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  1. added 2020-06-25
    Demographic Statistics in Defensive Decisions.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    A popular informal argument suggests that statistics about the preponderance of criminal involvement among particular demographic groups partially justify others in making defensive mistakes against members of the group. One could worry that evidence-relative accounts of moral rights vindicate this argument. After constructing the strongest form of this objection, I offer several replies: most demographic statistics face an unmet challenge from reference class problems, even those that meet it fail to ground non-negligible conditional probabilities, even if they did, they introduce (...)
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  2. added 2020-06-04
    Belief, Credence and Statistical Evidence.Davide Fassio & Jie Gao - forthcoming - Theoria.
    According to the Rational Threshold View, a rational agent believes p if and only if her credence in p is equal to or greater than a certain threshold. One of the most serious challenges for this view is the problem of statistical evidence: statistical evidence is often not sufficient to make an outright belief rational, no matter how probable the target proposition is given such evidence. This indicates that rational belief is not as sensitive to statistical evidence as rational credence. (...)
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  3. added 2020-05-08
    Explaining the Justificatory Asymmetry Between Statistical and Individualized Evidence.Renee Bolinger - forthcoming - In Jon Robson & Zachary Hoskins (eds.), Truth and Trial. Routledge.
    In some cases, there appears to be an asymmetry in the evidential value of statistical and more individualized evidence. For example, while I may accept that Alex is guilty based on eyewitness testimony that is 80% likely to be accurate, it does not seem permissible to do so based on the fact that 80% of a group that Alex is a member of are guilty. In this paper I suggest that rather than reflecting a deep defect in statistical evidence, this (...)
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  4. added 2020-03-30
    Recent Work on the Proof Paradox.Lewis D. Ross - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (6).
    Recent years have seen fresh impetus brought to debates about the proper role of statistical evidence in the law. Recent work largely centres on a set of puzzles known as the ‘proof paradox’. While these puzzles may initially seem academic, they have important ramifications for the law: raising key conceptual questions about legal proof, and practical questions about DNA evidence. This article introduces the proof paradox, why we should care about it, and new work attempting to resolve it.
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  5. added 2020-02-05
    No Two Sets the Same? Applying Philosophy to the Theory of Fingerprints.Hugh V. McLachlan - 1995 - Philosopher: Journal of the Philosophical Society of England 83 (2):12-18.
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  6. added 2020-01-28
    Statistical Evidence, Normalcy, and the Gatecrasher Paradox.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2020 - Mind 129 (514):563-578.
    Martin Smith has recently proposed, in this journal, a novel and intriguing approach to puzzles and paradoxes in evidence law arising from the evidential standard of the Preponderance of the Evidence. According to Smith, the relation of normic support provides us with an elegant solution to those puzzles. In this paper I develop a counterexample to Smith’s approach and argue that normic support can neither account for our reluctance to base affirmative verdicts on bare statistical evidence nor resolve the pertinent (...)
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  7. added 2020-01-28
    Sensitivity, Causality, and Statistical Evidence in Courts of Law.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):102-112.
    Recent attempts to resolve the Paradox of the Gatecrasher rest on a now familiar distinction between individual and bare statistical evidence. This paper investigates two such approaches, the causal approach to individual evidence and a recently influential (and award-winning) modal account that explicates individual evidence in terms of Nozick's notion of sensitivity. This paper offers counterexamples to both approaches, explicates a problem concerning necessary truths for the sensitivity account, and argues that either view is implausibly committed to the impossibility of (...)
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  8. added 2019-11-13
    Legal Epistemology.Georgi Gardiner - 2019 - Oxford Bibliographies Online.
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  9. added 2019-11-10
    Sexual Consent as Voluntary Agreement: Tales of “Seduction” or Questions of Law?Lucinda Vandervort - 2013 - New Criminal Law Review 16 (1):143-201.
