Alexandru Marcoci


Alexandru Marcoci

I am a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a core faculty member in the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program. Before joining UNC, I was a Fellow in Government at the London School of Economics. I am currently working on bathroom bills, intelligence analysis, ideological polarization, and Brexit. I teach courses in political theory, evidence-based policy, philosophy of science, and logic.

Journal articles

Forth. Alexandru Marcoci, Ans Vercammen and Mark Burgman. ODNI as an analytic ombudsman: Is Intelligence Community Directive 203 up to the task? Intelligence and National Security Abstract

In the wake of 9/11 and the assessment of Iraq's WMD, several inquiries placed the blame primarily on the Intelligence Community. Part of the reform that followed was a codification of analytic tradecraft standards into Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 203 and the appointment of an analytic ombudsman in the newly created Office of the Director of National Intelligence charged with monitoring the quality of analytic products from across the intelligence community. In this paper we identify three assumptions behind ICD203: (1) tradecraft standards can be employed consistently; (2) tradecraft standards sufficiently capture the key elements of good reasoning; (3) good reasoning leads to more accurate judgments. We then report on two controlled experiments that uncover operational constraints in the reliable application of the ICD203 criteria for the assessment of intelligence products. Despite criticisms of the post-9/11 and post-Iraq reform, our results highlight that ICD203, properly applied, holds potential to improve precision and accountability of intelligence processes and products.

Forth. Alexandru Marcoci. On a dilemma of redistribution. dialectica Abstract

McKenzie Alexander presents a dilemma for a social planner who wants to correct the 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.

Forth. Alexandru Marcoci. Monty Hall saves Dr. Evil: On Elga's restricted principle of indifference. Erkenntnis 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.

Forth. Alexandru Marcoci and James 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.

Conference proceedings

2017. Alexandru Marcoci and James 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. Alexandru Marcoci. Review of Quitting Certainties: A Bayesian Framework Modeling Degrees of Belief, by Michael G. Titelbaum. Economics and Philosophy

Selected presentations

Scientific consensus without inconsistency (with James Nguyen)Venues

2018 PSA Biennial Meeting, Seattle (November 1-4, 2018)

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

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

An efficiency argument for gender-neutral restrooms (with Luc 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)

A dynamic model of ideological polarization (with Diana-Elena Popescu)Venues

Festival of Ideas 3, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona (April 4-6, 2018)

On Elga's restricted principle of indifference Venues

Theory choice vs. social choice (with James Nguyen)Venues


May 1, 2018. How do you win an argument? An LSE IQ podcast episode for which I was interviewed. Lead

So, what makes a good argument and, more importantly, what's the best way to argue effectively? In this episode, producers James Rattee, Nathalie Abbott and Sue Windebank consider how to debate with conspiracy theorists, see how US intelligence agencies are building tools to formulate better arguments, and ask whether certain people – and points of view – are too dangerous to confront. This episode features the following LSE academics: Dr Owen Griffiths, LSE Department of Philosophy, Dr Bryan Roberts, LSE Department of Philosophy, Dr Bart Cammaerts, LSE Department of Media and Communications, Professor Martin Bauer, LSE Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science and Dr Alexandru Marcoci, LSE Department of Government.

Apr. 17, 2018. Luc Bovens and Alexandru Marcoci. Gender-neutral restrooms require new (choice) architecture. Behavioural Public Policy Blog Lead

"What’s not to love about gender-neutral restrooms?" ask Bovens and Marcoci. Their spread could only come about trough a sensitive mix of good design and nudges; working on social norms and behaviours. Some discomforts may, however, prove to be beyond nudging, and an incremental, learning approach is probably required.

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

Bovens and Marcoci's research into the economics of these facilities shows they cut waiting for women, and address the concerns of trans and disabled people.


Department of Philosophy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Caldwell Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

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