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Naturalized Epistemology and the Law of Evidence: A Reply to Pardo, Spellman, Muffato, and Enoch

Ronald Allen

In «Naturalized Epistemology and the Law of Evidence Revisited», the original target article for the various refutations that I comment on here, I revisited through a slightly different lens the subject of the article that I coauthored with Brian Leiter close to twenty years ago. That article has prompted four responses from Professors Pardo, Spellman, Muffato, and Enoch. Professors Pardo and Spellman basically accept the implications of the original article and offer useful but friendly amendments. Prof. Muffato apparently does not want to dispute over my ground and so changes the subject, and in doing so offers a number of interesting points. Only the fourth, Prof. Enoch, has the same doubts about the utility of my original article as I do of the genre that gave rise to it. I can thus be quite brief in discussing professors Pardo, Spellman, and Muffato, but it will take bit more effort to lay out the limits of Prof. Enoch’s analysis.
probability; relative plausibility; epistemology; safety; sensitivity


Allen, R.J., 1994: «Factual ambiguity and a theory of evidence», in Northwestern Law Review, 88(2): 604-640.

Allen, R.J., 2011: «Rationality and the Taming of Complexity», in Alabama Law Review, 62(5): 1047- 1068 (2011).

Allen, R.J., 2014: «Burdens of Proof», in Law, Probability and Risk 13(3-4): 195-219.

Allen, R.J., 2015: «A note to my philosophical friends about expertise and legal systems», Humana. Mente Journal Of Philosophical Studies, 8(28):79-97.

Allen, R.J., 2017: «The nature of juridical proof: probability as a tool in plausible reasoning», in International Journal of Evidence and Proof, 21: 133-142.

Allen, R.J., 2021: «Naturalized epistemology and the law of evidence revisited», in Quaestio facti. Revista Internacional sobre Razonamiento Probatorio, 2: 1-32.

Allen, R.J. and Leiter, B., 2001: «Naturalized epistemology and the law of evidence», in Virginia Law Review, 87(8): 1491-1550.

Diamond, Shari S., Murphy, Beth and Rose, Mary R., 2015: «The “Kettleful of Law” in Real Jury Deliberations: Successes, Failures, and Next Steps», in Northwestern University Law Review: 106(4) 1537-1608.

Enoch, D., Spectre, L and Fisher, L., 2012: «Statistical evidence, sensitivity, and the legal value of knowledge», in Philosophy & Public Affairs, 40(3): 197-224.

Enoch, D. and Fisher, T., 2015: «Sense and sensitivity: Epistemic and instrumental approaches to statistical evidence», in Stanford Law Review, 67(3): 557-611.

Pardo, Michael S., 2018: «Safety vs. sensitivity: possible worlds and the law of evidence», in Legal Theory, 24 (1): 50–75.

Pardo, Michael S., 2019: «The paradoxes of legal proof: A Critical Guide», in Boston University Law Review, 99(1): 233-290.

Quine, Willard V.O., 1951: «Two dogmas of empiricism», in The Philosophical Review 60 (1): 20-43.

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