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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 a Criterion

The Difficulty about a Criterion

(p.87) 9 The Difficulty about a Criterion
The Probable and The Provable

L. Jonathan Cohen

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the difficulty about a criterion. It first introduces the inapplicability of Carnapian criteria. No familiar criterion of mathematical probability is applicable to the evaluation of juridical proofs. Statistical criteria have already been shown to be inapplicable. Carnapian criteria require a unanimity about range-measure, which cannot be assumed. To suppose that jurors should evaluate proofs in terms of a coherent betting policy is to ignore the fact that rational men do not bet on issues where the outcome is not discoverable otherwise than from the data on which the odds themselves have to be based. In addition, the point here is not that there is anything intrinsically and universally wrong with evaluating mathematical probabilities in terms of statistical frequencies, range-overlap or betting odds. So the onus is on the mathematicist to propose some other criterion, which is not excluded by any of the special circumstances of judicial proof.

Keywords:   Carnapian criteria, mathematical probability, juridical proofs, jurors, policy, mathematicist

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