•  15
    Plausibility and Reasonable Doubt in the Simonshaven Case
    Topics in Cognitive Science. forthcoming.
    I comment on two analyses of the Simonshaven case: one by Prakken (2019), based on arguments, and the other by van Koppen and Mackor (2019), based on scenarios (or stories, narratives). I argue that both analyses lack a clear account of proof beyond a reasonable doubt because they lack a clear account of the notion of plausibility. To illustrate this point, I focus on the defense argument during the appeal trial and show that both analyses face difficulties in modeling key features of this argum…Read more
  •  45
    Many oppose the use of profile evidence against defendants at trial, even when the statistical correlations are reliable and the jury is free from prejudice. The literature has struggled to justify this opposition. We argue that admitting profile evidence is objectionable because it violates what we call “equal protection”—that is, a right of innocent defendants not to be exposed to higher ex ante risks of mistaken conviction compared to other innocent defendants facing similar charges. We al…Read more
  •  38
    Smith argues that, unlike other forms of evidence, naked statistical evidence fails to satisfy normic support. This is his solution to the puzzles of statistical evidence in legal proof. This paper focuses on Smith’s claim that DNA evidence in cold-hit cases does not satisfy normic support. I argue that if this claim is correct, virtually no other form of evidence used at trial can satisfy normic support. This is troublesome. I discuss a few ways in which Smith can respond.
  •  80
    Plausibility and Probability in Juridical Proof
    International Journal of Evidence and Proof. forthcoming.
    This note discusses three issues that Allen and Pardo believe to be especially problematic for a probabilistic interpretation of standards of proof: (1) the subjectivity of probability assignments; (2) the conjunction paradox; and (3) the non-comparative nature of probabilistic standards. I offer a reading of probabilistic standards that avoids these criticisms.
  •  16
    Evidential Reasoning
    with Bart Verheij
    In G. Bongiovanni, G. Postema, A. Rotolo, G. Sartor, C. Valentini & D. Walton (eds.), Handbook in Legal Reasoning and Argumentation, Springer. pp. 447-493. 2018.
    The primary aim of this chapter is to explain the nature of evidential reasoning, the characteristic difficulties encountered, and the tools to address these difficulties. Our focus is on evidential reasoning in criminal cases. There is an extensive scholarly literature on these topics, and it is a secondary aim of the chapter to provide readers the means to find their way in historical and ongoing debates.
  •  67
    Suppose one hundred prisoners are in a yard under the supervision of a guard, and at some point, ninety-nine of them collectively kill the guard. If, after the fact, a prisoner is picked at random and tried, the probability of his guilt is 99%. But despite the high probability, the statistical chances, by themselves, seem insufficient to justify a conviction. The question is why. Two arguments are offered. The first, decision-theoretic argument shows that a conviction solely based on the statist…Read more
  •  51
    Epistemic closure under known implication is the principle that knowledge of "p" and knowledge of "p implies q", together, imply knowledge of "q". This principle is intuitive, yet several putative counterexamples have been formulated against it. This paper addresses the question, why is epistemic closure both intuitive and prone to counterexamples? In particular, the paper examines whether probability theory can offer an answer to this question based on four strategies. The first probability-bas…Read more
  •  29
    Douglas Walton: Argument Evaluation and Evidence (review)
    with Bart Verheij
    Argumentation 32 (2): 301-307. 2018.
  •  224
    Epistemic closure, assumptions and topics of inquiry
    Synthese 191 (16): 3977-4002. 2014.
    According to the principle of epistemic closure, knowledge is closed under known implication. The principle is intuitive but it is problematic in some cases. Suppose you know you have hands and you know that ‘I have hands’ implies ‘I am not a brain-in-a-vat’. Does it follow that you know you are not a brain-in-a-vat? It seems not; it should not be so easy to refute skepticism. In this and similar cases, we are confronted with a puzzle: epistemic closure is an intuitive principle, but at times, i…Read more