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The Jama legal narrative. Part II: A foray into concepts of improbability

The Jama legal narrative. Part II: A foray into concepts of improbability

Nissan, Ephraim (2000) The Jama legal narrative. Part II: A foray into concepts of improbability. In: Proceedings of the AISB '00 Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Legal Reasoning. AISB, UK, pp. 37-45.

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Abstract

In judicial decision making, the doctrine of chances takes explicitly into account the odds. There is more to forensic statistics, as well as various probabilistic approaches which taken together form the object of an enduring controversy in the scholarship of legal evidence. In this paper, we reconsider the circumstances of the Jama murder and inquiry (dealt with in Part I of this paper: "The Jama Model. On Legal Narratives and Interpretation Patterns"), to illustrate yet another kind of probability or improbability. What is improbable about the Jama story, is actually a given, which contributes in terms of dramatic underlining. In literary theory, concepts of narratives being probable or improbable date back from the eighteenth century, when both prescientific and scientific probability was infiltrating several domains, including law. An understanding of such a backdrop throughout the history of ideas is, I claim, necessary for AI researchers who may be tempted to apply statistical methods to legal evidence. The debate for or against probability (and especially bayesian probability) in accounts of evidence has been flouishing among legal scholars. Nowadays both the the Bayesians (e.g. Peter Tillers) and Bayesioskeptics (e.g. Ron Allen) among those legal scholars whoare involved in the controversy are willing to give AI researchers a chance to prove itself and strive towards models of plausibility that would go beyond probability as narrowly meant. This debate within law, in turn, has illustrious precedents: take Voltaire, he was critical of the application or probability even to litigation in civil cases; take Boole, he was a starry-eyed believer in probability applications to judicial decision making (Rosoni 1995). Not unlike Boole, the founding father of computing, nowadays computer scientists approaching the field may happen to do so without full awareness of the pitfalls. Hence, the usefulness of the conceptual landscape I sketch here.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Title of Proceedings: Proceedings of the AISB '00 Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Legal Reasoning
Additional Information: [1] This paper was first presented at AISB'00, the Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour Convention, Time for AI and Society Symposium, held from 17-20 April 2000 in Birmingham, UK. The Convention was organized by the The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (AISB).
Uncontrolled Keywords: narrative interpretation patterns, JAMA Model, judicial decision making, improbability
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:00
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/437

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