The paper argues for a pragmatist understanding of the reasonable doubt standard in law. It builds on the idea that our dispositions to act signal the epistemic states we are in. This helps clarify the notion of a reasonable doubt and the idea of being certain beyond it. More specifically, the paper points out three major standards of proof used in legal contexts and the rationale of their distinction. It articulates the received view according to which the reasonable doubt standard is superior to allegedly subjective standards as the French “intime conviction”; then it addresses what I call the “rampant critique” of the reasonable doubt standard, namely the view that, as the notion of a reasonable doubt is obscure and undetermined, the standard is irremediably subjective. The paper finally presents a pragmatist understanding and defense of the standard, building on the idea of beliefs as dispositions to act.

Certainty beyond a reasonable doubt. A pragmatist understanding of the criminal standard of proof

Tuzet, Giovanni
2023

Abstract

The paper argues for a pragmatist understanding of the reasonable doubt standard in law. It builds on the idea that our dispositions to act signal the epistemic states we are in. This helps clarify the notion of a reasonable doubt and the idea of being certain beyond it. More specifically, the paper points out three major standards of proof used in legal contexts and the rationale of their distinction. It articulates the received view according to which the reasonable doubt standard is superior to allegedly subjective standards as the French “intime conviction”; then it addresses what I call the “rampant critique” of the reasonable doubt standard, namely the view that, as the notion of a reasonable doubt is obscure and undetermined, the standard is irremediably subjective. The paper finally presents a pragmatist understanding and defense of the standard, building on the idea of beliefs as dispositions to act.
2023
2023
Tuzet, Giovanni
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11565/4061900
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