Accepting the Truth of a Story about the Facts of a Criminal Case

Bart Verheij & Floris Bex

Crombag, Van Koppen and Wagenaar have proposed the anchored narratives theory as a tool for establishing and identifying the facts of a criminal case. The theory emphasises the role of stories in reasoning about the facts, and the pivotal function of anchoring generalisations. Here the anchored narratives theory is reconstructed in terms of semi-formal argumentation schemes, a method borrowed from recent research crossing the fields of argumentation theory and artificial intelligence. Hence we provide an elaboration and refinement of the anchored narratives theory, and are able to show how stories can play an explicit role in reasoning about the facts. In the present approach, not only the elements of stories are part of argumentation, but also stories as wholes. We argue that accepting one story (typically about the facts of the crime) can depend on the acceptance of other stories (typically about pieces of evidence) and that a more elaborate theory of story structures is required, one in which other story structures than only one for intentional crime is distinguished.

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Verheij, B., & Bex, F.J. (2009). Accepting the Truth of a Story About the Facts of a Criminal Case. Legal Evidence and Proof: Statistics, Stories, Logic (Applied Legal Philosophy Series) (eds. H. Kaptein, H. Prakken & B. Verheij), 161-193. Farnham: Ashgate.

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