more from Timothy McGrew

Single Idea 19686

[catalogued under 13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 3. Evidentialism / a. Evidence]

Full Idea

An ancient rule in law is that a criminal conviction needs evidence of two independent witnesses, but in history it is assumed that a document deserves the benefit of the doubt if it cannot be independently verified.

Gist of Idea

Criminal law needs two separate witnesses, but historians will accept one witness


Timothy McGrew (Evidence [2011], 'Interp..')

Book Reference

'Routledge Companion to Epistemology', ed/tr. Bernecker,S/Pritchard,D [Routledge 2014], p.64

A Reaction

[compressed; McGrew's full account qualifies it a bit] A nice observation. One might even be suspicious of the two 'independent' witnesses, if there were lots of other reasons to doubt someon's guilt. A single weird document is also dubious.