Editors' Review and Introduction: Models of Rational Proof in Criminal Law

Hendrik Prakken*, Floris Bex, Anne-Ruth Mackor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Decisions concerning proof of facts in criminal law must be rational because of what is at stake, but the decision-making process must also be cognitively feasible because of cognitive limitations, and it must obey the relevant legal-procedural constraints. In this topic three approaches to rational reasoning about evidence in criminal law are compared in light of these demands: arguments, probabilities, and scenarios. This is done in six case studies in which different authors analyze a manslaughter case from different theoretical perspectives, plus four commentaries on these case studies. The aim of this topic is to obtain more insight into how the different approaches can be applied in a legal context. This will advance the discussion on rational reasoning about evidence in law and will contribute more widely to cognitive science on a number of topics, including the value of probabilistic accounts of cognition and the problem of dealing with cognitive biases in reasoning under uncertainty in practical contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1067
Number of pages15
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2020


  • Rational proof
  • Criminal law
  • Arguments
  • Scenarios
  • Probabilities
  • Case study

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