Evaluating Corroborative Evidence
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How should we evaluate an argument in which two witnesses independently testify to some claim? In fact what would happen is that the testimony of the second witness would be taken to corroborate that of the first to some extent, thereby boosting up the plausibility of the first argument from testimony. But does that commit the fallacy of double counting, because the second testimony is already taken as independent evidence supporting the claim? Perhaps the corroboration effect should be considered illogical, since each premise should be seen as representing a separate reason in a convergent argument for accepting the claim as plausible. In this paper, we tackle the problem using argumentation schemes and argument diagramming. We examine a number of examples, and come up with two hypotheses that offer methods of analyzing and evaluating this kind of evidence.
KeywordsExpert opinion evidence Argumentation scheme Plausible reasoning Undercutting Fallacy of double counting Circumstantial evidence Corroborative witness testimony
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