Chapter

Understanding the Law of Evidence through Paradoxes of Rational Belief

Alex Stein

in Foundations of Evidence Law

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780198257363
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191711039 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198257363.003.0003
Understanding the Law of Evidence through Paradoxes of Rational Belief

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This chapter analyzes two epistemological paradoxes: Lottery and Preface, together with their legal derivatives, Gatecrasher, Blue Bus, Two Witnesses, and Prisoners of the Yard. It identifies the fundamental function of evidence law as apportioning the risk of error under uncertainty. The chapter develops the principle of maximal individualization that eliminates the paradoxes. This principle has a number of features with different applications in civil and criminal adjudication. These features are distributed across two dimensions — epistemological and moral. Within the epistemological dimension, the maximal individualization principle contributes to fact-finding. Within the moral and political dimension, this principle apportions the risk of error.

Keywords: Lottery; Preface; Gatecrasher; Blue Bus; Two Witnesses; Prisoners of the Yard; evidence law; paradoxes; principle of maximal individualization

Chapter.  20187 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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