Probability and story-telling : normative and descriptive models of juridical proof

Hamer, David & Hunter, Dan (1994) Probability and story-telling : normative and descriptive models of juridical proof. In Prakken, H., Muntjewerff, A.J., Soeteman, A., & Winkels, R. (Eds.) Legal knowledge based systems : JURIX 94 : The Relation with Legal Theory. Koninklijke Vermande, Lelystad, pp. 93-104.

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The operation of the law rests on the selection of an account of the facts. Whether this involves prediction or postdiction, it is not possible to achieve certainty. Any attempt to model the operation of the law completely will therefore raise questions of how to model the process of proof. In the selection of a model a crucial question will be whether the model is to be used normatively or descriptively. Focussing on postdiction, this paper presents and contrasts the mathematical model with the story model. The former carries the normative stamp of scientific approval, whereas the latter has been developed by experimental psychologists to describe how humans reason. Neil Cohen's attempt to use a mathematical model descriptively provides an illustration of the dangers in not clearly setting this parameter of the modelling process. It should be kept in mind that the labels 'normative' and 'descriptive' are not eternal. The mathematical model has its normative limits, beyond which we may need to critically assess models with descriptive origins.

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ID Code: 71163
Item Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: 9054581905
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1994 Koninklijke Vermande
Deposited On: 07 May 2014 04:39
Last Modified: 07 May 2014 04:39

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