    This article proposes a rigorous method to “map” the law on to the facts in the legal analysis of “sexual consent” using a series of mandatory questions of law designed to eliminate the legal errors often made by decision-makers who routinely rely on personal beliefs about and attitudes towards “normal sexual behavior” in screening and deciding cases. In Canada, sexual consent is affirmative consent, the communication by words or conduct of “voluntary agreement” to a specific sexual activity, with a specific (...)
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  10. added 2019-11-10
    Affirmative Sexual Consent in Canadian Law, Jurisprudence, and Legal Theory.Lucinda Vandervort - 2012 - Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 23 (2):395-442.
    This article examines the development of affirmative sexual consent in Canadian jurisprudence and legal theory and its adoption in Canadian law. Affirmative sexual consent requirements were explicitly proposed in Canadian legal literature in 1986, codified in the 1992 Criminal Code amendments, and recognized as an essential element of the common law and statutory definitions of sexual consent by the Supreme Court of Canada in a series of cases decided since 1994. Although sexual violence and non-enforcement of sexual assault laws are (...)
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  11. added 2019-11-10
    Honest Beliefs, Credible Lies, and Culpable Awareness: Rhetoric, Inequality, and Mens Rea in Sexual Assault.Lucinda Vandervort - 2004 - Osgoode Hall Law Journal 42 (4):625-660.
    The exculpatory rhetorical power of the term “honest belief” continues to invite reliance on the bare credibility of belief in consent to determine culpability in sexual assault. In law, however, only a comprehensive analysis of mens rea, including an examination of the material facts and circumstances of which the accused was aware, demonstrates whether a “belief” in consent was or was not reckless or wilfully blind. An accused's “honest belief” routinely begs this question, leading to a truncated analysis of criminal (...)
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  12. added 2019-11-08
    The Reasonable and the Relevant: Legal Standards of Proof.Georgi Gardiner - 2019 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 47 (3):288-318.
    According to a common conception of legal proof, satisfying a legal burden requires establishing a claim to a numerical threshold. Beyond reasonable doubt, for example, is often glossed as 90% or 95% likelihood given the evidence. Preponderance of evidence is interpreted as meaning at least 50% likelihood given the evidence. In light of problems with the common conception, I propose a new ‘relevant alternatives’ framework for legal standards of proof. Relevant alternative accounts of knowledge state that a person knows a (...)
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  13. added 2019-11-05
    The Defence of Belief in Consent: Guidelines and Jury Instructions for Application of Criminal Code Section 265(4).Lucinda Vandervort - 2005 - Criminal Law Quarterly 50 (4):441-452.
    The availability of the defence of belief in consent under section 265(4) is a question of law, subject to review on appeal. The statutory provision is based on the common law rule that applies to all defences. Consideration of the defence when it is unavailable in law and failure to consider it when it is available are both incorrect. A judge is most likely to avoid error when ruling on availability of the defence if the ruling: (1) is grounded on (...)
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  14. added 2019-11-04
    Against Legal Probabilism.Martin Smith - forthcoming - In Jon Robson & Zachary Hoskins (eds.), Truth and Trial. Routledge.
    Is it right to convict a person of a crime on the basis of purely statistical evidence? Many who have considered this question agree that it is not, posing a direct challenge to legal probabilism – the claim that the criminal standard of proof should be understood in terms of a high probability threshold. Some defenders of legal probabilism have, however, held their ground: Schoeman (1987) argues that there are no clear epistemic or moral problems with convictions based on purely (...)
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  15. added 2019-11-04
    Flaming Misogyny or Blindly Zealous Enforcement? The Bizarre Case of R V George.Lucinda Vandervort - 2019 - Manitoba Law Journal 42 (3):1-38.
    This article examines the distinction between judicial reasoning flawed by errors on questions of law, properly addressed on appeal, and errors that constitute judicial misconduct and are grounds for removal from the bench. Examples analysed are from the transcripts and reasons for decision in R v George SKQB (2015), appealed to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal (2016) and the Supreme Court of Canada (2017), and from the sentencing decision rendered by the same judge more than a decade earlier in R (...)
