Probability

Forensic Architecture

Probability measures the likelihood that an event will or has occurred. Probability could thus be understood as the way in which doubt exists in relation to objects. Philosopher Ian Hacking explains that probability has both subjective and objective meanings. “Subjective probability” has to do with evaluating the authority of witnesses—traditionally by social status, nobility or wealth. “Objective probability” on the other hand relates to the properties of the object or phenomena under analysis. In the middle of the seventeenth century the second meaning of probability started shifting the first. But the two continuously intertwine and entangle; forensics is about the probability of the expert to decipher the probability of the events. Science and law measure truth as a position on a variable scale of probability. Terms such as the “balance of probability” or “beyond reasonable doubt” reveal the constant operations of probability calculations. Scientific literature simply notes the measure of uncertainty and the margin of error; but law, like politics, must render a decision.

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