An interpretation of probability in the law of evidence based on pro-et-contra argumentation

Artificial Intelligence and Law 15 (4):391-410 (2007)
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to improve on the logical and measure-theoretic foundations for the notion of probability in the law of evidence, which were given in my contributions Åqvist [ (1990) Logical analysis of epistemic modality: an explication of the Bolding–Ekelöf degrees of evidential strength. In: Klami HT (ed) Rätt och Sanning (Law and Truth. A symposium on legal proof-theory in Uppsala May 1989). Iustus Förlag, Uppsala, pp 43–54; (1992) Towards a logical theory of legal evidence: semantic analysis of the Bolding–Ekelöf degrees of evidential strength. In: Martino AA (ed) Expert systems in law. Elsevier Science Publishers BV, Amsterdam, North-Holland, pp 67–86]. The present approach agrees with the one adopted in those contributions in taking its main task to be that of providing a semantic analysis, or explication, of the so called Bolding–Ekelöf degrees of evidential strength (“proof-strength”) as applied to the establishment of matters of fact in law-courts. However, it differs from the one advocated in our earlier work on the subject in explicitly appealing to what is known as “Pro-et-Contra Argumentation”, after the famous Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess. It tries to bring out the logical form of that interesting kind of reasoning, at least in the context of the law of evidence. The formal techniques used here will be seen to be largely inspired by the important work done by Patrick Suppes, notably Suppes [(1957) Introduction to logic. van Nostrand, Princeton and (1972) Finite equal-interval measurement structures. Theoria 38:45–63].
Keywords Pro-et-contra reasoning  Evidence for and evidence against a fact  Quaternary ordering relation  Binary probability ranking   n-level grading mechanism  Measures of differences in evidential weight and of probability  Degrees of evidential strength  Empirical test of hypothesis and historical source criticism
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