Crime and Philosophy

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By korver12
Words 14399
Pages 58
1. Getting started
It is a matter of some interest that logic and the law should share so many of their foundational concepts – concepts such as proof, evidence, truth, inference, probability, plausibility, presumption and reasonableness – and yet should have had very little to say to one another within living memory. It is not especially surprising that logic and the law should have suffered (I use the word in its Latin sense) this alienation. With regard to its foundational concepts – for example, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the concept of the balance of probabilities, the concept of the reasonable person – the law embeds am implied epistemology of implicity. There exists among practitioners, especially judges, the view that definitions and formalizations of such notions are both unnecessary and is liable to conceptual distortion. But definitions and formalizations are mother’s milk to logicians. Where the law favours approximation and contextually sensitive nuance, logicians thrive on exactitude and rigour. So why wouldn’t the lawyers and logicians go about their business without the regard of the one for the other?
It would be wrong to leave the impression that there is no analytical exactitude in the law. It would also be a mistake to suggest that there has been no contact with the formal disciplines. Trials are often complex and judgements often embed exhaustive and detailed analyses of relevant points of law. In recent years probability theorists have sought to model probabilsistic reasoning in legal settings and computer scientists have tried to produce software that captures the dialectical structure of aspects of legal reasoning. What is more, especially among legal theorists, these formalistically-minded incursions have not been entirely unwelcome. Even so, there remains a lot of resistance by lawyers and legal scholars to the…...

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