Alexandru Marcoci


Alexandru Marcoci

I am a Fellow in the Department of Government at LSE and before that I was a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method. I divide my research time between the following projects. Firstly, together with James Nguyen I investigate whether large scientific collaborations can be treated as group agents. Secondly, I collaborate with the SWARM project and together with Mark Burgman and Ans Vercammen I develop and test rubrics for evaluating the quality of reasoning in intelligence reports. Thirdly, Luc Bovens and I argue for a more inclusive policy for bathroom access. Finally, I work together with Diana Popescu on an abstract model explaining ideological polarization.


2018. A. Marcoci and J. Nguyen. Objectivity, Ambiguity and Theory Choice. Erkenntnis Abstract

Kuhn argued that scientific theory choice is, in some sense, a rational matter, but one that is not fully determined by shared objective scientific virtues like accuracy, simplicity, and scope. Okasha imports Arrow's impossibility theorem into the context of theory choice to show that rather than not fully determining theory choice, these virtues cannot determine it at all. If Okasha is right, then there is no function (satisfying certain desirable conditions) from 'preference' rankings supplied by scientific virtues over competing theories (or models, or hypotheses) to a single all-things-considered ranking. This threatens the rationality of science. In this paper we show that if Kuhn's claims about the role that subjective elements play in theory choice are taken seriously, then the threat dissolves.

2017. A. Marcoci and J. Nguyen. Scientific Rationality by Degrees. In M. Massimi, J.W. Romeijn, and G. Schurz (eds.) EPSA15 Selected Papers. European Studies in Philosophy of Science, Vol. 5 (Springer) Abstract

In a recent paper, Samir Okasha imports Arrow's impossibility theorem into the context of theory choice. He shows that there is no function (satisfying certain desirable conditions) from profiles of preference rankings over competing theories, models or hypotheses provided by scientific virtues to a single all-things-considered ranking. This is a prima facie threat to the rationality of theory choice. In this paper we show this threat relies on an all-or-nothing understanding of scientific rationality and articulate instead a notion of rationality by degrees. The move from all-or-nothing rationality to rationality by degrees will allow us to argue that theory choice can be rational enough.

2015. A. Marcoci. Review of Quitting Certainties: A Bayesian Framework Modeling Degrees of Belief, by Michael G. Titelbaum. Economics and Philosophy


Dec. 1, 2017. L. Bovens and A. Marcoci. To those who oppose gender-neutral toilets: they’re better for everybody. The Guardian

Under review

A. Marcoci. Monty Hall saves Dr. Evil: On Elga's Restricted Principle of Indifference. Major revisions in progress Abstract

In this paper I show that Elga's argument for a restricted principle of indifference for self-locating belief relies on the kind of mistaken reasoning that recommends the 'staying' strategy in the Monty Hall problem.

A. Marcoci. On the dilemma of redistribution. Abstract

McKenzie Alexander (2013) presents a dilemma for a social planner who wants to correct an unfair distribution of an indivisible good between two equally worthy individuals or groups: either she guarantees a fair outcome, or she follows a fair procedure (but not both). In this paper I show that this dilemma only holds if the social planner can redistribute the good in question at most once. To wit, the bias of the initial distribution always washes out when we allow for sufficiently many redistributions.

A. Marcoci. The opaque proposition principle and information-gathering processes. Abstract

In a recent paper, Anna Mahtani (forthcoming) introduces a simple probabilistic puzzle which she claims carries a lesson for a generalisation of the Expert Deference Principle (Elga, 2007), viz. The Opaque Proposition Principle (OP). In this paper we show that the puzzle she introduces is equivalent to a generalisation of the 3 Prisoners Problem and explain how her analysis maps onto its intuitive, but nevertheless, mistaken solution. Correctly analysed Mahtani’s puzzle doesn’t raise any challenge to OP. We conclude by drawing once again (Shafer, 1985; Sneed, 1985; Pearl, 1988; Halpern, 2003; Bovens and Ferreira, 2010) the lesson that the process through which information is gathered is essential for correctly taking conditionalisation on X as a guide to learning X.

L. Bovens and A. Marcoci. An efficiency argument for unisex restrooms. Abstract

Recently there has been much public debate regarding whether restroom access should be linked to one's sex at birth. To make some headway, we propose a new way of framing the issue—one we hope will provide some common ground among all groups. Our idea is simple: let's talk about the (economic) efficiency of more inclusive facilities. The move to unisex restrooms increases economic efficiency in two ways. First, if we preserve the current architecture, then opening all stalls to everyone leads to a drastic reduction in waiting times. Second, if we respect the maximum waiting time that is implicitly allowed by current legislation, then by moving to a unisex policy we can eliminate facilities while attaining the same waiting times. Since all parties to the debate have reason to care about efficiency, there is at least one argument in favour of inclusive restrooms that all can agree on.

Recent and upcoming presentations

An efficiency argument for unisex restrooms (with L. Bovens)Venues

Second Annual PPE Society Meeting, New Orleans (March 15-17, 2018)

PPE Conference, LSE (December 7, 2017)

Formal Ethics 2017, University of York (June 21-23, 2017)

Scientific consensus without inconsistency (with J. Nguyen)Venues

2018 APA Central Division Meeting, Chicago (February 21-24, 2018)

BSPS 2017 Annual Conference, Edinburgh (July 13-14, 2017)

Catching peer disagreement in Bayes nets (with J. Dutant)Venues

The Epistemic Dynamics of Disagreement, University of Cologne (October 9-11, 2017)

Current activities

Gender Neutral Restrooms Co-organiser of Bathroom Wars: The case for unisex facilities Symposium at the Second Annual PPE Society Meeting, New Orleans (March 15-17, 2018). Speakers: Luc Bovens (LSE/UNC), Alexandru Marcoci, Mary Anne Case (Chicago Law School), Terry Kogan (Utah Law School)


This year I am teaching GV100 Introduction to Political Theory. Below you can find the webpages of two courses I taught in the past.

award In 2017 I received the Department of Government's Class Teacher Award and I was a finalist in the Students' Union Teaching Excellence Awards for Sharing Subject Knowledge. In 2015 I was awarded a Honourable Commendation for Excellent Class Teaching by the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method. In 2014 I won the Students' Union Teaching Excellence Award for Collaborative Research and Guidance.


Department of Government
London School of Economics & Political Science
Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE.

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