The Specific Evidence Rule: Reference Classes – Individuals – Personal Autonomy

Kotsoglou, Kyriakos (2023) The Specific Evidence Rule: Reference Classes – Individuals – Personal Autonomy. Quaestio facti, 4 (1). pp. 1-28. ISSN 2604-6202

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This paper grapples with the issue of naked statistical evidence in general and the reference class problem (RCP) in particular. By analysing the reasoning patterns underlying the RCP, I will show, first, that the RCP rests on theoretical presuppositions which we are by no means bound to accept. Such a presupposition is is, what I will call, the wholesale approach in decision-making. Sec-ondly, I will show that the very effort to increase the level of precision to a maximum so that a refer-ence class contains a single member only is theoretically inconsistent insofar, as it deprives reference classes of their general (and thus scientific) character. Thereupon, I will argue, thirdly, that the de-cision to enact a specific evidence rule is a political one and reflects deep moral and jurisprudential values, not scientific propositions. Such a value is personal autonomy, which I go on to illuminate briefly. Whether the trier of fact will treat cases in a wholesale approach or not depends on consti-tutional arrangements and legal values putting emphasis on the individual and the latter’s dignity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: reference class problem, individualisation, specific evidence, discretion, personal autonomy, statistical inferences
Subjects: M100 Law by area
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2022 11:09
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2023 13:30

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