• April 11th, 2016

Philosophy Essay

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

  1. Suppose false convictions are four times as bad as false acquittals. Thus, where a perfectly just outcome has a utility of zero, suppose false acquittals have a utility of -1 and false convictions have a utility of -4. In this case, if someone is charged with a crime and there is a 85% chance (i.e., a probability of 0.85) that she is guilty, and if your only two options are to either convict or acquit, what would be the rational choice? Justify your answer.
  1. Describe a case in which it seems, intuitively, that the evidence for guilt is insufficiently strong for a conviction, even though this evidence makes it very likely (e.g., 95% likely) that the defendant is guilty? (You can come up with your own example or describe an example discussed in class).


  1. What do you take the be the most plausible general principle that would justify the claim that, in the case you described, the defendant should not be convicted of the crime?


  1. Raise and respond to the strongest objection to this general principle. (Note: you are welcome to take either side on this debate. Thus, you may conclude either that we should accept or that we should reject this general principle).

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