What it is epistemic status?
A note capturing author’s certainty, effort, counter-factuals, and sources of evidence. I think it’s valuable to include a note on epistemic status in all writing. I plan to add it to the pages on this website (from roughly a 3rd quarter of 2022).
What I am currently including in my Epistemic status ?
What I believe can be different to what evidence is pointing to. I think making this explicit may explain a lot to a reader, bring clarity where I am going with this line of reasoning and be influencing their believes. Perhaps also use percentage points on some verbs “55%certain” when in need to specify certainty in more detail
Sometimes beliefs don’t go through a linear, empirical deduction process. Sometimes intuitive connections can be very valuable at arriving at unconventional findings or for starting new pathways of inquiry. However, they need to be flagged with confidence interval tags.
What is the evidence? Where it comes from?
How much time or effort I spent on thinking or validating the claims.
Previous name: Epistemic effort
Doing something on the spot, even to train this muscle is very helpful See:
Confidence tags (I use on this website)
Alternatives: Rather yes
Create a more approachable version of this: fifty/fifty, likely, highly likely, almost certain
How I can approach it differently
Just focus on percentages and do
Other examples of confidence language
93% (give or take about 6%) Almost certain
75% (give or take about 12%) Probable
50% (give or take about 10%)Chances about even
30% (give or take about 10%) Probably not
7% (give or take about 5%) Almost certainly not
- “highly likely”
- “possible” (my preference over Kesselman’s “Chances a Little Better [or Less]”)
- “highly unlikely”
Below is a format I am currently using on this website:
Examples of pages that uses it:
This page uses
Other names: I used to call this page “Epistemic status”. I changed it to confidence because:
90% confidence means that the statement should be true 9 times out of ten times you say statements with this confidence interval
10% confidence means that the statement should be true 1 times out of ten times you say statements with this confidence interval
Unlikely is not 30% its like 15% maybe a chance. Highlight unlikely is like 5%.