Legal Burdens of Proof and Statistical Evidence

In James Chase & David Coady (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Applied Epistemology. Routledge (forthcoming)

Authors
Georgi Gardiner
Oxford University
Abstract
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 standards of proof should not be interpreted numerically. These ‘proof paradoxes’ illustrate that purely statistical evidence can warrant high credence in a disputed fact without satisfying the relevant legal standard. In this essay I evaluate three influential attempts to explain why merely statistical evidence cannot satisfy legal standards.
Keywords Proof Paradox  Legal Epistemology  Statistical Evidence  Sensitivity  Normic Support  Individualised Evidence  Beyond Reasonable Doubt  Legal Burden of Proof  Lottery Paradox  Credences
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References found in this work BETA

Belief, Credence, and Norms.Lara Buchak - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):1-27.

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Rehabilitating Statistical Evidence.Lewis Ross - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

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