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When Does Evidence Suffice for Conviction?

Mind 127 (508):1193-1218 (2018)

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  1. 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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  • What Should We Believe About the Future?Miloud Belkoniene - forthcoming - Synthese:1-12.
    This paper discusses the ability of explanationist theories of epistemic justification to account for the justification we have for holding beliefs about the future. McCain’s explanationist account of the relation of evidential support is supposedly in a better position than other theories of this type to correctly handle cases involving beliefs about the future. However, the results delivered by this account have been questioned by Byerly and Martin. This paper argues that McCain’s account is, in fact, able to deliver plausible (...)
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  • No Reasons to Believe the False.Javier González De Prado Salas - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):703-722.
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  • 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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  • Justification, knowledge, and normality.Clayton Littlejohn & Julien Dutant - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1593-1609.
    There is much to like about the idea that justification should be understood in terms of normality or normic support (Smith 2016, Goodman and Salow 2018). The view does a nice job explaining why we should think that lottery beliefs differ in justificatory status from mundane perceptual or testimonial beliefs. And it seems to do that in a way that is friendly to a broadly internalist approach to justification. In spite of its attractions, we think that the normic support view (...)
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  • 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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  • Varieties of Risk.Philip A. Ebert, Martin Smith & Ian Durbach - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:01-24.
    The notion of risk plays a central role in economics, finance, health, psychology, law and elsewhere, and is prevalent in managing challenges and resources in day-to-day life. In recent work, Duncan Pritchard (2015, 2016) has argued against the orthodox probabilistic conception of risk on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how probable it is, and in favour of a modal conception on which the risk of a hypothetical scenario is determined by how modally close it is. (...)
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  • Proof Paradoxes and Normic Support: Socializing or Relativizing?Marcello Di Bello - forthcoming - Mind:fzz021.
    Smith argues that, unlike other forms of evidence, naked statistical evidence fails to satisfy normic support. This is his solution to the puzzles of statistical evidence in legal proof. This paper focuses on Smith’s claim that DNA evidence in cold-hit cases does not satisfy normic support. I argue that if this claim is correct, virtually no other form of evidence used at trial can satisfy normic support. This is troublesome. I discuss a few ways in which Smith can respond.
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  • 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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  • Belief, Credence, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    I explore how rational belief and rational credence relate to evidence. I begin by looking at three cases where rational belief and credence seem to respond differently to evidence: cases of naked statistical evidence, lotteries, and hedged assertions. I consider an explanation for these cases, namely, that one ought not form beliefs on the basis of statistical evidence alone, and raise worries for this view. Then, I suggest another view that explains how belief and credence relate to evidence. My view (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Plea Bargaining.Richard B. Miller - forthcoming - Social Epistemology:1-12.
    Systems-oriented social epistemology, studies epistemic systems in which individuals work together to determine the epistemic status (true, justified, true beyond a reasonable doubt, e...
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  • Belief and Credence: A Defense of Dualism.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
    Belief is a familiar attitude: taking something to be the case or regarding it as true. But we are more confident in some of our beliefs than in others. For this reason, many epistemologists appeal to a second attitude, called credence, similar to a degree of confidence. This raises the question: how do belief and credence relate to each other? On a belief-first view, beliefs are more fundamental and credences are a species of beliefs, e.g. beliefs about probabilities. On a (...)
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  • Trial by Statistics: Is a High Probability of Guilt Enough to Convict?Marcello Di Bello - 2019 - Mind 128 (512):1045-1084.
    Suppose one hundred prisoners are in a yard under the supervision of a guard, and at some point, ninety-nine of them collectively kill the guard. If, after the fact, a prisoner is picked at random and tried, the probability of his guilt is 99%. But despite the high probability, the statistical chances, by themselves, seem insufficient to justify a conviction. The question is why. Two arguments are offered. The first, decision-theoretic argument shows that a conviction solely based on the statistics (...)
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  • 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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  • Epistemology and the Law: Why There is No Epistemic Mileage in Legal Cases.Marvin Backes - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    The primary aim of this paper is to defend the Lockean View—the view that a belief is epistemically justified iff it is highly probable—against a new family of objections. According to these objections, broadly speaking, the Lockean View ought to be abandoned because it is incompatible with, or difficult to square with, our judgments surrounding certain legal cases. I distinguish and explore three different versions of these objections—The Conviction Argument, the Argument from Assertion and Practical Reasoning, and the Comparative Probabilities (...)
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  • The Disvalue of Knowledge.David Papineau - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    I argue that the concept of knowledge is a relic of a bygone age, erroneously supposed to do no harm. I illustrate this claim by showing how a concern with knowledge distorts the use of statistical evidence in criminal courts, and then generalize the point to show that this concern hampers our enterprises across the board and not only in legal contexts.
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  • 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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  • Normalcy, Understanding and the Problem of Statistical Evidence.Miloud Belkoniene - 2019 - Theoria 85 (3):202-218.
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