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About this book

This book presents an in-depth discussion on two concepts from the field of philosophy and law, in order to improve our understanding of the relation between “fact” and “evidence” in judicial process. Since fact-finding is a difficult task for judges, proof by evidence has been devised to help them access the truth. However, in the process of judicial fact-finding, there is always a gap between fact and truth. This book covers a wide range of topics, from reflections on the concept of “fact,” “evidence” and “fact-finding” in the field of philosophy and law to individual case studies. As such it is a useful reference resource on the continuing research on the judicial proof process for students and scholars.

Table of Contents


Facts and Evidence in Philosophical Epistemology


Law and Philosophy in China and Elsewhere

This is my twenty-first visit to China to attend conferences, do lectures or teach classes. Since my first invitation to visit China fifteen years ago, I have always been deeply honored to be invited whether to address a national conference such as this or do lectures to students and faculties at the approximately 30 universities that I have been privileged to visit.
Ronald J. Allen

Evidence and Facts: Dialogue Between Law and Philosophy

Questions concerning evidence and facts pervade almost the “whole of philosophy”! Evidence-e.g., rationalism versus skepticism, and the ongoing epistemological discussion: what do we know?
Gunnar Skirbekk

Yin/Yang Epistemology

Traditional Chinese thought pays a great deal of attention to issues in ethics, but has very little to say about epistemology—at least by comparison with the enormous focus on issues about knowledge and justification one finds in Western philosophy during the modern period.
Michael Slote

Turth and Facts in the Judicial Process: A Philosophical Perspective

Legal decisions-making should be based on facts, however, there is no common understanding about the meaning of “facts”, and facts-finding should be based on the pursuit of “truth”, which is unclear in its meaning, either. Some radicals even believe that facts so-called are nothing but illusionary, and the pursuit of truth is just a lie.
Guoying Shu, Xuguang Song

Providing Evidence: C.A. Coulomb’s “Balance Électrique” and the Culture of French Enlightened Rationality

In 1785 the engineer and natural philosopher Charles-Agustin Coulomb presented his experimental research to the French Academy of Sciences. In front of this distinguished audience he laid out his “construction & usage d’une balance électrique” with which he had achieved the “determination expérimentale de la loi suivant laquelle le elements des Corps électrifisés du meme genre d’Electricité, se repussent mutuellement.”
H. Otto Sibum

Knowing as Simply Being Correct

Western epistemologists have long told us a simple tale of how we must begin to conceive of knowledge’s nature. But they have long been on conceptually weaker ground than they have assumed is so. This paper will tell an alternative story about that same phenomenon.
Stephen Hetherington

Law and Epistemology: An Account of Judgement

Three key components of a legal case are evidence, fact and judgement. In a well conducted judgement there will be an appropriate relation between these three components. Epistemologists investigating the nature of knowledge have been concerned with an analogous three components and their relation. More specifically, epistemologists have been concerned with justification, truth, and belief and how these three components need to be related if there is to be knowledge. Given the analogy, the research of epistemologists plausibly has insights to offer to legal theorists. In fact, as we shall see, what epistemology have to offer legal theory actually goes beyond this as well.
Chienkuo Mi, Shane Ryan

Facts as Evidence in Analytic Philosophy

Since the middle of the last century the concept of facts has been discussed by philosophers in the analytic tradition. The dominated view on the concept is inspired by a legal philosopher H. L. A. Hart who is considered the representative of logical positivism in legal study.
Yi Jiang

Facts and Evidence in Juridical Epistemology


Truth, Justification, and Knowledge in the Epistemology of Adjudication

The Shanghai conference reflects a surge in interest in the application of epistemology to the understanding of adjudication and specifically the enterprise represented by “fact-finding” at trial.
Dale A. Nance

Facts, Evidence and Truth in Judicial Decisions

A first point that deserves to be stressed here is that facts are the central core and perhaps the most important problem in any judicial decision. Although many legal philosophers and scholars in the domain of procedural law usually pay a greater attention to the ways how legal rules are selected, interpreted and applied by judges, the basic importance of facts cannot and should not be underestimated.
Michele Taruffo

Fact, “Mirror of Evidence” and Fact-Finding

According to the traditional view, “evidence is the logic starting point of evidence law” (Gao et al. The Principles of Evidence Law. China Renmin University Press, Beijing, 2004). However, a logic starting point should include all gemmules of the contradictions of evidence law, of which the history and logic constitute the basic content.
Baosheng Zhang

