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The Probable and The Provable$
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L. Jonathan Cohen

Print publication date: 1977

Print ISBN-13: 9780198244127

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198244127.001.0001

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The Difficulty about Inference upon Inference

The Difficulty about Inference upon Inference

Chapter:
(p.68) 6 The Difficulty about Inference upon Inference
Source:
The Probable and The Provable
Author(s):

L. Jonathan Cohen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198244127.003.0007

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

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