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  16. added 2019-11-02
    Accuracy and Statistical Evidence.Arif Ahmed - manuscript
    Abstract. Suppose that the word of an eyewitness makes it 80% probable that A committed a crime, and that B is drawn from a population in which the incidence rate of that crime is 80%. Many philosophers and legal theorists have held that if this is our only evidence against those parties then (i) we may be justified in finding against A but not against B; but (ii) that doing so incurs a loss in the accuracy of our findings. This (...)
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  17. added 2019-10-27
    Justified Belief and Just Conviction.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Jon Robson & Zachary Hoskins (eds.), Truth and Trial. Routledge.
    Abstract: When do we meet the standard of proof in a criminal trial? Some have argued that it is when the guilt of the defendant is sufficiently probable on the evidence. Some have argued that it is a matter of normic support. While the first view provides us with a nice account of how we ought to manage risk, the second explains why we shouldn’t convict on the basis of naked statistical evidence alone. Unfortunately, this second view doesn’t help us (...)
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  18. added 2019-10-01
    Sensitivity, Safety, and the Law: A Reply to Pardo.David Enoch & Levi Spectre - 2019 - Legal Theory 25 (3):178-199.
    ABSTRACTIn a recent paper, Michael Pardo argues that the epistemic property that is legally relevant is the one called Safety, rather than Sensitivity. In the process, he argues against our Sensitivity-related account of statistical evidence. Here we revisit these issues, partly in order to respond to Pardo, and partly in order to make general claims about legal epistemology. We clarify our account, we show how it adequately deals with counterexamples and other worries, we raise suspicions about Safety's value here, and (...)
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  19. added 2019-09-22
    Religious Conscientious Objections and Insulation From Evidence.Joseph Dunne - 2018 - Journal of Ethical Urban Living 1 (2):23-40.
    Religion is often singled out for special legal treatment in Western societies - which raises an important question: what, if anything, is special about religious conscience beliefs that warrants such special legal treatment? In this paper, I will offer an answer to this specialness question by investigating the relationship between religious conscientious objections and their insulation from relevant evidence. I will begin my analysis by looking at Brian Leiter’s arguments that religious beliefs are insulated from evidence and not worthy of (...)
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  20. added 2019-09-14
    The Objective Bayesian Conceptualisation of Proof and Reference Class Problems.James Franklin - 2011 - Sydney Law Review 33 (3):545-561.
    The objective Bayesian view of proof (or logical probability, or evidential support) is explained and defended: that the relation of evidence to hypothesis (in legal trials, science etc) is a strictly logical one, comparable to deductive logic. This view is distinguished from the thesis, which had some popularity in law in the 1980s, that legal evidence ought to be evaluated using numerical probabilities and formulas. While numbers are not always useful, a central role is played in uncertain reasoning by the (...)
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  21. added 2019-09-12
    The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal.James Franklin - 2001 - Baltimore, USA: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    How were reliable predictions made before Pascal and Fermat's discovery of the mathematics of probability in 1654? What methods in law, science, commerce, philosophy, and logic helped us to get at the truth in cases where certainty was not attainable? The book examines how judges, witch inquisitors, and juries evaluated evidence; how scientists weighed reasons for and against scientific theories; and how merchants counted shipwrecks to determine insurance rates. Also included are the problem of induction before Hume, design arguments for (...)
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  22. added 2019-08-20
    Against the Alleged Insufficiency of Statistical Evidence.Sam Fox Krauss - forthcoming - Florida State University Law Review 47.
    Over almost a half-century, evidence law scholars and philosophers have contended with what have come to be called the “Proof Paradoxes.” In brief, the following sort of paradox arises: Factfinders in criminal and civil trials are charged with reaching a verdict if the evidence presented meets a particular standard of proof—beyond a reasonable doubt, in criminal cases, and preponderance of the evidence, in civil trials. It seems that purely statistical evidence can suffice for just such a level of certainty in (...)
