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Standards of Proof in Law and Science

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Abstract

Ascertainment of facts is basic to both science and law and it rests upon proof. In this context, proof is a quantum and quality of evidence or data sufficient to support a conclusion. But criteria for determining what degree of evidence/data is adequate have taken centuries to develop and are still elusive. Science uses quantitative criteria subject to statistical analysis. Law uses verbally described categorical criteria. Analytically, both processes rest upon subjective judgements or assumptions. Science, because of the nature of the questions it addresses, has an empirical or pragmatic mode of validation that other disciplines lack, but ultimately proof of facts in all disciplines rests upon judgements of probability.

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