Doctoral training initiative at Kent: evidence and its quality

The Philosophy Department at the University of Kent is organising a doctoral training initiative on Evidence and its Quality  and we welcome applications to our PhD programme from those working on this topic.

This initiative will offer a strong focus on career progression and intellectual development, with students working alongside established researchers and learning about the next steps in an academic career. All PhD Applicants should have, or expect to have, a masters in Philosophy, and should apply here, including a sample of written work. Please see our website for details of potential supervisors.  There are also a number of other philosophers at Kent in other departments, such as ClassicsHistory of ArtFilm StudiesLaw and Politics, and co-supervision arrangements are available.

Funding opportunities include University of Kent 50th Anniversary Graduate Training Assistantships. Deadline is 6th March 2015. If you are applying for a Kent 50th Anniversary GTA, then you should apply well in advance of the deadline so that your application can be processed easily.  Numbers are strictly limited on this programme and applicants are advised to apply early. Further enquiries to David Corfield (

Evidence and its Quality

This year, the Centre for Reasoning begins a research programme on quality of evidence in science and medicine. Collaborative research projects will include:

The Centre for Reasoning will be organising numerous seminars and events on these themes, many in collaboration with project partner organisations. This is a very good opportunity for prospective doctoral students in epistemology and/or philosophy of science to begin doctoral research in an environment conducive to collaboration.

We welcome applications for research on any topic related to evidence and its quality, such as:

  • Cognitive outsourcing and evidence evaluation in medicine. The value of outsourcing the gathering and processing of evidence is an important question in epistemology. This sort of outsourcing is also widely practiced in evidence based medicine (EBM). How can epistemological theory and EBM practice inform each other?
  • Evaluating evidence in mathematics. Polya and Lakatos emphasised that proof is not the only sort of evidence in mathematics. Induction, analogy and counterexample are all involved in theory construction. But what are the other sorts of evidence? And when different sorts of evidence conflict, how do they weigh against each other?
  • Evidence aggregation and meta-analysis. How should multiple agents merge or aggregate their evidence? Can this tell us anything about meta-analysis – i.e., the practice of evaluating evidence provided by multiple research groups?
  • The nature of evidence in science. The nature of evidence is a hot topic in epistemology. Theories include: evidence is knowledge; evidence is what is believed; evidence is information; evidence is what is rationally granted. But how well do these theories cope with the use of evidence in science and medicine?
  • Evidence, justification and knowledge. Many epistemologists believe that there is an important connection between having evidence for one’s beliefs and being justified in those beliefs, and that being justified moreover is necessary for knowing. But what exactly is evidence? Can only ‘internal’ things like beliefs and experiences constitute evidence, or can the bloody knife found at the crime scene also be evidence? Relatedly, what is it to have evidence? For something to be in my evidence, do I need to be considering it at the moment, or can I have evidence I might never have considered?

In addition to 50th anniversary GTA funding, opportunities include