L. Jonathan Cohen

in The Probable and The Provable

Published in print December 1977 | ISBN: 9780198244127
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680748 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy


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This book tries to show that, if forensic proof in Anglo-American courts is analysed in terms of the mathematical calculus of chance, the anomalies and paradoxes which are generated are too numerous and too serious for intellectual comfort. It also describes a differently structured concept of probability in a degree of detail that enables its merits and demerits to be appropriately evaluated. The general aim establishes the rationality of the concept and the depth of its entrenchment in human culture. In addition, it demonstrates that the non-Pascalian concept of probability can indeed perform the forensic tasks for which any Pascalian concept seems illsuited and that the non-Pascalian concept has some important uses even outside the somewhat stylized institutional framework of legal proceedings. Furthermore, to avoid accusations of word-play, it needs to show too that the title of this non-Pascalian concept to be called a concept of probability is quite a strong one.

Keywords: forensic proof; Anglo-American courts; probability; human culture; non-Pascalian concept; Pascalian concept; paradoxes

Chapter.  1507 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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