Problems and Projects in the Theory (and Practice) of Evidence Law
Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, Forthcoming
31 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2016
Date Written: 2015
“As for the philosophers, they make imaginary laws for imaginary commonwealths; and their discourses are as the stars, which give little light, because they are so high,” Francis Bacon wrote in 1605. Even today, more than four centuries later, Bacon’s complaint still resonates. Now, as then, the writings of philosophers — even of philosophers of law, who might be expected to be a little more grounded in the real world — all too often “give little light, because they are so high.” I will show, however, that epistemological ideas really can illuminate real-life legal issues.
Keywords: Francis Bacon, epistemology, trial by oath, trial by ordeal, trial by combat, evidence law, evidentiary procedure, jury instructions, burdens and standards of proof, proof and probability, blue bus case, relevance
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