Winter 2015 Class Descriptions
As of 12/22/2014 5:17:55 AM
Probability, Profiles & Proof
Probability, Profiles, and Proof
We almost never know all the facts that we'd like to know, so we are forced to act on generalizations and probabilities. But at the same time, we have a great deal of anxiety about the law's use of generalizations and probabilities, especially when it makes decisions that significantly affect the course of identifiable individual's lives. This is a course in legal epistemology; we will try to figure out how and when the law may rely on generalizations and probabilities, and also when it may not. Topics covered will include: recovery for loss of chance; the law's hostility to merely statistical evidence; the nature of reasonable doubt; and the permissibility of racial and ethnic profiling. The readings will mix judicial decisions about these issues with articles and book excerpts that present philosophical analyses of them.