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  23. added 2019-08-14
    Plausibility and Reasonable Doubt in the Simonshaven Case.Marcello Di Bello - forthcoming - Topics in Cognitive Science.
    I comment on two analyses of the Simonshaven case: one by Prakken (2019), based on arguments, and the other by van Koppen and Mackor (2019), based on scenarios (or stories, narratives). I argue that both analyses lack a clear account of proof beyond a reasonable doubt because they lack a clear account of the notion of plausibility. To illustrate this point, I focus on the defense argument during the appeal trial and show that both analyses face difficulties in modeling key (...)
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  24. added 2019-08-07
    Profile Evidence, Fairness, and the Risks of Mistaken Convictions.Marcello Di Bello & Collin O’Neil - 2019 - Ethics 130 (2):147-178.
    Many oppose the use of profile evidence against defendants at trial, even when the statistical correlations are reliable and the jury is free from prejudice. The literature has struggled to justify this opposition. We argue that admitting profile evidence is objectionable because it violates what we call “equal protection”—that is, a right of innocent defendants not to be exposed to higher ex ante risks of mistaken conviction compared to other innocent defendants facing similar charges. We also show why admitting other (...)
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  25. added 2019-07-30
    La filosofía de la ciencia y el derecho.Andrés Páez - manuscript
    Esta breve introducción a la filosofía de la ciencia parte del hecho de que tanto la investigación científica como el razonamiento probatorio judicial tienen un carácter inductivo. En esa medida, comparten características esenciales que permiten que el derecho se nutra de muchas de las reflexiones de la filosofía de la ciencia. El capítulo se concentra en cuatro temas principales: los criterios de demarcación entre el conocimiento científico y la pseudociencia; el carácter derrotable de las conclusiones de la ciencia y el (...)
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  26. added 2019-07-26
    Los sesgos cognitivos y la legitimidad racional de las decisiones judiciales.Andrés Páez - manuscript
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  27. added 2019-06-06
    Rehabilitating Statistical Evidence.Lewis Ross - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Recently, the practice of deciding legal cases on purely statistical evidence has been widely criticised. Many feel uncomfortable with finding someone guilty on the basis of bare probabilities, even though the chance of error might be stupendously small. This is an important issue: with the rise of DNA profiling, courts are increasingly faced with purely statistical evidence. A prominent line of argument—endorsed by Blome-Tillmann 2017; Smith 2018; and Littlejohn 2018—rejects the use of such evidence by appealing to epistemic norms that (...)
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  28. added 2019-03-17
    The Problem of Culturally Normal Belief.Susanna Siegel - forthcoming - In Robin Celikates, Sally Haslanger & Jason Stanley (eds.), Ideology: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    This paper defends an analysis of the epistemic contours of the interface between individuals and their cultural milieu.
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  29. added 2019-01-22
    Plausibility and Probability in Juridical Proof.Marcello Di Bello - forthcoming - International Journal of Evidence and Proof.
    This note discusses three issues that Allen and Pardo believe to be especially problematic for a probabilistic interpretation of standards of proof: (1) the subjectivity of probability assignments; (2) the conjunction paradox; and (3) the non-comparative nature of probabilistic standards. I offer a reading of probabilistic standards that avoids these criticisms.
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  30. added 2018-11-25
    Deviant Causation and the Law.Sara Bernstein - manuscript
    A gunman intends to shoot and kill Victim. He shoots and misses his target, but the gunshot startles a group of water buffalo, causing them to trample the victim to death. The gunman brings about the intended effect, Victim’s death, but in a “deviant” way rather than the one planned. This paper argues that such causal structures, deviant causal chains, pose serious problems for several key legal concepts. -/- I show that deviant causal chains pose problems for the legal distinction (...)
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  31. added 2018-09-20
    The Prediction of Future Behavior: The Empty Promises of Expert Clinical and Actuarial Testimony.Andrés Páez - 2016 - Teoria Jurídica Contemporânea 1 (1):75-101.
