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A leading expert in informal logic, Douglas Walton turns his attention in this new book to how reasoning operates in trials and other legal contexts, with special emphasis on the law of evidence. The new model he develops, drawing on methods of argumentation theory that are gaining wide acceptance in computing fields like artificial intelligence, can be used to identify, analyze, and evaluate specific types of legal argument. In contrast with approaches that rely on deductive and inductive logic and rule out many common types of argument as fallacious, Walton&’s aim is to provide a more expansive view of what can be considered &"reasonable&" in legal argument when it is construed as a dynamic, rule-governed, and goal-directed conversation. This dialogical model gives new meaning to the key notions of relevance and probative weight, with the latter analyzed in terms of pragmatic criteria for what constitutes plausible evidence rather than truth.
Recent work in artificial intelligence has increasingly turned to argumentation as a rich, interdisciplinary area of research that can provide new methods related to evidence and reasoning in the area of law. Douglas Walton provides an introduction to basic concepts, tools and methods in argumentation theory and artificial intelligence as applied to the analysis and evaluation of witness testimony. He shows how witness testimony is by its nature inherently fallible and sometimes subject to disastrous failures. At the same time such testimony can provide evidence that is not only necessary but inherently reasonable for logically guiding legal experts to accept or reject a claim. Walton shows how to overcome the traditional disdain for witness testimony as a type of evidence shown by logical positivists, and the views of trial sceptics who doubt that trial rules deal with witness testimony in a way that yields a rational decision-making process.
In modern industrial democracies, the making of public policy is dependent on policy analysis--the generation, discussion, and evaluation of policy alternatives. Policy analysis is often characterized, especially by economists, as a technical, nonpartisan, objective enterprise, separate from the constraints of the political environment. however, says the eminent political scientist Giandomenico Majone, this characterization of policy analysis is seriously flawed. According to Majone, policy analysts do not engage in a purely technical analysis of alternatives open to policymakers, but instead produce policy arguments that are based on value judgments and are used in the course of public debate. In this book Majone offers his own definition of policy analysis and examines all aspects of it--from problem formulation and the choice of policy instruments to program development and policy evaluation. He argues that rhetorical skills are crucial for policy analysts when they set the norms that determine when certain conditions are to be regarded as policy problems, when they advise on technical issues, and when they evaluate policy. Policy analysts can improve the quality of public deliberation by refining the standards of appraisal of public programs and facilitating a wide-ranging dialogue among advocates of different criteria. In fact, says Majone, the essential need today is not to develop 'objective' measures of outcomes--the traditional aim of evaluation research--but to improve the methods and conditions of public discourse at all levels and stages of policy-making.
In this book a theory of reasoning with evidence in the context of criminal cases is developed. The main subject of this study is not the law of evidence but rather the rational process of proof, which involves constructing, testing and justifying scenarios about what happened using evidence and commonsense knowledge. A central theme in the book is the analysis of ones reasoning, so that complex patterns are made more explicit and clear. This analysis uses stories about what happened and arguments to anchor these stories in evidence. Thus the argumentative and the narrative approaches from the research in legal philosophy and legal psychology are combined. Because the book describes its subjects in both an informal and a formal style, it is relevant for scholars in legal philosophy, AI, logic and argumentation theory. The book can also appeal to practitioners in the investigative and legal professions, who are interested in the ways in which they can and should reason with evidence.
This book provides an overview of computer techniques and tools — especially from artificial intelligence (AI) — for handling legal evidence, police intelligence, crime analysis or detection, and forensic testing, with a sustained discussion of methods for the modelling of reasoning and forming an opinion about the evidence, methods for the modelling of argumentation, and computational approaches to dealing with legal, or any, narratives. By the 2000s, the modelling of reasoning on legal evidence has emerged as a significant area within the well-established field of AI & Law. An overview such as this one has never been attempted before. It offers a panoramic view of topics, techniques and tools. It is more than a survey, as topic after topic, the reader can get a closer view of approaches and techniques. One aim is to introduce practitioners of AI to the modelling legal evidence. Another aim is to introduce legal professionals, as well as the more technically oriented among law enforcement professionals, or researchers in police science, to information technology resources from which their own respective field stands to benefit. Computer scientists must not blunder into design choices resulting in tools objectionable for legal professionals, so it is important to be aware of ongoing controversies. A survey is provided of argumentation tools or methods for reasoning about the evidence. Another class of tools considered here is intended to assist in organisational aspects of managing of the evidence. Moreover, tools appropriate for crime detection, intelligence, and investigation include tools based on link analysis and data mining. Concepts and techniques are introduced, along with case studies. So are areas in the forensic sciences. Special chapters are devoted to VIRTOPSY (a procedure for legal medicine) and FLINTS (a tool for the police). This is both an introductory book (possibly a textbook), and a reference for specialists from various quarters.
A study of the role of abductive inference in everyday argumentation and legal evidence.
Use of argumentation methods applied to legal reasoning is a relatively new field of study. The book provides a survey of the leading problems, and outlines how future research using argumentation-based methods show great promise of leading to useful solutions. The problems studied include not only these of argument evaluation and argument invention, but also analysis of specific kinds of evidence commonly used in law, like witness testimony, circumstantial evidence, forensic evidence and character evidence. New tools for analyzing these kinds of evidence are introduced.

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