Statistical resentment, or: what’s wrong with acting, blaming, and believing on the basis of statistics alone

David Enoch, Levi Spectre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Statistical evidence—say, that 95% of your co-workers badmouth each other—can never render resenting your colleague appropriate, in the way that other evidence (say, the testimony of a reliable friend) can. The problem of statistical resentment is to explain why. We put the problem of statistical resentment in several wider contexts: The context of the problem of statistical evidence in legal theory; the epistemological context—with problems like the lottery paradox for knowledge, epistemic impurism and doxastic wrongdoing; and the context of a wider set of examples of responses and attitudes that seem not to be appropriately groundable in statistical evidence. Regrettably, we do not come up with a fully general, fully adequate, fully unified account of all the phenomena discussed. But we give reasons to believe that no such account is forthcoming, and we sketch a somewhat messier account that may be the best that can be had here.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5687-5718
Number of pages32
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
David Enoch’s research was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation, Grant Number 439/15. Levi Spectre’s research was supported by the Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond as part of the ‘Knowledge Resistance: Causes, Consequences, and Cures’ research project (Reference Number: M18‐0310:1).

Funding Information:
For comments on previous versions we thank Dan Baras, Tali Fisher, Jamie Fritz, Georgi Gardiner, Clayton LittleJohn, Berislav Maru?i?, Oded Na?aman, Ittay Nissan-Rozen, Erik J Olsson, Jim Pryor, Daniel Telech, Gideon Yaffe, and audiences at the Eastern APA, Cornell, Dartmouth, Oxford, The Hebrew University, Brandeis, King?s College, Hamburg, and Bochum.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. part of Springer Nature.


  • Epistemic impurism
  • Moral encroachment
  • Pragmatic encroachment
  • Resentment
  • Statistical evidence


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