Challenges for Comparative Fact-Finding

International Journal of Evidence & Proof, Forthcoming

11 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2018

See all articles by Sean Sullivan

Sean Sullivan

University of Iowa College of Law

Date Written: September 15, 2018


A paradigm shift is underway in scholarship on legal fact-finding. Recent work points clearly and consistently in the direction that persuasion is the product of purely comparative assessments of factual propositions. This paper comments on the philosophical roots of this shift to a comparative paradigm. It also highlights two serious challenges for the comparative approach: (1) articulation of a coherent test of the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard, and (2) definition of what it means for a fact-finder to weigh an unspecific or disjunctive factual claim.

Keywords: Fact Finding, Burden of Persuasion, Comparative Inference

Suggested Citation

Sullivan, Sean, Challenges for Comparative Fact-Finding (September 15, 2018). International Journal of Evidence & Proof, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Sean Sullivan (Contact Author)

University of Iowa College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States


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