Philosophy of Finance

I am researching a number of topics in the philosophy of finance including the relationship between asset prices and valuation methodologies, the assumptions of behavioural finance, and the application of physics to finance.


Mind the Gap: Virtue Ethics and the Financial Crisis

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 42 (1): 174-190. 2018

The financial crisis has led to calls for increased regulation of the financial sector. In many respects this is uncontroversial because increased regulation should promote the behaviours we want to see, while limiting the behaviours we do not. This article takes issue with the idea that regulation, and guidelines, promote ethical behaviour in the way that we want them to.

Differential Information, Arbitrage and Subjective Value

TOPOI (2019)

This paper explores some of the subjective elements involved in calculating the intrinsic value of an asset, and their implications for the Law of One Price. This paper will argue that a security can play a number of roles in a portfolio, depending on an investor's strategy. Given these different roles, different investors will be working with different data in their assessment of intrinsic value. In order to establish that an arbitrage opportunity exists it is therefore necessary to understand what information is relevant to pricing the investment in different locations, or markets. It may, in fact, be the case that the same security can trade at different prices because different investors do not see it as the ‘same thing’ at all. This analysis can also be used to throw doubt on the emphasis that fundamental analysis receives in discussions of rationality.

Information in Financial Markets

in Scientific Discovery in the Social Sciences pg 87-102

The concept of ‘information’ is central to our understanding of financial markets, both in theory and in practice. Analysing information is not only a critical part of the activities of many financial practitioners, but also plays a central role in the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH). The central claim of this paper is that different data can count as information in financial markets and that particular investors do not consider all of the available data. This suggests that firstly, saying the price of a stock should be $X once a particular piece of information has been incorporated in the price is only justifiable if we know that this information really is relevant for other investors. Secondly, the EMH is often tested by looking at market behaviour after the release of information; again, this is only justified if we know that other market participants share the view that this is information. The purpose of this chapter is to suggest that there are good reasons for thinking that we do not know this. Finally, this chapter also suggests that bubbles in financial markets are best understood in terms of salience of information, rather than irrationality.

Philosophy of Social Science

I am researching the applications of my PhD to philosophy of social science.

Big Data and the reference class problem: What can we legitimately infer about individuals? 

Computer Ethics- Philosophical Inquiry (CEPE) Proceedings 1 (2019). 2019

Big data increasingly enables prediction of the behaviour and characteristics of individuals. This is ethically concerning on privacy grounds. However, this article discusses other reasons for concern. These predictions usually rely on generalisations about what certain sorts of people tend to do. Generalisations of this sort are often under scrutiny in legal cases, where, for example, lawyers argue that people with prior convictions are more likely to be guilty of the crime they are currently on trial for. This article applies criteria for distinguishing acceptable from unacceptable generalisations in legal cases to a number of big data examples. It argues that these criteria are helpful, and highlights three issues that should be taken into account when deciding whether predictions about individuals are ethical.

Nomadic Concepts, Variable Choice, and the Social Sciences

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 2019

The observation that concepts used by social scientists are often problematic is not new; they have been described as Ballung concepts, cluster concepts, essentially contested, and reflexive; however, the need to work with these concepts remains. This article addresses the problem of variable choice in the social sciences by exploring and extending Woodward’s recommendations. This article demonstrates why Woodward’s criteria are difficult to apply in the social sciences and proposes an alternative, but complementary, framework for assessing variables.


July 2019: Derivative intentions and predictable behaviour: Why the two are incompatible. BSPC Conference, Durham

May 2019: Big data and the reference class problem: What can we legitimately infer about individuals? CEPE 2019- Cybersecurity and Cybersecuritization, Old Dominion University


April 2019: Derivative intentions and predictable behaviour: Why the two are incompatible. The Philosophy of the Social Sciences Roundtable, Burlington Virginia

March 2019: Nomadic concepts: Hacking’s human kinds and social science concepts. Conference on the philosophy of Ian Hacking, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

December 2018: Differential information and arbitrage: Why the law of one price is (sometimes) false. Finance and Society, Edinburgh

Apr 2016: Counterfactuals. LSE Choice Group, London

Oct 2015: Information in financial markets at Philosophy of Finance, Cambridge

July 2015: What’s the value of financial assets? at Understanding Value IV, Sheffield 

Jan 2015: Scientific Discovery in Finance at Scientific Discovery in the Social Sciences, London