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Structuring inferential reasoning in criminal fact finding: an analogical theory

Picinali, Federico (2012) Structuring inferential reasoning in criminal fact finding: an analogical theory. Law, Probability and Risk, 11 (2-3). pp. 197-223. ISSN 1470-8396

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Identification Number: 10.1093/lpr/mgs006


The article proposes a normative theory of inferential reasoning for criminal fact finding, centred on the concept of ‘analogy’. While evidence law scholars have devoted little attention to the topic, the article maintains that analogy deserves more consideration. In particular, it argues that an analogical theory of inferential reasoning has three main advantages. First, the theory makes it possible to incorporate within a single coherent framework the important insights of different approaches to ‘reasoning under uncertainty’; indeed, it welcomes both the Pascalian notion of ‘relevance’ based on the Bayesian likelihood ratio and the Baconian concept of ‘weight’. Secondly, it helps advance the conventional understanding of the reference class problem, an evidential conundrum widely discussed in the recent legal scholarship. Finally, the theory allows for a functional taxonomy of reasonable doubts.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Oxford University Press
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2013 13:57
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 08:18

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