Over a century ago, the legal giant Oliver Wendell Holmes invited us to look at the law through the lens of probability theory, or in Holmes’s own immortal words: “The prophecies of what the courts will do in fact, and nothing more pretentious, are what I mean by the law.” Ironically, few legal scholars have taken up Holmes’s intriguing invitation. During the last ten years (2011-2020), however, I authored the following papers in which I applied Bayesian probability to various aspects of law and culture:
- A Bayesian Model of the Litigation Game (2011), in which I develop a Bayesian model of litigation.
- Visualizing Probabilistic Proof (2013), in which I use Bayesian methods to solve the “blue bus problem” in evidence law.
- Finding Santiago (2015), in which I focus on Hemingway’s hero in “The Old Man and the Sea” and explore the inner workings of the old man’s mind through a probabilistic or Bayesian lens.
- Judge Hercules or Judge Bayes? (2016), in which I use Bayesian methods to solve Newcomb’s Problem.
- Probabilistic Interpretation II: The Case of the Speluncean Explorers (2017), in which I examine Lon Fuller’s famous fictional case from a Bayesian perspective.
- A Bayesian Analysis of the Hadley Rule (2019), one of the papers in this fine collection of essays, in which I examine the rule of Hadley v. Baxendale from a Bayesian perspective.
- The Case for Bayesian Judges: Putting Posner and Vermeule into Practice (in press), in which I develop a simple Bayesian model of adjudication.