Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 10, 2015

The Limits of Probabilistic Causality in Law

Ignacio N. Cofone
From the journal Global Jurist

Abstract

There is still controversy regarding what criterion to use to evaluate causality. The law & economics literature proposes the use of probabilistic causality as a superior criterion, suggesting the elimination of binary causality criteria. This led to explanations that violate our intuitions, fail to explain judicial decision-making, and are considered unjust. This paper proposes that neither binary nor probabilistic causality can provide a satisfactory answer for all scenarios. Probabilistic causality works well for general causal claims (types of claims centrally involved in rulemaking) while binary criteria perform better for single causal claims (types of claims commonly addressed by courts).

Acknowledgments

I thank Jennifer Arlen, Pierre Bentata, Pierre Garello, Diego Papayannis, Mario Rizzo, Eduardo Stordeur, Dina Waked and the participants of the Law & Boundaries Conference (Sciences Po, 2014) and of the EMLE Workshop in Law and Economics (Hamburg University, 2013) for helpful comments. All errors remain my own .

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Note

Erasmus University Rotterdam (European Doctorate in Law and Economics) and University of Buenos Aires. The paper was presented at the Law & Boundaries Conference (Sciences Po, 2014) and the EMLE Workshop in Law and Economics (Hamburg University, 2013), where it received useful feedback.

Published Online: 2015-1-10
Published in Print: 2015-1-1

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