Fact Argumentation in Argumentation-Based Litigation Games

In mainland China, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) issued the Opinion of the Supreme People’s Court on Deepening Reform of the People’s Courts Comprehensively: Outline of the Fourth Five-Year Reform of the People’s Courts (2014–2018) to support the comprehensive deepening of reform at the beginning of 2015.
Minghui Xiong

How to Transform Evidence into Fact? Analysis on the Evidence of Yinjie Cui Case

Evidence is the primary sourceto obtain the case facts. However, traditional discussion on the case facts only emphasizes on evidence, and the phase of narrative construction has been ignored. This paper is dedicated to reveal that if one observes the case facts by the general theory of evidence, he would feel a rupture between evidence and factual texts. What is worse, this kind of contradiction would come to some ambiguous and confusing understandings in the recognition and deduction between evidence and factual texts. Thus, the author endeavors to propose a propulsive theoretical framework in the phase of narrative construction so as to offset the sense of rupture.
Luping Zhang

Epistemological Limitations on Probabilistic Evidence Theory

“The great systematizers of the common law” has gone. From then on, the field of evidence scholarship in common law was “moribund”. However, this situation changed when some new talents and their heuristic research minds were attracted to this field. At the end of 1960s, John Kaplan explored a ground-breaking aspect about statistical decision theory and the fact-finding process, which stimulated a possibility of heuristic use of mathematical models of inference. In the same year, a judgment which has far reaching influence was made, that is People v. Collins.
Hanbing Gong

Facts and Evidence in Criminal Trials


Three Dimensions of Confessions in Law

There is heavy reliance on confessions in virtually all criminal justice systems. Such reliance goes far back in history and transcends legal traditions. This makes the subject especially amenable to comparative reflections on this occasion where there is an international gathering of legal scholars. The dialogues that this conference seeks to facilitate are not only across legal jurisdictions but also across the disciplines of law and philosophy. Epistemology lies most clearly at the intersection of these two disciplines. But they intersect elsewhere too. Other branches of philosophy can also advance our understanding of the roles of confession in law.
Hock Lai Ho

Two Models of Fact-Finding: Analysis Based upon Criminal Proof Standard

It is well accepted that China’s criminal procedure law (CPL) adopts an objective standard of proof, which mandates the judicator’s fact-finding must satisfy certain extrinsic goals or requirements. However, there is no specific rule regulating to what extent the prosecutor should convince the judicator and what kind of inner certainty should the judicator reach for fact-finding.
Ruihua Chen

Reflections on the Miscarriage of Justice in Criminal Cases: Revisit and Reconstruction of the “Corroborative” Mode of Proof in China

On April 28, 2015, Shandong Higher People’s Court held a public hearing on the review of Shubin Nie’s case of murder and rape, to solicit the opinions from the claimant, his lawyer and representative of the original case handling court. Such innovative judicial action attracted extensive attention of the jurists, practitioners, the media and the public. Those debatable opinions from some authoritative academic elites confused the public once again.
Weimin Zuo, Xin Fu

Towards Evidence and Fact in Criminal Investigation

The Chinese translated of professor Twining’s three works on EPF research have been published. They are Analysis of Evidence (Second Edition), Theories of evidence: Bentham and Wigmore, and Rethinking Evidence: Exploratory Essays (Second Edition). In the introduction of Rethinking Evidence, professor Twining mentioned, choice of evidence research came from an interest in “broadening the study of law from within”. In the evidence research, it seems that professor Twining has more preference for the research approach from Bentham and Wigmore. And he devoted himself to the systematic research approach of evidence, proof and fact.
Ming Liu

The Multidimensional Studies of the Theory of the Standard of Criminal Proof Under the Principle of Trial Centered Criminal Procedure

“If there is a trial, it must be proved”, so trial is based on proof and the proof is directed by legal standard of criminal proof, judges make judgments only when arriving the standard of criminal proof. The legitimacy of trial is closely related to the achievement of legal standard of criminal proof: under the system of divinity evidence, the legitimacy of judicial decision resorts to the indication of gods; under the system of legal evidence, formal legal reality intensifies the legitimacy of trial; under the discretionary evaluation system, the legitimacy of trial performances as formation of discretional evaluation of evidence of judge.
Bo Yang

A Philosophical Analysis of Different Types of Standards of Criminal Proof

Almost everyone knows that in the traditional theories and practice of Chinese criminal procedure, in order to show the advantages of socialist legal system and due to the idealist expectation, the Chinese people in a long time stuck to a standard of criminal proof different from and higher than those of Western countries.
Hongbo Zhou
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