Naturalized Epistemology and the Law of Evidence Revisited


  • Ronald J. Allen Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law



We revisit Naturalized Epistemology and the Law of Evidence, published twenty years ago.  The evolution of the relative plausibility theory of juridical proof is offered as evidence of the advantage of a naturalized approach to the study of the field and law evidence.  Various alternative explanations of aspects of juridical proof from other disciplines are examined and their shortcomings described.  These competing explanations are similar in their reductive, a priori approaches that are at odds with an empirically oriented naturalized approach.  The shortcomings of the various a priori approaches are driven by their common methodological commitments to employing weird hypotheticals to engage in intuition mining about the American legal systems that in turn ignore important aspects of the actual legal systems and consistently make impossible epistemological demands.  As a result, both their descriptions of and prescriptions for American legal systems are implausible, unlike the relative plausibility theory.

Palabras clave

Naturalized epistemology, juridical proof, jurisprudence, probability, relative plausibility


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Biografía del autor/a

Ronald J. Allen, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

John Henry Wigmore Professor, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, President, International Association of Evidence and Forensic Science; Fellow, The Forensic Science Institute, China University of Political Science and Law. I am indebted to William Lawrence for excellent research assistance and to the Julius Rosenthal Foundation Fund for supporting this research




Cómo citar

Allen, R. J. (2021). Naturalized Epistemology and the Law of Evidence Revisited. Quaestio Facti. Revista Internacional Sobre Razonamiento Probatorio, (2), 253–284.