Proof in Law and Science

01 Jan 1992

This article addresses proof in both science and law. Both disciplines utilize proof of facts and proof of theories, but for different purposes and, consequently, in different ways. Some similarities exist, however, in how both disciplines use a series of premises followed by a conclusion to form an argument, and thus constitute a logic. This article analyzes the ways in which legal logic and scientific logic differ. Finding facts in law involves the same logic but quite different procedures than scientific fact-finding. Finding, or rather constructing, the law is also very different from scientific theorizing. But such differences do not indicate that one system of inquiry is deficient or the other superior. The fact-finding and law-constructing procedures that may seem odd or cumbersome to some scientists are rational responses to constraints that are simply not present in scientific inquiry. While these differences may seem obvious, their value lies in assisting us in describing the contrasting cultures of law and science.