The Difficulty about Inference upon Inference

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

The Difficulty about Inference upon Inference

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This chapter explores the difficulty about inference upon inference. Where a proof in a civil case involves several tiers of inference, the courts normally insist that each tier prior to the final one should rest on proof beyond reasonable doubt. However, a mathematicist analysis would permit many multi-tier inferences to go through even though each tier was proved merely on the balance of probabilities. So this kind of analysis has to suppose that the courts' requirement here springs from a special legal rule. But the rationale of such a rule is obscure if the mathematical analysis is correct. On the other hand, the courts' requirement here does jibe with common-sense ideas about chains of inference.

Keywords: inference; proof; mathematicist analysis; probabilities; courts; mathematical analysis

Chapter.  2250 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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