    Testimony about the future dangerousness of a person has become a central staple of many judicial processes. In settings such as bail, sentencing, and parole decisions, in rulings about the civil confinement of the mentally ill, and in custody decisions in a context of domestic violence, the assessment of a person’s propensity towards physical or sexual violence is regarded as a deciding factor. These assessments can be based on two forms of expert testimony: actuarial or clinical. The purpose of this (...)
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  32. added 2018-08-23
    Legal Subversion of the Criminal Justice Process? Judicial, Prosecutorial and Police Discretion in Edmondson, Kindrat and Brown.Lucinda Vandervort - 2012 - In Elizabeth Sheehy (ed.), SEXUAL ASSAULT IN CANADA: LAW, LEGAL PRACTICE & WOMEN'S ACTIVISM,. Ottawa, ON, Canada: Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. pp. 111-150.
    In 2001, three non-Aboriginal men in their twenties were charged with the sexual assault of a twelve year old Aboriginal girl in rural Saskatchewan. Legal proceedings lasted almost seven years and included two preliminary hearings, two jury trials, two retrials with juries, and appeals to the provincial appeal court and the Supreme Court of Canada. One accused was convicted. The case raises questions about the administration of justice in sexual assault cases in Saskatchewan. Based on observation and analysis of the (...)
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  33. added 2018-08-20
    The Prejudicial Effects of 'Reasonable Steps' in Analysis of Mens Rea and Sexual Consent: Two Solutions.Lucinda Vandervort - 2018 - Alberta Law Review 55 (4):933-970.
    This article examines the operation of “reasonable steps” as a statutory standard for analysis of the availability of the defence of belief in consent in sexual assault cases and concludes that application of section 273.2(b) of the Criminal Code, as presently worded, often undermines the legal validity and correctness of decisions about whether the accused acted with mens rea, a guilty, blameworthy state of mind. When the conduct of an accused who is alleged to have made a mistake about whether (...)
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  34. added 2017-12-23
    Legal Burdens of Proof and Statistical Evidence.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - In James Chase & David Coady (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Applied Epistemology. Routledge.
    In order to perform certain actions – such as incarcerating a person or revoking parental rights – the state must establish certain facts to a particular standard of proof. These standards – such as preponderance of evidence and beyond reasonable doubt – are often interpreted as likelihoods or epistemic confidences. Many theorists construe them numerically; beyond reasonable doubt, for example, is often construed as 90 to 95% confidence in the guilt of the defendant. -/- A family of influential cases suggests (...)
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  35. added 2017-08-31
    When Does Evidence Suffice for Conviction?Martin Smith - 2018 - Mind 127 (508):1193-1218.
    There is something puzzling about statistical evidence. One place this manifests is in the law, where courts are reluctant to base affirmative verdicts on evidence that is purely statistical, in spite of the fact that it is perfectly capable of meeting the standards of proof enshrined in legal doctrine. After surveying some proposed explanations for this, I shall outline a new approach – one that makes use of a notion of normalcy that is distinct from the idea of statistical frequency. (...)
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  36. added 2017-03-23
    'More Likely Than Not' - Knowledge First and the Role of Statistical Evidence in Courts of Law.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2017 - In Adam Carter, Emma Gordon & Benjamin Jarvis (eds.), Knowledge First - Approaches in Epistemology and Mind. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 278-292.
    The paper takes a closer look at the role of knowledge and evidence in legal theory. In particular, the paper examines a puzzle arising from the evidential standard Preponderance of the Evidence and its application in civil procedure. Legal scholars have argued since at least the 1940s that the rule of the Preponderance of the Evidence gives rise to a puzzle concerning the role of statistical evidence in judicial proceedings, sometimes referred to as the Problem of Bare Statistical Evidence. While (...)
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  37. added 2017-01-12
    Truth, Knowledge, and the Standard of Proof in Criminal Law.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - Synthese:1-34.
