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Foundations of Evidence Law$
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Alex Stein

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198257363

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198257363.001.0001

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Understanding the Law of Evidence through Paradoxes of Rational Belief

Understanding the Law of Evidence through Paradoxes of Rational Belief

(p.64) 3 Understanding the Law of Evidence through Paradoxes of Rational Belief
Foundations of Evidence Law

Alex Stein

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes two epistemological paradoxes: Lottery and Preface, together with their legal derivatives, Gatecrasher, Blue Bus, Two Witnesses, and Prisoners of the Yard. It identifies the fundamental function of evidence law as apportioning the risk of error under uncertainty. The chapter develops the principle of maximal individualization that eliminates the paradoxes. This principle has a number of features with different applications in civil and criminal adjudication. These features are distributed across two dimensions — epistemological and moral. Within the epistemological dimension, the maximal individualization principle contributes to fact-finding. Within the moral and political dimension, this principle apportions the risk of error.

Keywords:   Lottery, Preface, Gatecrasher, Blue Bus, Two Witnesses, Prisoners of the Yard, evidence law, paradoxes, principle of maximal individualization

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