The Difficulty about Negation

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 Negation

Show Summary Details


This chapter investigates the difficulty about negation. Because of the principle that pM[S] = I − pM[not-S], the mathematicist analysis implies that in civil cases the Anglo-American system is officially prepared to tolerate a quite substantial mathematical probability that a losing defendant deserved to succeed. There is a limit to the extent that this difficulty can be avoided by supposing a higher threshold for the balance of probability. Nor are the proper amounts of damages held to be proportional to the strength of a winning plaintiff's proof. If there were a legal rule excluding statistical evidence in relation to voluntary acts much of the paradox here would disappear. But it would be unnecessary to suppose such a rule if the outcome of civil litigation could be construed as a victory for case-strength rather than as the division of a determinate quantity of case-merit.

Keywords: negation; mathematicist analysis; Anglo-American system; mathematical probability; plaintiff; proof

Chapter.  3236 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.