    Could it be right to convict and punish defendants using only statistical evidence? In this paper, I argue that it is not and explain why it would be wrong. This is difficult to do because there is a powerful argument for thinking that we should convict and punish defendants using statistical evidence. It looks as if the relevant cases are cases of decision under risk and it seems we know what we should do in such cases (i.e., maximize expected value). (...)
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  38. added 2016-05-18
    Belief States in Criminal Law.James A. Macleod - forthcoming - Oklahoma Law Review 68.
    Belief-state ascription — determining what someone “knew,” “believed,” was “aware of,” etc. — is central to many areas of law. In criminal law, the distinction between knowledge and recklessness, and the use of broad jury instructions concerning other belief states, presupposes a common and stable understanding of what those belief-state terms mean. But a wealth of empirical work at the intersection of philosophy and psychology — falling under the banner of “Experimental Epistemology” — reveals how laypeople’s understandings of mens rea (...)
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  39. added 2016-04-24
    Parsing the Reasonable Person: The Case of Self-Defense.Andrew Ingram - 2012 - American Journal of Criminal Law 39 (3):101-120.
    Mistakes are a fact of life, and the criminal law is sadly no exception to the rule. Wrongful convictions are rightfully abhorred, and false acquittals can likewise inspire outrage. In these cases, we implicitly draw a distinction between a court’s finding and a defendant’s actual guilt or innocence. These are intuitive concepts, but as this paper aims to show, contemporary use of the reasonable person standard in the law of self-defense muddles them. -/- Ordinarily, we can distinguish between a person's (...)
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  40. added 2015-12-07
    Between Probability and Certainty: What Justifies Belief.Martin Smith - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    This book explores a question central to philosophy--namely, what does it take for a belief to be justified or rational? According to a widespread view, whether one has justification for believing a proposition is determined by how probable that proposition is, given one's evidence. In this book this view is rejected and replaced with another: in order for one to have justification for believing a proposition, one's evidence must normically support it--roughly, one's evidence must make the falsity of that proposition (...)
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  41. added 2015-08-04
    Is It Possible to Provide Evidence of Insufficient Evidence? The Precautionary Principle at the WTO.Elisa Vecchione - 2012 - Chicago Journal of International Law 13 (1).
    This Article aims to demonstrate that the WTO jurisprudence on science-related trade disputes has become imbued with a specific vision of science that has prevented any possible application of the precautionary principle. This situation is due both to the WTO’s specific dispute settlement procedures and to the substantive nature of precautionary measures. Indeed, such measures’ foundation on “insufficient scientific evidence” dramatically undermines the probative value of science in WTO adjudication and creates a seeming contradiction: The system requires defendants to provide (...)
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  42. added 2015-02-08
    On Evidence, Medical & Legal - Letter & Authors' Reply.Clifford Miller - 2005 - Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 10 (4):98-99..
    This exchange of correspondence with a critic provides helpful explanations of aspects of the paper "On Evidence, Medical and Legal" by the same authors.
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  43. added 2015-01-30
    Reasonable Doubt : Uncertainty in Education, Science and Law.Tony Gardner-Medwin - 2011 - In Philip Dawid, William Twining & Mimi Vasilaki (eds.), Evidence, Inference and Enquiry. Oup/British Academy. pp. 465-483.
    The use of evidence to resolve uncertainties is key to many endeavours, most conspicuously science and law. Despite this, the logic of uncertainty is seldom taught explicitly, and often seems misunderstood. Traditional educational practice even fails to encourage students to identify uncertainty when they express knowledge, though mark schemes that reward the identification of reliable and uncertain responses have long been shown to encourage more insightful understanding. In our information-rich society the ability to identify uncertainty is often more important than (...)
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  44. added 2014-03-16
    A Philosophy of Evidence Law: Justice in the Search for Truth.H. L. Ho - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    This book examines the legal and moral theory behind the law of evidence and proof, arguing that only by exploring the nature of responsibility in fact-finding can the role and purpose of much of the law be fully understood. Ho argues that the court must not only find the truth to do justice, it must do justice in finding the truth.
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