, Psychologists, Law

Dr Dave Comerford (Economics, Stirling), Dr Ian Durbach (Statistician, St Andrews). Dr Eva Rafetseder (Psychology, Stirling), Prof. Burkhard Shafer (Law, Edinburgh), Dr Tony Westbury (Sports Psychology, Napier University, Edinburgh). Dr Conny Wollbrant (Economics, Stirling, Director of the Behavioural Science Centre)


Mark Diggins (SAIS), Iain Sherrington (Glenmore Lodge), Andy Townsend (Glenmore Lodge).

Global Network & Visitors


Richard Pettigrew (Bristol),


Professor Michael Lynch (UConn), Professor Michael Morreau (Philosophy, Tromsø), Professor Laurie Paul (Philosophy, Yale), Professor Nikolaj Pedersen (Philosophy, South Korea), Rafal Urbaniak (Gdansk), Mario Günter (Munich, MCMP).