Rethinking Evidence: Exploratory Essays

Rethinking Evidence: Exploratory Essays

by William Twining


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The Law of Evidence has traditionally been perceived as a dry, highly technical, and mysterious subject. This book argues that problems of evidence in law are closely related to the handling of evidence in other kinds of practical decision-making and other academic disciplines, that it is closely related to common sense and that it is an interesting, lively and accessible subject. These essays develop a readable, coherent historical and theoretical perspective about problems of proof, evidence, and inferential reasoning in law. Although each essay is self-standing, they are woven together to present a sustained argument for a broad inter-disciplinary approach to evidence in litigation, in which the rules of evidence play a subordinate, though significant, role. This revised and enlarged edition includes a revised introduction, the best-known essays in the first edition, and new chapters on narrative and argumentation, teaching evidence, and evidence as a multi-disciplinary subject.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810111424
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 02/28/1994
Edition description: 1
Pages: 407
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

William Twining is Quain Professor of Juisprudence Emeritus at University College London, and a regular Visiting Professor at the University of Miami School of Law. His writings on evidence include Analysis of Evidence (2nd edn, Cambridge University Press 2005).

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: The story of a project;
2. Taking facts seriously;
3. The rationalist tradition of evidence scholarship;
4. Some scepticism about some scepticisms;
5. Identification and misidentification in legal processes: redefining the problem;
6. What is the law of evidence?;
7. Rethinking evidence;
8. Legal reasoning and argumentation;
9. Stories and argument;
10. Lawyers' stories;
11. Narrative and generalizations in argumentation about questions of fact;
12. Reconstructing the truth about Edith Thompson: the Shakespearean and the Jurist (with R. Weis);
13. The ratio decidendi of the parable of the prodigal son;
14. Taking facts seriously - again;
15. Evidence as a multi-disciplinary subject.

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